It’s March 1st and my windows are open; It’s probably too early, the breeze is brisk, but I’m bundled up in sweats under a blanket with m 3rd cup of coffee. It’s a good day.

I always find you in Spring, your favorite season, and though it is the season of renewal… it brings melancholy now. Though, I suppose, everything does in some way or another. My quince bush has little pink buds, you’re the person who told me what kind of bush it was, do you remember? I think you do. Somewhere.

Perhaps I’m silly, but I’m hoping for a huge St Patrick’s day snowstorm. March snow reminds me of my childhood on 201 when we’d be stuck in that tiny block house… me, you, Tommy, and Andi. I can’t believe we never killed each other. But, I doubt it will snow.

The kerosene heat in that little house burnt my eyes, but we were never cold. Spaghetti, chili, vegetable soup, a huge bowl of salad, teriyaki chicken, some kind of canned weird Chinese dish that had crunchy little noodles on top, something frozen, bags of Doritos, always too many sweets, and McDonalds twice a week, but we made it okay. We were never hungry. You were probably too lenient, too passive, too much of a friend, but we were so incredibly loved.

Maybe it was a week or two ago, I was talking to Chad and I made the statement that you’d only been gone around a year and a half. He looked at me so funny and when I asked, he gently said, “Honey, this October makes 3 years” and I stopped dead in my tracks. 3 years? It’s been a million years and it’s still October 25, 2017 all at once. I don’t ache like I once did, not daily anyway. The deep, cavernous void in my chest typically feels lighter or doesn’t exist at all. Lately, folks have been coming across pictures of you that are new to me. It’s like seeing your face for the first time, it takes my breath and I cry, but I feel so much joy. Seeing your precious face in those photographs is what I imagine my heart looks like if you could see it figuratively beating outside of my body. I just let out the heaviest, loudest sigh. I sure do miss you, Momma.

But honestly, sometimes most of all, I miss having a home where you are waiting for me on the other side of the front door.


2 years
24 months
104 weeks
730 days
17,520 hours

And you know what, friends?  Life has never, not once, stopped.  Even when it felt like it should, even when I felt like I couldn’t move forward, life just keeps going and going without her.  And, I guess it has to.

My Mom died 2 years ago on my 31st birthday.  This week, I’ll be 33, the age she was when she gave birth to me.  This week, I’ll celebrate my 2nd birthday without my Mom.  This week, I’ll just keep going because there is literally no other choice.  I always write this before 10/24 because I don’t want that day to be forever sad and it’s hard to get into these feelings at all, especially on that day.

The second year is different and hard in a completely different way.  The second year, the shock and oppressive, deep grief are mostly gone and you’ve established life without them; then you realize that nobody else remembers, but each milestone is still incredibly fresh for you.  Even though the hurt is fresh, the hurt is final, and this is the year that you establish your life without them and it hurts like hell.  But, it is absolutely necessary, because nothing is stopping this train.

In 730 days, there has not been one single solitary day that I have not thought of her.  Even on the best days, when I have felt the most joy, when I have had the most fun, when I have been light years from that hospital room in Ashland or that house in Flat Gap, I still always think of her.  I imagine I always will — and I want to.

Last year, I wrote that the grief had permeated my skin and bones, but my perspective, thankfully, has shifted.  It is not the grief that seeps through me anymore.  Sure, I still get incredibly sad and I still, quite literally, long for her presence, but the grief has managed to evolve and you’ll have that with grief, dear friends.  I promise.  No, it is not grief that ebbs and flows through me, but it is her.  Her love, her guidance, the memories, the laughs, the hugs, every moment I had with her is part of me.  

Brenda K. Williams was imperfect, but she was precious.  She was every beautiful day and song you can think of, every moment that is joy and light and peace, everything innately good and kind, plus so much more.  She was and is my Mom and will forever be.

I miss her.






Happy Birthday, Momma.

You would’ve been 66 today.  This is the second birthday since you died and it’s harder than the first.  The finality of your death is oppressive like the July heat and I can’t seem to escape it.

I don’t imagine 66 means anything where you are, in fact, I’m sure it doesn’t cross your mind.  I wish I could be there to remind you of me, and I guess that’s selfish, but I just want to say hi.  I want to see what your face looks like now.  I want to hug you and tell you I miss you.  I don’t think you can feel sadness and I’m so glad.  I feel enough for the both of us.

Sometimes, in my mind, it’s still October and I’m standing in that funeral home and I can see you and I remember every detail; the flowers, the people, the wood on your casket.  Sometimes it’s just summer and I’m enjoying being outside more than I ever have in my life.  And sometimes I’m just barely floating, operating on pure will, just trying to get through the day.

I miss you every single day.  Not one day has gone by since October 24, 2017 that you haven’t crossed my mind, even if just for a second.  There are big things and small things that I want to tell you, like about the flowers that I planted and have kept alive and my funny customers at work.  I miss you texting me and asking me to pay your ‘foam bill’ because you thought it was hysterical that I really have customers that say ‘foam’ instead of phone.  I miss our Friday nights and keeping you up too late watching sitcoms and talking.  I miss that one summer that Chad worked a ton and Trevor and I spent the night several times.   I just miss things being normal.

There’s a new normal now and most of the time that is okay.  Even though I think of you often, I’m not always sad.  I’m glad a lot.  Glad for the 31 years I had you, glad that God chose you to be my Mom, and glad for the person you were because it made me the person that I am.

I wish I could celebrate with you today.  66 wasn’t too much to ask for, but here we are.

I had a piece of Food City cake for you.  It was the good icing, of course.

I love you, forever.

Happy Birthday.

2013-03-31 14.02.14

Soupin’ Sunday

Happy Sunday!

Historically, Sunday is a pretty productive day for me, but I’ve gotten pretty out of habit as of late.  Today, I got my groceries early and I’m settling in for some good music and meal prep with a little blogging on the side.  Not too shabby, eh?

I love time alone, so it’s a pretty good day in my house with my husband asleep after a 12 hour overnight shift and my MIL at church.  Don’t get me wrong, I love folks, but I also love being alone and doing my own thing.  I don’t get that a lot and I’m sure you don’t either.  So, with Weezer’s Teal Album blasting and my precious robot vacuum (Vac, as we affectionately call him) doing a lot of the work for me, I’m working on lunches for the week and a HUGE pot of super healthy veggie soup.

Most of y’all know that I am pretty adamant about healthy eating and fitness (says me as I grab my stomach and jiggle it at you), so I’m always on the search for some tasty alternatives to my favorites.  Soup/stew/chili/etc., is my winter staple and I live my entire life for a good beef vegetable soup.  Naturally, the way my Granny and Mama made it had big chunks of yummy white potatoes, 70/30 ground beef, and it was positively amazing.  Honestly, I’d fist fight you for a bowl of soup cooked by either of them, but my ever-slowing 32 year metabolism demands that I do a smidge better than 70/30 ground beef.  Unfortunately.

With that in mind, here’s my take on a classic — I hope you enjoy!

Gimme All the Veggies Macro Friendly Vegetable Beef Soup

Don’t judge my dirty stove, it’s non-stick spray!

Ingredient List

16oz 93/7 Ground Turkey
16oz 93/7 Ground Beef
2 15oz cans No Salt Added Petite Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Juice
1 28oz bag Pictsweet Frozen Veggie mix (I reckon you could get just about any mixture you want! I got green beans, carrots, celery, corn, and peas)
1 68oz bottle of Low Sodium V8

Yup, you read that right — 5 ingredients, basically.  Did I mention how freakin’ easy this soup is?!?!?!?!

First, I use a 6 quart stock pot and I brown my ground turkey and ground beef in the bottom of the empty pot.  Why dirty up another pan?!  I’m not draining that beef or turkey, I want that yummy flavor all in that soup, y’all!  While the beef and turkey are browning, I use sea salt, black pepper, and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (buy it in bulk, marry it, live it) to taste because I am that cook you hate that never measures anything and I am so sorry for who I am.  Use all of the above generously, do not be shy.  This is a good time to add any additional spices that compliment this dish — garlic powder if you wish (fresh garlic? go wild!), parsley, cilantro, bullion cubes, whatever.  This soup is your oyster, spices are your medium, work that art baby!

Next, dump both cans of petite diced tomatoes and stir that goodness in with the ground beef and turkey.  Heck, let it pop and crackle and boil a little.  Add some more seasoning, honey.  Live your life.

Then, cut open those frozen veggies and dump them right on top of that delicious mixture of meat and tomatoes, frozen and all.  They’re going to get tender when the soup simmers, no need to worry!

Finally, my secret ingredient to all of my tomato based soups and chilis – Low Sodium V8 Juice.  Each serving has 2 servings of veggies!  Run, do not walk, and start putting this liquid gold in your dishes!  At that point, you’re going to be close to the top of a 6 quart pot, but not quite.  I use a little water to get as close to the edge without being too obnoxious and making a mess.  Stir gently (it will splash out aggressively at you) and let the entire pot come to a gentle boil.  Move to a very low simmer and let that puppy sit for the next 2 or 3 hours!

Marry me

Ok, ok, now the most important part!  I don’t really math, but I’m pretty sure these numbers are spot on in accordance to this soup making 24 1 cup servings in 6 quarts (omg, kill me).  So, with that in mind, 1 serving is TWO standard 8oz measuring cups.

Calories – 155g
Fat – 5.5g
Carbs – 17g
Protein – 18g


You’re all welcome.  I will lap up your praise and admiration.



2019 is already a bust maybe

So, my sister started a blog and it’s really, really good.  Seriously, click the link and read This Coffee Life.  She did all the leg work and research on how to make a blog successful, made a fb page for it, the whole nine.  Meanwhile, I’m sitting over here thinking about how much effort that must take and shaking my head ‘no’ as I drink my second cup of coffee.

She’s really good at fleshing things out, it must be the Language Arts teacher in her, and I’m just not good at trying… well, anything.  I know to have a successful blog that I’m supposed to blog more than once every 4 months and I need to really try to develop content, but we all know that effort has never been my strong suit.  Honestly?  Nothing is my strong suit.  Laziness, maybe.  Laziness is probably what I’m best at in this life.

I thought 2019 was going to be a year where I really thrived at working on myself, on reading more, on my blog, on working hard in general, but none of that has happened.  The first 13 days have been a total bust.  I had these promises of eating healthy for 30 days, tracking my macros every day, no alcohol until February, and I already frigged it all up, but hey, that’s me.  I’ll blame circumstances, and some of it really was circumstantial (my excuses have excuses), but honestly, I’m just really bad at staying on course.  Always have been.  Shrug dot emoji.  I’m not a life coach, friends.  I’m just gonna hug you and say, “It’s cool, we’ll try again tomorrow” and offer you something unhealthy to eat and maybe a beer or a glass of wine.

To be TOTALLY FAIR, I started getting sick last weekend and while I didn’t use that as an excuse to eat poorly, I couldn’t work out without hacking up a lung to the point of dry heaves because thank you bronchitis.  I’m starting to feel more normal today, but I can’t hear out of either ear and the thought of going back to work makes me want to sleep until next weekend because I literally just can’t.  GUYS, I CANNOT.  Whatever, 2019, I still have time to slay you, but I wont, so maybe 2020?  Here here, positivity!

Anywho, so Andi legitimately has her life together and has this beautiful blog, and I’m over here sitting in the same clothes from Friday, wondering if I can do some yoga and eat a vegetable today.  The jury is still out on both of those subjects, but we’ll see.

I think I’ll get my 3rd cup of coffee, and yes, I am still on coffee because I didn’t get out of bed until 11:30am, and then decide if I can somehow will myself into being a human being.  Is this the quality content you crave?  Knowing that someone is as bad at life as you are?  Well, look no further fella, you found me.  That’s a Chappelle’s Show quote — all of my material is from 2004.  Love me through it.

Thanks, Sis, for inspiring me to write my first blog since October.

See y’all in April.

The longest shortest year

You can’t explain the first year to someone who hasn’t experienced the death of a parent. There are no words or explanations that can give life to the grief, the pain, and the loss that you feel as you navigate your new life.  Everything I’ve ever done that involved my Mom will literally never happen again. Not a birthday, not a Saturday afternoon, not a walk, not Christmas or Thanksgiving, and in that first year, you experience all of those firsts.  The first year of complete void and nothingness in the place where your Mother used to be.

“I just don’t know how you do it.” I have muttered to friends and people I love who lost their Mother, truly believing that I did not know how it could ever be done.  Also, truly believing, that my time to walk that path had to be many years from that particular moment.

How does life go on when the very star, the sun that centered your universe shoots beyond your line of sight and into another galaxy?  I don’t like to say she flickered out because I know she’s shining somewhere, brighter than ever.

How does life go on in the after of complete loss?

It just does.

What was I going to do?  Quit my job and stay in bed all day?  I mean, ideally, absolutely… that’s exactly what I wanted to do.  I wanted to fold into myself and sink into my memories and never come out, never come up for air, and never figure out how to do life without my Mom.  Well, being out of paid time off cured that want pretty quickly and I went back to work.  I was a complete zombie, but looking back, I think it helped.  I know it helped.

You go back to work, you pick up where you left off with TV shows you enjoyed, you visit friends, you go out-of-town… you. just. do.

You don’t “move on”, it doesn’t get better, time does not heal, none of those platitudes are even remotely true.  You just keep moving forward each day and hope you feel a little more able than the previous day.  Grief changes.  It permeates your being and becomes a fixture in your everyday, it becomes as much apart of you as the skin that stretches over your bones and it seeps into your molecular makeup.  You carry grief like a backpack filled with hardback books, all of those books written for and by your Mother.

At first, grief takes the shape of unbelievable sadness.  That sadness extends beyond any sadness you will ever feel.  Then, emptiness.  Emptiness as you wake up, slowly, and realize this world continues to exist without your Mom.  There will, quite literally, always be the before and after.  There is who you are when your Mom was here and there is who you are after your Mom is gone and those people are very different.

I was not okay for many, many months.  Mom went into the hospital on 10/20/2017 (one year ago today) and passed away on 10/24.  She was buried 10/28.  I don’t remember much of the last 2.5 months of 2017.  On New Years Eve I cried because I didn’t want to start a new year without her and I begged Chad to stay home from any events.  I couldn’t imagine facing an entire calendar year without her, though staying home wouldn’t stop that year from coming.  Nothing, not even the death of your most beloved, stops time.

Winter turned into spring and spring flirted with summer and if you’ve never broken down and torn apart the home your Mother lived in, I do not recommend it.  It was the impossible task.  Her sweet little items, her clothes, her cat, the list was endless and it all needed homes and those homes could no longer be in that house.  That house is still an open wound to me.  I dream about it often and she is usually there with me.  Even if you’re an adult and you have your own home, wherever your Mom is, that is also home.  When that home is gone to you, when every home from your childhood is no longer part of your life, you realize the only ties you have to those memories are the memories themselves.  That first time when you realize you can never, ever go home to your Mother again feels like having a heart attack.

It’s been the longest shortest year of my life.  It’s been years ago and it’s been as recent as yesterday.  I used to absolutely love the month of October.  Way before the culture of Pinterest and scarves and pumpkin spice, October was my birth month and I was obsessed with it.  I loved fall, I love the leaves, the colors, everything.  This month, I’ve tried so hard to enjoy those things that I love because Mom loved them, too.  It makes sense that she died on the day the foliage peaked.  I’ve tried so hard to find her in the cooling temperatures, and in the reds and golds that scatter the hillsides.  I know she’s with me, but boy do I miss her physical presence.

Often, I replay the Friday to Tuesday turn in the ICU at King’s Daughters through my mind, trying to remember every single detail.  There were moments of laughter and terrifying moments of fear.  There was not one single part of me that thought I would never her bring her home when I drove here there on this date one year ago.  She was in a great deal of discomfort.  We listened to the Johnson Central/Ashland game on the radio and I tried to distract her and give her Dylan’s stats for the game and for the entire season.  It worked out perfectly that Central played Ashland at Ashland since that’s where KDMC is located.  Tommy and I got her to the ER, Andi soon joined, and we waited.

We waited what felt like an eternity.

Around 5:00 am, she was finally given a room in ICU.  Stage 4 cancer with pneumonia certainly warranted intensive care.  The nurse asked Mom a million questions, and finally, asked her if she had a living will on file with the hospital which is a standard question.  She burst into tears and said, “I’m just so tired” and I said, “I know, Mommy, we’re almost done with the questions and then you can rest”.  I will never forget the look on her face and how she wilted, and even more so, how apparent it was that she was ready to rest.  She was so ready to rest.

Some of the memories I have from those four days haunt me.  The memory of her sweet face looking at each and every one of us as if she was memorizing our faces gets me every single time.  She wanted to go home, but at the same time, she didn’t want to leave any of us.  I remember feeding her her last good meal, baked potato and salad from Wendy’s.  Tommy, Melissa, myself, and Chad surrounded her bed and she commented how handsome Chad is with a beard and was in the best spirits.  This was Saturday night. With Sunday came saturated lungs that only worked at 37% anyway, ever complicated masks to help oxygen flow, and ultimately the bipap mask that sealed the deal.  It was horrifying.  That mask was miserable and I couldn’t and wouldn’t ask her to wear it for one more second to accommodate an arbitrary date.

She was everyone’s everything and that is not an exaggeration.  She wasn’t the same Mother to me as she was to Tommy and Andi — she was what we all three needed.  She wasn’t the same sister to Sharon and Pam — she was what each of them needed.  She was everything.

The fruition of my Mother’s faith came to pass on my 31st birthday.  That’s a beautiful and absolutely truthful way to put what happened that day, but it doesn’t begin to encompass the feelings I have since navigated.  I have been very angry.  Not about my birthday, but losing her in general.  I get very mad at the choosing of my most precious, wonderful person and not someone else who I feel deserved death more.  But, that isn’t even close to how it works.  She was ready.  That 110 pound shell was done.  Even still, coming to terms with the how and why is extremely difficult.  But, I think I have found that peace or I am at least actively working toward it.

As I sit 4 days out from that anniversary, the marking of the first year and my 32nd birthday, I chose to write and post this before the exact date.  My Mom would not want me to dwell on the sadness on that day.  If she could have changed it, I know that she would have chosen to pass on another day, but that isn’t something you ever get to choose.  And honestly, that’s okay.  It’s okay.  It was a special day to her before and it is the most special date to her now.

There will never be a day that I don’t miss her.  Not one.  But, I know that she isn’t here in this unexplainable void and sadness.  She is in the sun, she is in the leaves, she dwells in goodness and light, in the voices and faces of my siblings, her sisters, and my niece and nephew.  I find her in the mirror, sometimes.  I find her in my own voice pretty often.  I find her, always.

I will find her always.

974 words on sexual assault

When I was 12 years old, a friend of mine (who happened to be male & also 12 years old) came over on Spring Break to hang with me for the day.  My Mom was home, our house was very small and we were only left alone long enough for Mom to use the bathroom or for us to play outside (she could see us).  He still found time to show me his penis twice.  One of those times, he was forcefully trying to kiss me and shove my hand down his pants, but I managed to push him away from me.  I was attracted to him and I thought that’s just what boys did when they liked you, no matter how horrible and uncomfortable it made me feel.  I don’t think I ever told anyone before this moment and he probably doesn’t even remember it. This was the first physical/sexual situation I can remember ever having in my entire life.  I have had interactions with this person as a young adult and at that time, I still considered our interaction ‘just what boys did during puberty’.  Now it just makes me sad.

One week before I turned 19, I spent the night with a girl friend and guys I had never met came to her house.  There was no alcohol.  At some point, I found myself alone with one of them.  My guess is he was 21 or so, I really don’t know.  He kissed me and I let it happen because I was a (relatively) normal 18 year old.  No big deal.  Previously, I was in a 2 year relationship so I thought I was pretty tough and could handle myself.  However, I hadn’t considered that those 2 years were spent with someone who respected me and my autonomy.  Being incredibly naive for 18, I was surprised when he started unbuttoning my pants and trying to shove his hands in my underwear.  I was absolutely paralyzed.  Having never had sex, losing my virginity to this guy was not anything I was interested in, but he was considerably bigger and stronger than me and his intentions were crystal clear.  I adamantly said “no” when he tried to escalate the situation, but he persisted.  I was scared in the moment and I did what I felt like I had to do to get out of the situation without having sex.  I vividly remember thinking, “I just have to get out of here, I don’t have a choice now”.  “No” wasn’t good enough.  “No” didn’t work.  Later, I thought about that incident a lot and I worried that I lead him on by kissing him.  I fully blamed myself.

These instances (and the two that have happened since I got married, yes, it happens to married women, too) are certainly improper behavior.  The first, I was a child and he was a child, and now I truly can’t count the number of unsanctioned male genitals that I’ve seen both in real life and in pictures (definitely not ok, guys, stop showing your dicks.. no one wants to see them).  The second, I never realized the gravity of that situation until I was older and the light bulb came on — I realized I had never told anyone about it, and then when I did tell someone, they looked at me with horror and apologized.  Only then did I think, “Oh wow, that wasn’t my fault at all. I was scared and I was only 18” and let it settle that I had certainly experienced something hurtful.

Nervously, I share this to support all of the women (and men) who have stories far worse than mine.  The women & men who wake up every day as victims of sexual abuse from an older friend/adult/family member, the women who wake up with flash backs of hands roaming and groping, and everything in between.  The idea that someone would make up such horrors just to ‘ruin’ someone else’s life is so incredibly glib that I wonder if folks even listen to themselves when they say such things (or absently click share on a meme).  It is deep, internalized misogyny to believe women at large are looming in the distance to destroy a man’s reputation.  That’s just insanity.  Any amount of research will reveal less than 10% of sexual violence accusations come to be complete fabrications.  Dismissing allegations as such tells the 90% of us that you don’t give a rip about what we’ve experienced, and maybe you don’t.  I hope you never experience it.

The fact that a boy, at 12 years old, showed me his erect penis without my encouragement or consent is something that should resonate.  That instance is the personification of the narrative ‘boys will be boys’ and we cannot allow such horse crap to persist.  People can change, I believe that.  I don’t have a clue how this human being is as an adult man with a wife and child, I can only hope that he is teaching his children to be better. I assume the second guy is, too. I hope. I have no way of knowing either.  But, I don’t really want either of them influencing the laws of this country for the next 30 years.  Sue me.

Finally, if you say things like, “Why did it take her so long to tell anyone?” then you have either never experienced sexual violence or misconduct, or you have and you’ve pushed it down so far that you psychologically reject the idea of people being honest about their experiences.  Just a single, solitary shred of empathy for another human being should cause one to think about how the person who was assaulted may feel instead of an arbitrary timeline to report sexual violence.

We can totally do better than this, y’all.  If you’re reading this and you’ve been harmed by sexual violence — I believe you and I am with you.


Well, it’s September and I don’t have a drastic ‘before & after’ photo regarding my fitness journey.


Anyone who has ever met me knows that I have a reaaaaaaaaaally hard time with consistency, unless consistency means being inconsistent then I am INCREDIBLY consistent.  I mean, that counts for something, right?

When Chad and I moved into our house 3 years ago, we got a treadmill set up a home gym.  I hate going to a gym.  I flat out wont do it.  The only gym that I will show my face in is my Aunt’s amazing women’s only facility in Paintsville (Spirit Strong Fitness Studio, look it up) — and it really is amazing.  Anything else?  I’m not doing it, and if you hate something that makes the task miserable, and if you’re miserable you aren’t enjoying taking care of yourself (fitness is good, y’all), and if you aren’t enjoying it you’re eating 24 tacos because a taco 12 pack is only $20.  Don’t ask me how I know.

So, anywho, I started doing workouts at home and membership to streaming fitness service and I love it.  But, more on that at a later time.

Back to not having a super drastic before and after for this year — it’s fine.  I’ve figured out that finding a six pack behind the pizza that I truly enjoy (I loooove pizza, do you love pizza? Are you in a relationship with pizza?) wasn’t what this year was about at all.  See, I am really hard on myself.  I was.  Past tense.  I would stand in the mirror and look at my stomach and repeat how disgusting I was and believe it.  I believed it deeply and sometimes I still do if I let myself go to that ugly place.  Over a freaking stomach, you know?  Who in the world cares?  It’s skin, why would I believe it’s so inherently bad to have looser skin there?  Not just that, but I would beat myself up over ‘bad’ choices and shift between counting every gram of everything that went in my mouth to eating without abandon.  There was rarely a happy medium with me because.. you know… I’m me.

The drastic before and after that FINALLY happened to me can’t really be captured in a photograph.  Although, you can see a huge difference in my legs (hellloooooo quad and calf city!), the before and after that’s so amazing has been internal.  I don’t hate myself when I look in a mirror, I don’t even mind my body — it’s totally fine.  It’s better than fine.  It’s strong and it’s soft, I can run and squat and keep up with anyone, but I also enjoy my friends and family because food is typically the centerpiece of any time you spend quality time with people.

I’m not going to stop enjoying food.  I really, really, really do love salads and veggies, but I don’t want to eat that every single meal. So, dine in restaurants are a special time where I get yummy things that I enjoy without going overboard. It sounds incredibly simple, but what if you have 3 dinner engagements in one week?  Well, obviously, don’t get loaded fries and hot wings at all 3 (or do, honey, I am not your boss).  Instead, splurge 1 meal, and then the other 2 can still be incredibly yummy if you play your cards right.

I am all about playing my cards right with food, let me tell ya.

I’ve been wondering how many of y’all reading might be interested in a little group, no strings, no dues, nothing but me just putting some info out and answering questions.  I’m not a registered anything, but I am a registered foodie, work out enthusiast, and pizza topping aficionado and I reckon some of y’all can relate to that, and thus, relate to me. We might even have some fun! I think we will totally have fun.

If you’re interested and scared and worried and apprehensive that someone might judge you, lets sit down and talk, or chat, or text.  The mindset shift has been real this year and also I have a butt so don’t you tell me that dreams don’t come true!

3 things & the one where I get a letter from Jen Hatmaker’s legal team probably

Social media pisses me off.  I’m not writing this as a passive aggressive swipe at this or that or anyone, I’m saying, I get legitimately angry when I read FB and Twitter.  So, in a fit of rage, I deleted both applications from my phone (I guess it was last Wednesday sometime?) and you know what?  I’ve been zen af (hahahahahah), I’ve done yoga, I’ve read books, I’ve eaten half a container of Halo Top vegansoydairyfree (omg, do you crossfit?) ice cream, and I’ve actually WATCHED the news.  Like at 6:30pm with Lester Holt watched the news.   I downloaded SmartNews and I still get updates and I am informed WITHOUT CONSTANTLY BEING ANGRY!  I’m kidding, I’m still super mad because I can’t imagine how you aren’t at this point, but YEAH.  NO APPS.  Idk why I’m yelling.  But, I’m totally yelling.

I’m not telling you that you need a social media cleanse or that you need to put down your phone, I’m just saying that I need and needed to chill out a little bit because it was stealing my joy.  And also stealing my sleep, I was absently scrolling for like an hour before bed and why?  I’m too old for things to steal my joy.  I can still be informed and vocal about injustices, etc., and NEVER READ THE COMMENT SECTION EVER.  Don’t click expand.  Don’t do it.  People are terrible and will make you sad.  Take my advice.  You’ll be happier.  I will still get serious with you about any number of issues, I just maybe don’t have these apps on my phone for my mental health at the moment and that is fine, dude.

Anyway, so I’ve missed a bunch of stuff being posted and my life went on and that’s incredible.  I will hop on when I have a hot second on break at work  or when I’m drinking my coffee in the morning and skim and scan and then I’m like ‘love you, bye’ in my best Brenda K voice. I’ve started reading a book every time I think about picking up my phone and it’s not classic literature because I think I read on a 5th grade level now and I have to retrain myself to pay attention to anything that is longer than a few sentences.  That was a horrible sentence and I am leaving it, y’all.  Like I said — retraining.  Also, I shattered the bottom right corner of my phone screen a couple weeks ago and I took it as a sign from above that I need to do literally anything else with my life.  I’m serious.  Jesus, be a fence.

In light of all of that hullabaloo up there, let’s go over the three things I am doing right now to ensure my joy and to try and help myself be a better adult and human.  I’m so bad at adulting.  Notoriously bad.  It’s embarrassing.

  1. Waking up before 7:10am on work days.  I live less than one mile from my job because I am blessed and highly favored.  Great, but I can’t get out of bed until the last possible second, I show up to work with no makeup on (which is not bad in and of itself, but I like makeup), wrinkled clothes, and yawning because I literally just woke up.  Guys, I’ve been working the same job for 10 years, you would think I would have getting to work (and actually being prepared for it) by 7:30am mastered.  Not so.  I’m trying to get a cup of coffee in, stare outside at the brightness, splash my face with cold water, and repeatedly tell myself, “You can do hard things” as I try to get out of bed at 6:00am.  6:30am. 6:36am because snooze.   I think I’ve made it to work with makeup on every single day this week, so I am obviously killing number 1.
  2. Reading more.  Books, magazines, Readers Digest, short stories, news papers, nutrition labels, anything that is not my iPhone.  Right now, I’m reading Of Mess and Moxie by my queen Jen Hatmaker and I fully expect to receive a cease and desist order from her publicist if she ever read my blog (OHMYGOSHIWOULDDIE) because she is totally my writing voice inspiration.  I just love you, Jen.  Please be my friend.
  3. Working out.  I know a lot of folks blow this one off and I get that, but I am not lying when I say that I am a better person when I move consistently.  I’m not out here dead lifting 300lbs or squatting my body weight, but I move and I get sweaty and it helps my attitude.  Sometimes I just do yoga.  Sometimes I do plyo or run my guts out.  It’s whatever mood I am in at the moment.  I need to focus on a specific program, probably, but the fact that I am jiggling at least 4 days a week is the best I can offer you and it ain’t bad.  Endorphins and stuff.  And to be clear, I came home and took a nap today.

So, this was supposed to be a list of five things but I can’t think of two more that aren’t obvious choices to better your life like sleeping more, petting tons of cats, and eating whole foods like baby spinach, and egg whites.  Oh, and also Doritos.  Maybe five was going to wear out my welcome and turn into a huge tl;dr block of text which I am not about. Get some quality sleep and eat something green for the love of God!  Maybe that should be the title of my memoir?

I still scroll the book of face periodically and since I started writing this blog I have caught a few things that made me start to write a comment and then I decided that Sarah Sanders wasn’t worth it.  But, what I’m saying is, the screen time is significantly less.  I have seriously almost finished a book in a few days and I didn’t even know I could still read, guys.  So, whatever I’ve started, it’s working and I’m here for it in the least pretentious and preachy way possible.  More reading, more writing (no matter how bad it is…. sorry), more quiet time, more face time with folks I love (Sophie), and more sleep.  Also, more Doritos.

Okay.  Maybe not Doritos.  😦

Anyway, what are y’all doing to relax, unwind, and enjoy life??  How do you self-care?


I talk to God about you and I ask Him what you’re doing.  I hope He hears me. I hope you do, too.

I imagine you walking through fields of flowers, flowers I’ve never seen, but I try to cling to the colors of what might be.  I wonder if your hair is still red, do you still have freckles, and if your hazel brown eyes are still the same. I hope I would recognize you if I saw you, but I can’t be sure..  You’ve visited me in dreams, just like you were on this Earth, and in those dreams you look the same, but I know you’re different, too.

Is your house beautiful?  Is it a cottage like you dreamed?  Are Sawyer and Sally there? How close do you live to Mamaw and Papaw?  Granny and Papaw? I have so many questions, six months worth of what ifs and what could I have done differently and every variant thereof.  I sleep under a blanket of your pictures and it was supposed to just be for a while, but now it’s comforting. Sometimes I lay my face against your picture and cry.  Sometimes I just whisper, “Oh, Mommy” and sometimes, I don’t say anything at all.

I think Heaven is real and you are there.  I think about it a lot. I think about what it would be like to hug you again and feel you embrace me with both arms wrapped around me.  I want to ask what it’s like to have full use of that left arm, to feel no nerve pain, to be whole. I never wished for more time or prayed for it.  I just prayed that you wouldn’t suffer because I knew I could handle thinking about what you have gained easier than I could watching you deteriorate.  I told you that in 2016. I said, “Mommy, I can do this. I can put you on the point [family cemetery]. I can do this life without you before I can watch you suffer on this Earth” and we both teared up, eyes big, staring at each other.  Your eyes told me you didn’t want to leave me as much as I never wanted you to.

I wish for more time now.  I have a lot of trouble with the last two and a half months of your life and coming to terms with not seeing you enough.  We talked everyday, but I didn’t visit enough and I didn’t change my routine. I remember lamenting over not wanting you to feel like I thought you were dying.  I can’t explain it; I knew you were dying, but I didn’t think you really would, which I realize sounds insane. After you died, 3 books about healing scriptures came in the mail to you.  You ordered them at the beginning of October, so I don’t think you thought you were dying, either. You didn’t plan to leave me here. You didn’t plan to leave on my birthday.

My life is measured in who I was before 10/24/17 and who I am after; Those two people are not the same.  In some ways, I am much better. The kindness and softness you offered people is something I aspire to have and be and something I could never quite reach prior to losing you.  Maybe it’s part of my call to fill that gap, though I will never be as kind and inviting as you, I imagine. I feel like I have aged in dog years in the last 183 days. I feel like it’s been one million years and one day all at the same time.



Everything I have written since October has been some form of a letter to my Mom.  It’s gut-wrenching to read anything I wrote just after her passing and relive that initial loss and pain.  I try to go there as little as possible. I thought I would shift gears in this particular blog and change the voice and stop writing as if I am speaking to her.  I am always speaking to her. I carry her with me in my heart everywhere, but life requires me to be present and I have to keep pressing and pushing myself forward.

I could probably teach a masterclass in loss and grief.  If you’re reading this, you might know me personally or you just follow on social media. You’ve likely watched as my posts veered away from my Mom and back to real life.  Life continued and that is still the craziest thing to me. I had to go on. At some point I realized that moving forward was not forgetting my Mom because of course I could never do that.  Moving forward was healthy, it was living, it was part of the process. The long, never ending, arduous process of grief.

For several months after she passed, time stood still.  I went through the motions of holidays but I don’t remember much about any of those particular days.  On New Year’s Eve, Chad and I went to a friend’s house and I had to heavily self medicate because I was so worried someone would ask me how I was doing.  Spoiler — absolutely awful was the answer. I hardly remember anything about that night other than being in a room full of people I love but feeling like I wasn’t there at all.  I was different, but I knew I had to find my way back to myself.

More often than not, tears sting my eyes at the mention of her name.  When I see pictures of her, I cry and smile at the same time. The joy my Mom brought to my life was unspeakable and everything since her passing has been marked with tangible sadness, but still, we move forward.  She would want it that way. Mom would want her legacy to go on exactly how she lived; full of hope, kindness, and love for people and the Lord. She would want nothing more than for all things concerning her homegoing to be worked together for her children and grandchildren’s good.  She placed her entire life firmly upon that word found in Romans.

I miss my Mom.  Every second of every single day.  I’m not lying when I tell you that a single hour does not pass without her crossing my mind.  I was her clingy child, I held her hand as an adult when we were in public together, I rested my head on her shoulder in church, I was very affectionate with her to the point that I probably annoyed the life out of her.  Never did I truly envision my life without her, without her voice, her laugh, the hilarious faces she would make during conversations, her sometimes too close talking, and how she would bug her eyes out and just peer right at you.  I just didn’t know how this would be. The answer is hard. It’s very hard.

My love for her transcends time and space.  No matter where she is in the universe, she is with me in my heart.  I hold on to that when things get hard, when I feel like I can’t go on without her.  My sweet little Mommy, the most beautiful person I have or will ever know.