The Cheese

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Life can be a struggle.  Life can also be a beautiful thing.  I’m going to tell you a story about how a stranger helped turn my struggle into a beautiful thing.  Now, the title of this post may sound a little odd.  It’s strange to see a story about individually wrapped cheese playing a life changing role in someone’s life.  However, it did in mine.  I’ll never look at those little wrapped slices of cheesy goodness the same way.  And it’s not a culinary discovery thing.  It’s a life altering event kind of thing.  Let me explain.

Not everyone in the world has lived their life the way they should.  We all grow up with a mental picture of what we are supposed to do.  We are supposed to graduate high school, graduate college, meet the love of our life, get married, buy a house and have babies.  Well, sometimes this doesn’t happen for all of us.  Sometimes we think that the choice we are making is the right one.  Nobody ever gets married intending to get a divorce.  Sometimes, even though you want to live happily ever after with the person you first marry, it doesn’t happen.  We don’t want this to happen, but for reasons unknown to the rest of the world, it does.  Maybe you try to make it work.  Maybe you fight and fight and fight for it to work, but it doesn’t.  This is ok.  Even when the rest of the world judges you because you aren’t following the Bible the way you should, you are ok.  From all the things I have read and heard, if you believe in God, He will still love you.  Ignore every single person that judges you.  If they post pictures on Facebook about how much better they are because they are not divorced, ignore them.  Nobody knows the roads that you have traveled.  Even if they are ignorant enough to think they do, they don’t.  Only you know in your heart and you need to convince yourself that your mistakes are ok.  Until you do that, you will always feel guilty because society paints a picture of what happily ever after is.  Create your own. 

Now, that being out of the way, I chose a path that was bumpy.  It was bumpy with logs in the way, sticks, boulders, tasmanian devils, tornadoes, you name it, it was on that darn path.  I learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot.  I feel like I know more at 31 than some people that I know do at 65.  I don’t boast about it, I just feel a lot more content with the little things in life.  That rough part of my life was not only mentally rough, but financially rough as well.  Making about $300 a week, I had to support a new baby, a 4 year old, pay $950 at the time for rent and still do the day to day things.  I had way too much pride to apply for food stamps.  Would I have qualified, absolutely.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I knew there would be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Did I think that light was still 4 years away, nope not at all.  I really hoped it would be a lot sooner, but it wasn’t and that’s ok.

The only thing that I asked for help with was milk, formula and cheese.  There is a program out there called WIC and they give those that struggle checks to buy these things.  Oh my Lord, it pained me to do this.  I cringe even thinking about it now.  Having to step into that office asking for help still makes me tear up.  I used those checks 3 times.  3 times and that was it.  I could have used them another 3-4 years, but I refused.  I could manage even if I went without.  As long as my children were fed and happy, I was happy.  Sometimes my pride is my enemy, but it’s who I am and I would not change that characteristic ever.

After going to a well known department store, I used my checks the first time.  The large blue envelope that carried the checks was humiliating for me.  The cashier called me “a welfare person.”  This wasn’t welfare, but I just teared up and took my baby formula and milk out of the store as fast as I could.  I left there letting her think what she wanted because some people who have these mentalities really are ignorant.  If they only knew that everything was taken from me and I was working as hard as I could, they would understand.  However, some people don’t deserve to hear your story.  I just pray they never find themselves to be in that same situation.  It’s heartbreaking. 

The next week or two when I had the courage (kind of) to go back and try again, I did.  However, I dragged my mom and dad along with me for support and went to a different store.  This was a little market in town next to a church I grew up going to.  I did feel a little bit better in this one.  I grabbed my baby formula, my milk, my cheese and some cereal.  Hiding the gigantic blue envelope, I pulled it out cautiously, trying to make sure nobody could see me.  I wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible.  It was after work, around 5pm and the foot traffic in the store was starting to pick up.  The nice cashier didn’t call me a welfare person.  However, there was a problem and of course, I had about 3 or 4 others in line behind me now.

“Mam, there’s no cheese on this check this week.”  I looked at the check and it wasn’t on there.  I had nothing.  My $20 was just put in my gas tank and my bank account was just drained to go to $1,000 rent.  “Oh.” I say quietly.  My face was as red as a Maine lobster fresh out of the cooking pot.  “I can’t get it this time.  I’m sorry.”  She gave me the most sympathetic look.  My parents couldn’t hear what was going on and I would be dammed if I asked them for a nickel.  They already had helped me so much, even $3 cheese was out of the question.  I gave her the checks and didn’t dare look around.  When people stare at you, it’s like you can feel them burning holes in the back of your head.  Or this could have just been my paranoia.

I went out to the parking lot, speed walking to my parent’s van as fast as I could.  I was so embarrassed.  I just wanted to hug my mom.  All of a sudden I hear, “Mam!”  I just continued getting in the van.  “Mam, mam!”  I turned around.  “Mam, I bought your cheese for you!  I hope you have a good day!”  The stranger handed me the cheese.  I just looked at him.   I thanked him over and over.  That kind stranger purchased the cheese after I left the store and ran it out to me in the parking lot.  After he walked away without saying another word, I just looked at my mom.  I got into the van and I cried.  But, for the first time in a really long time, it was a good cry.  He didn’t judge me.  He wasn’t looking at me like I had chosen the wrong path in life.  He wasn’t there to give me a lecture, he just wanted to help me.  I will be forever grateful.

I don’t even know if that kind stranger still remembers that.  I know I do.  I know I’ll never forget.  Every time I pass that little market, I think of that time.  Because of him, I try at least once a month to pay for the person behind me at the drive-thru.  I try to do little things for people when I can.  Other people may see it as a waste of money, but I see it as a genuine act of kindness.  Why not?  Save your money, yes.  Be responsible, yes.  But, splurge a little too.  Having nothing is not fun.  If you have even a little extra, enjoy it.  You can’t take it to the grave with you.  You can save for big fancy things, but don’t forget to live life too. 

And maybe, if you see someone struggling at the store, buy them their cheese. 😉

“Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up.”  – Unknown

xoxo,

Stacy

 

 

Writer’s Cramp!

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It has been a REALLY long time since my last post.  It’s also been a REALLY long time since any of my journals have been scribbled in.  Since my last post, I started a new job.  My almost 2-year-old job.  Yes, it’s been a while.

I had been posting frequently about dealing with negative people, staying positive, finding time with my kiddos, etc.  I always find it easier to write when dealing with negative emotions.  My new job has made me so incredibly happy.  Words cannot even describe how wonderful it has been.  My family is wonderful and I am enjoying each and every day.  I have tried and tried to write something meaningful, my mind has just been blank.  Hence the writer’s cramp.

My husband (yes, husband!  We finally tied the note in fall of 2012) has recently started a blog about his other love (aside from the kids and I), cigars.  That being a completely different subject matter for me, as I have never smoked a thing in my life, has still inspired me to put the pen to paper again (Or the fingers to keyboard)? 

I almost had a chance to have a book published.  One of my posts about divorce was sent to Harlequin Publishing.  All I need to do is finish it all and put it into a book format.  Just a layout will do.  But, I can’t.  I just cannot visit the negativity of it all.  It’s so far behind me, book deal or not, I’m not ready to go there.  Maybe I will be someday, but for now it can remain stored in the memory of that very sad and emotional time period.  I’m happy.  Genuinely happy and if even for a few hours a day, I don’t want to feel the hurt.  Does that even make sense?

All of this being said, I do want to start writing on here again.  I thoroughly enjoy journaling online, reading what others post and communicating with all of you.  I’ve realized recently (thanks to my hubby♥) that I can write about all that I enjoy too.  Maybe what’s on my mind won’t be book worthy, but it will be me worthy (as corny as that sounds).  I’m back to doing something I love, I love to write.  I love helping people and expressing my thoughts through my pen.    

As I am typing this little writer’s cramp post, I’m thinking about so many things I want to say.  I’m on a new, healthy road to becoming a better version of myself.  I want to write about the recipes I have tried and the weight loss I have recently experienced.  I want to write about  feeling like being back to pre-pregnancy weight is reachable for all of us moms.  Because it is. 

I want to write about not giving up on your dreams.  If you feel like you are at a dead-end job, you’re not!  I was at my last job for 8 1/2 years and found the job of my dreams after all that time!  It’s possible, attainable and you can do it.

I want to write about loss.  Though it is incredibly hard to lose the ones we love or have loved, we can learn something from it.  We can find faith to keep moving forward.  We can find strength to keep their memory alive.  Not only through our own words, but by passing their name and stories onto anyone who will listen.

I want to write about family.  How incredibly important our families are.  Our children see everything we do.  If they see us give up on our dreams, writer’s cramp or not, what will they learn?  Go back to school at 40, go for that big promotion that you don’t feel like you can get, get in shape, do whatever you need to do.  Our children are watching us and all we need to do is take the right step in teaching them about life.  We don’t have to be a doctor, lawyer, politician or genius.  We just need to be a loving parent.  That’s all.

So much more is stirring around this brain right now, but I will save it.  My long spell of writer’s block is over.  And I am so incredibly happy the words are flowing again.  ♥

“The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.”  ~Mark Twain

xoxo

Stacy ♥

     

 

 

Stay Positive

Stay Positive

Words to remember! Courtesy of Pinterest.   Follow me there, my boards are under momand3kiddos.  🙂 Happy Monday!

xoxo,

Stacy

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The Little Things

I started planning my 4 year olds birthday party about a month or so ago. I had it in my head that he needed to have a “real” party. Real meaning I bake the big, fire engine cake, invite all of our family, play Pin-the-Tail on the Donkey, Make little fireman souvenirs etc, etc, etc. I had the perfect invitation all picked out, all I had to do was find the time to send them out.

Well, life got in the way. The invites turned into Facebook & E-mail E-Vites. No perfect little invitations to put in the mail.

I was so bummed.

My 4 year old’s perfect birthday party was starting to turn not so perfect. Several people didn’t RSVP. My little guy was surely going to be heartbroken. I thought I had let him down. But, then the day came.

We arrived at his Grammy’s house. He was already so excited. We blew up a few balloons. I set up his fire truck cake. I made it with the boxed stuff, not even by scratch. Surely, this will be bad. I put a few of his gifts in gift bags. Between my new job and all the hustling around, I didn’t have time to grab wrapping paper. Poor kid.

Then I heard uncontrollable laughter. It was my 4-year-old. He was so happy and excited, he just couldn’t stop laughing!

I took a step back and looked around. No, this wasn’t the picture perfect party that I pinned on Pinterest. But, it was still pretty darn cool. No, not all of our family members could RSVP or attend, but he was so happy with those who did. He took the toys out of the gift bags so fast. He didn’t even notice they weren’t totally wrapped.

He was just so darn happy!

That was when I realized, all of the picture perfect stuff I was worried about was about me. It was about my own pride. I was upset that not everyone could RSVP or join us. I was let down when I ran out of time to do the invitations, wrapping and made by scratch cake.

He didn’t care about that stuff at all. In fact, he didn’t even notice.

We all get so wrapped up in seeing what other Moms and Dads do for their kids, we forget about simplicity. Just letting him know how much he is loved by all of those around him every day means the world to him. He was thrilled with what I did for him, not for what I didn’t do.

It’s the little things that matter to kids. You don’t have to have a billboard on the side of the road to say, “Happy Birthday.” A little silly singing greeting card does the trick. Words and hugs do the trick. Being there every day does the trick. Yeah, all kids remember those great parties. But, they also notice the occasional trips to the park, brining them with you to the voting booth, letting them help you wash their car or their pet, bedtime stories and singing on the way to school each morning.

And even though it wasn’t baked by scratch, they remember helping you bake that fireman cake. And all the other things they help you make in the kitchen.

It’s the little things.

xoxo,

Stacy

No Price For Pride

I am going to say a few things that I am trying desperately to teach my children about the meaning of pride.  We have people that are close in our lives that seem to have the world handed to them on a silver platter.  It’s so easy to become jealous and envious of them, but there is a huge reason not to yearn for their free money or hand me downs.

Pride.

Without naming names, I can tell you that I know somebody who has the world handed to them.  Brand new vehicles, barely used from their parents.  A beautiful home, bought and given to them.  Money handed out left and right.  Even a trust fund to look forward to in the future.  The world is put into this person’s hands. 

However, by being given the moon for as long as they can remember, they lack appreciation and pride.  They have become so used to the hand outs, their hands are always out.  More, more, more, but more is never enough.  They are never satisfied with the new car.  A few months after the newness wears off, it’s time for something more.  They are no longer satisfied with their beautiful home, it’s time for a bigger one.  Why try to fix it up or make things work when all you have to do is wait for a new one to be handed out?

My children are going to learn to be the opposite of this personality type.  My Fiance and I work so hard for what we have.  We may not have the most beautiful of homes, but we worked for it and pay for it ourselves each month.  We may not have brand new cars, but we worked for the ones we do have.  We may not be rolling in the gold coins, but the little we do get is so very important to us.

Although, some days life would feel so much easier if I had the same hand outs that this person does.  No financial worries, no issues, just an easy, breezy life where I can spend an unlimited amount.  Who doesn’t dream about that?

  But, when I really get thinking about it, I would so much rather say to myself, “Hey, we did this on OUR OWN!  No help needed.  We did it.”

Pride.  You cannot buy it, but it is worth more than anything money can buy.

xoxo,

Stacy

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Defeating the Bullies

bully n. , pl. , -lies . A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.

I’ve been staring at the computer screen off and on for about an hour. I’m trying to find the words to describe what it feels like to be bullied, but I am having a hard time. You may laugh when I speak about being bullied since I am almost 30 years old. It happens though. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. People that are all shapes, sizes and ages are bullied every day. It’s a fact of life, but something can be done to stop it.

If you are the bully, enough is enough! By throwing out hurtful words, you are killing somebody on the inside. I don’t know if it makes you feel powerful or smart? Maybe you feel better than everybody else and feel even better when you use your words as a weapon. Whatever the reason is, you need to stop. If you feel superior to anybody around you, that’s your first clue that you are not. Everybody has a flaw, but everybody has a strength too. If you take the time to prey on another person’s weakness, you are the one who is in fact the weak link in the puzzle.

I hear bullies every day. They talk and talk and talk about how terribly a friend or family member is living their life. They talk about how “stupid” these people are. They talk about how great they do things in their own life and nobody else around has a clue. All that stress and negative energy is actually tearing them apart. Of course, if you are the one being bullied, you are being torn apart too. But, turn that around into something good. They are giving you a gift.

Confused? Let me explain.

So, you are being bullied. Whether they are picking on your weight, your height, the way you do your job, whether or not you cook, pushing you around or whatever the reason, you can turn that energy into something great. They are making you so incredibly strong. You are handling more than the average person can handle. You are growing as a person. You are growing because you are going through something and you are overcoming it. After you have been bullied, are you going to want to run out and start belittling your co-worker? More than likely not. They are giving you a gift because you now know how it feels to be hurt. In turn, you will not hurt another person. You will go above and beyond trying to make others feel at home. It doesn’t matter where you are, you have learned what respect is. You have learned that you do not have to tolerate another person who does not respect you. And, you will show every person that enters your life what being respectful is all about.

So, this bully that has been belittling and over-powering you, they are thinking that they are on top of the world. Guess what? They are not. They never will be. If it takes mean words to make them feel tough and powerful, they are the ones who are half an inch tall. Look at them in a different light. Don’t fear them for their strong words. Picture the coward that they actually are. Because if they were actually somebody who’s opinions mattered, they would be using all their negative energy towards random acts of kindness. They would be more like the person you are now becoming, thanks to them and all the strength that those terrible words have given you.

You are important. You matter to the world. You can make a positive impact on this world. Find a way, make a path and charge on through. The only thing this bully will fear, is the new and powerful YOU.

xoxo,

Stacy

You Are Amazing

Dear Reader,

You are amazing. 

Yes, you. 

The one on the other side of this screen peaking in.  You’re amazing in many ways. 

How do I know? 

I just do.  

I catch myself at times comparing my talents to others.  I compare anything from writing, to my job, to parenting, to being a wife, etc.  Sometimes, I put myself on a level that is so far beneath my peers, it hurts my neck to look up at them.  I’m not sure why I do this, but it’s something I’ve always done.  Lately, I have been realizing more and more that I don’t have to do this.  I can be just as good as the next person.  Degree, no degree, stay at home mom or working, I’m not beneath anybody.  I’m me, I have talent and some of those talents are quite amazing.

That’s how I know you (YES, YOU!) are amazing too.  When everyone takes the hand of the person next to them and shows them just how wonderful they are, the world will be a better place.  When we can look at the person across from us and only look at them on a complete and total level, not up, not down, the world will be a better place. 

You can do a great job at that office that you’ve been too afraid to apply to. 

You can do a great job at your daughter’s next PTA meeting. 

You can write a wonderful blog and help thousands of people find a smile.

Yes, you.  You can do anything that you want to do.  There’s no mountain too tall for somebody like you.

For somebody as amazing as you.

xoxo,

Stacy

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