Once upon a time in the literary world …

On October 2012, I picked up something that would drastically change the existence of who I would become. I picked up a book. It was one of the first few I had ever truly fallen in love with. It was the very first to spark an interest in something I never knew I could dive into. It was the beginning of a personal romance I never thought possible.

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Reading had never been on the top of my to-do list. As a matter of fact, I loathed it. I dreaded everything that had anything to do with reading. Why? Because I had never been able to focus long enough to experience anything other than misery when following lines of words on paper. Often I re-read paragraphs so many times it discouraged me. I wanted to pull my hair out thinking about reading. How in the world do people actually read for fun? That’s what movies are for. Right?

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Within this story, I found myself teetering on the edge of despair through each heart wrenching plot twist. I felt my heart literally skipping beats at each redeeming quality revealed within the heroine. I wept through the sorrows. I clung to the hope. I ripped through pages so quickly I thought I was dreaming. The ability this author possessed to invoke such strong emotion within my soul, completely baffled me.

Because it had never happened before …

I was gasping for air by the time I finished the book. It rung my bell so significantly, I stared at my reflection in the mirror in shock at the image staring back at me. This couldn’t be the same girl walking inside my body for the 30 years I had been alive. It couldn’t be. Because that girl; she didn’t care about reading. That girl turned her nose away from literature. But, this girl was rejuvenated. She was changed by intensely powerful words of one lone author and her ability to shake the ground I walked on. I became something different. I became more aware, more enriched, more alive.

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So I read it again; taking my time through the bends in the road. I read it slow enough to feel the shifts in the wind reverberating in my pounding chest. I let myself fall hopelessly and helplessly in love with the reckless emotional roller coaster of love imbedded within the pages I turned. I let it infiltrate my system. I let it swirl throughout my veins replacing the stagnant flowing blood with an extreme curiosity recharging my weakly beating heart.

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How in the world can one person put so much commanding emotion, confined in a prison of excruciating angst, formed along the shattered walls of mind blowing tension all to be redeemed by the powerhouse of love …

In words

Forming sentences

Within paragraphs

On pages

Of a book

How. Is. That. Possible?

It more than intrigued me. It blew me out of the water.

The closest thing I could relate it to, were the years of performing I experienced in my own life. I spent so much time learning about my God-given talent of singing. I rehearsed, practiced, and then re-rehearsed. When I was finished; I did it all over again. And, I did this for years. Why? Because. As a musician, it’s my job to effectively relay the emotion I’m singing to the audience. I want people to FEEL the depths of the lyrics from my lips. If I can’t, I’m not doing my job very well. When I sing, “Love Takes Time” by MC, I want you walking away raw from the heartache and the amount of time it takes to recuperate from it. When I sing, “Respect” by AF, I want you walking away with a little soul burning in your own soles; maybe even making you bust out in a little James Brown jig. When I sing, “I Have Nothing” By WH, I want you to know within the deepest parts of your soul, that I have absolutely nothing without you; nor will I ever. I’d like to think I’ve done an okay job of this …

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But, can I do the same thing on paper?

Could I possibly be one of the hundreds of thousands of people that could actually evoke the same emotion through a story on paper?

Could I?

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In a single moment of bravery, I decided to open my laptop and jot down a few thoughts on a trip I took to Florida when I was 16. I became so engrossed in writing over the next 2 months, my simple thoughts turned into a 75,000 word novel.

I HAD TYPED SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WORDS. FROM MY BRAIN CAME SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WORDS!

Seventy

Five

Thousand

Words

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I went from no interest in reading to writing my first novel.

Holy flippin cow.

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I found a new love in life. I clutched this desire so tightly to my chest; it became a part of my being.

I became a writer.

And, not just any writer … But, a writer determined to master my craft; a writer inspired to push myself to greater lengths; a writer on the (hopeful) road to becoming a successful author.

I spent the following year plugging into the reading/writing community. I met some pretty fantastically awesome people. I learned from some of the greats. I paid attention to the failures. I took notes on every aspect of the book world while silently plugging away at my own work. Very few people knew what I was up to. Very few people still know.

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Because I want to earn my spot in the literary world. I don’t want it by association. I don’t want it by begging. I don’t want it by nonchalantly asking for favors. I don’t want it by any other means than earning it of my own accord. I’ve learned there’s payoff in hard work. There’s honor in accomplishment when you fly from your own set of wings, instead of within the shadow of someone else’s success. There’s respect in building relationships based off of honesty instead of “what you can gain”. I understand everyone has their own road. Everyone’s journey is different. I’m slowly learning what exactly mine entails. I might be an ornery mess but, the foundation instilled within me is one of integrity.

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I’ll continue writing and plugging away at this book adventure until I know the time is right to publish. Right now my focus is on perfecting and practicing. Having literary geniuses review from all facets is invaluable. Honest feedback, direction, critiques and edits can only push me into another dimension of greatness. It can only make me better.

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Now … Who is the original inspiration behind my writing, you ask?

What is this book that magically catapulted me into the crazy world of writing?

Even she doesn’t know it’s her.

But she will now.

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Yep.

You’re seeing that right.

It’s none other than Jamie McGuire.

And, the epically fantastical love story is her NY Times Bestselling book, Beautiful Disaster.

If you haven’t read it, GO GET IT NOW!

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Jamie,

Thank you. Thank you for just being you. You’re an insanely talented writer. You have a beautiful spirit as well as an honest and kind heart. I respect you more than you realize. You’re a true inspiration and a wonderful person I call friend. I heart your face to the moon and back.

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Check back next week for my top reads of 2013 and the women behind the stories! You won’t want to miss it.

Life and the Lessons we learn

A look back at 2013 and the things that stuck with me.

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Stop Judging people. It makes you ugly. It makes you grow horns. And, it’s only for immature brats who need to get a life … Said, EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN HISTORY SINCE 1942.

However

It’s false.

Not true, bogus, phony, fictitious, not genuine, F-A-K-E.

And, if you believe you don’t judge, you’ve obviously taken a hiatus from reality by jumping on the delusional train.

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There is absolutely no way to NOT judge. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. It’s human nature. We all do it, every single day, multiple times a day without batting an eye. And, just because you won’t admit it doesn’t make you any better than the Joe-Blow next to you who’s talking trash beneath his breath just loud enough for half the city bus to hear.

You are the same. You’re still thinking it. He just said it out loud.

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“Did she really just say that?”

Yes. As a matter of fact, I did. So, let’s move on.

Instead of focusing on your unattainable goal of “not judging”, how about we focus on something within reach, something within the same realm of our world we call Earth. How about we learn to CATCH our self when we judge, CORRECT our attitude and REDIRECT our focus.

Yeah! Let’s do that!

CATCH – CORRECT – REDIRECT.

Now, that’s achievable. That’s realistic.

See, when we learn to embrace our imperfections, we learn to base our actions on the reality of who we are. Instead of putting so much stock in attempting to be who we aren’t. We aren’t perfect. So, there’s no reason to try and achieve that.

People judge. They do it all the time.

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Is it right?

Nope.

Will it stop?

Nope.

But, if we learn to catch ourselves when we start to judge, when we’re too focused on occupying our thoughts with things that probably aren’t even our business (think about that real long and hard. Most often we judge something that doesn’t even pertain to us or affect us), we can learn to curb that and tell our brains to “hush!”

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After all, what good does feeding into this judgment actually do? What payoff do you get? Aren’t their things in your own life worth the energy and effort you are wasting on the perusal of someone else’s actions, choices, conversations, clothing, home, work, parenting, etc??

::::Cue Jeopardy music::::

Your kids and spouse say “thank you” for returning this past wasted time, energy, effort and focus – back to them.

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Integrity Always wins!

No matter how hard that battle is, stay loyal to your integrity. Because inevitably, that little devil on your shoulder will surface. He’ll somehow show his puny disgusting face to tempt you.

devil-and-angel-cartoonHe’ll offer an appealing deal that’s near impossible to pass up. But, the catch always seems to be laced with dishonesty and dishonorable intentions making your stomach twist into knots. You’re conflicted with taking the deal yet so desperate to free yourself from the heaviness. And, you’re flesh takes over brewing a sense of urgency and fear.

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So, you take it. You swallow the prickly uneasy feeling. And, shut out every troubled emotion racking against the wall of your brain. You argue with yourself, weighing all the strife and anxiety you’ve been facing. You remind yourself how necessary it was to untangle the straightjacket tightly secured around your finances, your job, your marriage, your home, or whatever it is that plagues you. And, you wait for the solace that should come with this solution you’ve just taken. You take the deal even though deep down, you know you should have waited for something else.

And, inevitably it restarts the vicious cycle you attempted to derail yourself from or makes it worse.

::::insert deafening silence::::

When you feel weary, when you’re soul does not seem at ease with a decision … it’s probably because it’s NOT THE RIGHT DECISION.

RethinkAs HARD as life seems to be and as desperate as you may feel …

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Wait for the sunlight to peer through the ominous gray skies. Let it extend its rays like an outstretched helping hand. Let its warmth blanket your desperation with a serenity and peace. Let it offer a paved yellow brick road as a reward for your patience with no strings attached, no dishonesty or dishonorable intentions included.

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Walk in integrity.

Choose honesty.

Make decisions based on peace and not anxiousness or hopelessness.

The reward is a hundred times above and beyond anything that little craptastic devil could give you.

I am living proof of this.

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A baby magically appeared in my belly. Whoa.

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I became a TWO YEAR non smoker. Yes, I smoked for 14 years prior. I am a HUGE advocate of the electronic cigarette.

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I met Jamie McGuire (three times – I need an intervention), Colleen Hoover, Abbi Glines and Tammara Webber! Holy Cowsies! These authors are the greatest thing since sliced bread with peanut butter and grape jam!

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I recorded an oh-so-neato announcement video with my baby daddy broadcasting the way soon arrival of my bun in the oven. This was the greatest “Dancing in the car video” hubs and I have ever done. However, Youtube flagged it for the Beiber song. But, this is almost equally as cool. Gender reveal FTW!

I had lunch with Jamie Mcguire and family. YES! I’m thankful for her. That is all.

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I experienced my first Lake Tenkiller Party cove adventure while PREGNANT. It was – meh. I decided to read instead.

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I had three rockin baby showers thanks to my wonderful besties, close family and work peeps.

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My water broke, labor almost killed me (causing me to almost kill hubs) and BOOM! For unto us a child is born.

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I experienced the worst sports injury I’ve ever had since the beginning of my softball career at age 9! My nose was broken. I looked like a clingon.

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I started this blog! And, people actually read it?!?!

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I had BOTH mom and dad sides of the family TOGETHER in my home when my brother and sis-n-law came to visit from Oh Canada! (eh?)

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I got a rad-tad-tad-tastic new job! Badabing! Badaboom!

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Life and Loss

Life and Loss

Capture

I was 18 when I met you. You were this firecracker little cutesie thing, running across the crowded dance floor. You jumped into to the arms of one of the only guys you had ever trusted. He embraced you full heartedly wrapping his arms around you. He always had. And we now know, he always would. You giggled with such innocence cackling at his tickling fingers. He lifted you from the ground, swung your dangling feet around. And, he kissed your cheek while placing your little feet back on the ground. My heart pounded as he turned you to face me. You had such a sweet smile but, I was so nervous anyways. I knew you were so important to him. I knew you were so much more than special to him. And, because he was so important to me, I wanted you to know that there was also a place in my heart for you. As any loving older brother would do, he tugged your small hand within his and brought you in front of me. I waited, uncertain as to what exactly I was supposed to do. Unsure as to how this was going to play out. But, you didn’t even blink. You didn’t even hesitate. You threw your arms around me and pulled me against your chest. In that hug I knew, I’d found a friend.

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So many things unfolded within the next thirteen years. So many joys. So many adventures. So many triumphant battles. So many experiences full of life, love and laughter. But, with every sweet story comes a thunderstorm. With every bit of happiness comes the rushing rapids of despair eager to take you under. Anxious to drown you.

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We hoped that those rapids wouldn’t hold you. That the thunderstorm brewing within you would eventually subside and dissipate to a soft rain. We prayed that whatever had a hold on you from the inside, would lose its grip and fall to the pits of hell. We hoped and we prayed and we begged and we pleaded.

But, in the end … The struggle was too much. The cuts were too deep. The pain too torrential.

And, we watched you fade away, slowly inching into a place that was so hard for us to reach it was often unbearable to watch. It felt like rubberbands on our hearts, pulling and constricting against every single beat. It hurt to see you hurt. It seared our chests with a branding iron each time we watched you fall.

Knowing we were reaching, knowing we were screaming for you to take our hand … Seeing your desperation to catch your breath but not knowing how to help you.

You rode such an extreme roller coaster ride of a life. One that we couldn’t keep up with. One that we got tossed from on more than one occasion. Your twists and turns often giving us whiplash making every recovery that much harder to come back from. But, no matter what. No matter how bad it got.

We always loved you.

And, that love was fierce and remains strong to this day.

That love was always real and it will never go away.

I’m thankful for the good I always knew was in you even it often got buried by the heaviness of something you carried in your soul. I’m thankful you allowed me in your heart even if it was only for a fraction of time. Because you didn’t let many in. I don’t think there was enough room amongst whatever it was barricading your heart.

And, then I had a dream …

Your face was continually flashing in my minds’ eye. I tossed to the other side trying to rid the image from my system. But, it appeared again making me wide eyed at three am in the morning.

“What the heck? Why? Why now? Why am I seeing her face now?”

I silently closed my eyes hoping to have some semblance of peace. Hoping I could fall asleep for just a few more hours before my next workday began. But, once again … Your face flooded my dreams infiltrating any chance of going back to sleep.

I shot straight up from my slumber breathing heavily wondering why so much time had passed yet, your face was clearly lingering as visions within my dreams.

“Ok, God. I’ll pray. If you’re waking me up, then I’ll pray.”

So, I did. I prayed. I prayed peace over your spirit and protection over your soul. I spoke love and hope over the life of your daughter. I spoke truth even if you weren’t in a place to want to hear it directly.

Because, that’s what love does. It still has hope.

I finally rolled over releasing a breath of serenity. And within a few seconds my body relaxed and drifted into a quiet place of sleep.

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Two days later … we got the phone call.

You were gone.

Just like that.

It was over.

Your life had come to an end.

I felt like I was choking on my own weak attempts at breathing. Your brothers’ face fell and lost every single bit of color. His naturally flushed cheeks hollowed as he struggled to sort through the veil of emotions falling over him. We knew the ghosts you had ran from for years finally got the best of you. We knew you finally let go. And, although we knew we did everything we could to help you, to save you from yourself, we grieved letting out cries so loud I swore we shook the windows.

Because we loved you.

Because we still love you.

How do we understand the depth of despair you suffered from? How do we judge your choices when no one, I mean no one, could understand the gravity of grave desperation you clutched within your heart.

And, how do we let you go. How do we walk away and say goodbye?

I’m so sorry your end had to come at such a tragic expense. I hope your mind body and soul have found peace in the afterlife. And, always know that our hearts are forever connected to yours. You will always be special to both of us.

Miss

One simple act of kindness

Close your eyes and envision a time in your life where things haven’t been so great.

The lowest of low

Discouraged

Depressed

Disgruntled

Defeated

Deflated

Abandoned

Alone

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Often those moments we bring upon ourselves because we’re what???? WE’RE HUMAN. (Don’t jump my ace. I said often as in sometimes. NOT ALWAYS.) And, we make terrible, reckless, thoughtless, selfish decisions that, at times, impact our lives drastically.

But, somehow in the deepest, darkest hole of the well we’re trapped in … Someone walks in love, reaches their hand toward you and helps you up off the ground. They’re like your breath of fresh air. Your oasis in the desert. Your warm embrace of sunshine when you’ve felt so frigid cold for so long.

Now, think about who that might have been. Think about the smallest act that may have saved you from your circumstance. Think about the most generous thing bestowed upon you when you knew you deserved nothing.

THINK ABOUT IT, SOAK IT IN, LET IT RESIGNATE THROUGH YOUR SYSTEM. (Because we’ve all been there even if you say you haven’t. I just happen to be open and honest enough to admit it.)

There are so many situations within my life where I can pinpoint gestures of kindness that have significantly helped redirect my crummy circumstance. A friend offering a ride, a family allowing me a place to stay, a random stranger paying for my meal, my extended family paying for my gas, an employer giving me an extra bonus, a church leader listening and understanding my imperfections, a mother silently crying but face 2 face, boldly praying over my life.

Which leads me to this …

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At the beginning of November, I was asked by a friend for a favor. A pretty extreme favor. A favor not to be taken lightly. A favor that could radically impact a young girls life as well as the life of her 18 month old daughter and the child soon to be born within her womb.

A favor for a young girl who was so close to the age of a child that it took my breath away.

She was a baby, with an 18 month old baby and she was about to birth another baby.

Oh, sweet Jesus.

She had nothing. Absolutely nothing. No clothes. No blankets. No food. No diapers. No place for this baby to sleep.

NOTHING. NADA. ZERO. ZILCH.

In that moment, the rational “human nature” side of my brain could have started spinning like a rabid hamster wheel. It could have started throwing accusation, blame, and condemnation in the direction of this young girl. Questioning every bit of reasoning on why “I” had to help. Why it was “my” job to fix this.

Afterall, it’s not my problem, right?

WRONG.

It only took a few seconds for the tender voice on the inside to silence any confusion I had. It wrapped my stirring turmoil and all my troubled thoughts in a blanket, stilling the whirlwind of irritation with peace. It reminded me of this one simple fact:

Who are you to judge?

Didn’t people help you when you felt like you didn’t deserve it?

How many hands were extended to you in your time(s) of need?

Don’t harness blind judgement.

Let go of accusation. 

Walk in love, Kim.

Love never fails.

That’s it. That’s all I needed. That gentle nudge catapaulted me into overdrive. I quickly messaged my friend, letting her know that I would utilize every single resource available to me. Every cotton-pickin’ source I had, to find things for this girl.

I mass texted, I plugged multiple posts on facebook, I emailed, I called. Whatever I could do, I did. Because, although I may not have all the money in the world – I could at least use my big mouth to gather things for this poor girl.

And, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh did the donations pour in.

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We ended up with so much stuff, it brought tears to my eyes.

Hundreds of diapers

40 plus cans of formula

Boxes and boxes and boxes of clothing

Boxes and boxes and boxes of blankets

Binkies

Bottles

Toys

Bath products

And, we even had some extra resources to wrap some of the new stuff so it made this young girl feel like she was getting her own presents.

WOW

And then … On, November 16, I received the sweetest picture with the sweetest caption:

“She says thank you”

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Oh my GAH!

::::Cue tears::::

Big fat torrential downpour tears

Look at that sweet little face.

I knew. I totally without any tid bit of doubt, knew what I did was right. And with the help of so many generous people, we provided a step within this sweet young mom’s life, a bridge for these young babies to cross, when things seemed so grim for them. And, it was all because of a decision to follow the Voice of Love on this inside instead of my natural judgemental human nature.

LOVE WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BUT, WAIT …

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Shortly after this lil’ munchkin was born, I received this short message from the friend who organized and put this plan in motion:

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OH

EM

GEE!

I’m completely blown away. Utterly Mindblown. And, this isn’t even about me. This post isn’t even about MY abilities. This post is about the decision to follow that “Nudging Voice” on the inside that continually accepts you regardless of your short comings, continually stills the storm with peace, continually reminds that His love is Perfect Love and if we choose to walk in THAT love, we’ll see through people’s imperfections. And, we’ll focus on their need. This is the Love humanity needs to thrive. This is the Love the world needs to touch so many lives.

Read between the lines, folks.

It IS hard because it naturally is dang near impossible.

But, it’s not impossible if you follow Your inner voice.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8Love Never Fails.

****This post is dedicated to the community outreach done within the walls of the http://www.streetschool.org/.

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Their ability to see beauty through ashes is changing the lives of so many discarded young teenagers.

Please visit their website and contact their donation department if you feel compelled to help.

OR reach out within your own community to something you feel tugging on your heart. It’s never too late. Never. Especially during the season of giving.

LAST TIME I CHECKED, HATE NEVER WON THE RACE. BUT IN THE END, LOVE CONQUERED ALL.

Ask and ye shall receive!

I remember this moment so vividly, like it was only yesterday …

It was early morning, the sun barely peeked through the drapes of my bedroom. I sat on the edge of my bed gently rocking the teesiest tiniest life within my arms. I clutched his soft skin against my chest breathing in every bit of his sweetness. He warmed me with such an intense love. An honest love completely untouched by the dark and twisted perversions of the world. Something I had never in my entire life experienced before. I trailed my fingertip along his face lightly touching his nose, cheeks and pouty little lips. I stared in amazement at what God had given Tyler and I. I was flabbergasted He could entrust me to carry, birth and raise something so extraordinary.  So absolutely perfect when I was so far from that word.

But, He did.

He gave me a son

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I had watched so many around me starting families. I had spent years sharing in their joys and investing in their lives. But, never could I have ever imagined a love so profound, so deep until I experienced the joy of motherhood for myself. I was in a whole new level of heaven.

Tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. I made no attempt to blink them back as they fell shamelessly down my cheeks. Sobs slowly escaped my lips and I absorbed the mega-journey laid before my feet. I vowed to not only accept it but embrace the ride humbly and graciously.

In that moment I looked up to the sky, tears still streaming down my face. And, I had a very simple conversation with God:

Please give me more time with him, God.

Please.

He’s it.

My one shot.

My one and only.

I’ll never get a redo.

I’m not having any more children.

And, I’m putting my desire out there on the table.

And, I’m asking you to find me a job that lets me work four days a week.

I’m asking you to give me just as much money as I make now so I can still contribute to our family.

I’m asking you to send me somewhere to work for someone great.

I’m asking you not because I deserve it but, because I know You love me.

And, I don’t know how you’re going to do this.

I just don’t know.

But, I won’t be discouraged. I know you’ll orchestrate this perfectly.

I trust You …

I dried my tears, wiping them from my chin and cheeks. I kissed my sweet lil’ man on the forehead brushing my lips against his baby soft skin. I hugged him tightly against me as peace fell over my mind, body and soul. I swept my hand over the peach fuzz of his head and whispered in his little ear,

“Mommy’s gonna be home more, real soon, monkey. I promise.”

(fast forward 3 1/2 months)

I sat alone in my living reading (as always) while Parker and his daddy slept the morning away. I had no idea what was about to take place …

I received a sweet little message from a family friend asking a smidgen of a favor. When I informed this person that I could actually do that for them …

The whole game changed

The rug of reason got pulled from beneath my feet

The universe shifted on its axis

And, they offered me an opportunity I absolutely couldn’t turn down.

No. Freaking. Way.

Did that just happen?!?!?!?!

::::Cue tears of joy::::

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I-Could-Not-Believe-What-Had-Just-Happened. At all. Like seriously, ARE YOU FLIPPI’N KIDDING ME?!?!?

Four days a week

Money wasn’t a problem

Flexibility when it came to my son

Bonuses

Perks

Raises

Holidays off

Not to mention, I LOVE MY BOSS!!!!

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And, the job was something rewarding. Something I could be proud of doing. Something where I was investing time and care into someone’s lives. I would be taking care of someone’s family, assisting in whatever they needed my help with. And, I couldn’t be happier.

I accepted. Without even blinking, I TOTALLY accepted!!!

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I SCREAMED YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP!

I danced around my yard like a giddy five year old thanking God for being faithful. Always faithful. Thanking him for blessing my life.

So, there you have it …

I HAVE A NEW JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Blueberry Coffee & Unicorn Cats – FTW!!!

Now … I’ve got some super interesting, totally awesome, fan-fricking-tastic news to share!!! It’s so awesome in fact, it’s hard for me to contain myself.

Like, at all. In any spectrum. Of any timeframe. Within any world. For any reason.

But, I’m totally prepping your letdown. I’m totally gearing you up to stomp on your Cheetos, your Fritos and your Doritos. I’m totally saddened to tell you: IT’S NOT TIME TO REVEAL THAT BIG SHE-BANG JUST YET.

I’m so so sorry. More sorry than you could ever imagine. Because I definitely want to divulge this oh-so-cool information.

But, I cant.

I just can’t.

And, I won’t.

I just won’t.

But, stay tuned … It’s coming MUUUUUCH sooner than you realize.

So, let’s do a random “Mindblown” post this week.

I need my mind blown away

Eh? (<—-This. Just for my Canadian family in Toronto. Hollaaaa!)

Speaking of Canadians, eh?? My brother and his wife came to visit (from Canada, in case there was any confusion which tends to happen when I rant because I talk so much. But, I’m completely okay with the fact that I talk so much because I’ve had thirty-one years to get used to it. Man, that’s a long time. Thirty-one years. Did I seriously just out myself and give my age?! Dangit! Wait … I think we were originally talking about Hosers and Canadians, right? So, in the famous words of Billy Madison, “I’m here to learn, everybody, not to make out with you. Go on with the chlorophyll.”) …

Hmmm mmm ::::clears throat:::

Like I was saying: My brother and his wife came to visit a few weeks back. We had so much flippin fun! And, there really was some flippin’ going on, in the form of my brother body slamming, contorting and wrapping my husbands’ body up like a pretzel whenever he pleased.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu FTW!!!

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Anyways, one of the great adventures we embarked on was a fantastic little coffee shop in downtown Tulsa called Topeca Coffee.

Say it, repeat it, say it again, repeat it again, burn it into memory and never forget it. T-O-P-E-C-A Coffee.

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I had the BEST cup of coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life! And, you already know I’m old so, that’s a LONG time. And, I had NO idea this quaint lil’ shop existed. I had no idea I was minutes, I mean seconds, I mean within walking distance of my daily life. (Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. It’s actually a few miles. but, who’s counting? Definitely not me. And I’m sure you’re awesome enough to do the same. Not count. Don’t do it.}

Their daily special was a cup of “Ethiopian Blend Coffee”. I had NO idea what that meant. Like, at all. I was used to generic Folgers, Maxwell House or Starbucks. And, I’m not knocking the day to day cup-o-joe. I’m just sayin’ there’s something super exhilarating about a special cup of REALLY good coffee. And, I now know what that means thanks to Topeca Coffee.

My first sip was mind boggling. It made no sense. How could coffee taste like a berry. And, I’m not talking about cheap flavoring … I’m talking about a sweet berry infused into a robust coffee bean. Absolutely authentic. It was always meant to have been there. Coffee was always supposed to taste like this. And, I was deprived my entire life for not knowing this information.

I was mindblown.

The taste was so rare, so sweet, so refined, so beautifully crafted … It couldn’t possibly be real.

Add a dash of real cream and a half packet of Splenda and BOOM!

Holy Cow-bells of Oklahoma. I was in love.

So, I took another sip, then another, and one more. Until I had to ask for another cup because I had successfully devoured the contents of my first treat, thoroughly enjoying myself more than anyone could imagine a person could enjoy themselves while drinking a single cup of coffee.

Yeah. That all happened within 10 oz of liquid awesomeness.

I got my second cup to go and raved about it as I equally had the first. With each sip, my lips and tongue melted into pure bliss. I left the coffee shop that day with a new appreciation for a great cup of coffee.

So, if you’re ever in Tulsa. Please check out Topeca Coffee. Here’s a quick link for your viewing pleasure. But, be careful … You can SMELL, literally soak into your taste buds, the robustness of their coffee. YUM.

http://www.topecacoffee.com/

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After this little adventure and my brother and sister-in-law headed home, I was bummed thinking about how I would only get to drink this coffee when I made a visit to their shop. Because my scatter-brained mess of a mind forgot to think about buying any to take home.

::::cue mom walking in with the most brilliant invention ever thought of::::

There stood my mother with a bag of Dunkin Donuts Blueberry Muffin Coffee in hand. She simply shrugged and smiled. And, my return grin ate my face up with beaming delight! I would have never even contemplated testing this flavor of coffee prior to my trip to Topeca. Never.

Because it doesn’t make sense.

There’s no way a berry could taste good in coffee.

That would be disgusting.

Right?

WRONG!

Now, let’s talk about a little thing called …

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN COFFEE!

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Heck. Who am I kidding?! It’s not little. It’s so big, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cringes in fear at the thought of it’s appearance.

Like, for REAL.

This coffee has changed my life. Literally. Unequivocally. Changed-My-Life. (And, that’s not a dramaticism … That’s plain TRUTH.)

Once my mom brewed that very first pot:

I

Was

Sunk.

To say I exploded with excitement would be the understatement of the year.

1.) Because I found something that closely matched the Ethiopian blend from Topeca!

2.) Because it literally is the best everyday cup-o-joe coffee I’ve ever had. And, I love coffee just in case you missed that.

I was totally ecstatic to weave this delightful treat into my daily routine. Because, coffee has always been an “event” in my family. And, when I say, “event”, I mean just that. An event (just so we’re clear.) We have our “morning coffee” just as you would watch your morning news or take your morning shower. We have our “afternoon coffee” just as you would take your afternoon nap or watch your afternoon soap. And, sometimes we even have our evening coffee just as you would … well, you get the point.

I have successfully drank this coffee since my first experience with it. Not to miss a single serving. And, it never gets old. I’ll never be rid of it. I should probably buy stock in it.

So, head on down to your local grocery store and pick up a bag! I promise: you WON’T be disappointed. Ever. I mean E-V-E-R.*

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that the brewing strength varies when brewing this deliciousness within a Kuerig reusable K-Cup. It depends on the size of your Kuerig and the brand of your K-Cup. I find the industrial size Kuerig’s work fantastically with the “MochaMate” brand which I use daily at work.

ENJOY THIS MOST AWESOME DISCOVERY EVER!

AND, YOU’RE WELCOME!

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Now, don’t get mad at my Unicorn Cat just because you didn’t come up with it. I’d like to thank my anonymous friend for introducing me to Facebook stickers!!!! They’re hilarious and ridiculous and fun and make no sense but, I don’t care!

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And, yes, I’m very well aware that I have a case of the “random weirdness”. I embrace it whole-heartedly. And, I hope you do too.

HAVE A SUPER FANTASTICAL WEEK!

So people often say, “Shiz rolls downhill as you get older.”

I disagree, man. I mean, completely disagree. As time passes, I’m aging like fine wine. And, if I get to choose the wine, it would be a Reisling (just in case anyone ever wants to send, give or buy me a bottle. I’ll never turn down the gift). Hitting the age of thirty is a lifetime milestone. It’s an achievement all in itself. But, often people spend this wonderful day grieving in their pity party pile of dirty laundry. Get out of your dirty laundry, people. Embrace your life. Plus, that pile smells weird!

I’ve learned more about laughter, forgiveness, freedom and finding oneself in the last year than I have within the combined thirty years prior. I’ve had countless revelations and understandings about others, about myself and most importantly about life.

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I celebrated twelve years achieved, spent, conquered with my spouse when so many have thrown the towel in for us. We threw it in their face. And, we laughed while dancing on the headstone of the nay-sayers defeat.

Ha-haha-hahahaha! We survived. No, we Thrived and overcame so much. Easy? Nope. Worth it? Absolutely. Starting a relationship at eighteen and marrying at twenty-two is no easy task. No siree! And, it’s almost unheard of anymore, which is sad but true. It’s one of the hardest yet rewarding adventures of my life. I love him. I love his quirky, hyper, intense personality. I love his extreme drive to provide for his family. I love that he still looks at me like no one else is in the room. I love that he always makes me laugh. I love that he’s loyal. I love that he’s incredibly hot. I love all of him. He still gives me butterflies.

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I learned the passionate love, riveting attraction and spellbinding emotion a fan-frickin-tastic fiction novel delivers. The feelings a good story-teller can invoke within you completely blows my mind.

Completely

Utterly

Absolutely

Unequivocally

Blows – my – mind.

I’m in love with a good story. I’m absorbed by the places it takes me. It fascinates me to peel the layers of an intricately designed plot and the characters it displays. It’s like my very own present that I get to unwrap and when I finally get to its contents, I’m in a state of pure bliss. Yes – I love to read. Throw some heartache and a little romantic edge into the mix and you’ve absolutely busted the piñata of my brain.

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I walked a horrible pregnancy journey. It was my first and my only. Terrible. Disgusting. Annoying. I absolutely hated it. I lost 100 % control of my body, felt like my internal organs were being rearranged into a hodge podge mess of slush, and expelled at least half of my stomach’s contents per day for a seven month stretch. It felt like the longest nine months of my life. I was bitchy. I was rude. I lacked any compassion for anything that breathed, got in my way, or just showed up.  I wanted to punch every single person who touched my shoulder gently and said,

“Sweetheart. This is the greatest experience of your life. Embrace it. Enjoy it. You’re growing a human. What a beautiful experience this should be.”

Are you kidding me? Are you seriously telling me that getting punched, kicked, clawed, head-butted and booty-bumped by something the size of a melon from the inside out, is beautiful? That stabbing my finger four times daily to test my blood sugar is beautiful? That puking my stomach’s contents is beautiful? That having about forty-two minutes of energy within a twenty-four hour period, is beautiful? Maybe I missed that memo. Or maybe your memo is delusional. Or maybe I need Jesus. (Wait! I already have Him! I probably just need more.) But never-the-less,

He was born …

My child was born …

My magnificently beautiful baby boy was born …

And, oh my Lord! There are no words …

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They laid him on my chest, wrapped in a tiny swaddled blanket and he cried. He cried so loud that it became music to my ears. And, then I cried. A beautiful ugly cry. I held him so close as the tears streamed down my cheeks. I bonded to the tiniest little soul I’d ever held. He was wonderful. He was marvelous. He mesmerized me. I clutched his daddy’s hand as he leaned over and kissed my forehead. We both stared in utter awe at something God created and allowed to grow within me. So, this is what the moms of the world were talking about …

I was in love. He captivated my heart from his first breathe. And, every bit of angst I suffered during pregnancy was worth it. One hundred percent worth it! MINDBLOWN.

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I finally had balance. I finally understood peace. My fear of losing myself after giving birth diminished. It made me better, stronger. It made me complete. I embraced being a mother. I wrapped it up nicely into the package of every insecurity I had ever felt. I combined it with each strength I had reluctantly yet finally allowed God to mold and shape within me. And, I let each attribute: mom, wife, daughter, friend, singer, outdoorsman, athlete, inspired & creative mind swarm my entire being.  I was proud to hold each and every dynamic facet as a part of me. All of me. I felt polished, rejuvenated.

See, in the first year of my 30’s I learned that it’s ok to:

Be wounded

Be dimpled

Feel pain

Give laughter

Embrace your struggles

Share victories

Remember truth

Love shamelessly

Forgive often

Dare to follow dreams

Get back up

Get back up again

The first year of my thirties, I grew up. I became exactly who I was always intended to be. Getting older really is a state of mind. I don’t mind it so much. I’m ready to take this ride head on!

Welcome to the Mindblown Chronicles.

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If you had to choose one Marvel Superhero to rescue you from certain death, who would it be and why?

Oooooooooh … Now, that’s a toughie. It would be a cross between Thor and Captain America for obvious reasons. 1-they are the alter ego of Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans. 2-They’re hot. 3-One throws a shield and one throws a hammer. How can you go wrong?

You’re house is on fire and you can grab 3 things, and 3 things only (excluding your family and animals) before the roof collapses. What are those 3 things and why?

1.) Pictures-pictures-pictures. You can’t get those back. That-Is-All.

2.) My slalom waterski. It’s the first ski I ever bought on my own. It’s an O’Brien which is what I learned to ski on. It was only $25 but, I’m proud of it.

3.) My purse. You need no explanation other than, “DUH!”

You recently found out that animals can actually talk. Does this scare, excite, or freak you out?

How is everyone just now figuring out that animals can talk? It’s nothing new. Why am I the only one who knows this?!?!

You have 3 foods to live off of for the rest of your life. What are they and why?

Mashed potatoes, sushi, and bbq chicken. In that order but not blended together because that would be disgusting. Preferably not even on the same plate. I’d like three individual plates. One purple, one red, and one blue.

Mashed potatoes – Hello????? Have you had homemade mashed potatoes with cream cheese, sweet cream butter and colby jack shredded cheese? This deserves a Mindblown post all in itself. Pure utter bliss in your mouth.

Sushi – tiny packaged awesomeness all rolled up in the sweetness of sea weed? I crave sushi. I need sushi. I want to marry sushi. I love sushi.

Bbq chicken – If you’ve ever had my dad’s bbq chicken, this post will make complete sense. If you have not, I’m sure there is an empty aching sensation deep in your belly clawing at me to share with you. I probably won’t though. And, I’m so sorry. This is one thing I can’t give up. I-Need-It-All-To-Myself.

Why does Coke use regular cherry when Pepsi gets to use Wild Cherry?

Because Coke is SO Awesome that it doesn’t NEED the extra wild. It’s super on its own.

Why have poets been so silent on the subject of cheese?

I have absolutely no idea what’s going on right now.

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