Halloween

Yesterday was Halloween.  I was in my office at work and I thought about all of the Halloween’s past.  I know, I know, cliché-esque I know.  Christmas past, Halloween past.  Whatever, go with me.

My mom was a single mother, a very young single mother.  Not like a lot of the single mom’s you see nowadays.  I think it is rare to see a single mother, living on her own, working, support her children, without any help from government assistance, parents, and or living with someone.  I do know a few, I do, and I really admire these women.  I am not knocking the women who have help, believe me, my mom had a ton of help, my grandparents were a driving force during my childhood; and, my grandmother still is to this day.  I just look around me now and I see so many women with children with men revolving in and out of their lives, and I do mean revolving. Like doors.  Sure, everyone needs companionship, but do you need it at the sake of your child?  They do watch you and they do learn from you, remember that.  Seriously.  Remember. That.
Anyway, I digress.
Halloween.
I was thinking back to my many costumes:  the black cat, the bunny, the princess, the punk rocker, the ghost, the vampire, the goddess, the Victorian princess, an angel, etc.  All of these costumes were made by my mother.  They were not bought at a store, they were handmade and put together by my mommy.
The cat:  a tail sew and stuffed with cotton, it even had a curve to it.  The ears were black with pink satin-y stuff on a headband.
The princess:  a dress I fell in love with at a dress store that we got and the crown was her’s from her Prom Queen days.  I thought I was beautiful.
Punk rocker:  a metallic purple wig that was purchased, a shirt that she had that had rhinestones for days and a pleather, yes pleather skirt.  I also had pink fishnet stockings.
The vampire:   a couple of bed sheets, purple and black to be exact, made into a dress and cape.  I also had a hood of some kind with some makeup to make me look even more pale than normal.
The bunny( back to my younger years): a white turtle neck, white tights, a cottontail, that she had made, she had painted my makeup, and also made me some ears, I’m sure they were fashioned in some way as the cat ears, except for white and bigger.
All of these costumes were made and created by my mother.  She helped me become some form of whatever I wanted to be that year.  She worked a full-time job, but never missed a Halloween.  We always trick-or-treated.  She would drive me around for hours while I went to doors trick-or-treating, gathering my candy.  She would check my candy as well, even though we knew every house we went to.
She did all of this, and to this day, at age 33 I still remember every Halloween and all of those trips.  I remember the times I was too scared to go to the door by myself and she would go with me. She held my hand and even knocked on the door when I was too shy or scared.
My mom did so much for me, and I know she will do a lot more for me through the years, but Halloween was definitely one of my favorite holidays.  It still is.  Even though I don’t dress up anymore, I hand out the candy to those little kids who come up and say trick-or-treat, thank you, and run away to their moms waiting on the sidewalk.  They always leave me smiling and remembering my mom and the fun and memories we share.
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Anxiety

I read one of those “10 reasons why dating a woman with anxiety is unlike dating any other woman” articles the other day.  Thinking, wrongly, it looked interesting.  By the end, I was so irritated by the article and its stereotypes I was seeing red.  I understand I am not the only woman, or person, in the world to suffer from anxiety, and unlike the article, I also realize everyone suffers and exhibits anxiety differently.  I was so upset by the blatant disregard of the seriousness of anxiety, but for the lighthearted manner in loving a woman with anxiety was taken.

One statement that really struck a chord with me was: 

“When loving a woman with anxiety, she will never love another like you.  She will open her heart to you and trust you like no other, because she will cling to you and you will be her world.”

Uh, no.  Just no.  How about the other half?  Sometimes there are women with anxiety who have issues with opening up about the anxiety.  When they feel anxious they will close themselves off from you, because they are afraid you will see their vulnerable side, and will not be able to handle that.  They want you to see them as strong independent women, because let’s face it, they are strong and independent.  They just have moments of uncontrollable worry and frustrations.  How about those women?  Or the fact that she will love you like no other, because every love is different?  No one person can love another person exactly as they loved another.  It is impossible.  Every love is one all its own.

There was also something in the article about an anxious woman needing more time and consideration than other women.  How does that make sense?  I think in some cases, this is true.  However, this is not always the case.  Every person, man and woman, needs consideration period.  Everyone has their issues and times they need a little extra time and consideration.  Any relationship you are in be in a friendship, a significant other, or a family member will need this at some point.  Not just an anxious S.O.

I really feel that this article is highlighting anxiety as a negative personality trait that needs to be coddled and tip-toed around.  That is not the case.  Anxiety needs to be out there, talked about and dealt with.  I am an anxious person.  I have anxiety.  I have moments when it is uncontrollable for me.  I have been known to curl into a ball, gasping for air, crying and unable to speak or move for various amounts of time.  I have also become more open about this, and in doing so I am more able to cope with those moments.

I am in no means as bad as some, nor claim to be a chronic anxiety ridden person.  I do taken medication, and I can tell when I am off of it.  I have coping skills, and I am still learning on new ways to deal with certain things in a more responsible manner.  This is by far, not the cause or case for a lot of people.  However, articles like the one I mentioned just make it seem like anxiety is a joke.  This article had no serious insight as to what it is really like to date women with anxiety.  Instead of she will constantly ask you if you are going to leave her, and need reassurance, how about, she will have moments of worry and doubt about many things.  Be there for her, show her your willingness to help and support her.  Let us focus more on the actual seriousness of anxiety, and stop making it a joke…

Weekend with the Family

This weekend was a busy, but super enjoyable one.  My grandmother turned 84 Friday.  I drove down to spend the weekend with her.  I got there Friday night, and my mom also came to stay the night, since my dad was fishing out of town for the weekend.  We had a nice visit.  Spending that much time with both my mother and my grandmother is so few and far between, it made me feel good to get to do it.

Saturday the family surprised my grandmother with a birthday party.  You cannot slip anything past her, so the fact that I was with her for a solid day before, and she never even suspected it, was a definite win.  I was so happy we pulled it off.  I have some of my favorite photos to share with you guys.  I am a picture feign, so I am constantly clicking away.  I think photographs are the only memories we will have of certain moments, and those should be captured.

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This is my granny, she deserves her own blog.

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This is my nephew Everett with his dad, Dennis.  (I call my cousin’s babies my nieces and nephews.  It’s just what I do.)

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This is my adorable little niece Lea,  she loves cake!

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This is me with Owen, Lea’s little brother.  This is a monumental moment, because he actually came to me, and we chilled.

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This is a picture of my two cousin’s, Melissa and Ann, and my Aunt Polly. (Melissa is Owen and Lea’s mom, and Ann is Everett’s.

As you can see, we had a house full, and tons of babies around.  My cousins have somehow miraculously been able to produce the cutest kids EVER.  Don’t you agree?

Also, I get my crazy dog lady personality from my family.  Before I had Maci, I adopted Bailey.  She was a baby, and a rescue, and adorable.  I asked my grandmother to babysit while I was out of town one weekend, and she bonded with Bailey like I never thought possible.  My grandmother, who I have never seen cry, was at the edge of tears when I was packing up Bailey’s toybag.  Needless to say, Bailey is the best decision I ever made, because she is my granny’s baby.  She is my baby too, but my granny was taken with her, and 10 years later they are inseparable.

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This is my and my little Bailey Bug.

I have been super nostalgic today, and though the best way to just be in my feelings was to write about them.  Share the photographs, my family, and my happiness with the small community of people who read and keep up with my blog.

Thanks for visiting and sharing with me my awesome weekend.

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What I’m Reading

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I have always been an avid reader; however, after college my reading took a nose dive.  After years of English Literature studies and reading for work, I just did not enjoy it as much as I once did.  I have slowly regained my love of reading, and never lost my excitement for buying new, interesting books.  I have an extensive library and pride myself in it.

My bookshelves contain everything from poetry to collections of letters.  I have classics, fiction, non-fiction, humor, thrillers, romance, and much more.  If I find a book I enjoyed, I usually purchase a copy for a close friend, I think would also enjoy it.  My friends often buy me books, because they reminded them of me.  I like that quality.  If there is a book you think I should read, SHARE WITH ME!  I promise to check it out.

Over the past year or so, I’ve discovered a genre that I find interesting and intriguing.  One book in particular, “You are a Badass:  How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life,” by Jen Sincero.  You may laugh, but the title is what drew me to it.  I am a badass, and I want an awesome life.  I do not think these books are meant to be a lifestyle guide; however, they do help you put some things in perspective.  I found this book while I was involved in Beachbody, which I still love by the way.  I found it on Amazon under suggested reading, picked it up, and noticed a lot of my Beachbody friends are just now reading it.  I like to think I introduced the book to them.  Maybe not, but I did mention it, and post pictures of it in our groups.  So, I’m taking credit.

I have also found Mindy Kahling to be hilarious, and she’s my soul sister.  After reading her first book, I launched myself into her TV Series, “The Mindy Project” and have yet to come up for air.  She is hilarious, and reminds me so much of myself.  You should pick this up, if you want a hilariously honest account of life.

As for now, I am switching it out between three books:  “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson, “Tell No One,” by Harlan Coben, and “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls,” by blogger Jes Baker.  These books are all great reads!  Google them, read their free excerpts on Amazon, and tell me what you think.

As you can tell, Harlan Coben is my guilty pleasure at the moment.  I have not read anything by him, until now, and I am totally enjoying his stuff.  Fiction in any form is my guilty pleasure.  I also have a book of poetry I sometimes pick up to just get lost, or contemplate life with.  Reading a poem or two a night is a good relaxing, self-reflecting thing to do.

I have really tried to incorporate reading for betterment into my regimen.  Not because I think you have to, but because I am enthralled with the idea of finding inner peace, happiness, and how other people implement things to make them successful.  I am not trying to mimic these author’s, but I think if they can make something work for them so much that they write a book about it, and share it, why not?!  Why not read about their ideas and best practices.  Maybe that’s just me.  I have also found I enjoy the realness of their writing.  As an example, Jes Baker:  I’ve read her blog for years, and her introduction had me laughing out loud and shaking my head “YES!” in agreement.

So just moments to share what I’m reading, offer some suggestions, and maybe get a few ideas back.  Share with me what you are reading, if you think it’s worth a shot.  I am an open book!

Repurpose

It has been a while since I last updated the masses on the happenings in my world, so what better time than the beginning of a new year.  Happy 2016, everyone!

I am always happy to see a New Year come bursting forth with the fireworks, ball drops, and drunken people into the streets; however, this year, I was PUMPED!  2015 started out pretty rough as far as dealing with some sickness and work stress, but it took a turn, and ended really well.

I got a new job, one that I have been wanting for a while, it happened at just the right time.  I am loving my new job, and so blessed to have it.  I feel like a completely different person, full of life and happiness.  I do not dread getting up and going to work.  I enjoy getting dressed and seeing what my day will hold for me.  I am happy to have found a place and a job that allows me the freedom of doing what I love, and a company that I feel is just as amazing as the job itself.  I am really blessed.

The BF and I , (more like the BF, and I help), took the adventure of getting a puppy in January of 2015, and she is now a year old.  Her name is Maci, and anyone that knows me well, knows she is the love of my life.  She is a furball of happiness and surprises every day.  She makes me world a happy place, and reminds me that there is always happiness  in the simple things.  I could ramble about her all day and all night, because I love her so much, but I will spare you and just leave you with the cutest photo of her EVER!

 

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See what I mean?! Adorable and fluffy and pure love.

Two of my cousins had babies in 2015, both boys, and a month a half a part.  I have enjoyed watching the two boys grow.  I cannot wait until they are older and actually causing mischief together.  I’m sure they will be raising all kinds of hell in their future.  I will enjoy all of it, and their parents’ faces when the stories come out!

I also completed three 5K’s in 2015.  I had a goal of completing a 5K when I was 30.  I didn’t meet that goal, but I did complete three of them in my 32nd year, and I am completely okay with that.  I feel like this past year has really allowed me to get to know myself.  I feel like with everything that has been going on over the past few years, I have lost a bit of myself and my way.

In 2015, I found myself, and was reminded of who and what I am.  I am happy with me, work in progress that I am.  I have learned some valuable lessons in life and in love.  I am so very lucky to have found a man that I am completely head over heels for, and that has shown me what it’s like to “grow up”.  I know this sounds crazy, but everyone has parts of their life they are not proud of, and they need to work on.  I am okay with admitting my problem areas for the first time in a long time, and I am working on them.  Slow and steady wins the race.

The year of 2015 was a recovery and rediscovering period for me, and 2016 will be the regrowth year.  I am ready!  I have decided to focus on my faith, finances, and my relationships.  This really is the year of growth and regrowth for me.  I hope this year is a year of joy and blessings for all of you, as well!

Happy Belated Birthday, America!

I’ve always thought Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. It’s the one holiday where my entire family was usually together. My aunts and uncles would come in from wherever they were; we would eat, the cousins would play, there would be lots of noise, and everyone was happy. This year I realized July 4th has been sadly underrated in my life.

July 4th, of 4th of July, was spent every year in Lebanon, MO.  Every year, my grandpa and grandma would pack up the car, with me in it, and drive the 10 hours to my great-grandma’s house. We would arrive to a house full of aunts and uncles, hugs and kisses, and lots of “Where’s Amber?!” 

We always spent a week in Lebanon.  Usually, I was treated to two seperate shopping trips. One with my Aunt Betty and one with my Aunt Gerri.  My Aunt Lois always took me to Mansfield, MO, where Laura Ingalls Wilder’s final house was. We always took the tour, a bought the next book in the Little House Series. Uncle Lee always took me firework shopping, sparklers galore.  Uncle Homer always had the best hugs.

On the 4th, we had homemade vanilla ice cream.  The uncles a d grandpa took turns cranking the maker. My aunts, granny, and great-grandma were inside constantly cooking, napping, or reading. Aunt Lois was a quilter and always had a new colorful block of beauty to ogle over.

After a day full of eating and napping, we always had some yummy vanilla ice cream before heading off to the racetrack for fireworks. The next day most everyone started packing up and heading off into the seperate directions again, only to be seen again the next year.

Yesterday I realized how downplayed the 4th of July had always been during my childhood. It was never hyped up like Thanksgiving or Christmas. I realized even if this holiday isn’t spent with my family anymore, that I have a childhood of wonderful memories.

This holiday will always be special to me, as it should be for everyone. Not because of the fireworks, BBQing, or boating.  This is the one holiday that simply has one meaning, Happy Birthday, America! Freedom!

The 4th of July is the holiday that allows us to celebrate every other holiday as we wish.  Religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to marry person of color or gender of choice, freedom to voice said opinions, freedom to vote, freedom to sit where you want, freedom to use the same restroom.  Freedom. We celebrate freedom. That statement is so enormous is gives me goosebumps to type it. Freedom. 

I am a woman who not too long ago didn’t have the right to vote, own property, or even have value unless I was married. With the freedom of speech and ability to fight, other women before me gained the right for me. Just like other men and women before us fought for or freedom to be free and celebrate the 4th of July. We have freedom, because someone else paid the price.

So for me, even though I have known all along the important of Independence Day, this year, among the upheaval and hatred in our society, it hit me: Independence Day is the day that allows me to celebrate every other holiday, as well as live every other day, as I choose. I am free and celebrate freedom every day of my life; and from now on, hold the 4th of July a little closer to my heart.

Past, Present, Future

I was driving from my city life, to my old country life on Sunday.  I exited the interstate, turned on to a country road and saw the signs, “Come Enjoy Easter Sunday at the Cowboy Church!”  I knew there was a cowboy church not far on the left, and it made me smile as I got closer and saw all of the cars and people in the parking lot.  They were fellowshipping and talking, most wearing jeans and cowboy hats, then I spotted them; two regal cowboys mounted on their horses by the drive. They looked like statues, sitting still, and serious, rugged lines across their faces, one holding an American flag and the other holding the Christian flag.  It took my breath away.  I forgot to breathe just for a second, as I continued on down the windy road toward my own family.

I spent the day loving on my cousins’ new babies. I played with Lea, the spitfire of a little girl, who never sits still.  She hunted eggs more times that I can count.  I ate more than I like to admit, and I visited, which made me realize I do not get to go it enough.

The family was there, most of us anyway.  We were missing a few who live farther away and could not make it.  We did get to see their Easter pictures online after lunch, and laughed and talked about how much we missed them and how fast times seems to go.  We were a little nostalgic at the Easter’s past.  We remembered how we had prize eggs.  How my cousin Heather always seemed to find said prize egg, and how my grandpa always painted that prize egg.

We talked about our relatives present and past.  We smiled at the memories and laughed at some of them.  Some of them were a little more sad than others, due to we were missing so many people who have passed.  I know for me, I miss my grandpa the most at Easter, due to said prize egg painting and daffodils blooming.  The wind always brings the fresh scent of Spring with it, and a little twinge of sadness.

As I drove home from my Easter Sunday spent with my family, I passed a tractor cutting a field, getting it ready for planting.  I thought of the cowboys again, sitting regally on their horses.  They were messengers of God that day.  To me, they reminded me of all of the things I am thankful for.  I am thankful for all of the farmers in our nation, who provide us with the food we eat daily.  They are not really cowboys, but farmers, but those cowboys symbolized so much to me.

They symbolized the past, of country weekends and nights, the present, of being both country and city, and the future, something I have yet to see.  The country disappeared behind me as I veered onto the interstate, and drove toward my present and future with a little sadness.  Even though I have lived in the city for over 10 years now, I will never lose that part of me that loves dirt roads, fishing holes, four wheelers, trucks, and animals.  I will always want goats and chickens, maybe one day I will have them, but for now, my city life is my life, and I will live in and enjoy the present.