Doing It Scared

I bet you thought I fell off the planet, didn’t you? Nope, just super busy and super uninspired. I’ve read A LOT of books, because that’s my escape from reality for a few minutes (or hours). With books you can focus on the words and the pictures in your head and let everything else go for a while. So yeah, I’ve read a lot. I’ve used my oils religiously and shared here and there, but haven’t felt the excitement recently. I still love them and know they’ve changed my life, but I sometimes feel like I’m sharing with a black hole. Not gonna lie, that gets discouraging. But I’ve discovered that just because people don’t say the words to respond, doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. That was quite the ramble… Anyway, I have felt discouraged lately. I’m tired to be honest. I have a lot going on with my little one and with life in general. And if you haven’t read my stuff, you don’t know that stress makes me sick. Autoimmune problems are no joke. So I’ve had my friendly stress rash and I’ve felt like laying on the floor some days. All of it is discouraging. And there’s been no hockey, so that hasn’t helped the situation. Man, I love going to hockey games. Like reading, for a few hours I don’t care about anything but being in that moment and cheering on our awesome team. Apparently I need that. It started back in October, thank goodness. So far October is looking up.

I decided a month or so ago that I was going to do some things that make me uncomfortable in order to hopefully break this funk and get me moving in the right direction again. And knowing myself, I signed up for things before I could talk myself out of it. Good thing, too. I bought a ticket to Young Living’s International Grand Convention next June which is in Salt Lake City. Can I just tell you that I never travel out of the surrounding area and have NEVER been on a plane? I don’t even really like people, so the airport should be a real scream. If you see a GoFundMe® campaign for bail money, you’ll know what happened. I’m still not sure what I was thinking, but I saw the posts and watched the videos from this year and thought “I’m not missing out on that next year.” So I grabbed my mother-in-law, convinced her to go with me and bought the tickets before I could change my mind – good thing because they sold out in hours.

Then came Diamond Bound. I saw the video about it and heard the stories and thought, “I’m doing that. It sounds completely unlike me, but I’m doing it anyway.” Y’all, this thing started with a real live GALA. Black tie. I don’t even wear makeup. What in the world. But I bought that ticket before I could change my mind, too. I mean how often would it be this close to home? It was meant to be. I worried for a month about how I was going to avoid that gala and go to this thing by myself. Then a friend contacted me and put me in touch with one of her friends that was also going. They let me tag along with them, which solved one problem. Unfortunately they were pro-gala, so then I had to have a dress. It was surreal. What was I thinking?

Last weekend I went to Diamond Bound at the Opryland Hotel. I wore a fancy dress and (some) makeup. It was a lot, but I made it and had a good time. The weekend was filled with awesome speakers and encouragement, which I desperately needed. It was nice to see normal people who succeeded with Young Living. It seems everyone involved with Young Living is over-the-top bubbly and happy to a weird level, which if you know me, isn’t me. It seems fake to me and I’m not big on fake. I had gotten discouraged that I couldn’t share and make a difference at all because I didn’t have the right personality for it. Can I just tell you that hearing leaders with attitude was a relief? Being told that my greatest asset is myself and my story…yeah, that was awesome. Hearing the executive team for Young Living speak and answer questions made me even more confident in this company. Being in a room with 5000 other people with a common goal to make a healthier life for their family and anyone else that will listen was awesome. It reawakened (how dramatic is that?) the desire to share my story and teach people about a better way. Turns out I made a good decision to attend, even if I was afraid to do it at the time.

Will it keep people from acting like I’m using snake oil and believing in a cult or pyramid scheme? Nope. Probably not. But if you know me, you know that I don’t do anything I don’t want to. I don’t say things because someone says I should. I don’t get pressured to try things. No one, and I mean no one, can make me do something I don’t believe in and don’t want to do. Not for any amount of money or fame. So when I tell you that I believe in these oils, these products and this company, I’m not blowing smoke. I really do. Have I tried it all and done it all? No. Have I completely gone chemical free? No. Sugar free? Also no. But have I made great strides in my time here? Yeah. I really have. It’s definitely a process, but I keep going because I see results. I wouldn’t say I did if I didn’t. My mama didn’t raise a liar. I had someone ask me a few weeks ago about a certain product and if I was planning a class on it. My answer right now is no and I told her why. I’ve tried it and didn’t really see a benefit I can share. Do I know it works for other people? I do. And I will gladly send you their way for them to share with you. But can I with a clear conscience tell you it’s going to make a difference to you and change your life based on my experience with it? That’s it’s worth the expense? Nope. And that’s what I told her. Right now I’m not comfortable teaching it or recommending it based on my experience. I think everyone should try it for themselves, because I’ve heard amazing stories, but I’m not comfortable doing a class on it because I know people trust me to tell the truth. And I don’t take that trust for granted.

Turns out doing something scary is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself. Was it easy? No, it wasn’t. I had to leave my family for a few days. I had expenses. I missed out on some quality weekend sleep. But it solidified my belief that I’m doing the right thing sharing my story, even if it falls on infertile ground. At the risk of sounding salesy, if you want to know more about it, let me know. I’ll tell you exactly what I think and you can decide what’s best for you. I don’t regret a minute of my decision to get started with Young Living and I don’t think you will either.

Tolerance

I’m opinionated person. I know you are all shocked. I have a lot of feelings about a lot of issues. If you ask me what I think, I’ll gladly tell you. Will I try to do it in a way that doesn’t offend you? Yeah, probably. Unless I don’t like you anyway and then I’m going to skip that step. The point is I don’t think it does anyone any good to make people mad with their opinions. Be honest with yourself: do you keep listening to someone’s reasoning after they tick you off? I don’t. Thank God we don’t have those thought bubbles like you see in cartoons, right? So what exactly is the point in hacking someone off by forcing your beliefs and opinions on them?

It amazes me how many people don’t think this way. I have a lot of views that some of the most popular people in this country wouldn’t agree with. I know it and I’m good with it. Some days I would like to go up and loudly voice my own opinion. Sometimes I get mad when I hear other people talk. Sometimes I even chime in with my two cents. But I don’t feel a compulsion to force what I think on other people. I’m not going to insist you listen to me and my reasoning. Chances are good, depending on my mood, I’m not going to want to listen to yours either, so we’ll be even.

I could make a list of all the things I don’t understand or agree with going on in the world right now. But you know what? I’m over here with a clear conscience, secure in my beliefs. And guess what? I’m able to explain that to you like a rational human being. I’m not making snide or off-color comments, even though I’m sure I could. Because what exactly is the point in that? And the truth is sometimes something I hear from a non-threatening, sane person makes me curious enough to re-examine my own opinion. Imagine that.

If we would all just keep in our own lane, can you imagine how much better this life would be? I’m not asking for people to change their fundamental beliefs or always defer to someone else like a wimp. However, if we could all think about our words before we say them and give other people the benefit of having their own lives and opinions, that would be awesome. Maybe stop for a second and try to figure out why you are so opposed to whatever the issue is. Develop your own opinions based on what you truly think and not just what the people around you think. Contrary to popular belief, it’s OK to have an opinion that doesn’t agree with someone else. But it definitely isn’t OK to judge someone else based on what they believe or how they react to what you believe. Quite frankly, I don’t even care if you think it. Fine, think whatever. Screw up your own head all you want. You still don’t have to force that on someone else. It’s really simple. Show some compassion. “Tolerating” doesn’t indicate you agree. Quite the opposite. It indicates you don’t agree, but you go on with your life anyway. Like an intelligent human.

Booking It

I love to write.  I don’t know what it is about it exactly.  I think I feel like I can communicate better that way.  More successfully, I guess I should say.  I’m much easier to understand on paper.  I can edit and re-edit until I convey the message I want the way I see or hear it in my head.  If only I could do that in actual conversation.  Lord knows I could use a do-over button.  But with writing I can tweak and change and reword until it’s exactly how I want it before I release it into the wild.

Blogging has been fun because I get to vent.  It’s short and sweet, but I can bear it all if I want.  I can blog about whatever catches my interest, even writing.   Or randomness, like this appears to be.  I never had any interest in writing for a newspaper or anything like that.  I don’t like conforming enough to 1) work for someone else that way or 2) change my writing style or subject to suit an audience.  I can write whatever I want here and you can read it or not, that’s on you.  But it eases a need I have to speak my mind when I write one of these.  And with blogging I get immediate feedback.  I can immediately tell if it sucks or not by how people react.  There’s nothing like the feeling of writing from your heart and getting a ton of positive feedback.

I never considered myself to be creative or artistic.  But the past year has shown me a side of myself I had forgotten.  The need to create something useful is overwhelming some days.  From essential oil products to blog posts to decals to t-shirts.  Something about seeing something in my head and then making it a reality is very satisfying.  It’s a constant learning curve…I’ve screwed up a lot along the way.  But that’s part of the draw I think.  Striving toward a goal and attempting to perfect it over time.  There’s always one more little thing I could do to make it better than the last time.  Some days it almost drives me insane.  I think of a million different changes I want to make or another way I can do something and I obsess over it until I can get home.  I’ve heard people talk about painting that way…that they have to get it out before they can rest.  Some of these blog posts were that way for me.  I woke up early or late and couldn’t rest until I got it all out.

Some days I really think about writing a book.  Just sitting down and starting something long term.  What?  I have no clue.  All of my experiences and stories are so disjointed, it would almost have to be fiction.  Pretty sure at this point I could write a killer romance novel.  That would be interesting for everybody.  But could I deal with spending so much time pouring into something over a long period of time to have it fail?  With a blog or a decal, if I don’t like it or you don’t like it, I can do it again or delete it.  It took me an hour or two of time tops.  But a book…that’s a long term commitment with no exit strategy if it bombs.  Not sure I’m strong enough for that kind of pressure.  Would striving for perfection in something that big actually push me over the edge of insanity?  Possibly.  But I just keep thinking, what if?

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Impulsivity

Until two days ago, I didn’t even know this was a real word, much less that I was experiencing it daily. Impulsivity is how they describe the symptom of struggling with impulse control. It’s almost a disconnect between the part of the brain that tells you to do something and the part of the brain that tells you the consequences of doing it. You speak before you consider how it will affect others. You jump before considering if 20 feet is too high to fall. It is one of the many symptoms of ADHD and how it came on my radar.

Tuck has struggled since he was small with various small things. Things you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t around him consistently. He struggled with speech delay. At two he still hadn’t made much sound, besides grunting and screaming to get his point across, much less said any words. He had never said “mama” or “no”, which is pretty unusual. We began speech therapy and during that, the therapist talked to us about a possible motor planning deficit. Motor planning is how your brain tells your body to perform normal, everyday functions. Like picking up things, walking, running, talking, climbing. Things two-year-olds do a lot, but ours really didn’t. While other toddlers started pulling up and trying to walk, he never did. Tuck had never been a climber. He never tried to get out of his bed, which was odd because he didn’t sleep much and was very active. There were a lot of little things that we noticed and found odd, but never really grouped together until we talked to her. She recognized it immediately. She explained to us that it wasn’t that he wouldn’t be able to do things, he would do everything, it would just take him longer to master than other kids. He didn’t make the effort to try it new things because he couldn’t work out the details of how to make it happen. There was just a disconnect we needed to be aware of. It makes him seem uncoordinated when he tries something new, but after a few times he is up to speed. If you don’t know there is a problem, you would never notice it. Although not debilitating, it is something we have to remember, because it’s impulse to try to rush him or get frustrated when he can’t do something you feel is a simple task.

As he got older, it was obvious to us something was going on with his self control. It was like he didn’t care what you said or did or what the consequences might be, if he wanted to do something, come hell or high water, he was doing it. Punishment never had much effect. He doesn’t care what you threaten to do. He is in this moment and he isn’t worried about what happens next. Since he’s an only child, we assumed he was just spoiled and cracked down on him trying to make him understand there are rules and he was going to follow them. If you want to know the definition of frustration and despair, that’s it. But we really aren’t around other kids his age, so we couldn’t decide if this was something specific to him or just “boys being boys” his age, as people loved to tell us every time we voiced our concerns. One of the hardest parts of this particular journey is that people either deny there is a problem or tell you he’s just being a “boy/kid”. I never have figured out if they’re trying to reassure us or disregarding our intuition as his parents, but it’s hard to hear either way when you know there’s something more there. It makes you feel crazy and incompetent as a parent, which you already feel because you can’t get control of your one kid while other people juggle three.

Last year he started Pre-K. We knew this was our opportunity to get an unbiased opinion from someone who knew the “norm” for kids his age. His teacher was great. She was very structured and he thrived in that environment. At the first parent teacher conference we finally broke down our concerns for her. While she had noticed some of the things we talked about, nothing major like we were experiencing at home. At home he was having epic meltdowns. EPIC. Full fledged, our of control, couldn’t calm himself down, fits. It was overwhelming for all three of us. It was obvious he couldn’t control the episodes once they started, but we couldn’t figure out how to avoid them either. He wasn’t having them at school at that point, which immediately made us question whether he was just manipulating us. Anything you read on behavior in kids will tell you that they are more comfortable at home and so they act out there. Was that why he wasn’t having them at school? We had no clue. Pile on more frustration for all of us. While at some point he did start having more problems at school, we still couldn’t pinpoint what was going on or how to help him.

This year he started kindergarten. We were still having a lot of problems with his behavior at home. When you see your kid three hours a day and at least two of those are spent fighting for control and end with one or two of us crying, it is miserable. Family time is not happy and never carefree. You almost want to avoid it as much as possible, which adds even more guilt to this equation. You just don’t enjoy life in general. You can’t figure out if he is really this difficult compared to other kids or if you really suck at parenting. You don’t go places and do things like other families, because it makes everyone involved miserable. Tuck because he can’t do whatever crosses his mind and he is constantly in trouble, and us because nothing is enjoyable while constantly on high alert and arguing with a miniature terrorist. Along the way well-meaning souls told us we should get out more and he would learn to behave better in public. You just have to go, they say. You want to ask if they’re volunteering as tribute (that’s a movie reference, people – Google it). Because that crap is easier said than lived. Believe me.

About halfway through the year, his teacher talked to us about having him evaluated for ADHD. She had been having quite a few behavior issues at school, but didn’t feel like he could control most of them. She was concerned about first grade and wanted to give us a head start on evaluating him in case he needed to work on medication over the summer. She said he had no problem doing the work and was very intelligent, but compared to his peers and her previous students, he was having trouble staying on task and sitting still for an entire activity. That wasn’t huge in kindergarten, but first grade was going to be hard on him. He talked all the time and out of turn. He was aggressive with his classmates at times. He’s seen the principal A LOT this year. My brother has ADHD, so I was familiar with it on some level, but it wasn’t like what I experienced growing up with my brother. At that point I didn’t realize that every ADHD diagnosis is different.

So we scheduled a visit with his doctor. Each of us (my husband, myself and his teacher) filled out a three page questionnaire and sent it in before we met with him. Then we met with him for about an hour. I was nervous. I was terrified we’d get another, “I don’t see it” or “He’s just a normal little boy”. I love his doctor because he’s a no nonsense guy and doesn’t sugarcoat things. I knew he would tell us what he thought. And Tuck loves him, which is a blessing. When he doesn’t love doctors, it is a nightmare. Ask me how I know some time. Anyway, he asked all kinds of questions, both to us and to Tuck, while constantly being interrupted by Tuck, who was his normal talkative, busy self. He gave the nurse and the doctor a wealth of information on dinosaurs in that hour. After thirty minutes, he pointed out how often Tuck had interrupted us, which was pretty much an all-the-time thing for us. He told us that it wasn’t just Tuck being rude, he literally couldn’t control his impulse to tell us something and couldn’t make himself wait. Huh. That made sense. Then he remarked on how intelligent he was and how well he pronounced all the information on dinosaurs. He can says some words even I struggle with as an adult. He’s been that way since he started talking. He has a large vocabulary and uses words you don’t hear that often from five-year-olds. The doctor said that the way a lot of kids with ADHD are able to cope is that they are highly intelligent. They learn to work around whatever is holding them back and succeed, but it is harder than it has to be. We talked with him about on our concerns and his thoughts. He told us that he was not an advocate for medicating children, but in Tuck’s case he thought he needed some support. I’m going to be honest with you, the thought of having to GET Tuck to take medicine stressed me more than the thought of him taking something. At this point, our life was out of control. We were all miserable and he was beginning to struggle in school. We had to do something different. But first the doctor wanted to talk to his teacher and see exactly what was going on at school. I’ll never forget his teacher telling me that she’d spoken to him and I was like “ok, great” as I walked off. She stopped me and said she had never had a doctor actually call – they always say they will, but they never do. She was a little shocked. Again, I love Tuck’s doctor. Anyway, after that he called and talked to Jamie, because I can only handle so much stress in one lifetime. We started medication the next weekend, much to the chagrin of everyone we know. The unsolicited advice was intense. Apparently they felt we had never really tried anything else and that we were looking for an easy out and a fix-all solution to our “problem”. Or on the flip side, that there was no problem at all. Again, come back when you’re living it every day. To say that medication has been an easy solution is a joke. Besides the fact that you have to get the medication down his throat, that first one made that kid so mean and angry I was ready to run away. Not to mention he refused to eat anything. He was already tall and thin from being a picky eater, which was one of his doctor’s concerns, but this was a new level. We could barely get Pediasure down him and he was supposed to eat with the medicine. So since he didn’t eat, it made him nauseated, which meant he vomited it back up pretty often. Especially if you had to drive somewhere. You know, like school. We were more stressed and he was noticeably losing weight. It. Was. Hell. After two horrible weeks trying to see if he would adjust, we switched to a second medication. Not only has he been happier, he’s eating more than ever. I still don’t think we are at a good level, but it’s a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to do some research to see what we’re dealing with and how we can help him. That’s how I came upon my word of the week. Once I started reading about impulsivity, it all started clicking into place. The things he says and does to us, not caring that it will make us upset or earn him punishment. When your small child tells you he’s going to hit you in the face and then is shocked that you get mad, it’s weird. Then there is the nonstop, and I mean nonstop, talking. I don’t mean he talks and goes away and comes back to talk some more. I mean he talks from the time he wakes up until he goes to sleep. He talks to us and if we won’t listen, he talks to himself or the dogs. When you ask him to please stop talking for a few minutes he says “Why does everyone keep saying that?!” That’s how much he talks. Jamie and I once drove six hours from the beach with no radio and very minimal conversation. To say the talking is overwhelming and stressful for us is a grand understatement. Then there’s the interrupting conversations, phone calls, TV shows, and any other thing he can disrupt. To the point Jamie and I couldn’t discuss what to do about Tuck because Tuck kept interrupting us. At first you think he just has to be the center of attention, and to a point he does, but it’s more than that. He cannot make himself wait. Doing things that make us ask “Why did you do that?!” at least 10 times a day is the norm around here. He never knows, by the way. And he’s not joking or trying to get out of trouble. He does not know. All of those are related to impulse control.

It probably sounds weird to you to say that every time we learn of a new “disability”, we are relieved. But we are. It means that we may actually have a clue what we are doing as parents after all. It means we have a problem we can address, as opposed to knowing there’s something going on and having no idea what to do about it. The unknown will absolutely drive you insane.

I say all of this because I’m struggling right now. I know suck at saying this in person. I never seem to get it all out in a way people understand. I am much better putting it all down in words. This is stressful as hell for all of us and it’s something no one really knows is going on. But mainly I’m currently struggling to keep my mouth shut. When you have a kid with a problem that isn’t physical, people don’t get it. They see an only-child and assume his behavior is because he’s spoiled and undisciplined. They don’t see the hours spent trying to fit him into the mold of a “normal” kid. They don’t see the tears of frustration from everyone involved. They don’t see that he really can’t control it, but we are doing all we can to help him. They don’t see the tears because I worry that he will never quite fit in with his peers. That he will always struggle to make and keep friends, because he can’t control what he says to them and doesn’t understand how his words affect people. They don’t see how their comments and snide remarks make you want to slap them. Yeah, cause that’s my reaction. I’m not going to cry, I’m going defend him and you will be the one crying. I’m not one of those nice non-confrontational mamas. I’m going to aggressively defend my kid against everyone, be it family, friend or random person. Maybe I AM a mama bear…

And most importantly, they don’t understand that he sees the world differently and what they think is weird and off-putting is what makes him unique and world changing. But that’s why he has us and why I’m done trying to keep the peace at the cost of my child feeling like he’s wrong and they’re right about him. I’m done keeping my mouth shut and feeling like a failure in private for comments said by a person about things they don’t understand or want to understand. I’m just done. ADHD is considered a disability, whether either of us really understand that or not. Like with any disability, I am his advocate and I am fierce about defending his rights and feelings. I have struggled with that role. He does a lot of things I don’t condone or understand. I can see how someone would form a snap judgment. I know why kids will think he’s weird. He has a vivid imagination and sometimes the line between real and imaginary is blurred for him. However, as an adult, once you know the circumstances, and a lot of these people do, you need to adjust your thinking and how you interact with my little man. Use a little compassion or keep your words to yourself. We are critical enough of ourselves already. What we need is a little support and encouragement.

I have said since the day he made his entrance into this world that if any baby was meant to be born, it was Tuck. The odds were against him long before conception and yet he prevailed. (You can read about that in my post, Pregnancy Done The Hard Way). God has a plan for this specific child and I can only believe that the way he experiences the world around him will contribute to that plan. It makes him uniquely qualified to do something and I can’t wait to see what it is.

Hands On

There’s something to be said for a man who can actually do stuff. (Yes, I understand women can also do things and take care of themselves, as I most definitely can, but that’s not the point here.) The point is men have changed. How many of you have a man in your life who can actually do practical, useful things? Fix things, make things, use his hands for more than scrolling through his phone? I live in a small town in the south, so I feel like it’s more common here in a farming community than it is in the larger town I grew up in. But even here, it’s becoming less and less common. Like everything else, men are evolving with the times and technology. I get that. But it makes me even prouder of the man I call mine and the little man we are raising that seems to be following in his footsteps.

I sat for about two hours today watching my husband and his friend work in their shop. It constantly amazes me to see the things these two dudes can do. I give them hell on a daily basis, but I swear between the two of them, they’re unstoppable. Today they were working on trucks for a truck pull this weekend. One was attaching a custom made bumper, which he made from scratch I might add, to his truck. The other was working on various projects on his truck, while occasionally stopping to help his friend. These two never slow down. They are constantly thinking of something else to do to whatever project they’re working on and then figuring out how to make it happen. They drive their wives crazy on a regular basis with truck talk, late hours in the shop, and mysterious charges to their credit card, but it’s hard to hate it. We also never have to call a repairman or take our vehicles to the shop. After close to eighteen years, I’m spoiled to it. I can do a lot of things myself, but how awesome is it that I don’t have to every single time?

As I sat there watching my 5-year-old work diligently to split a wood block while the big boys worked on their trucks, I couldn’t help but be relieved that he seems to have the inclination to do things with his hands. Yes, more times than not that means destroying something, but still… at least he tries. He came home yesterday hot, tired, covered in grease and dirt, and happy as a clam, much like his daddy. Hopefully he will always know the satisfaction of being able to do things with his hands.

The Jeep Wave

I’ve been an official Jeep owner for a couple of years now. My husband buys and trades vehicles continually, so we owned Jeeps over the years, but they were mainly trail toys or just something rough to run around the farm. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get on the Jeep bandwagon and buy one as my daily driver. I was driving a truck and I loved it. I told my husband continually I wouldn’t trade vehicles unless I found a vehicle I loved more than the truck and I didn’t see that happening. It was a no-go. Somehow, I blame my husband, the Jeep seed was planted and I started considering owning one. Once I had in my mind what I wanted, the search was on. A perfect one came up two hours away and we hit the road. One drive was all it took. I loved it and never looked back.

When we bought my Jeep, my husband mentioned that I would have to wave at other Jeeps now. I scoffed. I don’t like being told what to do, for one thing. I am not a bandwagon girl. And this seemed exceptionally stupid to me. I mean, I’ve seen motorcyclists signal each other as they pass. I live in the South, so waving is not unusual anyway. But waving at other Jeeps because they’re Jeeps? Weird and a little cult-ish, honestly. I had never seen anyone do that either and assumed he was just giving me a hard time. Because he does that much more frequently now that I am a Jeeple.

Then some random Jeep owner smiled and waved as they met me on the road. Weird, but kind of a nice pick me up, truth be told. Then it happened again. Before I knew it, I was playing “Spot the Jeep” and waving like an idiot at strangers, too. And they were waving back (mostly)! I was sitting at a stoplight last week as five Jeeps came through. No clue who they were, but every one of them waved at me. I, of course, waved back like we all knew each other. I know I had a stupid grin on my face, but there’s something about getting a Jeep wave that is awesome.

It feels stupid to admit and my husband mercilessly rags me about being a Jeeple at every opportunity, but it is definitely a perk of being a Jeep owner. Something as simple as a wave makes you feel connected to other people and isn’t that what we are all searching for??

Small Town Heroes

I grew up within 10 minutes of two different hospitals. An ambulance with EMTs was never more than a few minutes from anywhere in town. Until I married a small town boy and moved to the best place ever, I never really thought about emergency health care in small communities. I know there were volunteer fire departments (VFDs) in my area, but I never thought much about them or what they did. I assumed they fought fires, which they did and do. But they do a lot more in small towns like ours.

When I got married in 2005, lots of things changed including my address. I moved to a small community with one stop sign, a country store, two churches and a post office. Too small to even be a town. The tornado got the post office and the economy got the store, so I guess we are even smaller now. The nearest decent-sized town in our county that also has a small hospital is thirty minutes down a very curvy road, and only if you drive dangerously fast. Our little community is perfect for a lot of things, but emergency medical situations isn’t one of them. While we dated I had become more familiar with the local VFD as my husband and father-in-law were both members and regularly went out on emergency calls. After we married, my husband started working as a wildland firefighter, so the drive to help and protect runs pretty deep with him and an EMA radio is never far away. Hearing the pages and seeing him fly out of the house is not as regular as it used to be, but it’s still a pretty common occurrence. See, out here VFD members don’t just put out fires. I mean they do put out fires, but if you get hurt, first responders from the nearest VFD get to you the fastest. You know them and they know you. They do everything they can until an ambulance can get to you, which may be 15 minutes or so. It could be longer, depending on where in the county they are. Members of the VFD are literally the difference between life and death in some situations and they are volunteers.

Another thing about this small town life: you never want to see the Air Evac helicopter, but you are thrilled to see it when you need it. Even by ambulance at top speed, it’s a treacherous drive from out here and nothing is close. The nearest trauma center is over two hours away. That helicopter and its crew save a lot of lives in communities like ours.

A few years ago my father-in-law had a massive heart attack. 100% blockage of his LAD or “widowmaker”, as it’s lovingly referred to. First responders were at his house working on him within minutes. When EMTs arrived he was alert and feeling better, never really experiencing “normal” heart attack symptoms. They were preparing to leave to get him checked out when he had another episode. They immediately realized it was a life threatening situation and called for Air Evac. They drove toward the helicopter, which landed in the nearest town, to save time. He was flown to Vanderbilt, where they immediately performed procedures that saved his life. It was still a close thing for several days, but without our local VFD and that helicopter, he wouldn’t be here. I have no doubt about that. And stories like that happen daily.

Tonight as my husband was cooking supper, the page went out that our local VFD was needed to help land Air Evac for someone. This community is small enough that you immediately start trying to figure out who it is. Every siren. Every time you hear the helicopter coming over. Every single time you start to pray, because chances are good you know the person they’re here to help. My husband left to help the helicopter land safely and Tuck and I sat on the deck waiting for them to fly over. They always fly near our house because we are very close to the VFD, but today as they circled around our house to go in for their landing, my little boy stood on our deck waiving his arms at them and I swear they must have seen him. They flew low and directly over his head on their way to land. Because these are awesome people who love their jobs and love the communities they serve and they love making kids smile.

When a tornado practically destroyed this community, that VFD kept us fed and organized every thing we could possibly need while we tried to salvage what we could. We literally ate all our meals there. It was a gathering place for us to just be together and rest. It housed the church until it could be rebuilt. It is the heart of this community and I’m not sure what we would do without it.

If you have a volunteer fire department near you, show them some love. They run on donations and good will. The members literally volunteer and by doing so, save lives. If you see the Air Evac crew at a local event, because they’re often there to let the kids crawl all over their helicopter, thank them for their service. It’s not an easy job and it’s dangerous. These people make it possible for people like us to live out here on the farms we love away from the bustle we don’t. They are small town heroes and they need your support. #supportyourlocalVFD #luttstennessee #thevolunteerstate

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Live A Little

Ever come across a phrase and feel it “click” in your head?  That was me yesterday.  Pinterest, a better stalker than Facebook ever thought about being, is really spooky sometimes.  I mean, it totally gets me.  I saw the phrase “Live A Little” in my feed yesterday and thought “That’s it.  That’s my what I want right now.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m always putting things off for later.  When I have time, when I’m less tired, when I have more money…  The reality is those things never come to pass and life is finite.  Our little community has experienced the sudden loss of several young adults this year.  Gone in a blink.  I’m sure they thought they had more time, too.

I don’t want to just survive.  I want to live.  Just a little.  I want to thrive.  I can keep putting off that skydiving trip or trip to Ireland, but there are little things that my husband and I want to do and we should do them.  Last year we started going to see the Nashville Predators.  It seems crazy to a lot of people to drive that far for a three hour game, but it is so much fun.  It’s a time to just scream and enjoy the atmosphere and we love it.  It was something we could do together.  This year we will do it all again, because it makes us happy.  I find that little thing really made a difference in my attitude.  In fact, right now I’m going through withdrawals from watching hockey multiple times a week and my inner brat is showing.

If you know us, you know we also love offroading.  We have gone off and on for years.  My husband builds and trades all kinds of rigs, so we always have something fun to play in.  We love to go out with groups and ride trails, get stuck, get muddy, and just have fun with people like us.  There are several groups in our area and we are even members of them. Every summer we talk about going riding more, because we always have so much fun when we do go.  We live about an hour from an offroad park we love, so it’s easy to go.  But every year, we go maybe once and then life takes over.  Some of it is because we have a small child and he’s been too little to go and sit that long happily.  But some of it is just because we put it off.  It does take a little effort and we get lazy.  This week we went to two different socials for two different offroad groups in our area.  For me, that’s a struggle.  I had to make myself go.  I am awkward and hate trying to meet knew people or God forbid being the center of attention when I’m the new person.  If not for my husband, I would never go anywhere.  I would sit in my chair reading a book a day and talking to no one.  But we went and it was really fun.  We are making plans to go on some rides and more socials.  Just live a little.  Nothing extreme, just baby steps.

I know I’m middle aged.  I know I’m a wife and mother.  I know I work full time and have a ton of stuff I should be doing at home.  I know it costs money I could put in savings.  I know all of these things and more.  But I am tired of just surviving day to day.  I want to live a little.

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Pregnancy Done The Hard Way

Can I be honest?  Sometimes I really resent how I became pregnant.  Most everyone knows by now that I had In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).  And while that process ran so smoothly it was spooky, which I now realize after trying again not so smoothly, and I have a perfect Kindergartener to show for it, it was anything but normal.  One thing that never fails is if you get in a room of mamas, you’re going to eventually start swapping pregnancy/birth war stories.  How you found out, how sick you were, how long you were in labor, breastfeeding craziness, etc.  One thing that becomes crystal clear every time this happens?  My story is not normal and I resent that some days.

It’s hard hearing how they realized something wasn’t right and started counting days to figure out if they might be pregnant.  Every day was accounted for with IVF.  I drove to Nashville at 4 or 5 am more times than I care to count for bloodwork and ultrasounds.  Invasive tests galore.  I joke that for months I saw more people with my pants off than on.  Except that may actually be fact and not a joke.  I knew exactly when I started my medication.  Exactly when I started my injections and how long they would last.  Exactly when I would have surgery.  We knew the exact moment that little dude was implanted.  While others may have romantic stories of how they got there, we remember an operating room, extreme lack of privacy, a microscope and a half dozen strangers.  I remember the nurse telling us she had several children by adoption and several by IVF.  “I tell them none of them were conceived in love.  Some were conceived in lust and others in a lab, but none in love.”  That sticks with me.  I disagree, but in her defense we do have a test tube, or should I say Petri dish, baby and there was a lot of science involved.  Not everyone has a picture of their embryo that was just implanted to help make it all less surreal.  But we do.  Apparently that is done to help you feel more connected to the process.  I don’t know if that succeeded, but it was something.

It’s hard hearing about how surprised and excited they were when they peed on that stupid stick.  Infertility steals all the excitement of that moment.  I’ve taken dozens of pregnancy tests and never seen a positive one.  Even after we knew we were pregnant, I was terrified to take one and find out that I was no longer pregnant that way, so I never chanced it.  I was driving four or five hours once or twice a week for ultrasounds and bloodwork, then going to work and praying.  There was no mystery to it, that’s for sure.  Just anxiety and exhaustion.

It’s hard hearing how they had their secret for days or even minutes.  How they told their families and how excited everyone was.  With IVF you never get to have a secret to yourself for any amount of time.  While only a handful of people knew what was going on, they knew every detail right up to what day we would get our pregnancy results.  They knew that the nurse called and told us that we were pregnant, but due to the bloodwork probably had at most a 20% chance of staying that way.  While someone else might be able to keep that a secret, we had to call and tell our parents to keep everyone from getting excited.  Obviously my son is here now, but it was touch and go for a month or so.  I remember the day we saw finally saw his heartbeat.  I remember vividly standing in Target telling my brothers, who were clueless about the whole thing.  We were cautiously optimistic, but terrified.  So excited, but trying to reign it in for fear of being disappointed.

It’s hard hearing their labor and delivery stories.  How they battled and the bond they felt the first time they held their baby.  Because in addition to the drama that was conception, my son was delivered a week past his due date by cesarean section.  After everything else, the little bugger was breech.  Yes, lots of people end up delivering by C-section.  However, most have been in labor or planned to avoid it altogether.  I never experienced the first contraction or sign of labor.  We went to the doctor to get checked, he decided to do an ultrasound because I was freaking out having IVF and being overdue, and he realized we had a problem.  We calmly called our parents and went to the hospital.  Five hours later I walked myself into the operating room without my husband for a spinal block and within thirty minutes they brought my husband in and we had a baby.   By the time the doctor and nurses were done with me, and had decided where they were going for lunch, everyone was in our room with our baby.  They’d seen his first bath and held him.  The relief and excitement was palpable.  I was the last one to the party.  And I felt like I’d been run over by a train.  Looking back, it’s no wonder I had trouble bonding and breastfeeding. It was like walking in a store and buying a kid. It was that impersonal and different from what I was expecting.

Infertility is hard.   It kills your hope and excitement.  And it’s happening all around you.  Every day.  To people you see daily.  I consider myself a strong person.  If you know me, you know I’m brutally honest.  Believe me when I tell you that this time in my life almost killed my soul and still haunts me.  As horrible as it sounds, I wish I could have a “normal” pregnancy so I could experience how it could be.  (And please don’t try to tell me no pregnancy is normal.  I am not stupid.  But you have to admit, this one is far from what you experienced.)  But another kid doesn’t appear to be in the books, so I look at my son and thank God I was strong enough to get him here. I saw so many women who did this whole thing many, many times and never had the baby they dreamed of.  I am one of the lucky ones and  know that…most days.

I have no clue why I woke up this morning compelled to tell all this.  It sucked and I resent it most days.  But somewhere apparently someone must need to hear all this.  To know that you can go through a lot of things you never thought you’d survive and come out stronger.  Looking back I can’t believe I did some of the things I did.  But I made it and you will, too.

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Team Goal: Be Happy

It’s amazing how one day you can wake up and realize that you are wasting your life doing things that make don’t you happy.  Or in our case, more like we are continually putting off “life” for when we have more time, money, etc.  I don’t know what flipped our switch, but the past couple of months my husband and I have started talking about doing things just because they make us happy.  And on the flip side, avoiding things that make us unhappy.

Life is entirely too short to keep doing crap you don’t want to do.  Granted, you have to work, pay bills, be an adult…mostly.  But when you know something makes you happy, and it won’t land you dead, in bankruptcy or prison, quit putting if off and do it.  For me, it’s liberating.  I feel more like my old self every time I choose to do what makes me happy over what I “should” do.  I’m a middle-aged mommy, but I’m not a geriatric patient yet.  And for us, it has reduced a lot of tension in our relationship.  Tension mainly caused by my unhappiness and my sweet husband’s frustration with not being able to “fix” that.  Now instead of surviving stressful situations together, we have fun together.  Maybe it’s the sunshine, but I’m looking forward to fun times this summer for the first time in a while.  Life is short – choose happy.

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Death Threats

I’m not sure what the appropriate response is to your five-year-old screaming he’s going to kill you in the middle of a crowded Mexican restaurant on a Friday night.  Pretty sure I nailed it by not having a hysterical, cussing fit when people gasped and turned around to see what was going on.  I mean it isn’t every day that you get to witness a kid as cute as mine threaten someone in a tone that says he means it.  You know, because I wouldn’t go back to the Jeep in the rain and get his fifth dinosaur.  Four simply would not do for the thirty minutes we were going to be there.  It was unacceptable.  As per usual, his dad was MIA at that moment.  He doesn’t seem to pull that crap as much when daddy is around.  Boys, am I right?  I gave him the death stare and steered his little butt back to his chair before I did something crazy.  I deserve some type of prize for control.  His dad is a saint and managed to quietly get the little brat under control while I ate enough chips for all three of us.  This kid is going to be the death of us.

When you say you have a difficult kid, people look at you and grin like they know what you mean.  Maybe they do.  But if my experience with kids is any indication, they’re not all like this one we created and chances are good that they don’t know what I mean.  This one has a little extra “oomph”.  He is a perfect combination of his daddy’s non-stop energy and practical knowledge and my stubbornness and disdain for being told what to do.  This kid is going places, I’m just hoping it isn’t prison.

When he was really little, his pediatrician thought he might be autistic.  Little did he know he just hated him and wouldn’t do what he wanted.  He didn’t realize kids that little could have such attitude.  That’s not to say that there aren’t things there that we noticed early on and had to address.  Delayed speech and motor planning issues didn’t make his little life any easier to live.  Add the chaos of two massive heart attacks and a tornado, both of which left him away from home and us for weeks, and it’s no wonder he’s a little different than other kids.  Nature and nurture really did a number on him.

He’s in Kindergarten this year and his teacher recently talked to us about ADHD.  Not a huge surprise as it runs in the family.  The more I research, the more I agree.  The little dude has a lot going on and always has.  And I know that and try to remember it.  But y’all, some of it is just him.  He is a hothead and wants his way at all times.  And will apparently threaten to kill you if he doesn’t get it.  The bloodlust he definitely got from me.  Lord have mercy.

I will say living with my own little wild man makes me more sensitive to kids everywhere.  I know people look at us and think he is an only child and we spoil him and that’s why he acts like a hellion.  Don’t get me wrong, we do spoil him.  We did a lot to get him here and he will probably be our only one barring some act of God.  He’s going to get the things he wants within reason.  But that’s not to say we don’t set boundaries and dish out punishment.  It just so happens that this kid doesn’t care.  He just waits us out and goes on with his life.  Strong willed does not begin to cover what he has going on.  And if we have one, so does other poor soul out there.  I try to remember that when I’m out and some baby is terrorizing it’s mother.  Some kids are just more and they’re born that way.  Ours was that way from the moment he was able to scream and probably before he was born, to be honest.  They may not be able to help it and their parents may be like us – struggling for any semblance of control.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my little cub and will hurt you if you hurt him.  He is perfect and beautiful and life would be weird without him in it.  But there are days I contemplate running away from home.  Then I go on a business trip for two days and miss him so much I actually want to cry.  I’m complicated, what can I say.  I just keep praying my crazy and his crazy don’t run into each other in a epic battle that makes the news.  Fingers crossed.

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Balance

It’s been a rough week for me. Tuck started back to school the same day I started something new at work. That made for an awesome Monday that carried into the rest of the week. We got more bad news at the dentist for Tuck, which sent me into a shame spiral to say the least. And the list goes on from there. But…

The sun shined for what seems like the first time in weeks. We got an encouraging note from school in Tuck’s report card. I got to work somewhere new, with people I don’t get to see much, and it was a refreshing change. And I had a couple of friends take the time to talk me off a ledge when I needed it most.

Balance. Thank God for it.

But the highlight of my week, weirdly enough, was seeing someone use one of my products without thought. They weren’t doing it because I could see them or because they couldn’t find their normal product. They just used it. Like they did it every day. It was the best thing this week and is still in my mind days later.

Don’t get me wrong. I know I am making products people can use. Hello – I make stuff I use and then share it. But I kind of assume about 50% of it is because my friends are trying to help me out. So it is really satisfying to see my label on something being used without thought. Doing something I love and helping someone at the same time – that’s the kind of balance I’m looking for. It’s nice to see a sign that I’m on the right track.

Give Thanks

I’m cleaning my house, really cleaning it, for the first time in a while. It has literally taken me two complete days to get it under control. I may never walk right again. While removing Thanksgiving stickers from my window (what month is it again?), I came across a “Give Thanks” sticker that I’ve decided to keep. I need the reminder.

I’ve spent a good deal of the last few months being seriously unhappy. Unhappy with work, with how dirty my house is, how tired I am and how little free time I have to do the things I really love. And don’t get me wrong, those feelings are still there. But today, as I look out over my spacious deck, my pool, my cows, and my beautiful home place, while the cutest kid you’ve ever seen learns to read, as my patient husband changes my oil in my beloved Jeep, I am giving thanks. Because even though life isn’t exactly where I want it to be, it’s a heck of a lot better than I ever dreamed it would be. I never in a million years imagined I’d be where I am today. But as usual, God plans for the best even when you’re too stupid to get there on your own. He truly did bless the broken road that brought me to where I am today. And for all of that, I am truly thankful.

Crafty Kate

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the most surprising thing to come out of my Journey is this whole “arts & crafts” side of me. Granted, when I was younger I loved making things. But hello, that was 25 years ago at best. A lot has changed since then. Mainly I grew up. I found my passion in agriculture (cows don’t appreciate the pictures you paint them no matter how hard you try) and the love of my life (he is still surprised I’m doing all this). When I started using Young Living I did my research. I crawled through their website and stalked a few people on Facebook. The common theme I found was dreams can come true if you put in the work and believe it. Yes, we tell our kids that continually and yes, we mostly believe it. At least if you start early enough. But you reach a point in your life where you feel like you’re locked in to a path and that’s ok. Your “dreams” shift to more realistic goals that fit the adult profile. Want to be a princess? Sure, you can do that. If you divorce your current husband, meet a prince (where does one meet a prince?), fall madly in love, get re-married, and then live happily ever after as a princess. Hope you love heels and social events. A more likely scenario is you learn to dream something super mature like “become debt free” or “fund 401K”. Crazy exciting stuff. And totally attainable. And adult. Does it scream “happiness”? That’s a hard no. I mean the debt free thing is pretty exciting, I’ll admit. But Young Living is full of grown adults who dream big and make it happen. It was founded by a dreamer. It planted a seed, I guess you could say.

With this Journey, one thing keeps leading to another. It all started with the oils, of course. I love my oils. I love using them and can honestly say I am healthier this winter because I changed a few simple things. I rarely, if ever, reach for over the counter solutions to my day to day ailments. I love answering questions and seeing other people fall in love with them. But just using the oils themselves, while I do and they have a ton of benefits, couldn’t help me with everything I use daily. I wanted to change out my hand soap, lotion, lip balm…anything I put on my body daily. Some things I use from Young Living and love. Their soap and deodorant are awesome. And a pain to make. But I knew I could make some things on my own to help replace some of my “fragranced” personal care products. Once I started, I kept finding more and more things I wanted to make. Every week I think of something new to try and you know what? I do it. You should see my stockpile of ingredients and containers. I could open my own store at this point. I’ve set up my own little work area and keep adding to it. For Christmas I got a cutting machine for vinyl and all types of other media. I think I may be weirdly in love with it to be honest. I can think of so many things I want to try. My parents got me a induction cooktop so I’m free from my kitchen stove! Outside of reading, this has become my favorite way to decompress and relax.

I say all that to say this: it’s ok to dream and do something that seems non-adult. It’s ok to want to be happier and to realize something goofy makes you that way. Even if everyone thinks it is waaaayyy out of character. To quote Joker, “WHY. SO. SERIOUS?” Branch out. If you’re reading this, you’re not dead yet. Do something you enjoy and let it lead you on your own journey. You might get more than you bargained for…in a good way, for a change.

Resolve to Evolve

I’m not a big resolution person. Mainly because I know myself well enough to know I won’t follow through if I don’t want to, regardless of what I decide at the new year. However, the past few weeks I’ve thought about the new year a lot. Maybe it’s because I will turn 40 and I’m having some sort of mid-life crisis. Hard to say for sure, but I’m at a point in my life where I feel like I should reassess where I am, where I want to go, and how I plan to get there.

2018 has brought me a new venture that I love and as a bonus, has helped me reduce the chemicals in my house which has led to a healthier family. Really. It’s weird, but true. It has also given me the freedom to take days off and spend it with my kid, as opposed to worrying non-stop about deciding between him and my job. Young Living really has changed my life and I love sharing it. With the holidays, I have taken it easy on that front, focusing more on creating products I love. It is such a stress reliever to make things, especially things I use daily. I feel like I’m actually accomplishing something I can measure and see, which is uncommon for me these days. And I’ve been able to share that with a lot of people, which is nerve wracking for me, but has given me a lot of satisfaction, too. It has reminded me that there is more to me than the day to day people see. And it really makes me happy. Like “singing in the kitchen” happy. I find myself making stuff just for the sake of making it, because I can see it in my head and I have to do it and see how it turns out. I assume that’s how musicians and other artists feel, but being neither of those it’s new for me.

Back to the point – this year I’m thinking hard about change in the new year. I hate change. Have for as long as I can remember. I get physically ill and try to sleep my life away. Which brings me back to that whole mid-life crisis possibility. Whatever it is, I’m hoping to make some changes in 2019. Because regardless of how old I sometimes feel, I’m not dead yet. I’ve talked to and read stories of tons of people who make some change mid-life and go on to truly enjoy the rest of their life. I want to be one of those people. I don’t have any crazy “move to Mexico” plans, just a drive to really do some of the things my husband and I have talked about for years. Six months ago I never would have had the courage to even consider a change. But I found this company full of amazing people doing amazing things and it helped me dream again. It’s scary as hell, yet totally irresistible. And I can’t wait.

Thank A Veteran Today

Today is one of those holidays when you can totally make someone else’s day. It always amazes me how much going up to someone and thanking them for their service surprises them. My dad served in the army long before I was a twinkle in his eye and I think that’s part of my appreciation. Regardless of your stance on our military and its involvement around the globe, these men and women deserve your thanks. Because of their service, we have a wonderful, free country to enjoy. They are the ones who continue to guard the door. So if you see a veteran today or any day, make their day and thank them for their service. It’s such a little thing, but it will mean so much. You won’t regret it, I promise.

The Book of Faces

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I’d hazard to guess that most people do. I love that I can “see” my friends from high school and college even though they’ve moved all over the country. Granted, it’s a little stalker-esque to “follow” someone’s life through pictures, but I still enjoy it. I love being able to share my life and who doesn’t like all those “likes” you get when you post a picture? That’s the whole point, right? Facebook has a ton of good qualities. I mean I keep going back multiple times a day so it must have something I like.

What I don’t like is how Facebook can make me feel about myself and my life. Because you don’t automatically think, “well, they’re posting only the best things”, and take things with a grain of salt when you see pictures of your friends in Aruba or baking the world’s coolest cupcakes for their 10 kids. I’m a pretty straightforward person, both on and off Facebook, so I don’t immediately assume everyone is only highlighting the good. Nope. I think I’m failing as a mom or wife. I don’t travel enough. I don’t contribute enough. I have one kid and can’t get anything done and these people have five kids (five!) and are travelling and doing all these family things. I can barely get through a meal with my little heathen. And Lord, when I post that particular little truth nugget… Let’s just say my bid for mom of the year grows stronger daily. That’s honestly how I feel.

Now I can’t blame that all on Facebook. Some of that is just who I am. I will never feel I measure up to other moms. It’s not going to happen, so you can save your inspiring texts and emails about how awesome I am. I’m good. I know it’s stupid, as my sweet husband points out daily, but I can’t make myself stop. That’s not Facebook’s fault. But if there was no Facebook, and I wasn’t hooked on it, I wouldn’t have that shoved in my face as often and in living color. So I do put some blame on Facebook and social media in general.

I give massive props to people who “quit” Facebook. You go. You have the willpower of a god as far as I’m concerned. I just don’t feel like that’s a valid option for me. It’s literally the only way I “see” some of my family and friends. I also use it for my business. It just isn’t logical to stop using it altogether. But I wonder if I can inspire others to try for a little honesty on there. It always amazes me when I post something like “I hate everyone today” and people start worrying about something tragic going on in my life. I’m just posting my honest opinion at that moment, which is what I like to think everyone is doing, so why the concern? Then it dawns on me – most people are only posting rainbows and roses. They assume your world is ending if you actually post anything non-sunny on Facebook. Nope. I hate people at least one day a week on average. That’s me. No crisis, just putting it out there as more of a public service announcement. I guess I could wear some sort of sign instead, but a Facebook post lets people I don’t see daily know not to call, or God forbid, stop by for a visit. A sign on my person will not do that.

So yeah, I love it…I hate it. I’m addicted to it, even though it sometimes makes me feel like a complete and utter failure. I’m working on that. But how about we all agree to be more realistic on the book of faces? Because if I’m feeling this way, I hate to think how the more vulnerable people in our lives feel. ‘Cause I can guarantee they’re on there reading posts several hours a day. And while I have a full time job and a little heathen at home to keep my mind occupied most of the day, not everyone does. Now don’t go depressing everyone you know on there, but maybe shoot for posting about the not perfect times once in a while. It’s ok to have a bad day and shout it from the internet. I personally love giving someone a good laugh at my expense. And hey, you’ll get lots of encouragement and prayers as an added bonus! Win win.

Kids, am I right?

Ever look at your little one and feel that flush of pride? That feeling that you have the greatest kid ever? I do. Sometimes it just comes over me that he is so special and we are so lucky he is ours. Now, ever look at them and think how did we get here? Did I kill someone in a past life? No? Could be just me, I guess.

It amazes me how fast I can go from one to the other. One minute he’s kissing my cheek and telling me I’m the best mommy and the next he’s screaming his head off because I won’t cook sausage at 8 PM. Or vice versa. He’s screaming about how much he hates me and everything I do in general and suddently it’s like a light comes on and he’s asking me to sing and tuck him in bed. This kid.

And I only have the one. I do have a Great Dane who is exactly like my son, so I think that adds an extra degree of difficulty. Those two are slowly destroying everything we own, including my nap time. Thank goodness they are both so cute and loving. You people with more than one kid, you’re the real heroes. God bless you.

People often tell me how cute my son is and I usually reply with something like, “That’s good, maybe that will help him when he’s a bank robber.” Stunned silence or snorts usually follow. Did I mention I work in a bank? I’m telling you, this kid has the intelligence and stamina to do great things. Will they be legal or illegal, that is the question. I love the Godfather so I feel like I can go either way. Mother of a crime boss probably isn’t that had a gig. In the meantime I watch and listen in fascination at the things his mind comes up with and pray he doesn’t get kicked out of kindergarten.

The Best Part of My Journey

Tomorrow is the thirteenth anniversary of one of the best days of my life. On that day, I married the man God created just for me. It was a gorgeous day like today and we were stupid happy. Sounds sappy, right? Especially from me. But it is the truth. In all the times I have questioned my faith and God and a made a ton of questionable decisions, I have never doubted He both existed and wanted the very best for me. Because all those years ago, in the midst of my rebellion, he gave me Jamie.

I met Jamie in what should have been my senior year of college. I had just changed my major Again. I was way out of my element and knew no one, but I was loving every minute. I finally fit somewhere after always feeling just a little out of place. And I quickly learned that agriculture students are friendly, accepting, and a whole lot of fun. Turns out Jamie was in the very first class I went to, but I met him through my new circle of friends. He was actually dating a friend of mine. He was always laughing and a lot of fun to be around, but I literally never thought much more about it. He was taken, after all. Fast forward a year. They had broken up and I realized I missed having him around. My best friend and I began inviting him hang out with us at the bar we all went to. There was a lot of pool playing and a lot of beer. It was a lot of fun, but I honestly never thought of it more than just hanging out with a friend. Looking back, I think I just never saw the possibility of someone like him liking someone like me. Good thing he wasn’t so dense.

Until the night another guy bluntly told me I would be better off with Jamie, I had never even considered the possibility. I thought he was delusional and told him so. But it planted the seed. Things began to change after that. Probably because I had enough sense to pay attention to what was going on around me. I don’t think Jamie had the same problem. He knew what he thought about me. This really sweet guy put up with a lot of weirdness from me and stuck around, even when I told him he deserved better than me. Multiple times. He saw something I surely didn’t see. That was the fall of 2001 and it made all the difference in my life. God is truly merciful.

The good memories we have made definitely outweigh the bad ones, but there were some hard times those first years of dating. But for whatever reason, it didn’t matter. No matter what happened, it didn’t change anything. He was my match and so here we are today. I still look at him some days and wonder how I got here. He is one of the nicest people I know. Friendly and outgoing. Would do anything for anyone and especially me. A natural daddy to his mini-me, with patience I will never understand. And here I sit on a beautiful farm, with a life and community I love. I literally never thought I’d be here after growing up in town. I often jokingly tell him that I’m spoiled, but really I am. This dude puts up with a lot. I am a challenge, to say the least. Can I get an “amen”? But it doesn’t seem to matter. He loves me anyway. He will read this and call me crazy, but even on the days I want to throttle him, I know how lucky I am to have him.

So happy anniversary to the best guy I know. The one I get to call mine. If you are out there like I was, searching and discouraged that anyone would ever love the real you, take it from me: they’re out there. Don’t settle for anything less than what God has planned for you. Even if you are not a fan of doing what He wants. I don’t like being told what I should do. By anyone. But thank goodness He is persistent. Our love story is living proof that there is a God and no matter what you do, He loves you and wants the very best for you. He has a perfect plan for you, if you will open your eyes – or have someone open them for you if you’re dense like me. I wouldn’t trade a second of this life for the life I thought I’d have. Jamie often says he should have gone to trade school instead of college. That he got nothing out of it. I politely remind him that he got me. And I was totally worth it. Ha.

The Best Laid Plans

Ever build something up so much in your mind that when it doesn’t go according to plan, you ride the struggle bus for a week trying to regain your equilibrium? No? Well, bully for you. I am on the bus. Asleep.

This past month or so has been increasingly stressful. At work. At home. In my dreams of work and home. Stress around every turn. When the opportunity came up to go on a beach vacation with friends, I jumped on it, even though I knew it wasn’t the best use of our money at that point. My little family needed to do something enjoyable and get out of town. More importantly, I needed to disconnect and re-boot. The beach is the perfect place to unwind and leave real life behind. I planned to ditch my phone and Fitbit and just chill for four uninterrupted days. No plans, no stress. Pure salty awesomeness.

Enter Hurricane Michael, the bastard. We had been at our beach house less than 24 hours when we received news that we would have to evacuate. Just enough time to have everything unpacked and have groceries for 20 people stored in the kitchen. Needless to say, repacking and moving with 8 adults and 7 kids was not stress-relieving. Turning off my phone with a hurricane coming did not work either. Fortunately, we were able to relocate to another beach farther from the predicted landfall. Beautiful house and community. We still couldn’t get in the water, but we were safe and together.

But this wasn’t at all what I had planned. And while everyone else adjusted and began to enjoy vacation, I just couldn’t. It takes me days to relax anyway and at this point, by the time I could relax we would be headed home. So instead of trying to relax as much as possible, I gave up on it as a whole. I was, and continue to be, in a funk. I don’t understand why, at a time I really needed it, things didn’t go as planned. Again. And why, a week later, I’m still struggling to regain my equilibrium. At this exact second, I could lay down and sleep 24 hours with no issues. Sleep is my escape. When I am unhappy, I sleep. And boy could I sleep with this cloud cover and cool weather.

I should be back at work today. I have things to do. The real world beckons. I literally could not make myself go. I wanted one day to myself. To regroup, throw myself (or more likely, sleep myself) out of this funk and get ready to take on the world tomorrow. Somehow I fell from a “new exciting business” to “can’t get motivated” over one disruption of my perfect plan. That can’t be normal.

Anyway, to those who have called, texted or tried to engage with me and felt the cold shoulder, I’m sorry. I’m taking this one last to day to wallow in self pity and then I’ll be back in your face with my charming sarcasm, endless Facebook posts and messages. And to celebrate my newest plan? A nap, of course. What else??

Speed Bump

I’m competitive. It’s one of those things I seem too lazy to be, but there it is. I’m not an athlete, that’s for sure. But I love a challenge. I love being told I can’t and then shoving it back in your face later. I mean I don’t shove it, I let the success do that. It so funny because it lays dormant a lot. Some people would never imagine me as anything but laid back and well, lazy. But when it comes out, it takes over. Apparently.

In addition to everything else Young Living offered me, it offered me a chance to compete. With myself, mostly. There are all these different goals and the strategy to reach them intrigues me. And that’s all fine and well, but I feel like it has overshadowed my primary goal. Overall, the thing that attracted me to YL is the ability to help people. Really help them. Show people better products for their families. Empower them to make good decisions and take their health into their own hands. This company gives me the opportunity to do that in a physical way and the freedom to do it my own way. The feeling I get when someone tells me they made their own roller or used a certain oil and had wonderful results…that is the reason I got on this road.

So this weekend I’m working on a re-set. I don’t think I’ve made any huge errors or completely run off my friends and family, but I have spent more time than I like to admit looking at my numbers and trying to figure out how to increase them. More and more and more. It’s so exciting to beat the goals I set for myself. And I won’t lie – I want to make a profit. This journey leads to financial freedom, otherwise I would just be using these products. But I know, because I’ve seen it done, that I can reach that destination without running off everyone I know. I’m not a good pressure person. I hate being pressured, so I try to remember how I would want to be dealt with. But a couple of times I felt myself apply pressure that was unnecessary. It would benefit them, sure, but they really didn’t have to do what I suggested at that second. I was seeing the numbers in my head. That makes me unhappy, which is the opposite of my goal.

My dream is to truly help people and empower them to help themselves and others, while making enough money to do that full time. After these three months, I know I can get there. I have the drive and the strategy and I intend to get there. I’m not going to stop competing against myself, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t and don’t really want to. That makes me happy, too. But I will try to remember the point and the thing that set me on this incredible journey in the first place. Helping YL get oils into every household in the world and making a positive difference in people’s lives. If you’ve made it this far, consider that my commitment to you. Continue on this journey with me, no pressure. Only a genuine attempt to improve your life and mine.

So, ask how Young Living is changing my life and how it can change yours.

Thieves

Yep. Thieves. Thieves is probably the most well known product Young Living distributes. People who don’t even know what Young Living is, know what Thieves is. It is so popular there is an entire line of products dedicated to using the Thieves formula. Cleaner, which people love, soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer…and the list goes on.

Why the name, you ask? Well the story is that during the bubonic plague in Europe, there was a well known band of grave robbers. They were known to enter the houses of those who succumbed to the disease and rob them. But they didn’t get sick. When they were finally apprehended, they eventually gave up their secret – a mixture of herbs, spices and essential oils. Today that formula is still used and referred to as “Thieves” essential oil. It is renowned for immune support.

Before I started using the cleaner myself, I was convinced I wouldn’t like it. I had smelled it at some point and it was overwhelming. I couldn’t believe people loved it so much. All natural cleaner, really? This girl needs bleach. And wouldn’t oils leave a film on everything?

Then I used it to clean my glass top stove. And my kitchen sink. And my refrigerator. And my bathroom, including soap scum on my tub. That one bottle of spray cleaned it all. I didn’t need multiple cleaners. And it left my surfaces shiny. No oily residue like I expected. It was awesome. But you know the best part? One capful to 2 to 4 cups of water is all you need, depending on what you are using it for. My friend uses 1 capful in a 10 oz. spray bottle and loves it. I’m not going to do the math right now on price per bottle, but you can get about 60 caps from each bottle. That’s alot of cleaner. And it’s not going to hurt anyone in your family. I can’t even spray my other cleaner now and I love that stuff. The smell overwhelms me. Even when it didn’t bother me, I always locked my kid and dogs out when I was using it. That should have told me my brain knew it was bad for me.

I have yet to meet anyone who uses it that doesn’t love it. Young Living even designed a starter kit with several different products including 2 bottles of cleaner. But it isn’t just cleaner. It’s foaming soap, toothpaste (which is awesome), mouthwash, hand sanitizer (also awesome), mini sprays to disinfect on the go, and a bottle of Thieves oil (the most awesome of all). Google Thieves as immune support and see what comes up. Search it on Pinterest if you dare. If you arent interested in oil right now, I think you may come around after using this. I actually ordered one myself because I wanted to try it all. If you’ve been thinking about Young Living, but don’t know about a whole kit of oils, look into the Premium Starter Kit with Thieves. The link below will take you to the site. And I’m always open to questions.

Believe me,

Click here for more info!

Click here to get yours!

Community

I live in a community. That’s an actual thing, not just a state of mind. Actually, it’s both, but let’s not argue. I grew up in a decent sized town in Tennessee. It’s more of a city now, but when I was there it wasn’t quite as large. I never understood community outside of my church, which I never quite felt a part of. My parents understood it. They both grew up in small communities and their roots will always be there. People used to be more familiar with it. The world was bigger and we weren’t one big online place. Now the world tends to be one big anonymous hole. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for anonymity. But in hard times, you need your tribe.

When we had dated long enough to come home and meet the parents, I remember I was shocked. I had no idea places like this existed outside of the big park in East Tennessee. Beautiful, clear rock-bottom creeks. Cows and cornfields everywhere. Big green fields and trees. It was gorgeous. I knew I loved it almost immediately. But the longer I live here, the more I realize the people are what make this place so special. For the first time in my life I felt like I was welcomed in as one of the group with no need for insecurity. They love me and I love them. I love that my little one gets to grow up here amongst people who love him.

It is never more apparent how wonderful a community really is until tragedy strikes. Our little community survived a tornado thanks to friends, family and help from each other. This week our county lost two young women. Both left behind teen aged children and husbands. One from cancer and one from unknown reasons. It has hurt this community. Lots of questions. Lots of anger, I’m sure. I personally am still in disbelief. I saw one of the ladies the day before. It is hard to believe she is gone. A lady posted this picture on Facebook. These are students in the town where my son goes to school. They are outside praying for the families, who they all know well, and our community as a whole. They are comforting themselves and each other. That’s community. No one told these kids to do that. They know what community is. It is truly caring about each other, even strangers. It is about helping in whatever way you can. It is rare in this world today, so I cherish it. I am proud to live here and proud to raise my son here.

#waynecountytennessee #collinwoodtennessee #luttstennessee

Sweet Freedom

Our family has lived through a weird five years. Some of it I’ve shared with you and some I’m still working up to sharing. All of this means every year by August, I am out of sick days and halfway through my vacation days. And I never, ever roll anything into the new year. I generally have a stranglehold on those last five days, that I haven’t even accrued yet, hoping for some sort of vacation. It is a stressful way to live.

On top of whatever craziness caused me to be off in the first place, when I miss work I worry all day. I fret over using another sick or vacation day that I might need later. I have left my son and my husband at times I didn’t want to because I was saving every minute I could in case of the inevitable heart attack, tornado, trip to the doctor, broken foot, ER visit, kidney stone, etc. I have never felt like I had the freedom to do anything differently. My husband would always say it was no big deal and people understand when you need to be off, but I always felt guilty. My job took up the majority of my life and I couldn’t afford to keep missing.

My husband doesn’t really understand my point of view, mainly because he doesn’t think that way, but also because he accrues time off like crazy. In addition, he has always had some side hobby that he used to make extra money. He could sell something or fix something. I only have my daily job. My hobbies are reading and sleeping and those don’t pay well…or actually happen now that I have a little one. It has been a sore spot with me for years that he actually has time off he can use and money to have a hobby, while I sit in my office with my ag degree staring out an office window. This was not the dream.

But this week something happened. My little one was sick. Pitifully so. Normally I would leave for work and his daddy or grandmother would hold him and pet him all day. He would cry, but I never felt like I had a choice. But this week was different. See I joined Young Living a few months ago. The people involved with this company showed me that there is a different way to live. That you can do something you enjoy, actually help people, AND even make money. And I’m doing it. And I’m loving it.

The freedom of knowing I have a goal date in mind where I will be living the life I want…it makes a huge difference in how I feel and face daily life. I couldn’t go to my daily job that day, but I could work on my oily job from home. It sounds stupid, even to me, but it is the truth. All of this makes a huge difference to me.

If you are out there suffering through another day of doing what you’re supposed to, listen to me. You can do something else if you want. You can change your life and move toward what you love. Set a goal and go get it. It takes work, but doesn’t everything? But you have to start somewhere. Go to youngliving.com and do some research. Contact me through this site. Find me on Facebook (katiesoilyjourney) or Twitter (@katiesoilyjourney). Join Young Living through my link. It is a worthwhile change. I promise.