So Long 2016…Welcome 2017!

2016 started with me holding my breath……and as the year went on I found myself experiencing things I had not imagined—

2016 became the year for—

–stepping outside my comfort zone and not allowing fear to hold me back.

–opening up to others outside our family, leaving me feeling vulnerable and exposed….yet being open and sharing the struggles we have faced this year has been rewarding….we are not alone and talking about mental illnesses and addiction is how we start to change the stigma and the broken system.

–discovering just how strong I am when I really need to be.

–learning about myself, through the struggles as well as those times I stepped outside my comfort zone, and discovering just where those long-held fears came from.

–growth, personally……this I am so thankful for.

–finding hope when the world seemed hopeless….when my world was filled with fear, sadness and even anger. Hope is what kept us going. Hope is what gets us out of bed when we just want to hide from the world.

–Taking the leap, breathing and trusting!

I am ready to say “good-bye” to 2016. Saying “good-bye” means I am almost through the year of holding my breath…..almost to my 52nd birthday, the one my mother never got to celebrate. Yes, I am ready to move into the new year.

And as I move into 2017, I am hopeful…..hopeful for the future, hopeful for my family and hopeful that this will be our happiest year yet! No matter what happens, I will always have hope!

I am excited for what 2017 has in store for me and for my family…..there will be celebrations and a wedding, one that I am very much looking forward to! There will be adventures and travels. There will be joy and struggles, I am sure. And there will be more self-growth and discoveries as I continue my journey to be the best version of “me” that I can be!

As I welcome 2017, I am starting the new year off strong……checking some items off my bucket list, stepping outside my comfort zone and challenging myself and celebrating my birthday in the most magical place on earth!

So long 2016—thanks for the many lessons and the memories!

Hello 2017—Let’s get this New Year started!

 

Merry Christmas

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.

I have always loved the lights, the colors, the decorations, and the spirit that surrounds this holiday season—the spirit of giving, loving and kindness!

My mom loved Christmas. She always made it special for my sister and I, especially after she and Dad divorced.

We had our traditions and I loved them all—(yes, even the Christmas meal dishes!)

Mom, my sister and I would go out to a tree lot and find a tree together and then mom would ask our neighbor to help us bring it in the house. A couple of days later, she would make us popcorn and hot cocoa and we would decorate the tree together, laughing and reminiscing over each ornament.

Mom had the most beautiful Nativity I have ever seen and the manger had a music box that played “Silent Night”. It was the job of my sister and I to set up the Nativity. I especially loved to do this…..taking my time to set each piece in just the right place where they could all see baby Jesus. And then we would add the white garland that had tiny little white lights……Oh, how that manager did glow. The last part was to wind the music box on the side of the manger and then sit in front of it, listening to “Silent Night” play. Every year, as I set up my own Nativity, I wish that I had been able to keep mom’s nativity………I hope whoever has it knows just how special it is.

Because mom was a single working mom, she would have my Great Aunt come to stay with us over our Christmas break from school and my sister and I would bake cookies with our Great Aunt and then decorate them….so much fun!

On Christmas eve mom would let us each open one gift, a tradition that has continued with my family. And then we would have to go to bed so that Santa could come. Christmas eve was the one night of the year that my sister and I chose to sleep in the same room and we would stay up late, whispering, filled with excitement for what the morning would bring.

And then the Christmas morning would arrive and my sister and I would open the door and go to the living room, filled with anticipation for what Santa had brought. We would grab our stockings…..overflowing with goodies and go to mom’s room, where we would climb into her bed with her and show her ALL that Santa had left in our stockings. I loved this tradition and yes, carried it on with my boys……until they were teenagers………..

After opening presents, my mom and great Aunt would make a big breakfast for us. It was yummy and gave us the energy we needed to play all day…..which is what we did while my mom and our Great Aunt cooked our Turkey dinner. We would eat dinner in the late afternoon and then my sister and I would have to do the dishes……being extra careful with mom’s good China.

I am so thankful that I had a mother who loved Christmas…..a mother who made it special all month…….danced with me to Christmas music, watched Christmas cartoons and specials with us, started and kept our family traditions even when it was just the three of us…….and a mom who made sure that I knew the true meaning of Christmas by modeling through her actions what true Christmas Spirit was.

I miss my mom every day, but especially at Christmas…..which makes me enjoy the day all the more.

This year I am blessed to have ALL my kids home…..both of my boys and my future daughter-in-law. This mom’s heart is filled with joy. And I am treasuring each moment, filing the memories away for the Christmas’s that are just my husband and I……..and even those Christmas’s, where it is just the two of us, we continue our traditions and have added some new.

Every year mom took our picture in front of the tree and every year we do too……even the years that my guys all rolled their eyes because, yes, it was time for the traditional pictures……

I love Christmas!

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Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

 

 

“Living Our Love Song”

There were doubters.

They didn’t believe we would make it. 

32 years after saying “I Do”, we are happily proving them wrong! 

In the words of Jason Michael Carroll in his song “Living Our Love Song”—

Baby, just look at us: all this time, and we’re still in love
Something like this just don’t exist
Between a backwoods boy and a fairy tale princess
People said it would never work out
Living our dreams has shattered all doubts
It feels good to prove ’em wrong
Living our love song

It feels so good to prove them wrong.  

We met in high school. I was sleeping on my best friend’s bedroom floor, living with her family at the time. I had been through so much in my life already and wasn’t looking for a relationship. And then that fateful day, when my best friend and I decided to skip school with a group of guys…..and that is how I met my husband.

We have often joked that I was the bad influence on him, since that was the start of many skipped school days. Our love song started that day, hanging out with our friends.  And then a first date……..he says he knew right away that I was the one. I knew, too!

Today we celebrate 32 years of marriage. We married a few months after graduating from high school…..two young kids starting our life together. We had no idea where this life would take us, but knew we would travel it together, ALWAYS!

And together we have had quite the adventure……a life in the military, traveling the world….being parents…….sharing in our grief over the loss of loved ones……being the strong one when the other needed us to be……supporting each other’s dreams and not holding either one back……trusting that our love and our life together would last when so many doubted……and loving each other, especially on the toughest days…….yes, our life together has been an adventure.

There is a song by Blake Shelton—“God Gave Me You” and it says what I believe about us—I truly believe that God gave me my husband, that He brought us together, knowing where we had both been and what lay ahead of us….because TOGETHER we are stronger than we are alone and TOGETHER we can face anything and do anything.

I would not change a thing about our life because I have shared it with my best friend, the love of my life and my partner in this great adventure! My husband is my rock, my strength and my biggest supporter—he challenges me to look at the world differently and to push myself to step outside my comfort zone and he is there to carry me when life gets too tough. I cannot imagine this life without him!

I love him more today than the day we married!

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Happy 32nd Anniversary! I cannot wait to see where the next 32 years take us!

We are truly “living our love song” and we are doing it our way!

 

A long ago dream fulfilled

Weddings—a wonderful, joyous celebration of love.

Every little girl dreams about her wedding and what she will wear.

Every mother dreams about the wedding of her children and yes, the dress shopping with her daughter.

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But, I am a mom of boys and I gave up the dream of wedding dress shopping after the birth of my two boys.

That is until a couple of months ago….until this month…..this past weekend to be exact.

My youngest son is getting married. And I am thrilled!

He has found the perfect person for him. His fiancé, my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, is everything I ever imagined for my son and so much more. I knew the day he brought her home to meet us that she was THE ONE. She is such a joy to be around and fits in with our crazy family.

Seeing the two of them together—planning and living their lives, and loving each other, fills this mothers heart with so much joy.

A couple of months ago, they called me and my sweet soon-to-be daughter-in-law invited me to go wedding dress shopping with her and her family members.

And the dream was back…..that long ago dream I had let go of…….I cried. I was overwhelmed with feelings of love.

Of course, I would go!

And it was a WONDERFUL day!

This mom was filled with all kinds of emotions as I watched the woman my son would soon marry, the woman who has stolen his heart, the woman who is his adventure partner and the love of his life, try on wedding dresses.

She was stunning! She found her dress!

And as I stood there watching, it hit me……my baby is getting married! My baby boy is no longer just my baby……he will soon be a husband and one day a father.

I am so proud of my son. I am so proud of the two of them. And I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these two……..

Today, I am so thankful and feel so blessed that my son has found such a wonderful, caring person to spend the rest of his life with.

As a mom of boys, I could not be happier to be gaining a daughter!

And my heart is filled with love!

This mom of boys realized a dream that had long been let go of……..and now is fulfilled!