Thursday, August 24, 2017

Let the Madness Begin...

This is it. The end of my longest summer vacation to date. It came at a year where I desperately needed it. I have very mixed feeling about going back. Normally I'm excited and ready. But this year I feel more nervous about going back than I have in years, but there is a tinge of excitement there beneath the surface so hopefully as I have six days plus two weekends to dig back into things before students arrive the day after Labor Day that excitement will take over the nervousness.

Like always it's going to be CRAZY around here this Fall, but I always tend to have a secret love for the chaos of too much going on.  The funds thankfully came through for the school to give my husband back his position in leadership in his school again this year so that means long days and some late nights again for him but this is a blessing so we'll take it. My oldest is in travel soccer which is three days a week including games with some all weekend tournaments. My middle starts kindergarten so there will now be two to battle when it comes to the homework to do list- particularly the making them read part. She also has soccer two days a week. They're both in girls scouts this coming year so that's two extra nights every other week. The baby doesn't get his own life yet; he just gets dragged to girls scouts meetings, field trips, soccer practices and games. I have a book I'm waiting on an editor to return so I can hopefully polish it to release this Fall in time for the holidays and with what's looking like five possible book sale opportunities scheduled between the end of Sept through Dec. Luckily I'm returning to the same position for the fourth year in a row with only one new prep that's just a semester long elective course. Though it's probably my sixth year or so doing American Lit I am pretty excited about all the curriculum mapping I've done since the end of last year. On top of that the holiday seasons are approaching and though we're mostly home the whole month of Sept we have three bigger trips planned from the middle of October with New Orleans to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday to Nov with Thanksgiving with my husband's family, and finally home to MO for Christmas with mine. It's going to be busy, but there are a lot of things I'm looking forward to about this coming season as much as I am also sad to see summer go.

Three school years ago was the year I had two miscarriages in one school year, two years ago is when we went through the nerve wracking pregnancy that brought us our baby boy, and yet as stressful and disappointing as those two years were they didn't get anywhere close to mentally beating me down the way last school year did. Though it was a stressful work year across the school system, my family experienced the death of a great man, one of the most important people to me faced a cancer diagnosis (but with the end of this summer she kicked cancer's butt into remission physically and mentally), and we were in the dark about my husband's job position for this upcoming year my post partum depression stole my ability to cope with anything I think. Whereas even with miscarriages and Linc's pregnancy I was able to handle my anxiety and stresses, the PPD last year took all that from me, particularly Sept and October, though I'm just now in the past few months starting to feel like myself again. I could not handle anything, and because I feel like I failed so miserably at everything it's made me a little gun shy so to speak about stepping back into the hectic life that though a little crazy I've loved and thrived on in the past. The last time I had a similar year of struggle- my first full year back to work after my second when we suspect I had PPD then too- I wanted to go back to my school I was at then for one more year to end on a good note and I did. The year that followed that one four school years ago left me in a positive place to continue my time in education. Though I have started to search out other career options, though I hated to mention the PPD last year because again it felt like some kind of failure on my part, I am really hoping it was the biggest part of what took me down so much last year. The thing is I won't know until I go back this year, but I know I have to and want to go back to have a more definite answer for myself and where I go from here. Have I reached the end of my journey in education where I'm done with the stress and constant criticism and attacks that seem to come as part of the job or did I just lose my ability to cope and deal with all of that last year and now I'll be able to go back, brush it off, and do my thing without really giving two hoots about everyone else's criticism of how to do things that changes the next month anyhow? This year is big on helping me see whether to pursue getting out of education or keep on trucking and getting as close to that 30 year mark as I can get. Honestly it's really about seeing if I can make it through the next 6-7 because after I cross into being in for over 20 that may be the point of no return.

I think I also went back last year with some pretty unrealistic expectations of myself too. As much as I can sit here and write about superwoman being a myth and to love ourselves and who we are in the roles we play I'm the one that probably needs to hear it the most sometimes.  I want to do it all, be it all way too much. So I'm reminding myself right here. I can't do it all and though I feel at times there's a large gap of misunderstanding between others' expectations verse the realities of what I'm capable of ; maybe I'm the one most guilty of that misunderstanding. Either way I am only one person- though I may be teacher, mom, wife, and the multiple other small roles I take on-  whatever I have to give is enough. Others and myself will learn to accept that of me this year in this world of unrealistic expectations we sometimes find ourselves in. I'll do my best, I'll ask for help rather than trying to convey it through a mini temper tantrum like I've been known to do when people aren't getting the hint and I'm too prideful to just ask for the damn help, and most importantly I'm going to remember to love myself this year. I'm not going to be perfect; I'm not going to succeed at everything. But that's all okay. I'm going to be me in my own way on my own terms, and I think we'll all be just fine ;)

Here we go, year #14, let's do this!

                                           
                                 Grade 3, Kindergarten, and year 2 @ Miss Tammy's coming soon!



 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sisters

One minute the two of you are laughing and the best of friends. The next one of you-usually the older one- is kicking the other one out of your room. As the oldest you get so mad that your sister wants to copy you; yet as the youngest you get so mad when she's dictating how she wants you to do something. I've watched you through these early years as back and forth you go from best of friends to mad at one another to making up again and carrying onto the next sister adventure the two of you will find.

I hope you both know how lucky you are to have a sister, because ,you my dear girl, have been given an incredibly gift not every girl gets. A sister is your first best friend. She will love you in a way no else can or will ever love you. Even if she also drives you crazier than anyone you’ve ever met. She will not only know your strengths and flaws possibly better than anyone, she will be the first friend to love you despite them. As the two of you get older and  you possibly find yourself a little lost on life’s journey she can be your sound voice of reason. If you want the brutal honest truth about yourself go talk to your sister. No one can go from best friends to worst enemies back to best friends like sisters can. Sometimes you’ll be wrong; sometimes she will but either way I hope you always forgive each other.

Unfortunately, you’ll discover all kind of people in life that you have conflicts with so a sister ( and even a brother) is the best teacher for learning how to deal with and sort out personal conflict with one another. Even sharing a room will be great practice for you one day when sharing a whole house and life with a spouse!

But she will be your first true friend no matter where life takes the two of you, and that bond is a sacred one you should nurture your whole life. She will go from your secret keeper to  one of your greatest confidants. She will be the one you whisper to in the dark past bedtime to the one you call late at night when you need someone to just listen. She will be one of the first and longest members of the tribe of women you build around yourself as you go through life. Hold her close.

As the oldest with two younger sisters I hope you two find each other to be one of the most treasured gifts this world gave you just as my sisters and I do. I hope one day despite your differences and disagreements and there will be many you'll be so proud of one another and be each other's biggest cheerleaders in the roles you each take in the crazy "real adult" world you'll one day find yourselves in.  I pray every day the bond you have is one that you both always hold close as one of life's most precious gifts.


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Monday, August 21, 2017

Love Life

It is so easy to get caught up all that doesn't go right or according to plan or to think about what we don't have instead of what we do have. So much in life is about perspective, and believe me when things aren't going as expected it's easy to find ourselves going down a slippery slope of negativity. Then if we throw in the obsession of reporting the negative over the positive and everything that is stressed throughout media to scare or frighten us or convince us we're not good enough or no matter what we have or what we do it's not enough we could all so easily drown in disappointment and misery. We could so easily be convinced life sucks and throw ourselves a pity party for the rest of our days.

But as I reflect back on it all- the highs and the lows, the struggles and the triumphs- it's the lows and the struggles that lead us back to falling in love with our lives over and over again. The lows suck whether it's finances, marriage or relationship struggles, health struggles and fears, tough stressful periods on the job, and none of the struggles are fun.

But in those moments we have to grasp every little sliver of triumph we can find. We find it in the moments we get to reconnect with our spouse because as crazy as they can drive us there are also things they get and understand that no one else does. We find it in the victory days of accomplishment we have with our life's work that keeps us doing it even after the moments where we feel it could suck the life out of us. We find it in reaching our financial or personal goals after persevering through the struggles. We find it in our kids and wonder of watching their journeys unfold in school and on the athletic field or wherever their talents may lay.

The other day I sat with the ocean breeze on my face, the sun burning down on my skin. with probably the silliest grin on my face as I watched my girls jump in the ocean and my husband play in the sand with our toddler son. Just like any other time I've sat in those moments of watching my beautiful, happy family just enjoying time together I thought how I wouldn't change any of it. All of it- it's for these moments. These moments don't just happen on some trip either. They happen at the dinner table as everyone is erupting into laughter, they happen as you all find yourselves in the yard gathering fall leaves or challenging each other to a game of hoops on the driveway court,  they happen as you give your whole weekend over to cheering on the sidelines as one of them challenges themselves on the playing field, they happen in the holiday or weekend moments where we get together with others we love but don't see as much. They're the little moments and they happen over and over.

I wouldn't take back the relationship battles and doubt, the stress of living paycheck to paycheck for so many years, even the lost babies in our journey to our three, the time invested into a job that has taken so much personally and time wise from my children but also gave us valuable things we couldn't have grown without, the health scares and struggles. Our struggles are where we grow. Our highs would not be so victorious or sweet without our struggles. The struggles lead us to where we're going. We wouldn't get there and know the gratitude of being there if we didn't struggle.

So whether we're climbing the mountains that are our obstacles in life or find ourselves in the valley or the peak of the mountain there's always so much to love about our journeys, about the people on this journey with us, and about ourselves in our highs and ours lows. We need to love each other and ourselves in the victories and the highs but love ourselves and each other a little harder in the struggles and lows. It's all meant to remind us to love this life and those in it that we're blessed with.

 I've known so many that have really struggled this past year but they keep grabbing onto those moments that remind us all to love life. Keep snatching those moments and holding onto them with everything you have. The storms of life will try to rip those precious moments  from our grasp but our greatest strengths shine through when we not only hold onto those moments but truly live in those moments despite all the storms that may be raging around us. No matter our struggles to love our lives despite it all is the victory in our journeys.








Thursday, August 17, 2017

Speaking on Charlottesville

I've been silent on Charlottesville, but it's not because it hasn't been on my mind. These events are so saddening and frustrating to me on so many levels. I've read through so many different arguments posted online and not that I am a non confrontational person because those that know me well know I'm not one to avoid confrontation if I have something I really want to say. Too many are reacting with knee jerk emotional reactions, and I wanted time to observe people's reactions because we can't go back and change Charlottesville but our reactions are what are going to determine how many more Charlottesville we see.  I'm raising three children- white children- in a world where I thought we were moving towards a more equal, accepting world of diversity. My husband and I have spent over a decade teaching minority children and adolescents- and I don't stress that as some pat on the back- I stress that as I have a reason for saying what I'm about to say so listen to me.

Throughout all the varied arguments I have read there are a few things I've heard that I think are key.

1. We have to start listening instead of just reacting. That goes for both sides really. Insulting each other and name calling is going to get us nowhere. Is that how we teach our children to solve problems? In fact I'm kind of embarrassed about how childish I see so many adults acting online as we battle our political views and agendas behind computer screens. Now Charlottesville was flat out wrong and I'll get to all that in a minute but stepping back before Charlottesville there are many layers to what's going on in our country. Though I lean towards one side more than the other, there are a few things worth listening to from the other side. If we're not willing to listen and consider the other side to have a real conversation we're going to keep going nowhere.

2. There is a racial and injustice problem in our society and there is white privilege. It is there, people. Again I am white, I have white children, but we've been in the black/minority communities for over ten years, and I can tell you without a doubt it is there. Just as I feel educating my children to not just accept but love diversity, educating children of all races and religions as my life's profession, I also see it my duty to speak out and to not hold my silence. Believe me I have those very close to me that do not see the world the way I do- that think I'm too much of a "snowflake" for my hope for something better- but I was also raised to speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in so they're going to keep hearing what I have to say and maybe one day their thinking will start to change.

3. Please educate yourself. Honestly even though we all have free speech I'm getting to a point that if you don't have some kind of justified personal experience quit talking. We must educate ourselves before we start running our mouths- look for experiences that will open your mind, read something that will offer you a different perspective, talk and engage with people outside your cultural circle. If you have no personal experience with people of color, with immigrants, with a poor person, with a Muslim or someone of another religion what is your basis for condemning them. Seriously you have none; you're going off hearsay of what others want you to believe. Even if you have experience it should be with more than one because we have to quit judging a whole group on the poor actions of a few.  Some I think have no clue or experience that even warrants their anger to defend one side or the other. I just read this great book, All American Boys, co written by a white and black author, that did a great job of looking at the complexities of race and police officers and what they face on a daily basis.

4. The inner city violence of the black communities needs to be front and center of the BLM  just as much as the injustices they face from police. Again All American Boys did a fantastic job of showcasing both what police officers face on a daily basis and how they are not our enemy and still deserve our respect but it also showed how some are out of line with their reactions to the African American community and there is a need to hold those officers accountable. I support the peaceful protest movements of the BLM- obviously I don't support the riots that occurred and think no matter what those are not justified in anyway- but there is a serious concern for the state of our inner cities and the rate of homicide with black on black crime. I don't say this to justify white people's arguments to condemn  BLM but because this constant black on black crime is part of what creates the negative African American image and that image reflects negatively on the great amazing African American kids and families I personally know. I've also had students lose friends due to this but none yet to police brutality. We are losing African American youths in our streets and we need to start making that a focus too. This will require looking at systemic oppression and what to do about poverty (we need skill building education and jobs not welfare help but another political rant for another day)- all underlining problems to so much.

5.  Silence or not getting political is not the solution. This is not just going to go away. We all have a duty to work towards positive change and as much as some of us may be tired of the online political rants- online within our communities is where we start. We don't all need to be in Washington or running for the next political office because the change starts in our smaller communities and in our homes. Silence and saying you're not taking sides is choosing the side of the oppressor. If we are white we can easily say this doesn't impact me, and that thought right there is why we have white privilege. We- white people- need to be speaking up more now than ever! These moments are going to go down in history, people. If you've ever claimed you'd without a doubt be on such and such side when it came to ending slavery or the Holocaust now is your chance to really show the true colors of what kind of human you are. You can say this isn't as big as that or that I'm overreacting, but back in those days people obviously thought those things weren't as big of a deal either since they existed and had to choose their side. The sides of war aren't always so clear.

6. Hate is never right. I don't care what your excuse is. Hate groups and what they stand for are never the answer. Do you want to raise your child to be a bully, to be a wife beater???? My guess is probably not. If these people in Charlottesville or those supporting them claim to be patriots or Christians- wow what an insult. Did they forget we fought a war against the Nazis? But it's now patriotic to tote around a Nazi flag???  I've seen and read several churches speaking out against Charlottesville but I know of die hard Christians that push some very "right" ways of thinking and I just don't get it. God is about love and acceptance. Jesus wasn't white. They know that, right? I know the Anglo dominant world paints him as white and also translated the Bible to say what they wanted it to say (but I'm not going to get into a religious argument here either) but he was born in the Middle East. Pretty sure that means he probably had dark skin.

It's a messed up world out there right now, people. We can say it doesn't impact me and just choose to live in our little bubble, but what kind of future does that leave to our children. What we say and do right now matters.






 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The End of This Season of Motherhood

I've come to this sad but exciting realization recently that I am at the end of what feels like my first season of motherhood.

After our third baby was born - like literally shortly after while I was still in the hospital- I brought up the possibility of having a fourth baby. Must have been a damn good epidural, right?!?!? (For the whole last hour of labor I got it! )We said we'd make our final decision the summer he was a year old. Except I think we both agreed about a month into baby #3 we were good with three! Even with my sister getting pregnant with her fourth and me selling or getting rid of all my baby stuff these past few months I haven't felt that baby need twinge.

I've always seen #3 as our baby so I soak up those baby snuggles and baby things because we're good with three. But it's not just the end of having babies I'm starting to see that's coming to an end in my motherhood journey. It's not just him gaining his independence as he's leaving infancy behind and embarking on toddlerhood.

The girls grew up this summer too. Before where they wouldn't leave us for a night now as soon as we arrive into town to visit family they're leaving us to go spend nights with their cousins, aunts, and grandmas- anywhere but where we're staying it seems like. My oldest has started staying at friends' houses. She's also started staying home for very short stretches of time by herself. My middle starts kindergarten and has gained all the independence that comes with that milestone. Now with the baby not so much a baby anymore they will take him outside to play while I find myself alone in the house like the other day watching the three of them play outside through the front window.

I started to realize how in just a few short years I'll be able to leave the three of them to go for a run while they stay home, or actually go to the gym with their dad, or run to the store ALONE, or not have to rush home after work to meet the bus. After years of a baby or little ones needing something from me constantly I will not be needed so much. The independence all three of them have shown this past summer will just continue to grow even more. This is sad and exciting all at the same time.

I love the opportunity to do more things I want to do for me; love the chance to actually do stuff outside the house again with my husband. But I am sad this first season of motherhood with babies and young children is quickly coming to a close. I've been in this season for nine years now and  I realize how ridiculously fast nine years and these seasons of motherhood go.

 

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Guilt Free, Balanced Momma

I sometimes think I've been on the search for guilt free, balanced motherhood since I started this momma gig. Some days I feel like I'm there and other days not so much. Maybe that's just the way it is with anything in life. Some days you have it all figured out, and then you get a smack in the face- sometimes literally by a crazed toddler- that warns you not to get too far ahead of yourself, momma.

As I get ready to head back into my hectic life as a working mom, which is usually when I feel guilt ridden and unbalanced the most, I thought of the things that I think can help me with ridding the mom guilt and feeling more balanced. Here are my top five hopes on achieving a guilt free, balanced motherhood experience:


1. Make you a priority once a day: I use to think this was selfish but I've found if I'm not giving myself a chance to work out, read, write, or do something for myself each day it is the falling domino that starts knocking everything else over. I can have a day or so here and there where I let "me" go, and it's not the end of the world by any means, but if I'm not taking a bit of time to do something I enjoy for myself for days on end the crashing of dominos is about to go down.

2. Build and surround yourself with an amazing mom tribe of moms in the trenches with you and survivors out of the trenches: I can not stress the need for building ourselves a tribe of women in motherhood enough. Motherhood is hard. We need to surround ourselves with women who understand and support us, and we need to feel we can provide the same support to them. There's a sisterhood in motherhood.

3. Practice gratefulness- Some days are hard. Some days we're full of guilt for what we did or what we didn't do. Some days there's just no balance to be found, but there is always something positive to be found in each day. On the hardest days especially, I'm learning to remind myself each day to think about what I was thankful for that day.

4. Practice mindfulness- This one is hard but with the help from some coaching I am working on getting better at this. As someone with anxiety issues I'm learning to not only recognize my triggers but learning how to step back from the situations and reevaluate quickly what to adjust or change to regain the balance I need to feel centered again. Mommas are the foundation of so much, and if we start to crack it's going to start bringing down everything we've built around us. Evaluating my reactions is a move in maintaining a more balanced, solid foundation for me and mine.

5. Set goals and celebrate when we reach them; I'm a productive person by nature. I have to feel like I'm doing something, accomplishing something. As accomplishing as it is to change two dozen diapers in a day, and wash dishes three times a day, and complete all the other daily tasks that is motherhood that no one notices half the time I like to set personal goals that go beyond my diapering and dishwashing skills (which suck sometimes by the way). Setting daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals gives me a purpose and fulfillment.  Setting goals and hitting those have always been big in finding my balanced self in motherhood. I  love being a mother; she's a huge part of who I am, but there is more to me than her.

I hope you can find your guilt free, balanced momma in this momma journey.



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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Genetics Testing??




When you're pregnant you go to the those 20 week ultrasound appointments anxiously waiting to hear the gender of your baby, but unfortunately, with baby boy it was also the first time we heard there was an abnormality with his heart.

I remember walking out into Hopkins' parking lot that day and both Nate and I saying how that put quite the damper on our excitement of knowing we were welcoming a little boy to go with our two little girls. From there we of course made probably every parent's mistake- we read Dr. Google. Dr. Google I learned likes to stress to you the worst case scenarios. Though they told us what they saw on the ultrasound could be absolutely nothing we had to wait two weeks to follow up with Hopkins Pediatric Cardiology.

That's a long time let me tell you to read a lot of negative, not very hopeful stuff on the internet. After experiencing two healthy pretty much worry free pregnancies I was surprised to learn how common congenital heart defects were and the wide range of defects that existed and all the different implications of how those could impact his quality of life. It was a bit overwhelming. So though Google will give you loads of information when faced with a medical unknown I wouldn't recommend over reading the internet at that time.

What we found out two weeks later was that they did in fact see something on the ultrasound. He had not only one larger tumor growing on his heart but possibly several other smaller ones. At that point there was nothing they could do but monitor them and gamble on them not causing him any problems. Though the tumors were not cancerous they could cause life threatening problems.   "The positioning within critical areas in the heart could lead to lethal arrhythmias and chamber obstruction.
Tumors obstructing the right-side inflow or the outflow of the ventricles can lead to decreased cardiac output, atrial and caval hypertension, fatal hydrops (development of fluid around the heart), and death. Congestive heart failure and a low cardiac output can occur when the tumor extensively involves the myocardium or the ventricular papillary muscles. Cyanosis and decreased peripheral pulses can result. Death occurs because of obstruction of ventricular blood flow, arrhythmias, valve stenosis, or loss of functional myocardium secondary to extensive tumor involvement." These tumors would continue to grow as he grew throughout the pregnancy, but if he made it past his uterine stay where their growth peaked after that they actually started to regress in size so if they did not cause him problems during pregnancy it was pretty safe to say they wouldn't afterwards.

But not only could we do nothing throughout the pregnancy but just pray the tumors caused him no problems, we were also informed more times than not these cardiac tumors were usually connected with a genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis. Again google more aless informed me, "The classic clinical triad of tuberous sclerosis includes mental retardation, epilepsy, and facial angiofibromas. The presence of multiple cardiac rhabdomyomas (the tumor) often precedes the manifestation of the cutaneous and neurologic features of the disease." Tuberous sclerosis in simple terms is a disease that causes tumors to grow on major organs of the body. Though again the tumors were noncancerous with each organ they grew on they could cause a variety of problems.

Not only did we face a lot of unknowns the remaining four months of my pregnancy but there would be lots of medical testing and procedures after his birth. As you know he made his debut without any complications from the heart tumors. At sixteen months he still sees a cardiologist every few months but the tumors regressed and/or are continuing to regress for the larger one as expected.

Seizures were the next manifestation of the disorder they expected to see because the next organ the tumors usually made their appearance at was the brain but again no further signs of the disorder have been found at this time. We are incredibly blessed and fortunate! We met with his neurologist and a genetics counselor the other day, and they were quite happy with him.

While there they talked about getting genetics testing done. A genetics test could confirm he has the disorder or give us an 85% likely negative that he doesn't. There's also the possibility the results could be inconclusive in which case they would still label him with the disorder. We are inconclusive here on what we should do. Obviously if we could get the negative- yay case closed!

He is developmentally totally on track and has shown no further complications or evidence of the disorder so I would hate to place the label that will come with the diagnosis when if he has it it's obviously very mild and may not cause him problems for years- if ever- down the road. No matter how mild his symptoms may be and no matter how little medical attention he may need a positive or inconclusive genetics test result could make it hard for him to obtain certain insurances when he gets older.    When he gets older he may want to know if the heart tumors were caused by a mild version of the genetic disorder because if so unfortunately a passing down of the disorder could be anywhere from mild to severe for his own children, but if we wait he could obtain life insurance before doing a genetics test and make that decision for himself. If he is positive then all of us would have to go through genetics testing as well to see if the girls had the possibility of passing it down to their children.

He s doing so well and we all feel so hopeful and optimistic for his future so  if we knew we were getting a negative result it'd be a no brainer to just do it but a positive would be opening a whole can of worms I'm not sure about opening right now. If we choose not to do the genetics testing we just follow up with neurology once a year unless of course something concerning warrants her attention sooner.

I really feel like not knowing the results of a genetics test isn't much different right now than not knowing any of our children's medical futures and what they may face in their individual journeys ahead. But I do know after almost two years of all this crazy medical uncertainty that followed a year of two miscarriages I am so thankful that this is where we've ended up. He's here and at sixteen months he's doing fantastic and is such an incredible blessing to our family.

 
 
Medical definitions brought to you by Medscape


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How to Help the Mompreneur out on Facebook without Buying Anything

I have lots of Mompreneur friends on Facebook. Some that do it as their full time income and others like myself that  do it as a supplement income. There's no way I could buy from them all every single month. I'm pretty tight with my money, but I try to buy from them when I can. I've bought some essential oils, beach body, pink zebra, lipsense, and a few e books from fellow freelance writers and have used friends' new photography businesses. With the holidays coming I want to really try to support more of my Mompreneur friends, but I can't buy everything.

As a writer who tries to push my brand and books on social media there are a few things I've found that are very helpful from my friends in helping me get increased engagement online which therefore even in the writing world equals more money, not necessarily in sales always for me but in pageviews. Though sometimes my pay is determined by pageviews I imagine some of these approaches would be very helpful in helping your friends' businesses without you actually having to buy anything at that moment.

With the way Facebook works these days our marketing strategies rely on getting into as many people's  feeds as we can. For anywhere from a couple $$ to $20 Facebook will throw it into a couple thousand feeds for us, but most of us don't have these advertising $$ in our budget so we rely on our friends' engagement. So here are some ideas how you can help your Mompreneur friends still even when you re not buying something.

1. Every time you "like" their status your friends on your friend list see what products or in my case articles/posts you're liking which may prompt them to check it out themselves.

2. Engage in conversation. This tends to double to triple the number of people that see your friends' product or post. Now when they reply or others add their thoughts it keeps running in more and more people's feeds and if Facebook thinks it's a popular trend it'll throw it in front of more people's feeds.

3. Sharing their business page, their post, or any promotions they' re running is a huge help to your Mompreneur friend.

4. If and when you do try their product be sure to give them a shoutout on social media. This can be a huge help to them a month or so later when they're working on the next month's sales and income but you don't plan to make any purchases that month.

5. If you are a Mompreneur it's kind of like it is in the writing world- scratching each other's backs is huge. Make sure you re engaging on their pages and posts maybe even sharing in hopes that they'll follow and do the same for you and others.

6. Look for opportunities where you can team up so you are both exposed to more potential customers and clients outside your own regular list of friends.

The online Mompreneur world is an amazing business opportunity for today' s women. As I always say when it comes to motherhood support one another- in their mom journey and their Mompreneur business. Luckily I have few friends selling the same things so there's no need for competition among one another but a wonderful opportunity to help one another grow our brands and our businesses.

Be sure to follow Stepping into Motherhood on facebook






Monday, August 7, 2017

Warrior Within



The news is a blow that knocks her back in disbelief. "How can this be? How can this be happening to me?" she wonders in dismay. "What about my children? What about me? How will this change so many things?"

The news sinks in, the emotions a raging storm inside her. The fear is replaced by anger and the anger fuels the warrior within. Just as the news knocked her down with an unforeseen force she rises up, her fear of the approaching monster settling at her feet like dust, because the warrior within has stirred and she's ready. Ready to face it head on, ready to show cancer it won't own her but she will own cancer.

She will walk in the storm with her head held high. Each day she rises up and bravely lives her life just as she always has.  When the tough days knock her down it is just the warrior within resting to put forth her best fight in the battles that still lay ahead.

She will walk out of the storm stronger than she went in. Cancer will not take her spirit; she will show cancer the spirit of a true warrior. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Stay in the Moment a Little Longer

As the sun that finally broke through the rainy afternoon set on the fairground, it bathed their flying hair in its light. Their laughter seemed to fall in rhythm with the band on the stage. Around and around in circles the two of them went, bursting into more laughter each time one of them fell to the ground in dizziness. Their little brother perched on my lap, clapped his little chubby hands together each time the two of them fell to the ground.

The joy in the simplicity of the three of them on that summer evening, planted itself in my momma’s heart. These are the moments I want to stay in a little longer. There’s no stress, there’s no worry, there’s no wondering of what’s next to overcome, or over analyzing of what’s already passed. It’s just pure joy in the simple things of enjoying a summer evening listening to live music as they dance away to a rhythm all of their own. It’s moments like these where I again fall in love with my life.


The days we walk out that door to embark on some daily journey or the evenings we close that basement door to venture downstairs, the battles and the worries of the day or the past week are left behind that door. The joy in living that the day in and day out grind of life tries to steal is reignited for these moments. Each time I leave it at that door and I let your little hand beckon me to come play in the yard, come watch a movie, go with you to wherever the next family adventure awaits I yearn for the moment to just stay a little longer. Though the moments are fleeting and the passage of time threatens to snatch them away, each time they remind me why I love this life, and each time I lock them away in my heart to get me to the next time I can leave it all at the door and follow you back to the moments I just wish to stay in a little longer.