I’m Not Ready


For some much of my life I felt like time stood still. I couldn’t get through situations or circumstances fast enough. I couldn’t move on quick enough. I couldn’t let go fast enough. I couldn’t fast forward to get to all the things I wanted, or at least thought I did.

Now all I want to do is stop time. I want to freeze moments so I can hold on to them a little longer (like this photo of me and my daughter who loved to laugh and hold my face close as a baby).

I want to hold on to these moments because I’m not ready. I’m not ready for my daughter to grow up. I’m not ready to have to tell her all the things of the world and why things are the way that they are. I’m not ready to explain to her that the Internet is a powerful yet very dangerous tool. I’m not ready for her to be exposed to things that she doesn’t need to be, and definitely not at such a young age. I’m not ready for the cyber bullying or bullying in general. I’m not ready to explain to her that she controls her own body and no one is allowed to tell her otherwise. I’m not ready to tell her how she doesn’t need to ‘sext’ a boy, take inappropriate selfies or engage in intercourse before marriage just because society has now deemed them acceptable actions and part of the norm when I know in my heart that they are not. I’m not ready for the arguments about why she needs a phone before she is 16 because times are different from when I was young.

I’m just not ready. I’m not ready for her to see the world as I see it now knowing that as she’s growing up it will be even worse. I’m not ready to explain to her that the morals and values I have much of the world no longer has. I’m not ready to wipe away the tears from the first boy that breaks her heart or friends that hurt her feelings. I’m not ready to watch the innocence fade from her eyes when she realizes the world is not what she had thought or hoped it would be. I’m not ready to tell her that people will intentionally hurt her, disappoint her, let her down and try to break her spirit.

I’m not ready to let her grow up. I’m not ready to lose my little girl. So for now, I will enjoy every moment and as much as I can. I wish time could stand still but it can’t. I just hope as she grows up she will know as I now know (thank you mom) that I’m only doing and saying the things that I will because I love her and want to protect her (even though I know I won’t always be able to). I hope she knows I will always be there for her even when she doesn’t think I am or she doesn’t like the answer I’m giving her. But for now, I’m not ready and thankfully I don’t have to be.

I pray that as she continues to get older, the world changes. I pray that my generation is the change. I pray that we go back to simpler times before phones monopolized all of our time and all of the technology that now consumes every one of us and continues to start earlier and earlier in age. I pray we get back to being able to enjoy the little things in life like nature and family dinners or having a REAL conversation that isn’t over text message. I pray that we restore morals and values in this world and instill them feverishly in our children. I pray we teach kindness and have zero tolerance for bullying, abuse of any form or lack of respect. I pray that the world becomes a place where I look forward to the future and not fear it. I’m not ready for what’s to come, but God I pray it’s better than what we have now.

My Last First Date…

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Seven years ago today I went on my last first date. Around that time, I had been going on a good amount of first dates. I had been in a series of serious relationships prior to and fed up with they way they dragged on for years only to end in heart break. I really just wanted to find the person I was to spend the rest of my life with and decided if the first date wasn’t a hit, I was going to try and make something happen.

My now husband and I spoke on the phone for a few weeks before our first date (which I fearfully canceled a few times). The conversations were so great I worried it would end up like all my other recent first dates….in disappointment. However, I had a small amount of hope that maybe this time would be different. I was caught in the middle of hopeless romantic and negative Nancy. After my second cancelation I’ll never forget him saying over the phone, ‘Renee, we are going on this date.’ We rescheduled for the final time and I went on my last first date.

It still feels like yesterday. I remember impatiently waiting for him. He hit traffic and texted me he was running a little late. I was nervous, excited, scared and filled with so many emotions and then he walked in. We were already Facebook friends so I knew what he looked like. He smiled and walked towards me and I melted. I knew this was it. I’m marrying this man. Sounds silly, cheesy and totally cliche but it’s true. He smiled and I fell in love.

We didn’t even order dinner yet and he was already asking to see me the next day. We spent the next two weeks together and by my birthday (August 20th) he told me he was falling in love with me. He was it. He was the one. He’s still the one.

Now, we are married (celebrating five years at the end of the month) with a toddler and a little baby boy (!) on the way. Our journey isn’t always a fairytale and we definitely have our moments but oh do I love this man. Even when he drives me crazy I still just love him so much. I love him not only because I chose him but HE CHOSE ME. He didn’t have to marry me. He could have married anyone, but he picked me. He fell in love with me. I am far from perfect but he never tells me that. He only builds me up. He reminds me what a great job I’m doing and how proud he is of me. He tells me he loves me and he shows me. He makes me better.

Isn’t that the hopes for one another as spouses? To make each other better? To want to be better? To give the love we want to receive. To do things because we care without the expectation of something in return? Marriage isn’t easy…then throw kids in the mix….WHOA….marriage just became a whole new ball game…but sometimes it’s nice to go back and remember the reasons you fell in love. Remember why you both say YES!

I would never want to experience this life with anyone other than him. The good times, the bad times and everything in between…he is ALWAYS there for me. Seven years ago today he stole my heart, and I’m so lucky he’s never let it go. I love you MPD. Here’s to us….

Why I’m Leaving

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After months of praying, discussing and mostly stressing over, I have made the decision to leave my job. I won’t use the word ‘quit’ because I’m not a quitter. I’ll never be a quitter. It isn’t in my bones to just ‘give up’ on things. I will attribute that to God and my faith. HE keeps me strong when it’s not always easy for me to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of ‘I’m quitting, I’m giving up, screw this, forget that (PG version)’ moments. I think we all have…but we’re only human.

So, the decision to leave wasn’t an easy one and of course when telling others that I would be leaving the response that always followed was ‘why?’. It’s such a loaded question that I honestly still don’t know where to begin, but I will try my best to explain it.

I feel very blessed with the life I have. I’m married to an incredible man with whom I share a beautiful daughter that we love and adore. We have a lovely home which I feel happy to come home to no matter where I am. I have a wonderful family who is so supportive and loving and great friends I enjoy spending time with. I am rich in things that money cannot buy and for me, that is enough.

When you’re a mom, at least for me, it’s hard to be away from your child. Even with my child having the best care possible (her Mema!), I missed her so. I still can’t believe how fast this time is going by and my baby will be 2 years old in June. My decision started there. Her. I want to spend time with her. I want to be there for her. I want to be home with her. It was then that I knew despite the amazing flexibility my job had given me and a one-in-a-million boss, nothing was worth my time away from her.

Then came the second…a hobby. A hobby to create, something I’ve always loved doing since I was little. The hobby turned into a little business and over time I hope will be a big one! I had to pursue it. Now was the time. Yes, I’m leaving a steady paycheck for something as inconsistent as the weather, but I had to do it. I had to take that leap. I made  Let’s Get Chalky a business and now my goal is to pursue it passionately!

A baby and a business and a decision to run full force as a mom and small business owner 🙂 It wasn’t an easy decision, not at all, but there are a lot of decisions in life that aren’t. I put my faith in God that HE will handle the rest and I know HE will, however everything is supposed to work out.

So here I am, on my last day of work, reflecting upon my four years spent here and I leave with a smile. I leave knowing that this is the best decision for me and my family. I leave knowing that the future is exciting, unknown and I look forward to all that is to come. I want to thank my amazing family for all of their support and especially all of their help with Emma during this transition period. I want to thank my husband for working so hard each and every day for our family that has allowed for this opportunity to even be possible. But most of all, I want to thank God for blessing me with Emma Grace and showing me my real purpose in life…to be someone’s mom.

Interested in my business? Check me out here:

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Why I’m a Damn Good Mom

We_Can_Do_It!.jpgAs a mom, how many times a day do you question what you’re doing? Ten? Fifteen? A million?

I feel like I question everything. I am constantly wondering, worrying and driving myself crazy with concern over my parenting skills. And why wouldn’t I? I’m molding a child that I hope and pray will one day grow up to be a good human being. And it’s hard to be good these days. It really is. 

I mean who can our kids look up to anymore? Miley Cyrus? The Kardashians? Pathetic. No thank you. Well, I guess that leaves us as parents so I pretty much need to have my shit together 24/7, which I don’t. And that’s the thing about being a role model, no one is perfect, however these people we call ‘celebrities’ are so insecure they’re actually vain and completely devoid of being anything real so I’ll gladly step up to the plate. At least I can always teach my child what not to be. Sorry if I sound judgy, it’s just hard for me to take people like that serious.

So back to why I’m a damn good mom. Well, most of the time I feel like I’m not. I don’t know what I’m doing. Heck, I’ve never done this before! There is no manual. There is no barometer or scale to rate me. The only way I’ll know is once my child or God willing, children, are grown up. I’ll know then by the person they turn out to be. So for the next 30 years I get to worry about that!

But seriously, moms don’t give themselves enough credit. We think we aren’t doing enough when we are. We are because we care. We care so much that we would literally do anything for our children and that’s what makes us damn good moms. You read and hear about story after story of child abuse and neglect and just downright bad parenting and it’s a reality check that hey, guess what, you’re an awesome mom! Sadly it shouldn’t be that way, but unfortunately that’s how the world works. Do you know that every 10 seconds a child is abused or raped (and that’s only reported incidents)? Think about that. It’s hard to, I know. It disgusts me. Mostly, it makes me cry so I honestly try not to think about it. There are parents in the world who having a dying child and would do anything to save him/her and we have this shit going on in the world.

I was talking to a girlfriend on New Years Eve about being a good parent and how do I know and she said to me, “You know what? When you go first take your child to Kindergarten or Preschool or any sort of school and you see other moms who don’t care, I mean literally do not give a shit about their kids, you know you’re a good mom and you’re doing a damn good job. And that’s sad to say to make such a comparison but it really opens your eyes to how much you do. ” And she wasn’t saying this to boast about what a great mom she is or how other moms aren’t as great, but went to say that the fact I care and worry so much about being a good mom means I am a good one.

I never knew what a tough job this would be. What a selfless, all-giving, all encompassing job I would be taking on, but you know what, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There is nothing in this world that you could offer me to replace my daughter. There is no greater joy. This is it. This honestly is the most joy I’ve ever had because despite all my days of doubt and fear and stress and anxiety, I get this little bundle of joy. I get her. I get to watch her grow and learn and change and become independent and confident and remarkable! I get to do that! You get to do that! I will quote my favorite book I read to my daughter almost every day:

So whenever you doubt just how special you are
and you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
listen for the geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)

Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)

Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely… it’s whispering your name again!)

If the moon stays up until morning one day,
or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
it’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…

For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
has the world ever known a you, my friend,
and it never will, not ever again…

Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born.

~Nancy Tillman, On The Night You Were Born

This is what we feel for our children. This is what love is. And this is why you are a damn good mom.

 

Why Stores Open on Thanksgiving Have Ruined Tradition

Verse-Picture-1-Thessalonians-5_18It all started back when my sister and I were teenagers. We decided we wanted to ‘check out’ what kind of deals the stores had the day after Thanksgiving. We split our parents gifts so why not save a few extra bucks and maybe also buy something extra for ourselves (that was of course, always my thinking!)?

For you young kids, there was a store called Mervyn’s that ran this hilarious commercial with a woman waiting for the store to open. She was up against the door window saying ‘Open, open, open’. It still makes me laugh to think about. It’s amazing the things people will (and will not) wait for.

And so the tradition began! Bright and early after each Thanksgiving, my sister and I would get up and go shopping. The tradition never changed. I made breakfast that consisted of toast with butter and jelly as well as packing along waters, apples and the my aunt’s famous pumpkin bread for the long day ahead. We both wore sweatpants and I would have to wake my sister up (a few times!) to keep with our schedule. Schedule? Oh yes, we had a schedule. We mapped out our stores along with times we had at each store and coupons/deals. We each had a copy we guarded with our life (I can’t tell you how many times we were pushed in stores!).

We’d start at Kohl’s (it always opened the earliest) then head off to Sears for my dad, then JC Penney for the free ornament (yep, you get a free ornament for being an ‘early bird’ which we were every year!) and then Panera for food around 8:30AM to which we’re quite delirious and then from there it was the usual, Victoria’s Secret, Express, Limited, Macy’s, etc. Our store choices have changed over the years and our needs (bye bye clothes for ourselves hello housewares) but still…it was tradition, it was our tradition.

But now, that is gone. That is gone because Kohl’s, Target, Macy’s and all you other A-HOLE stores decided you weren’t making enough money that you needed to be open on Thanksgiving Day. Really? No, really?

My sister and I refuse to go out on Thanksgiving. This is a day to give thanks and spend with family and friends. The fact that these stores are now open is a mockery to the holiday. To make your employees work is truly a shame and it has ruined the tradition of Thanksgiving.

It has ruined a day devoted to giving thanks with family and friends all for some added revenue in the books. I’d like to see the CEO of Kohl’s or Macy’s in one of their stores on Thanksgiving Day. You want your stores to be open? Then you should be working! Sure, people may argue with me and say that I went out in the madness and I did. It was fun as hell and my sister and I have some memories and moments we will never forget, but it wasn’t on Thanksgiving Day. Was it at 5AM the following day? You bet! But it wasn’t on Thanksgiving.

What is wrong with our society? Since when did we think it was okay to put materialistic things before values? Since when did the latest ‘toy’ that every child wants or the biggest flat screen you can get become priority over spending time with family and friends? Is that what we’re teaching our children? Money triumphs all? I sure hope not.

We don’t exchange Christmas presents in my family of origin anymore (we stopped a while back). Each year, one of the couples (my parents, my sister and her husband or me and my husband) plan an outing or event we all pay our own way and go to. Instead of buying gifts, we value the time spent together as a family so that is what we do. Many of you might be thinking, so what did my sister and I go out to get? Well, we both got engaged, got married and moved so let’s just say there were a lot of things each year we found we needed (or didn’t need and bought anyways!).

I’m not here to judge by any means, this is just the tradition we’ve developed and continue. Here is what I would like to say though: If you choose to go out on Thanksgiving day to buy presents for yourself and others, then that’s up to you, I just know that I cannot support it. I cannot support making people work on a day they deserve to be home with their families. Maybe this year we can all focus on the simple things. The blessings we’ve been given, the priceless gifts we have and the family members surrounding us…because you never truly know when that can all be taken away from you…and it can be, in an instance! Wishing all of you a happy, healthy and blessed Thanksgiving!