I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

14 Oct

when you yearn to be touched :: deeper waters

I feel so very blessed to be a part of this new ministry, Deeper Waters. Denise is an inspiring woman of God and the group of women she’s put together is nothing short of amazing! You can read the story of Deeper Waters for the heart behind the ministry. I know you’ll be blessed each time you visit.

Today I have the opportunity to share something that’s been on my heart. Although I speak from a place of not having my spouse near me, I know there are many who have their spouses right next to them each day, yet still yearn to be touched. This message is also for you.

Posted in guest post, marriage

3 Oct

that time i called the police …

If you’ve read Tuesday’s post and you’re back to read about a paranoid momma calling the police to check in on her daughter, then you’ll either need to be patient, or skim to the end of this post.

First, I wanted to share a bit how Taylor’s doing. I’m not gonna lie, these first couple of weeks, she’s had a pretty tough go of it! To keep things in perspective, we understand these are first world problems – Taylor’s very blessed – but still, when your baby’s alone, away from you, and dealing with responsibilities she hasn’t had before, it’s bound to break your heart a little.

SCAD had a late start, which I’m so very thankful for! We needed that extra month to get things in order and spend some time together while her sisters were in school. SCAD’s student and family orientation started on Friday, the 13th {thinking about it now, maybe that should’ve been our first clue?}, so Taylor and I brought her horse down on Thursday.

We’d been doing some practice with the trailer – without her horse in it – it was like driver’s ed all over again! When the time came, she was fairly comfortable and ready to load the horse and drive it down to Savannah herself. She followed me most of the way. I really didn’t know it was possible to be all “white-knuckled” when I wasn’t pulling the trailer! Goodness, I was a wreck! But half way down, we both started to relax a little and she did an amazing job.

We got Taylor and “Joe” all settled at their new home {barn} and – given that the SCAD equestrian team tryouts were early Sunday morning – Taylor was asked to set up a lesson for the following day, and the only time available was the start time of orientation.

We said yes, she’d be there. And I started feeling a tad guilty that she’d miss most of Friday’s orientation.

There’s always been a bit of a stigma that riding should come second. Other things should take priority. I remember when she was younger and on a soccer team, she couldn’t make some of the games because of Pony Club events. The soccer coach knew going in that Taylor’s passion and priority was riding, but he made it very clear she was letting the team down each time she didn’t show up to a game and let us know it’s not like she’d be riding forever.

Anyway, when we showed up to check-in for orientation and got instructions on where to go, etc. we apologetically explained that she was going to miss most of the session. He looked at her – in full riding gear – and assured us that riding definitely takes a priority and it was no problem. I was stunned!

Taylor had definitely found her home.

Sunday morning she had her tryout, but Sunday afternoon she’d found out she made the team, Sunday night she had a team meeting she needed to attend, Monday morning she started school, and she’s been running at 100 mph ever since!

Monday, we received a call that Joe {her horse, for those of you skimming} was very, very sick. A belly thing. Belly things with horses can be life threatening for them. One never messes around when your horse has a belly thing. The vet sedated Joe, flushed him full of fluids and started an IV. Joe wasn’t getting any better and they couldn’t control his pain any further, so by that afternoon Joe was taken to the hospital. It was touch and go for a few days, but Joe recovered on his own – no surgery was needed – and we were praising God! The following Sunday Joe was happily back in his stall at the barn.

After that first call with Joe, it’s been one thing after another. I won’t go into all the details, but let’s just say the final straw came when she burned her hands two weeks later by spilling hot soup all over them! I realized then, the enemy is doing everything possible to get my girl!

She was doing her best to not get discouraged, but that night was a low.  I’ve had to remind her that in a very short period of time, her life is completely different!

She has more responsibilities now than she’s ever had, and with that comes extra stress and pressures. I truly believe she loves being at school and is enjoying the experience of it.

But the stress of it all is getting to her a bit more than either of us are comfortable with. I know it’ll take time for her, and I’m confident she’ll continue to find her way. Most of all, I’m so very proud of her and I just wish she’d be a little easier on herself.

SCAD Equestrian Team Places Second at FSU

Annnnnnndddd … if you made it this far and are still interested about a certain mommy-called-the-police story … here goes!

So. Taylor’s phone – like most of us – is her right hand … basically an extension of herself. We were talking one night, maybe her third night away, and she says she has to go because the furniture delivery guys are there. We hang up and I text her a half hour later … with no reply. I was at the Apple store and needed the password to her computer, so I called her … with no reply. I text, I call, I call, I text. For like the next 10 minutes … with no reply.

My heart starts beating faster.

I remember we have an app that shows me her location, and I quickly see she’s at her apartment. I contact her boyfriend, “Have you talked to Taylor?” Turns out the last time he heard from her was the same time I’d last heard from her. Since I arranged the delivery to Taylor’s apartment, I had the delivery guy’s phone number. I called him … with no reply.

My heart was pretty much pounding out of my chest now. It’d been a full hour since I’d last heard from her. I decided to call the police.

They assured me they’d send an officer over right away. After we hung up, it occurred to me I had the delivery guy’s phone number and I was pretty sure the police would need it to trace his phone. So I called back again and explained that to them. They weren’t as patient with me that time. Hmmmm … wonder why?

FINALLY!! Taylor calls. “The police?!?! Really mom!?!”

I burst into tears and I think everything I’d been holding for the last few days was released … well that, and the fact I was a tad relieved to know she hadn’t been hauled off somewhere by the delivery guy!

Turns out she was doing homework in her kitchen, while her phone was silently being charged in her bedroom.

I don’t think either of us will make that mistake again! Her – charging her phone on silent. Me – trying to give the police the delivery guy’s number {cuz a situation just may arise where I think my girl’s in danger and you’d better believe I be calling the po-po for that!}.

Posted in riding, sports, taylor

30 Sep

she’s gone …

She’s gone. Not gone, gone. But definitely, sorta, kinda gone. For two weeks now. And you know what? We’re doing okay.

Taylor & I on her first day of 2nd grade {I couldn’t find a kindergarten photo}.
And us a few minutes before I drove away, leaving her in Savannah.

Leading up to her departure, I kept thinking I must be in some kind of denial, because I felt like I wasn’t as sad as I should be. Over the last couple of years, I’d often wonder how I would react when it was time for her to leave. I wasn’t really sure if I’d be grief-stricken, or if I could gently let her go.

I’ve heard of, and personally seen mothers who are emotionally distraught for days – weeks even – when their children leave for college. I could get all philosophical and offer some deep thinking theory about helicopter parents who find their identity in their children. And others could argue those parents might just love their children more than those who can easily let them go.

But when I would think about Taylor leaving for college, I really never pictured myself emotionally distraught when the time came.

I was never a parent who cried when kindergarten started, or ended. Or they graduated one milestone or another. I would see other moms all weepy and … well … emotional … and I would secretly wonder if there was something wrong with me. Why didn’t I love my girls as much as those mothers loved their children? Surely if I was a good mom and loved them enough, I would be feeling more emotion over these milestones?

And then a deep discussion a couple of years back, with my good {and wiser than the wisest of wise-owls} friend Terrie, put it all into perspective for me.

She wasn’t a mom who got all weepy and emotional either. And she put into words for me, what I never could.

The reason she doesn’t respond to milestones in an emotionally distraught way, is because her excitement – for them – over the next milestone, far outweighs any sad emotion for the milestone they’re currently leaving.


Yes!! That’s it exactly!

Not in a way that I’m wishing their childhood away. But as they leave one milestone and prepare to enter another, I can’t help but feel excited for the new opportunity and growth I know they’ll be experiencing.

And so it was with Taylor leaving for college.

Here’s what I posted on Instagram the night I got home from Savannah:

i put the final touches to her apartment and made the long drive home. we both did better than i thought … just a few tears, and we pretty much chatted my whole drive home. we can be in the same house and use our phones to communicate. so I’m going with that. it’ll be like she’s in her bedroom texting or calling, and I’m in the kitchen getting dinner ready. there’s nothing wrong with pretending, right?

the thing is, right or wrong, for better or worse … taylor and I have been everything to each other these last few years. we didn’t have anyone else, and leaned on each other. without a spouse, companion, or best friend … she’s kinda been my everything. that person I count on at the end if the day to spill everything about my day. single moms of older teens, you must know what I’m talking about?

with taylor leaving, my daughter left, but I’ve also lost my companion and best friend. I’m going to miss her … so much … but outweighing any sadness for myself is the absolute, deep-down joy I feel for her! I am thrilled she is starting this next chapter of her life. a chapter full of wonder and possibility. the world is hers for the taking and I can’t wait to watch her soar!

taylor tried out for the scad equestrian team this morning. she found out this afternoon she made the team and she’s already had a team meeting tonight. to think back just a year ago and how uncertain her future was … to today and seeing her dreams start to come true. what a true testament to God’s promises in our lives.

tay … I’m a broken record … but I love you dearly and simply couldn’t be any prouder of you. congratulations on where you are right now, at this very moment in your life. take it in and celebrate how far you’ve come my girl.

It’s true. We had a few tears, we are going to miss each other. We have a deep, deep connection and bond {that I’m forever grateful for}, and it is going to be hard to not have her near me each day. But my excitement for her FAR, FAR outweighs any sadness I feel for myself.

Taylor deserves to have this beautiful next chapter in her life. She’s worked hard for it, and it’s finally here. How can I be anything but full-of-joy for her?!

And seriously, we’ve talked non-stop since she’s been gone. Endless texts each day – sprinkled with a few urgent phone calls – and it’s like she’s never left. Except I can’t hug her. That part we don’t like very much at all. Taylor‘s a girl who definitely needs her hugs.

So there you have it. A few people have asked how I’m doing, how I’m holding up, and that they’re praying for me. I’m so thankful to have you all in my life, and I’m eternally grateful for your love and prayers!

The short answer to how I’m doing? I’m really okay! My heart swells with joy each time I think of Taylor following her life path and dream. Sadness = 2 vs. Joy = 98 … those are odds I can live with!

All that to say … I’ve only called the police once to check in on her! True story. I wish it weren’t. But it is.

Stop back on Thursday and I’ll share my story of being that mom!

Posted in parenting, taylor

8 Jul

a new venture for me

HELLO!!!! Yes, that’s me shouting hello at y’all … it’s been way too long and I’ve been far too busy. I have lots to share and words building up inside of me … but no time to sit and sort them out.

Besides my girls being out of school, and a plethora of horse shows, I’ve decided to join my friend Wendy in running her paper and gift store, Papaya Papers! Eeeeekkkk … am I crazy?! Some might say yes. In fact, I’d pretty much be nodding my head in agreement!

I mentioned back in January that I was helping Wendy do some buying, merchandising, and marketing? That seemed to be going so well, she asked me to invest in the store and become partners. I absolutely didn’t need one more thing to add to my plate, so this one required a lot of soul searching and prayer.

After some time, I decided to go for it!

In hindsight, the timing’s been difficult because the girls are home for the summer, and we also have quite a bit of travel and kids going here and there … I somehow forgot I was their driver for these activities, and literally scheduled one to be on one side of town, while another needed to be on the other side of town at the exact same time.

But anyway.

The girls have been really supportive and they know how much it means to me. One day I was leaving for the store, and maybe apologized to Wynter for something {I can’t remember the exact details}, and she said, “It’s okay mom, I know how important this is to you.” Heart swell.

Right after our partnership was official, we decided to move into a new location. And I think that’s probably what’s been the most time consuming. We completely remodeled the inside of the new location … we’re slated to open August 5th … and it’s been busy, busy, busy!

 All that said, I do love it. I see a huge opportunity for growth and I’m excited to be a part of it!

Pluuusssssss … I got to go to the National Stationery Show {it’s been about 5 years since I’ve been} and see all of this paper goodness!

Wendy and I announcing our new partnership via social media!

Truth from Ink Meets Paper!

Paper Bandit Press had me at “free phone charging …”

Ahhh … we met the lovely Grace from Writefully His. Not only does she have lovely paper goodness, but 20% of her proceeds are used to purchase pencils and paper for children in East Africa! Seriously!? More companies should do this! Love!

1 canoe 2 … really, I can’t say anything more. Everything they make causes my heart to flutter!

Snow & Graham. Just classic paper awesomeness. Trust me.

Belle & Union Co. is new-to-me. And I’m smitten. My favorite, favorite, favorite booth I ever-did-see!

This card is from Southern Fried Design. It’s a line with southern sayings and it’s perfect! A small factoid about me … I’m what you’d call a closet Garth Brooks fan. I love me some Garth! The closet part came when he went all Chris Gaines on us!

Sugar*Paper LA. Perfection. Plain and simple.
Eons ago, I found them online and had them design some personalized stationery for me. They were just a small little letterpress company at that time. And well … look at them now!

These are two companies we found and fell in love with! Both have sheet wrap {which we’ll now be carrying at Papaya}, and the designs are both simple and lovely! Can’t wait to get this into the store soon!

This morning Wendy and I are headed back to Atlanta for the Atlanta Gift Market to find more awesomeness to bring into Papaya!

I’m not gonna lie … overall, this new venture has taken a toll on me … but it also feeds my creative soul in a way that nothing else can.

Some may wonder, “Is it worth it?”

Yeah. Absolutely!

Posted in broadway paper, papaya papers, stationery

6 Jun

nothing is wasted :: guest post

I can’t remember how I first started following Endless Pursuit … I think it might’ve been on Instagram? Guess it doesn’t really matter, the point is, they’re my people! “How so,” you might wonder? Read this from their About page and you’ll get the picture!

God has not abandoned or forgotten about you. Nor is it in His will for you to be sick. That is why we challenge you to rise up with Endless Pursuit as we declare the promises of God over our situations. We exist to speak hope into the sick: make them catalysts, dream weavers, humbleness makers, and joy fillers. Circumstances will not enslave us, rather in defiance we will speak out healing and faith. God is our provider.

Anyway. When Ryan asked if I’d consider being a guest contributor, I was honored. When I was 5 months late in getting him my first post, I was impressed with his patience! :)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might remember that I’d recently had a couple of my girls at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester? And if you don’t follow me on social media … well … I recently had a couple of my girls at Mayo. :)

It was Taylor primarily who’d had a seemingly sudden onset of serious health issues and I wanted her seen by experts. And because we were going, I decided to bring Hunter along and have her seen for a couple of things she’s been dealing with as well.

Hunter’s issues ended up minor, but Taylor’s not so much. We found out she’s got an autoimmune, chronic disease she’ll deal with the rest of her life. And while I’m thankful we were able to get an answer to what’s going on, I hate that she’ll now face this suckiness.

And so … in the midst of my writer’s block – while trying to keep good on my promise to Ryan and get my post in – God whispered some hope in my direction and I shared those thoughts over at Endless Pursuit a couple of weeks ago.

If you’re facing something today, or just in need of a little hope or encouragement, I’d love for you to join me over there.

Posted in guest post, multiple sclerosis, taylor