Mother Hustler

Some say I am overly obsessed with my kids. To this I say, “Say it louder for the people in the back.” Because this is 100 percent accurate.

I hear those from a distance saying that I am crazy for investing so much time, and funds, to propel a future for my kids that will more than likely not have the outcome that they desire. I know statistically speaking the odds are against them. The difference in you and me is I believe wholeheartedly that my children are capable of great things.

This is where it gets interesting. You see, I don’t see failure from your viewpoint. I see failure as a means to grow. A means to learn. A means to install real life scenerios, into their reality.

I have been asked on several occasion… “Why do you spend so much money on tumbling?” “Why do you spend money on basketball training?” “Do you think its smart to put your child into the entertainment industry?” and my favorite, “Do you really believe they will make it to that level of success?” Simply put, I Do Not Know.

What I can tell you is that as I parent, it is my job to show my kids that they can chase after their dreams. To not become stagnant in life, and most importantly, To NEVER give up.

Life isn’t going to miraculously conjure things for them, as we all know. It takes hard work ethic to get to a level of success. It takes grind, It takes dedication, and it takes a team, who truly believes in them.

Guess what yall… I AM THAT TEAM! I believe that there is something motivational in inspiring your kids. If my child came to me today and told me that they will be the next NBA all star, I will immediately begin guiding said child to the vigorous expectations of what it ensues, to even have a chance to get to that level.

There will be days where I will need to push them, there will be days where I will need to humble them, there will be days I will have to offer them a shoulder to cry on. One thing that is permanent in all these equations is, that I will be there through it all.

If your child has a dream, do not be so quick to brush it off. Allow them the opportunity to find out if it is for them. If they find it is not their cup of tea, is it money lost for you…Yes. But at what cost does it come for them to learn and grow? Money can be replaced, but having a parent who helps their child chase their dreams, and maybe, just maybe, lead them to greatness… Well that can never be replaced.

When I chose to become a Mother, I chose to create a World with them as an essential part of it. I didnt choose to watch them fade into the background. Its a process of allowing their dreams to possibly one day become reality.

At the end of the day, I will have no regrets. As a mother I hustle every single day. I drive myself mad at times, pushing myself into overdrive. There are days where my cup overflows with all the scheduling, all the puzzle pieces, but eventually I know they will fall in place.

Will I one day see my kids on T.V, in movies, or on the sidelines at college gameday? Who knows. I can tell you this though, when I am dead and gone, my kids will always remember I believed in them. They will most likely never remember the dollar amount or the stress I was under, but they will always remember that I was always there cheering them on from the outskirts looking in.

So…Am I obsessed? Yes. As a parent I am supposed to be. And I will never hold them back. I will fight my way through the naysayers, to be a mother who is at the end of the day simply there. In the future they will remember that their mom was a Mother Hustler, they will see the passion, as well as the guidance that no one else can give. They will see that no matter what the cost, momma found a way. I am simply giving them something that cannot be replaced… A Mothers Undying Love. And the tools to success at the end of the day.

Good Ole Days in Todays “Normal”

There has been no greater headache than raising two teenagers in todays society. I say this with so much love within my heart. Where there is love, there is heartache. Where there is joy, there are tears.

The amount of tiredness I feel daily as a mother is all consuming. There are moments within every day, where I find a semblance of peace watching my kids grow and learn within the teachings of my parenting. I would love nothing more than to say that life is perfect. I could write the words that every momma wants to hear (Parenting is easy.) But lets face the true reality of parenting, there is literally nothing easy about it.

Our children are living in a world that is changing drastically day to day. The good ole days are gone, and in its place is a world that tells us that our way of growing up is wrong. So wrong in fact, that it is made a sin to live by no other standard than the ones that they give us. Reality is, that I find myself wanting more of my raisings and less (much less) of the normalcy of todays World.

Trying to intermingle the “old days,” in with the “New Age” ways is a challenge for every parent raising their children in 2021. No matter how you put it, We are stressed and tired in the worst of ways. I find myself wanting a break more than I want air. Todays standards for parents are not only ridiculous, but unrealistic.

Raising kids is more than hard. It is all consuming. When do we quit laying in bed at night wondering if technology is ruining our kids? The exposure to the current state of the World is damaging to every household at best. I cant imagine the thoughts that must be stirring in our kids heads as they rest at night. The normalcy that is portrayed on the great World Web, is anything but normal. And the thought of trying to make our kids believe that this “Perfect” World is looking out for their best interest, is the scariest thing to a parent.

Really think about what is taught, not in your household, but behind the gadgets that every child has to have nowadays. It is not only affecting our kids, but it is making it so that our households are under minded. At the end of the day we have to have some sort of reprieve. The real reality is that we are living in a time where we are told that it is ok to expose our kids to a ridiculous amount of non-moral teachings, and then to tell us that it is “normal” because the internet has told us so, is absolutely a disservice to all of humanity.

When are we going to wake up and see that are our kids are just that kids. When are we going to open our eyes and stop putting the responsibilities on our kids that most adults cannot even deal with on a daily basis. Are we raising our kids to be adults…Yes 100%, but we also have to make sure that they have a childhood filled with child memories, instead of childhood memories filled with adult responsibilities.

Call me crazy but looking at my life, I smile at the memories. Playing chase with my cousins, fishing with my brother and sister, and whether or not I was going to get in trouble for putting a dent in my mothers car. Am I any less of a parent for wanting more than what I am assumed to do? Are you crazy for wanting to create a home enviroment fueled by love and peace, rather than chaos and uncertainty. I am done trying to appease what the World believes is supposed to be normal for a parent. Maybe, just maybe, the Good Ole Days were just that. When the days were good and the normalcy was what has made us value the importance of our responsibilities. And in parenthood in todays World, I will teach and honor the values taught through my childhood. I will not be taught to reprogram my life, or my children, to adhere to what the World considers “NORMAL.”

Will The REAL MVP’s Please Stand Up

Let’s just call it like it is… 2020 was hard and that is saying it gracefully. As we finish this year, we all will be reliving it from the month January until December. We will focus on our lives and how we have endured a year that has held challenges like no other. Where does this leave us? Where do we begin? Not just to recover, but find an opportunity to where if we are faced with another 2020, we can overcome?

So let’s go ahead and replay the year from the beginning.

January- We began like all other years. We set our goals, and we were determined to find a way to accomplish our resolutions. We were excited for a new phase in our lives to where we knew we were more than capable in our mindset to readjust and prosper without hesitation. Maybe you set yourself on a healthier lifestyle. Maybe you were dead set on thriving in your workforce to gain further knowledge to gain a promotion. Or you were focused on becoming a better mother, father, friend. No matter what your goals were for the new year, you had something no one could take away MOTIVATION!

February-March-April-May- We knew that there was a virus succumbing the world. We were sitting in front of the news, trying to obtain normalcy as our lives were at stake. Not just our health, but our daily lives were beginning to become different. We were making adjustments the only way we could, and as our ancestors before us, we were forced to come to the realization that we all were at risk. Our lives as we had always known it to be was changing. Were we really prepared for the changes? There is no doubt in my mind that we thought we were ready, but our lives were not prepared for what the year had in store for us all.

June-July-August– We knew changes were happening, but we didn’t know the extent. It was Summer. We tried our best to continue our lives as “normal” as possible. We tried to keep things normal for our children, for our family. But this time in the year was when our normalcy drastically changed.

We were seeing the chaos that Covid-19 brought. It hit all of us like a bolt of lightening striking one family to another. It was a hit like nothing this generation had seen. This was when we- for the first time- saw the emptiness of streets, that were once filled with family outings, laughter, music, and joy. There was an increase in business closings, which resulted in the inevitable- Permanent closings, Layoffs, and most crippling Job loss- across the World.

We were left fending for ourselves. Wondering where we could find assistance to pay our bills, Feed our children, and worst of all find our Faith. Faith that would lead us day by day, minute to minute, to remind us that we had to keep moving forward. We couldn’t hesitate. We knew that only the strong minded would overcome in this pandemic. And no matter how much we wanted to throw up our hands and simply give up, we couldn’t, WE WOULDN’T! We knew we were stronger than that, so we adjusted and kept going.

September-October– We saw every possible scenario playing out. People were finding strength at every avenue they could. We were seeking to prevail, even as we were seeing loved ones struggle. We were burying our loved ones, remaining 6 feet apart, and relying on technology to save our jobs and interact with others.

We watched our children being pulled from school, only to become teachers ourselves, and lets face it…(WE PARENTS WERE NOT EQUIPPED FOR THE CHANGE) The teachers were adjusting as they initiated virtual learning, while we were adjusting to find a way to make ends meet, finding work where we could, while making sure our kids were obtaining a learning curve. We were exhaughsted. We were stressed. We were undoubtedly struggling.

We again sought to prevail in all the changes being hurled our way. The force of impact was devastating. We were full of questions. How do we work and teach at the same time? How do we work to ensure our children are fed, when we have children at home needing us home with them? How do we stay safe? and again most importantly… How do we keep our faith alive when we have been knocked down at every turn?

Yet again, we kept moving forward knowing that there was light at the end of the tunnel, or the end of the year. We lived as best as we could while continuously adjusting, continuously praying, and continuously suppressing the urge to lie down and give up.

NovemberDecember– We saw a change. Not in the everchanging pandemic guidelines. No, they were still at an all time spiral. We woke every day knowing our changes with everyday life were inevitable. But the changes we sought seemed to come from within. The holidays have always held a semblance of reprieve. The world around us had gone through an intervention as a whole. We saw how it was defining who we were as individuals and simply spoken…WE HAD ENOUGH!

We were done living in the constant state of overwhelmingly fear. We saw enough in the year to know that life is never promised tomorrow. So where did that leave us? It left us seeking!

We were now seeking refuge in the most precious of places. We reinvented the dynamic of what life is, by standing still and taking away all the noise. We stopped all the things that was meaningless as we redirected of focus.

For me I found the old ways of life. I sought out a more simple time. For a reference I sought out my late grandmother. I knew that she cherished every living breath she had on Earth. I knew that she had overcome obstacles that would have broken any lesser woman. And I knew that she did so with PRIDE! Which had me sitting on my couch, and seeking the meaningful things within the year.

*I had the blessing of reconnecting with my heart. I learned that everything doesn’t have to be perfect to be great. I have to say getting to see my kids overcome their own obstacles with stride, allowed me to know that they are watching and learning from us. Proud is an understatement of what our children deserves this year.

*I saw my husband’s challenges and worried that he would crumble under the stress of life, but my worries were my own ignorance. All I saw was strength, devotion, and love to not let his family do without. He kept striving and ultimately he continues to prevail.

*I saw strength in healthcare workers, with lack of sleep and with limited supplies, they all overcame. They cared enough to love us at our worst, and loved us enough to sacrifice their own lives and families to let us know that they were not giving up on us.

*I saw teachers loving our kids from afar as they passed out lunches at the door for those who were in need, and called to make sure our kids knew that they were simply there for them.

*I saw families coming together to make sure everyone wasn’t drowning in grief, going hungry, or lacking in faith.

*I saw a world I was proud of. A world where we overcame the year, where love overshadowed the pandemic.

So no this has not been a great year- but it was a wonderful year nontheless. I sought out to begin the year 2020 with Motivation. Most of you are thinking that this was not your year, but I am here to tell you that it most definitely was.

You found yourself in a time where the odds were NOT in your favor. You see, you did it! Not only did you overcome every obstacle that was determined to bring you down, but you succeeded in every way. You prevailed! So where Time Magazine may have selected two people as person of the year, I say look in the mirror! We are all deserving of Person of the Year! So stand up- because YOU ARE THE REAL MVP OF THE YEAR! And 2021 is lucky to have us all entering the New Year alongside each other.

The Reasoning

I woke up this morning angry. I took the kids to school and on my way home, I was in tears questioning everything. How is it that life has flipped so quickly, to where I was asking God why? Why is it this time in my life has come to a point where I was left questioning everything around me?

I came home and the anger was all consuming. I asked my husband why is God allowing these things to happen to us? In which he responded, there is always a reason. A reason I wanted now. In that moment I wanted answers to the turmoil rolling inside my mind. I felt the need after months of staying positive, after months of knowing that the devil was working hard against us, after months of crying, sleepless nights, and struggle. I felt I deserved to know “The Reasoning” behind the act that had felt the need to bring so much turmoil within my household.

Then I felt the guilt. Guilt for something I had no control over. Because the months leading up to this moment, had left me questioning God. What right do I have to do so? Why is it I bare the World upon my shoulders? Why is it I feel the need, even in my own struggles to hold others up? Adding so much weight that I feel as if at any moment I will collapse?

I am that person, who even through her own storms will pack on the chaos of others until I am crawling in order to help someone else in need. I am the person who allows so much burden to consume my existence that I am forced to fall. Emotions that I carry are often times not my burden to carry at all. And in doing so I am left crippled with grief.

I never want anyone to think I am not there for them. Sometimes that ends up being by kryptonite. I can give more of myself to others than I can stand. The reasoning being because I know the feeling of being let down. I KNOW THE FEELING OF DEPRESSION. I am but a tiny spec upon a crowd, and yet I still carry on helping others. Yes it is a beautiful existence, but sometimes the burdens I am going through has me so consumed that adding anything other than my own, takes me to a place I never want to be.

Questions are asked, faith is given, but I remind you that even Jesus asked God “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm22:1) Such a human thing for him to say. So I remind you, as I remind myself, there will always be others who are malevolent (having or showing a wish to do evil to others.) There will always be questions that will go unanswered. There are always others who want to see your failure, with their hands stained and mouths soaked in your turmoil… But there is also a purity to your circumstances. God knows we suffer, he knows we struggle, but he also knows that we are stronger than our situations. We can and will overcome obstacles, and find something to look back on to be thankful for within the storms.

I find my anger to be impossibly all consuming at times, but I remain true to who I am and what I stand for. I refuse to allow myself even a brief moment of humanity to where anyone can say I am just as evil as those who seek it towards me. I am trying, I am fighting, and in the end I will look back and see I was the VICTOR!

TODAY

You may be uncertain where life is leading you. If there is anything this year has taught us all, is that uncertainty is within our lives. It holds true that life has curveballs being thrown at us from every direction. That is an anomaly that will follow us throughout our life. Something that we feel the need to control, but we learn throughout life it is something that is uncontrollable. The only thing that we have control over is how we handle each and every turn. Some call it struggles, some call it seasons. This year I have taught myself to call it TODAY.

You see if I call the difficulties in life “seasons” then I am giving life to the future of difficulties. I have no need within my frame of mind to see that my hardships come in seasons. Seasons last months before the change happens. In fact by doing so, I am teaching my frame of mind to accept the longevity of my current state. I simply have learned that if I refer to my hardships as Today, then I am leaving the option to have peace tomorrow. Which in turn allows me time to breath, as well as have faith that tomorrow will be better.

Will that peace come to me tomorrow? Only God knows that answer, but why should we accept that our time with difficulties continue on for months to come. I have found within my heart that holding the possibility that tomorrow will be difficult, allows me time to dwell on tomorrows problems before tomorrow even arises.

Allow yourself to heal today. Even if tomorrow is difficult. Because if we dread tomorrow before it arises, then we are doing ourselves a disservice. Happiness can be formed by looking forward to tomorrow rather than dreading it before happens.

Mary Swinney

Now, I know what some of you are thinking… “How can you look forward to tomorrow when today is so hard.” It isn’t easy at all, in fact it is a constant struggle to refrain from future sabatoge. The amount of pain we go through in life is at an all time high. Even the mental capability of the events that have taken place in 2020 has been overwhelming to say the least. Maybe some of you have lost loved ones, maybe some of you have taken job losses, maybe some of you have dealt with personal battles. One thing is true in all of these things…YOU! You have made it to a point within your life where you are seeing change all around you. Even if you weren’t ready for it. Sometimes our comfort level here in this World is shaken.

With this, we have to understand that some things, as much as we want to hold the chaos at a distance, it will inevitably come into our lives. A play that we do not want, but have to overcome. In hindsight we have to also understand that we can overcome all things. I believe that we all are strong minded individuals given the tools to become so.

Just Remember two things: 1. You are enough– Even on the days where tears are flowing, and nothing seems right. Remind yourself that you CAN OVERCOME! 2. There is nothing that can bring you to a point of no return. You WILL look back months from today and see the progress you have made, and with that you will be proud of the person you are, and how you used grace to become anew.

Deal with the uncertainties of Today, but look forward to tomorrow. Your destiny isn’t over, it is just beginning.

Mary Swinney

No Judgements

When it comes to picking a gym, there are many things we take into consideration. Some will say cardio is where they thrive, where others will swear by weights, HITT, or even aerobics. Where finding a perfect gym can be a hassle to most, Ryan Dalton can say “Not anymore.”

What if there was a place where everything was at your fingertips? A place where you can release the stress holding you captive within your life, and even enjoy relaxation afterwards, without having to leave to travel to another location. It seems too good to be true? That is exactly what Crunch Fitness in Florence Alabama is bringing to your fingertips.

Ryan Dalton the owner of the new location opening in October, has much experience within the industry. A native of Fayetteville, TN, his passion of fitness was developed at a young age of 15, and continued to follow him on his path through life. At 25 years of age, he sought out and kickstarted his dream by becoming nationally certified as a personal trainer with Cooper Institute. Here he continued his passion by beginning his own personal training business called Dalton’s Fitness. This however was just the beginning of his effort to becoming an owner of the franchise known as Crunch Fitness.

At age 32, he alongside of his wife Carlie Dalton opened their first 24 hour gym Dalton’s Fitness. A successful venture which led them to open a second location in 2018. As their business grew so did their vision. They wanted a place where every venue of fitness could be obtained and with much consideration in 2019, they bought into the franchise Crunch Fitness.

Knowing location was key, after much consideration, Florence Alabama was at the forefront of their decision. They found that the community, who has welcomed them in strides, to the UNA campus, that Florence would be a prime location to build the first Crunch Fitness in North Alabama. They could bring to the citizens a high value as well as offering a low cost to those who want fitness within their lives.

With gym memberships on the rise, the ability to accommodate all avenues of styles is key. From a ride studio to weightlifting , Crunch has created a 25,000 square foot location to bring you nothing but the best the industry has to offer. With amenities such as tanning, Rejuvenation Red Light Therapy, even a 3D Body Scanner, the possibilities beyond the doors of Crunch are endless. With everything under one roof the need for multiple subscriptions, at multiple locations is void. By allowing everything at your fingertips in one general location, cuts both time and money. At a price affordable to everyone.

With enrollment now open, the need for fitness within your life is as easy as ever. With the newest technology you will find yourself in awe of what Crunch can bring to you, and how the No judgement will benefit you in the years to come.

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Your Song is Your Humanity

If you would have told me ten years ago what my life had in store for me, I would have laughed at the craziness of what life had yet to unfold, then I would have taken a moment to pause and think to myself if it was possible. My love for writing has always been present since early childhood, but it wasnt until I was at a low in my life, eight years ago, when I began to see the healing powers it had upon my soul.

When I really began to pour out my words for others to read was when I found a piece of myself I never knew existed. Call me crazy, but nothing made a lick of sense to me until that moment. I had lived my life always questioning what my journey held. I questioned college, and even had several jobs that I considered to hold my passion, only to come to the conclusion that my passion was elsewhere. I was at a disadvantage in life(Or so I thought). I was almost thirty wondering where my life had gone and where did I go wrong? However, I learned along the way that God has timing unlike anything I have ever seen. He was preparing me along the way and I was just too blinded to see it within my own timing.

It took me along time to get here in this moment. It took moving away from Sweet Home Alabama, to show me where my heart thrived. It took me facing obstacles, diversities, and even self reflection to be standing today with the words to write, and inspire. I even remember the moment when it all clicked. I found myself constantly telling others I was meeting, along my travels, of how amazing my hometown was and how they should visit. It wasn’t just interesting for me, it was like breathing air. You see I love The Shoals. I love the history it holds within the small towns that surround one another. I love the music that is never ending and the way our community thrives with the words hidden between the beat.

That was when I realized music and myself are a lot alike. I may not be one who speaks openly about my day to day life, but I can give you the words to read, and connect. This is what makes the sound of our own come to light. Whether you are hidden within the music, or an open book, our words have more of an impact than we can imagine. Which is why I believe our stories can bring to light a situation someone else is pursuing.

Its beautiful and it is relatable. Which is why I decided then and there that if God ever brought me back home, I would find a way to intertwine our stories and make them human. This is what we need yall. It is that humanity that creates a life worth living. Who is to say that the last person you came in contact with needed your story. Who is to say that your past had a purpose, even when your own doubt was suffocating you.

So sing your songs with passion. Sing them with pride, because that songstress within you needs to be heard by someone who needs to be inspired.

There is Music within our stories. Some dark, some happy, some fun. But all music is inspiring to the right listener.

Mary Swinney

Take Life One Sip At A Time

As of late, I have found myself over analyzing everything. From my health, to my family and friends, to everything that life has been hauling towards me. I decided that it was time for me to gather a few of my girls together and have a GNO. It was something that I have been needing mentally for a while. It seems that sometimes all we need is someone to sit down next to you, and listen as you pour your heart out. Someone to just gather what you have been feeling, and take away, if only an ounce of your problems.

I wanted to find a place where we could all sit and be able to talk, in an intimate setting where there was no chaos, only solitude surrounding us. Adding a glass or two of wine would be a perk to the evening. So without even questioning it I knew the perfect place to where I could catch up with the girls, and ease my heart from the stress of the past weeks.

As soon as I walked into The Carriage I was blown away with the assortments of the wine displayed around me. I took in the vibe of the place, and had a feeling of modern day -old world, with the dark undertones with pops of color throughout. There was soft music playing overhead and I was instantly in love with the space. The feeling of calmness surrounded me as I made my way straight to the bar where I was greeted by two individuals, who not only greeted me with a smile, but welcomed me straight away to a glass of House Cabernet (The way to my heart). The appreciation i had for them was instantaneous. They had no clue of the past few weeks I have had, but still made an effort to make me feel home and welcomed to the establishment.

I sat quietly towards the back, as I waited for the others to arrive. While sipping on my glass of wine I decided to pass time by catching up on some emails. I stopped for a moment and realized just how much I needed this place. A few hours dressed up, with my wine glass in hand, and a few minutes of quiet peace. Which in turn got me thinking of just how much the past few months have been weighing heavy on me.

How is it that I have allowed so many emotions to go unoticed to so many? I have been open to those who are closest to me about the fear of my remission coming to an end, but how is it that I expect others to understand what I feel inside without the words coming from my mouth? I am a VERY private person when it comes to my homelife, but this fear within me is something that so many others have as well. I had realized sitting in silence, surrounded by no one, that there was a possibility that in the near future I would have to tell everyone that I was preparing myself for a diagnosis, that had once placed fear writhing in my mind, body, and soul.

I sat in slilence, thinking of the gentlness I had to be with myself, and the understanding in knowing that I was more in control this time than last time. Last time I was blindsided by the diagnosis of Follicular Carcinoma a form of Thyroid cancer. It was so unexpected that I had zero time to understand what was happening around me. I honestly just had a goiter, that was all it had been. I underwent the biopsy to learn that it was benign, I did the labs, I took the time to understand that surgery was optional, but went with my gut and ultimately made the desicion to have my thyroid removed. A decision that SAVED MY LIFE!

I followed all the rules and still recieved a phone call telling me that I did in fact have cancer. This snowballed into months of chaos. My mind was strong as my body struggled through, joint pain, memory loss, and one of the most awful side effects…. TIREDNESS. A tiredness that I cannot ever explain plagued my body until I was begging for someone to help me. I was in a state that I never want to be in again… I was vulnerable. This time though I was more in control. In fact I am prepared.

I have sought out the future, doing everything within my power to be ahead of the diagnosis, which God willing may never come. I am surrounding myself with those I love and attempting to stray away from negative energy. I am filling my body with positivity, and self-love. I am simply being gentle with myself at this time. I am a firm believer that healing starts within. it is something that this go around I am adament about.

I didn’t realize just how much I needed a night out. The crazy thing is that I found more within myself in thirty minutes of silence than I did the rest of the night. I always seem to find myself thanking God for taking the time to help me understand that all my emotions are valid. It is easy to panic in times where we know things are tilting, but keeping ourselves in check is a strength that may not be seen outwards, but can be felt within. I felt a piece of my soul shift into a knowing peace, as I saw the first of many start to come in.

I spent the next hour catching up on things happening and felt the positive energy flowing around me. While my mind was still reeling with the fact that the future holds two paths

1. my remission stays in tact

2. I will be planning to kick cancer again

Either way it was ok to feel as if I needed something in this moment. I needed to feel as though someone would listen, I needed to feel as if I was surrounded with love, I needed to feel as if those I love cared. And I knew that it was ok to feel this way. I am allowed to feel so strongly, as everyone is, illness or not.

So as I gave Salute to those sitting with me, I also gave a Salute to myself. For I am the one who knows the emotions within my mind, I am the one who knows the pain in the process, and I also know the feelings of watching my husband and kids, seeing me in this state. I pray for healing, I pray for guidance, and I pray that my journey helps those who are experiencing the same feelings as I am.

I found myself in the most unhurried place, and spent the remainder of the evening listening, laughing, and enjoying a great glass of wine. I put the doubts away, and focused on allowing myself a moment of certainty that every thing I come up against, will only lead me to seeing things in a new light. Just like sitting in a blue velvet chair, led me to understand that I may be scared, but there is strength unlike any other in a person who has the ability to create love from a vulnerable state of mind.

Salute My Friends

Make sure to visit The Carriage at both locations listed below.

121 E Mobile St. Florence, AL 35630 (256)-810-3752

320 N Montgomery Ave. Sheffield, AL 35660 (256)-627-9067

Website and Events: http://www.carriagewine.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/the_carriage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.cm/TheCarriage

A Date With Me

Time as of lately has seemed to be speeding away from all of us. With all the tasks that carries us everyday we find ourselves dreaming of slowing down enough just to catch a break. My daily life is filled with errands that need to be ran, appointments that have to be set up, and people who I find myself always needing to make time for. With this all piled upon my shoulders, I find it hard to sometimes move. I seem to tell myself that more people take than they give, and burden more than they help.

Yesterday I felt the tension rolling through me and even felt the overwhelming cycle of life beginning to push me to a point that would have me spewing more apologies than your welcomes. Reminding myself that this was not who I was, and not what I represent to those who do give me their time, I decided that it was time for a much needed date…. with myself. I knew that some alone time resetting was exactly what I needed. Without focusing on another individual I found myself re-establishing my thoughts, and this is what I found. I found myself at war with myself. My thoughts had turned negative, spewing uncertainties, and welcoming negativity. I found myself on the verge of tears to have gotten to a point where I was not being gentle with myself. Instead I had allowed my though process to criticize the most valuable thing I had on my side…ME.

I took time to not just review my thought process, but also to redirect them to that of positivity and love. By telling myself that I was beautiful to not only notice my flaws, but to love them for what they were, it began to instantly change my attitude. It seemed that by replacing my inner dialogue I allowed my self forgiveness to what I had allowed myself to become.

*I was hating my body for always seeming to betray my health- with a trace of health issues that I had to once again battle with. I had to make peace with my body. I had to understand the strength that it has taken, the will to overcome, and the faith that I had somehow rendered constant within my journey, was that of my own power. I knew that my body was stronger than any thing standing in my path.

*I was hating my worth. Knowing that I strived everyday to be someone to somebody had began to crumble my self-esteem. I honestly struggle with acceptance. Not that of wanting to fit in, but that of wanting everyone to do for me as I would do for them. I know that everyone is different, and that no two souls are the same. Reminding myself that my tribe is the ultimate goal of love, tenderness, communication, and strength was enough for me to reset and allow my worth to be enough.

So much of ourselves are at a disadvantage because of our thinking. Thinking that we are not of importance is one of the most demeaning examples of self-abuse. We have to love ourselves and know that it is important to make sure that we separate ourselves at times to rediscover what makes us unique, what make us loving, and what makes us worthy.

I think of yesterday and think of the moment I was a peace. I was driving around Muscle Shoals and ended up in the parking lot of the Trap House. To most people who visit they are there for their famous Tea Bombs, or their shakes, but for me it was as simple as a refreshing moment in which I was confident enough to be alone with myself. Before even walking through the doors I was smiling, especially when I saw the Rainbow chalked in the concrete. I was immediately reminded how God sends us signs that all is amazing. Even in our depths, he has the ability to put us in positions where we find his grace and love.

Part of that grace and love was a woman by the name of Mayra. As the owner of Trap House, I felt an instant comfort within her presence. Knowing that this was my first time there, she made sure to explain the process from what went into my drink, the benefits, and took joy with just having a conversation with me. Even with a hammer in my hand she kept conversation flowing, while her smile lite up the room.

Knowing that she had no clue what battles I had been through with myself, it was a refreshing experience to be in the presence of someone who’s goals were the same as mine. To bring laughter, love, and joy to others.

I had no clue as to what yesterday would being me. As with most days we sometimes are caught blindsided with the overwhelming needs of the world. Luckily for me, the needs of the world were put on pause. For a moment I reconnected with my self, and simply had one of the best dates of my life.

Be easy on yourself, and remember that you are not alone. Every one of us is constantly working on figuring it out. If it takes you dating yourself then I would say go for it. We have only one life, and I would much prefer you to love every minute of it, and that means loving every minute of who you are.

T.R.A.P House Nutrition Smoothie and Juice Bar

http://www.instagram.com/traphouse.nutrition

http://www.facebook.com/traphousenutrition

605 Buena Vista Ave. Muscle Shoals Al 35661

In the Shadow

Silent Sacrifices

As a mother, my intentions will always be what is best for my husband and kids. Lets be honest in saying that in order to be a wonderful mother that “silent’ sacrifices are always being made. I say silent because these sacrifices are the ones that we hold within, without trying to appear selfish to those quick to judge. There is a lot of guilt that comes with being a wonderful leader to the family, that everyone experiences, but no one speaks of. One being we have to give up a part of ourselves. Yes, I said it, because its true. I am one who has put my own inspirations and dreams aside so that my family could come to a place of comfort and sustainability.

When I decided to be a mother I knew the type of mom I wanted to be. I wanted to be understanding, loving, a great leader,present and most importantly I wanted my kids to see that no matter what life throws our way, that family would always be there, NO MATTER WHAT. I make sure to be at most school functions, I make sure that they have everything they need, I am always there with no questions asked. This is not because I have to be, but because this is who I chose to be as a mother, and I know that my kids are thankful, if not today then they will be one day. This is something that I have dedicated my life towards. I have made sure that my wants, and needs were pushed away in order to give my kids the life that I felt they deserved and continue to deserve.

When it comes to my husband I have done the same. I have sacrificed a lot to ensure that his career has grown over the years. I have ensured that the household stayed afloat as he has traveled, without me and the kids, knowing that he was sacrificing as well. He has missed seeing those special moments that I have had the joy of cherishing, and he had to withstand not being there on occasions that I will hold as some of the greatest moments in my life. We have balanced work and family for years and we have maintained an understanding that we have to work together. We have been teetering on when my time would come to become more, knowing that I do eventually want something more than to be a stay at home mom.

You see I am first and foremost a mother and wife, but I am also so much more. I have unselfishly stayed within the shadows supporting and cheering on my favorite people in the world. It is, and will always be my greatest accomplishment. I also feel a small void that screams to show everyone exactly who I am beyond the title of mom and wife.

A few years back I found myself praying more often, “God when will my time be here?” I see my husband viewing landmarks and seeing views that I have only dreamed about, while I am cleaning a house every day and making sure I am prepared for the same exact day tomorrow. Even though I sometimes feel this way, everyday I am thankful of the life that my sweet family has built together. Honestly there are days where I am a tadbit jealous of the fact that my husband gets to see so many amazing places, but I also know that he is jealous that I get to experience special moments with our kids. Beyond these feelings our goals are the same in being that we are working together to give our kids the life that they deserve. We are parents who would move mountains, or states to make sure that happens. We only get one shot at creating wonderful people, and that is our main focus in this stage in life.

I want everyone to see the struggles, sacrifices and the moments that have defined us. So they know that there is someone else who is going through the same things they are. There is always events that lead to heartache, sobbing, and chaos… everything is not always peachy. Whether we show our vulnerability or not, its there.

Bakerlanebabe

You see, I don’t mind being in the position I am in, because I love what I am bringing to my family. I am passionate about so much beyond my place within my home, but until I know that my kids are comfortable, I will have to just plan and be prepared. I think that the timing is not something that is set but felt. So until then I will continue my journey with writing.-( Who knows maybe this is my true destiny. Maybe this is exactly what God wants me to be doing.)- I will bring hope where I can, and fingers crossed along the way, I will inspire others in some way.

So, For all you moms who feel as if you are tired, I understand more than you know. I know how overwhelming your days are and how you are just itching to bust at the seams. And like me, you are patiently waiting for the right moment, not because you are lazy, not because you don’t matter, but because you are the most unselfish momma in the world. I see how much you love your family. I see the sacrifices you are making… I see the unselfish, loving momma you are and most importantly, I know you are there doing your best. You are not alone and I am so proud of the momma you are. You are so valuable to your family, and when you do decide your time is upon you, I will be there clapping the hardest, screaming “Go get it.”

Its ok to want more for your life. Its ok to view your future with ambition. Its ok to see a life with you in the center. It doesn’t make you a horrible person, in fact it makes you more empowering to your future self.

Bakerlanebabe