All About Me

I have been writing this blog for over 2 years now and it has become such a blessing to me. It has helped me learn so much about myself and grow in ways I never thought possible. It is almost like my own form of therapy sometimes. I have always found that writing out my feelings has helped me deal with things that I am struggling with. It certainly causes me to be self-reflective. It forces me to think about who I am to my core and who I want to be in the future. I feel like I have come a very long way in the last 2 years. It still surprises me that people actually care about what I have to say and that some readers come back over and over again. My audience has certainly grown from just a few family and friends to complete strangers. I just hope that what I have to say or share resonates with whoever stops by to take a look.

Anyway, since I have gained so many new readers, especially in the last year, I thought I would do an update on who I am and what I am about. This way you will kind of know what you are getting when you land on my blog.

I’m a Follower of Christ.

This is first and foremost in my life. I grew up in the church and in a Christian family.  I gave my life over to Christ at a young age and never looked back.  I live my life to fulfill God’s will for me.  He is involved in every decision I make and everything that I do.  Without Christ, I am nothing. 

I’m a Southern Girl.

I am a southern girl through and through.  Growing up in both Georgia and South Carolina left me with deep southern roots.  I love sweet tea, country music, southern hospitality, pearls, and anything and everything monogramed.  Most people will say that I still have that southern twang despite trying to overcome it.  I really revert to it when I am back home and around family. 

I’m a Military Spouse.

I am a military spouse.  My husband is in the Navy and we have lived all up and down the east coast through the years and have survived countless deployments.  The military life hasn’t been easy. My strength as a person and a mom have been tested more times than I can count, but it has made me into the independent woman I am today.  It has taken me to places I never dreamed I would go and has left me with incredible friends all over the world.

I’m a Mom.

I am a mom to two beautiful daughters (an almost 13 year old and a 16 year old).  They are my whole world.  Both girls have had their share of medical issues over the years.  My oldest had urinary reflux when she was a baby and was in and out of the emergency room and urgent care until she had surgery to correct it when she was two.  My youngest has suffered through Eosinophillic Esophagitis which led to an eating disorder and anxiety disorder.  Both girls also have ADHD.  To say that they keep me on my toes is an understatement. I has been a hard road in some ways but we have managed to plow through to the other side and both are thriving now. They are so much more than the medical diagnosis placed on them.  They are incredible girls and grown stronger because of what they have faced.  I couldn’t be prouder of both of them.

I’m a Gymnastics/Cheer Mom.

I was a gymnastics mom for 15 years and am now a cheer mom.  My oldest was a competitive gymnast for most of her life, but she decided to retire from the sport this past summer due to her body not being able to take the beatings anymore.  My youngest started competitive cheer about three years ago and has blossomed through it.  Now both girls are doing cheer and life has become a lot more sparkly! If you know me, you know how ironic this is because I absolutely detest glitter.  The girls’ schedules keep me very busy, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.  I love watching them do what they love and seeing them grow into incredible young ladies.  

I’m a Teacher.

I was a special education teacher in the public school system for 17 years.  I worked primarily with students with autism.  It was something that I knew I wanted to do from an early age and thought that I would be doing my whole adult life.  It was a calling and I loved working with students and their parents as they navigated the challenges of a disability.  I will admit that I was good at it.  I was at the top of my game and even was named as the city-wide teacher of the year.  However, as much as I loved working with the students, I didn’t love all the extra that came with it and definitely got burned out.  When I decided to take a year off from teaching to meet the needs of my family at home, I never expected that I would be sitting here 5 years later still not back in the classroom.  I know now that God has set me on a new path and has given me a different purpose for now.  I can’t say that I will never go back to teaching because it is hard for me to imagine that.  Being a teacher was my sole identity for so long, and I know that I will always be a teacher at heart. I know God will lead me wherever he wants me to go in the future.  

I’m a Hope Dealer.

After I stopped teaching, my life was left with a void.  I needed some new purpose in my life.  I had helped students and their parents for so many years, I felt like I was missing that service part of me.  That is when Trades of Hope fell into my lap.  It was like God slapped me upside the head and told me that my purpose was still to help families, but it would just be in a new way.  Trades of Hope is a missional business with the sole purpose of helping women rise up out of extreme poverty and human trafficking.  This job has become my joy job, and I love it will all my being.  I love knowing that I am making an impact in the lives of women around the globe.   

I’m a Shop-a-holic.

Yes, it is true.  I love to shop, which is why you will often see pictures of me from my closet. It is my happy place.  Target is my favorite store, and I may have a slight obsession with it.  Shopping is a bad habit, and I have to work hard to not to buy everything I see.  I just want it all! LOL! However, I do also love just window shopping and creating outfits for all of you.  I love all things fashion and clothes and accessories, but I am 100% for affordable fashion.  I don’t feel like you have to spend a ton to look good.   I never leave the house without makeup and my hair done.  I like feeling put together and deciding what to wear each day.  

I’m an Ordinary Girl.

I am just your simple everyday girl.  I have OCD tendencies and am pretty particular about things.  Some may even say I am hardheaded.  I am a type 3, The Achiever, on the Enneagram Scale.  I care deeply what other people think of me. I am loyal to a fault. Organization is my jam, but I hate cleaning my house.  I have lots of struggles and weaknesses, and I take them as they come.  I am far from perfect, but I strive to grow and become the best version of myself I can be each day.    

That’s me in a nutshell.  You get the real, host, perfectly imperfect me every day on this blog.  You can learn from my struggles and celebrate my victories.  Every time I write a post, you are getting a piece of me. Whether it is mom life, fashion lover, personal struggles, or just me rambling on, it is all authentically me.

Anchored,

Giving Up Control

La Luz Necklace/Moxie Hoops/Crew Neck Tee (This color tee is no longer available.)

I really thought that the summer was going to drag on since we are still pretty much stuck in the house with not much to do, but it is actually going by pretty fast.  We are nearing the end of June already and things are rolling right along.  I am struggling a bit this week because I am conflicted.  My annual girls’ beach weekend that was postponed in May is finally here, and I CANNOT wait.  I know you guys are probably sick of hearing about it already, but I can’t really express how much this weekend means to me each year and how much I love spending time with my tribe.  My conflict comes because this weekend is also cheer tryouts for my girls.  While I know that my husband can handle it, I’m still struggling with not being here for them.  I think part of that comes from just being a mom, but I also think some of it has to do with the fact that my husband has been deployed for so much of our marriage.  I have always had the responsibility of doing these types of things with the girls on my own.  I’m not used to letting him take on this kind of tasks with the girls.  There is nothing wrong with it, and like I said, he can handle it.  It’s just different for me.  In the past I would have had to miss out on my girls’ trip or beg my mom to make the long drive to help because I didn’t have any other choice.  Even though it has been two years since he last deployed, I think that the adjustment of having him here to help is something that is going to take a while for me to get used too.  He has done shore duties before where he didn’t deploy for a couple of years at a time, but he was always still traveling a lot and not home very much.  Now that he has reached the point in his career that he is no longer going to deploy and only take a few short trips here and there, I am learning to rely on his help more and more.  Just yesterday, I scheduled an appointment for myself not thinking much of it.  I was pleasantly surprised when my husband got home and mentioned trying to work around his schedule so that he could go with me.  It honestly never occurred to me that he would go with me.  Again, I am just used to doing it all on my own.  I was really touched that he thought he should go and that he was going to make the effort.  He has rarely been able to do things like that before.  Of course, I don’t need him to go, but the thought was very touching to me and really meant a lot.

This is a dilemma that I think all military wives face.  We get used to doing things on our own.  We hardly ever ask for help, and we somehow make it all work.  It is a sacrifice that most of us gladly make for our families so that our spouses can protect and defend our country.  It’s not easy and sometimes we feel like breaking, but we manage the best we can.  Some of the strongest, most courageous women I know are military spouses.  You would think that we would all welcome the day when our spouse is home to help, but it isn’t that simple.  When you have lived this life for a long time like I have doing things on your own and in your own way, it is hard to not only willingly accept help, but it is also hard to give up control.  It is not that I want control of everything. Trust me, I don’t.  It just that it has always been me doing it all alone. That is what I a used to.  For example, the past two years, both of my girls (one in cheer and one in gymnastics) had conflicting competition schedules.  Before my youngest became involved in cheer, I was always traveling with my oldest for all of her gymnastics competitions all the time dragging my youngest with us.  My husband was rarely home during competition season.  When my youngest started cheer two years ago, it quickly became apparent that my husband and I were going to have to split up because I clearly couldn’t be at two places at once, and he was here now to help.  It just worked out that he traveled for gymnastics since my oldest didn’t need a lot of help, and I traveled for cheer to do hair and makeup.  It was extremely hard for me not to be with my oldest and to miss out on so many of her competitions.  I did not like it that he got to go, and I didn’t.  I had been the one with her for so many years that it was hard for me to share it and give up control of traveling with her. While I was happy that he finally got to see her compete every competition, I was super jealous that I didn’t.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with my youngest to see her compete too.  It was that I really wanted to be with both. I wanted to split myself in half like I have been doing for years and be with both. I don’t know how I would have managed it all if he still was deploying, but I would have figured out a way to make it work.  

While I am learning to let go of control of a lot of things and learning to accept help, I have to admit that it isn’t easy.  Doing it all was my way of life for 18 years. That’s a long time.  It’s hard to break habits that have been going on for that long.  It is even harder for me to ask for and accept help.  I am beyond grateful that my husband is here to share the load and that my stress and anxiety levels are lower than they have ever been. Plus he finally gets to be fully present in our kids lives. Despite it being two years now, it is clear that I am still getting used to this new stage in our lives.  I have to undo 18 years of thinking and acting, and that isn’t going to happen overnight.  This weekend will be amazing and hard for me all at once.  I usually don’t call home much when I am on my trip, but this time I am requesting frequent updates and details from all three on tryouts so that I feel like I am there too. I am not going to let it damper my time with my tribe, but a small part of me will be feeling like I am missing out and that I am skipping out on my duties as a mom.

Anchored and Learning to Let Go,

  

Deployment Curse

You may or may not know that I am a military spouse.  My husband is an active duty naval officer and has been in the Navy since before we met.  Of course, I knew nothing about military life or what I was getting into when we got married. My grandfather was in the service well before I came along, and I had a couple of uncles who had been in the service, but I wasn’t around it enough to really understand what our life would be like or what it meant to be a military spouse.  Even when we were dating when I was still in college, I didn’t really get a sense of what it was like because he was just in schools during that time, I got to talk to him all the time and see him regularly. It was a pretty normal dating situation. I graduated from college and we were married two weeks after that. As we were leaving the church after the wedding ceremony, we walked through an arch of swords held up by some of his navy friends.  When we passed the last set of sword bearers, one of them smacked me on my backside with his sword and yelled, “Welcome to the Navy, Mam!”   Boy was I utterly clueless as to what that actually meant for me, but I was soon to find out.  Following a short honeymoon, which should have been my first clue that we were on military time and not our own, we moved to Georgia where he reported to his first submarine of our marriage.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he is a submariner, which is a whole different ballgame in itself and something that I definitely knew nothing about.  

Approximately 3 months after our wedding, he left for his first deployment. Now, it is important to note that this was almost 20 years ago before certain advancements in technology.  Back then there was no way to communicate with your spouse on a submarine other than through what was called a family gram.  You only got a small number that you could send each deployment (I think it was like 8), and it could literally only be 50 words long. The content was also heavily restricted.  If you were to write anything the Navy found questionable, your family gram wouldn’t get sent.  Yep, it was read by several people before being sent.  Let’s just say that you had to get creative.  We were coming up with codes and abbreviated acronyms long before the text lingo (LOL, BRB, etc.) of today came along.  It wasn’t until his second sea duty that email was made available on submarines.  Just like with the family grams, the content had to be restricted and was read by multiple people before it was sent to your loved one’s inbox.  Now, if you know anything about submarines, you know that their mission is to remain undetected at all times.  That means that the transmission of emails in very tricky.  They can only be uploaded during certain times, and even to this day emails are often lost in space somewhere.  Needless to say, communication with a submariner on deployment is spotty at best and completely unreliable.  There is no facetime or phone calls.  There is nothing but silence for weeks and months as a time. 

I know you are wondering why I am telling you all of this.  I do have a point, I promise. That first deployment was when I learned of the deployment curse.  Any military spouse out there knows exactly what I am talking about.  The second your husband leaves is the same second that anything and everything can go wrong. Trust me, it WILL go wrong.  It is when everything breaks, and everyone gets sick or injured.  The refrigerator will die, your kid will swallow a penny, another kid will get diagnosed with a rare disease, you will come down with the worst flu case of your life, you will get in a car crash, your house will get struck by lightning, you will give birth, and I could go on and on.  Yes, every single one of those things and many more happened while my husband was deployed at some point, and there was no way to communicate with him. Many of those are things that would get flagged in a family gram or email and wouldn’t get delivered to your spouse.  These are things that NEVER happen when he is home.  They always happen when he is gone. Every military spouse I know will tell you that the deployment curse exists.  It is real.  We have all experienced it more times than we can count.  You are left to deal with it all on your own.  You can’t talk to your spouse or ask him for advice or comfort.  As if it isn’t hard enough that you are left to care for your home, your children, and your life by yourself all while worrying about your spouse, these unexpected challenges just add to your stress.  You feel like you are utterly alone with the weight of the world on your shoulders. The days drag on while you wait for the next disaster to strike. It is so hard and led to some of the darkest days I have ever experienced.  

I honestly thought after my husband’s final sea duty I would never have to deal with the deployment curse again.  I thought that since he would never deploy again and would only be on shore duty from now on, that those days were behind me.  I was wrong.  He still has to travel much more than I expected.  No, it isn’t the same as a deployment because he isn’t gone months at a time with no communication at all, but it is enough to give me that lonely feeling again and, apparently, for the curse to still come.  He is currently away for a couple of weeks and is super busy.  Our communication has been limited because of his schedule. Wouldn’t you know? The garage door is broken.   Someone has been here twice already to attempt to fix it and as of last night, it is broken again. When I pulled in the driveway last night after running carpools for an hour and a half in the middle of a bad storm and the garage wouldn’t open, I suddenly had this flood of emotions.  It was like all the feelings of deployment rushing back.  I felt the strain of having to take care of everything on my own again.  I know that a broken garage door is not really a big deal. It is in fact very small compared to the things I have had to do on my own in the past, but for some reason it triggered an emotion in me.  It was almost like an “Oh no, not again” kind of moment that took me back, and I panicked.  Thankfully, the emotion only lasted a short time. I was back to being the strong, independent woman I know that I am when I woke up this morning.  I got up, called the garage company, and left them a firm message explaining my frustration and let them know that I did not plan to pay a third service fee for someone to come out again. I will handle it just like I have done for the past 20 years, and I will be better prepared the next time he leaves since I now know that the deployment curse can still strike at any time.  Just like that first deployment all those years ago, I was naive and wasn’t prepared for it this time around. 

Military life can either break you or build you into something stronger than you ever thought possible.  I have been blessed with a strong support system that has helped me weather the tough times.  That and my faith have carried me through it all.  I have proven to myself over and over that I can do hard things, and I will come out stronger on the other side. This time is no different.  

Anchored,