I’m Passionate….

There are so many things that I enjoy but there are a few that I am absolutely passionate about…

Anyone that knows me knows that I love coffee and cake and I love a good ole southern meal. My husband and I love new foods and we love finding new restaurants.

I love to travel, I love to explore, I love to be adventurous and sporadic and I typically fly by the seat of my pants in most areas of my life. I love meeting new people and making new friends. I love to read and I love wrapping up in a blanket on a cool day with a good book and staying there until I finish the book.

I love so many different things but there are a couple of things that I am passionate about.

I am passionate about my Jesus.
Since I was a little girl, I remember being so excited when the church bus would come and get me on Sunday morning. I loved going to church with my Granny, getting all dressed up and going to a place with peace and hope and safety. I start everyday with my favorite scripture… I will say it over and over again because this is me… Psalms 42:1 “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” , because as a little girl that was me and as an adult I know that I couldn’t make it a day without Him. I am PASSIONATE about Jesus.

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I am passionate about my family.
I wake up every morning knowing that I am a mama to 4 of the coolest kids ever. I take this responsibility so serious and I give it my all. Sometimes until it has run me into the ground. I love taking care of my family. I love cooking for them and caring for them and I love that I was chosen for this place.  I am sure that there are things that I could do better and I try daily to make that happen. I love being there for them. I love that they know that I will always be there for them. I am PASSIONATE about my family!mountaintripimg_2118

I am passionate about my friends.
I believe being a friend is unconditional. It is not my place to judge them but to be there for them. It is my responsibility as a friend to encourage them and support them in their quests through life. That is what a friend does. My job as a friend isn’t to tear them down or compete with them. I pray for them and I know that they pray for me too.  I love my friends as if they were family and that is why they are a passion for me.

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And I am passionate about me… about being the BEST ME that I can be.

I know that may sound a little bit conceited but, how can I be passionate about Jesus, Family and friends if I am not the best me for them. I had a big scare in November and it gave me a bit of an enlightening. I realized that I wasn’t doing everything that I could to be a healthier, happier me. So I decided to change that. After numerous doctors to no avail, I looked to a more natural approach. I started taking better care of me for me. I stumbled across the Le-Vel product Thrive® about a month ago and it has allowed me to take my life back and be more PASSIONATE about the things that matter the most. I tell people I am not promoting a product that I half heartedly believe in, I am promoting a product that allows me to give my all. I am thankful that I stumbled across this product because today, I am more involved in church, a better witness, a better wife and mother and a better friend. I have more energy and I feel better than I have in years. thrive3

What are you passionate about? What keeps you going? What makes you stop and think and wonder what you can change?

I am a happy, HEALTHY lady today and I am so grateful for the things that I am passionate about because it allows me to live life in a different way.

 

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An Experience

I thought being a mama would be a walk in the park.

I laughed when “seasoned” mama’s would say “just wait until you have your own”.

Then I had Braxton and I immediately thought I knew everything, when in fact I didn’t know anything at all. I didn’t know if he could fall asleep in a swing. I would sit by his crib and hold a mirror to his face to make sure he was breathing. (true story) I called the pediatrician the first time he fell and busted his lip, the nurse giggled, I remember getting a little upset, and she said, “give him a popsicle this is the first of many bumps”.
I thought “I don’t have any popsicles don’t those have sugar in them.”

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I was strict with his diet and gave him only organic foods, only milk and water and never ever gave him a “dip” for his organic, free range, stress free chicken nuggets.

I was a “helicopter mom” to the extreme. I remember watching my sister in law, while on our first family vacation give her son, who was 4 months younger, a pudding cup. I stood there silently appalled that she would do that to her child!!!

Then one day we heard the words that no mother wants to hear and my views seemed to change almost overnight. MY child wasn’t supposed to be sick, he was an organic baby, who NEVER got sick or had a cold. He had never even had an ear infection. MY child was not a statistic. But in fact, my child was.  And I realized then that I didn’t know anything at all and that I had a lot of road to cover!

Then as time went on we added 3 more monkeys to the bunch and I became “seasoned”. QUICKLY!!! I became that crazy mama, going through Wal-Mart with one in the front, one where you are “not supposed to put a child”, one hanging on the end, in flip flops {an accident waiting to happen} and then Braxton wandering aimless through the aisles as if he is the only one there…. That is EXPERIENCE! I learned to listen to those other mama’s … fast!!!!

Now, while I don’t know everything, I do know a lot. I know about emergency room visits. I know how to put a band aid on extra tight to avoid another ER visit. I know how to pack lunches that they will actually eat. I know that cupcakes can smooth most things over. I know that kids have disagreements and that I can’t always come to their rescue. I know that girls are dramatic and that I still have A LOT to learn about raising a girl in a house of testosterone. I know that boys are gross and they literally smell, and I know that they will fight regardless if we are at home, church or an aisle in a store.

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I have learned to smile when they are embarrassing me to know end and make some sort of awkward joke out of the situation. They have taught me that being serious all the time is lame and that sometimes you have to use a funny voice when ordering processed food in the drive through. I have learned that messes get made and they get cleaned up eventually.

Who said being a mama was a job you had to apply for and have a perfect record. I have said it before that I am no “pinterest mom” and I admire them and I wish they would come decorate my house and teach my children how to keep white furniture clean and how to meal prep and make birthday parties the best thing ever. For now I will stick with leather furniture, cheap carpet, my “less is more and big is better” philosophy, no pretty curtains {because that is how Tarzan gets around} and sometimes dinner isn’t what everyone loves and cereal is OK for dinner!
I learned that Nerf wars are a blast ESPECIALLY when we ambush the Barber when he comes through the door…. I will take full responsibility for this because it was epic.

Being a mama is a privilege that I will never take for granted. It is fun and stressful, noisy and sometimes too quiet, it is runny noses and wet kisses and it is late nights and early mornings. But that is OK with me… we are going to make the most of EVERY crazy moment, live life and make memories…

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That is my Friday thought!

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WeLcOmE to the NuT HoUsE

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Many moons ago when I first got married to the barber my first job was on a Geriatric Psych Floor. There, I was a Nurses Assistant. It was my very first job and I had NO idea what I was getting into. I just knew that I was ready for adventure and I needed a job. There I met amazing nurses and nurse techs that taught me a thing or 2 about life and, though I didn’t realize it then, a thing or two about motherhood.

The person that said “nothing prepares you for motherhood” never spent 5, 12 hour nights in a row on a psych floor.

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Working there I learned to stay awake all night long.
Being a mom, I learned that sleep isn’t really as necessary as they claim it to be.

In Psych I learned that bed alarms are the most annoying thing in the world and that no one stays in the bed when they are supposed to.
As a mama, NO ONE STAYS IN THEIR OWN BED. EVER!!!!!

In psych I learned to deal with patients who whined about EVERYTHING.
As a mama, kids whine about EVERYTHING!!!!

Working psych, I have had patients use the bathroom in inappropriate places … i.e. the corner in the hall.
Being a mom, I have had children use the bathroom in inappropriate places… i.e. the front yard or in the middle of a crowded park.

Working psych, I have had patients lose there temper and throw things across the room.
Being a mama, I have had children throw things across the room {today in fact}

Working psych, you learn to properly restrain out of control patients.
Being a mama, you restrain them often, usually in the car, a playpen, with “baby gates” or you bribe them… what ever works!

Working psych you learn sneaky ways to get a patient to take all there medicine.
Being a mama, you use those skills learned to the best of your ability.

Working psych, I have had patients walk down the hallway missing clothing.
Being a mama, when you ask them where there clothes are, they reply “it’s underpants day!” to which you reply “alrighty then!”

On a psych floor, you learn to always have your guard up.
As a mama, they rarely fool me.

On a psych floor, patients yell obscenities at you and call you names you may not like.
As a mama, “poop face” is a term of endearment from one brother to the next and you learn to go with it.

Working psych, I heard some of the best stories, some made up, some real.
As a mama, those stories make the best bed time stories.

Working psych, I had patients that made my day.
Being a mama, they make my day everyday.

And lets not forget those wonderful first aid skills we had to learn, like CPR and the Heimlich maneuver {which by the way I have had to use 3 times}.  How many mama’s can say they know that.

So you “Pinterest mama’s” can have your pies and cookies and crafts. I can get my kids to take there medicine and when I get funny looks at a store because one of my kids have their underwear on the outside of their pants, I know how to go with it. Thank you, to my Psych floor experience.

Later on, I went to work OB with another amazing group of ladies and I learned so much there. I learned patience and I learned how to turn a room over quickly. I learned how to keep my cool when the going got tough and I learned not to spazz out when things got a little crazy. I learned that “family” goes much much deeper than blood because to this day, I have an amazing family of friends that taught me everything I needed to know about being a mama before I was a mama.

From my nut house to yours… toodles.

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Thank You for Saving His Life

Recently, while scrolling through social media, I stumbled across a clip of a woman who had lost her husband in a horrible accident and was looking for the team of doctors, nurses and caregivers that saved her infant son.

I was so moved that I watched this clip with tears rolling down my face, thinking back to the numerous doctors and nurses that saved my sons life.

In the moment that they are going through the treatments you are grateful to the team taking such good care of your baby but you are so focused on the needs of that baby that you don’t think to really stop and thank the team.

I knew then and I know now that had the doctors and nurses and child-life teams and the social workers and the therapists not been there, that Braxton would not be here today. I am so thankful for them.

One doctor, in particular, always stands out in my mind, because Braxton’s rapid treatment and essentially his rapid response goes back to him.
I knew that there was something seriously wrong with him when I carried him into Archdale Pediatrics that day but I wasn’t sure what and I never would have imagined the later outcome of the day. That day in the pediatricians office still stands out so clear in my mind and I can still see it as if I was living it today.

Dr. Dan Entwistle was the pediatrician that took care of Braxton that day. He was thorough, soft spoken, patient and caring and he was determined to find out what was making our boy so sick that day. He constantly reassured us, held our hands {literally}, he sent us immediately for further testing and then later when HE called us to tell us to go directly to Brenner Children’s Hospital because they were VERY concerned with his blood work, he paused…. he said “I would like to pray with you before you head to the hospital.” I paused because this was not what I had expected. With silent tears flowing down my face, I listened to him ask for comfort, ask God to give the doctors wisdom, he prayed that God would be with us through whatever was to transpire and then when he was finished praying he told me that he believed it was going to work out fine and that Braxton was in the best of care and that God had great things in store for him later.

I do not know if I ever had the chance to thank him for all that he did that day so today I am saying “thank you”.

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As a mama, those words were what I would cling to in the coming days and weeks and months and years.

He came to visit Braxton that first week in the hospital and brought him a giraffe because it reminded him of the giraffes he saw being a missionary in Africa. I believe now more than ever that God knew exactly who to put in that small pediatricians office that day. I believe that God placed Dr. Entwistle there to comfort us in that scary time. I believe his fast thinking and his persistence that day saved our little boy. Leading him to amazing Oncology teams and the best nurses. For that I say thank you to the doctor that started all of Braxton’s healing.

I will forever be thankful, grateful and blessed, to have had the very best teams on our side through that chapter of our lives.

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Thankful for the trials He’s put me through

Today I am thankful for the trials that He has put me through.

I know that I would not be where I am today had I never overcome those trials.

I am thankful for the day that I stepped into an Apostolic church, and felt that wonderful presence of the Holy Ghost.

I now understand that 15 years ago He knew what I would face and what I would need as I walked this journey.

7 years ago, on November 10, 2009, we sat in a hospital room at Brenner Children’s Hospital with Braxton, unsure of what was wrong with our very sick little boy.

It was raining, I was 20 weeks pregnant with Zoe and we were scared, so very very scared of the uncertainty of the situation.

The doctors (because just one isn’t scary enough they had to send in 4) walked in overly somber and told us that our sweet 2 year old had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. CANCER!

At that moment, the world around us stopped. Cancer,  such a final word.

I never expected we would face that, but we knew that God was in control …. I don’t know how anyone faces these trials in life without Jesus. I don’t know how they go through it without family, and a Pastor and church family. From the very beginning Braxton was blessed with AMAZING doctors both at Brenner’s and then after our move, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

I recently started following an adult on social media that is under going grueling chemo treatments and I get emotional sometimes as she talks about the side effects and how her body is feeling, and to think that a baby went through those same feelings unable to tell us what was going on, it makes my heart hurt all over again.

We love to tell Braxton that from coast to coast we had people praying for him. While I would never wish this horrible sickness on anyone, I am grateful today that God put us through the fire only to prove that He was with us all along. Today our faith is stronger, and we believe in the power of prayer more than ever.

Braxton is a walking testimony. A MIRACLE!

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All around the house and the hospital room I had scriptures placed and these were 2 of my favorites…

1 Corinthians 10:13 “there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Job 23:10 says “But he knoweth the way that I take:  when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

 

Some days, I do sit back as a mama, I don’t understand why my baby had to get so sick. Along this journey I watched as other mama’s held their babies for the last time. I watched as other children endured far worse effects of the chemo and radiation. I watched my little boy so sick that he couldn’t walk and barely had the energy to talk. I watched him suffer through medications that made him horribly sick. I mastered holding a vomit bucket while driving down the road. We learned to occupy our time while quarantined in a small hospital room for a week and 2 weeks at a time. We spent 3 Christmases and 3 Thanksgiving’s and birthdays in the hospital. We visited with Zoe in waiting rooms before she went back to stay with Papaw and Nana for the weeks we were in the hospital. We learned to sleep through IV beeps and early morning checks. We learned medical  terminology and how to calculate an ANC. We learned the signs of anemia and we knew when a fever was coming. We understand long waits in the ER and midnight runs. We know the effects of steroids and what “roid rage” looks like in a 2 year old.  We watched him undergo countless spinal taps, countless moments of being placed under sedation. And, through it all, he NEVER complained. Not once!

Today we watch as he memorizes scriptures and sings for Jesus. We watch as he soars in his classroom at school and we watch as he GROWS into a healthy young man. We watch as he smiles, and builds Legos, plays with his friends, and we watch as he sleeps comfortably in his bed at night. We know that he has great things ahead of him in the future. And he has an awesome testimony that one day he will fully understand. For now I will make sure to shout it from the roof tops.

I know that at 2 he felt Jesus with him in the room, he felt the prayers of God’s people, and that is what allowed him to be OK.

January is 4 years of remission. And today we don’t mope in sadness for the diagnoses we rejoice for the VICTORY!

We pray for the families that are still facing this monster, we pray for their strength and courage. There is a light at the end of the long dark tunnel. And through it all He was with us. Today we are thankful for the trial, because today we all have a testimony

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