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

 

 

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Yo Momma!

It’s funny how each year of grade school, a new problem surfaces.  We had the Kindergarten napping stage.   First grade, it was the nose picker’s class.  Second grade, we had a little bit of bullying which caused some anxiety issues.   

Now, for the third grade issue, you may need to brace yourself.   The topic may be sensitive for some.  Our third grade issue is none other than:

Wait for it…

Yo Momma jokes.

Yes.  You read that correctly. 

Yo Momma’s so fat when she wears a yellow rain coat people yell, “taxi!”

Yes.  Yo Momma jokes caused my third grader to cry. She’s never known such a terrible game.  Nobody talks about her Momma that way!

After I was done trying not to laugh, I had to explain to her how long these jokes have been around.  I told her not to take these things so literally.  Her momma may have a big booty, but when a boy says, “Yo Momma’s so fat she has to use two busses for her rollerblades” he is just telling a joke.  He wants to make her laugh.

“Ohhhh, I think I understand now,” she said.  “Like, ‘Yo Momma’s so fat when she goes to the zoo, the elephants throw her peanuts!’ But, that doesn’t really happen!?”  Giggle, giggle.

“Yes, honey.  I think you are getting the hang of this.”

“Like, ‘Yo Momma’s so fat, when she wears lipstick she uses a paint roller!’  Right, Mom?” As the giggles become even louder.

“Ok, no more Yo Momma jokes.  Now you know to just laugh and not get so upset, right?”

“Ok Momma.  I want to learn a whole bunch of Yo Momma jokes now!”

“I know you do, honey.”

So that was the big, third grade dilemma this morning. 

I can’t hardly wait to see what fourth grade is going to bring! 

P.S.  My personal favorite has always been, “Yo Momma’s so ugly, every time she walks by a toilet it flushes itself!”  But, please do not tell my third grader the Yo Momma Uglies exist!  I think the fat jokes are enough for now. 😉

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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3 Journals + 3 Kiddos – Lifetime Letters to my Babies

My 3 Super-heroes 🙂

My 3 kiddos came down the hallway the other day, all 3 giggling like crazy.  As my daughter came around the corner, she had a look on her face like she was up to something.  Out came my boys, dressed like girls.  Now, I’ve posted about my daughter desperately wanting a sister.  She dressed her brothers up in my high heels, dresses and wigs.  It was so incredibly funny.  I took a photo, but also had another thought.  Rather than only keeping up with my blog, why not keep track of all of these memories in a journal.  A journal to each kiddo.

I picked out a journal for each of my babies.  All 3 are unique, just like the 3 of them are unique.  I’m going to try to remember some great things that happened during the time I hadn’t been writing to them.  As they grow, the journal will grow.  I will add more as I need to.  I’ll keep it all in a box and will give it to them when the time is right. 

I would have loved something like this from my parents!  I hope my kiddos will love it one day as well.  I especially hope they love hearing about the nosepicker’s class, the wig wearing and the potty training battles.  Who knows, maybe their own kids will want to read about the adventures of my 3 kiddos one day.  🙂

xoxo,

Stacy

Body Type: Needs Improvement

11 years in between photos. Different physique, same heart.

Fat, thick, curvy, chunky, plump, husky, chubby, beefy, cushy, hefty, heavyset, thick-set, whale-like, pot-bellied, over-sized, roly-poly, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah-blah.

In the past decade, my body has changed dramatically. I went from being 19 and fit to 20 and pregnant. At 21, I had my first beautiful baby, a little girl. At 24, I went through a divorce, my weight dropped dramatically. Ages 25 and 26, I gave birth to two, adorable baby boys.

Between the pregnancies and stress, my body fluctuated in probably a very unhealthy way. From curvy to thin, back to thick, down to stickly again, now keeping steady at cushy, I know my body. I also know it may not be as stunning as it has been in the past. I am my biggest judge. What people like myself do not need are the over-critical, real-life judges we have in our every day world.

This is not the Biggest Loser. This is not American Idol. Leave your comments and your words at the door. Even if you think it, just don’t speak it. Unless of course you are Cindy Crawford or Giselle. Being that close to perfection, I could take a critique or two from them. But, if you are from my world, here in the real world. Just zip. Zip, zip, zip.

I am aware of how I look, but I know first hand that there is more to me than the appearance. I give more than I receive. I truly find the beauty in EVERYONE. And I mean everyone. To me, what makes you ugly or beautiful is your personality. If you can sit up on your pedestal, judging every Tom or Betty as they walk on by, on weight or appearance, you are atrocious. “You need to eat all that make up on your face so you are pretty on the inside.” – A random quote on Pinterest. 🙂

I come from a family where it is common to hear the phrases, “oh, she has put on weight!” Or, “wow, is she ever fat!” Hearing this be said about people my entire life, I am pretty intelligent. I know it is said about me. But, here is the thing: I don’t need those words said to realize it. Other people probably have the same eyes as you, the only difference is maybe that they don’t speak the words. Maybe they know me for my personality. Maybe, they know that I used to be teeny-tiny, but they realize that I have housed 3 babies in this belly. They know that I am a very hard worker for my family, I have a desk job and while I sit for 40 hours each week, I am busting my butt mentally.

Maybe, those people who don’t judge on appearance, maybe they see me for ME.

Now, here is a little tip for those that may be trying to be a real, day-to-day judge like Simon Cowell, STOP. Worry about you. See the beauty in everyone! Short, tall, thick, small, perfect complexion or not. Find the good.

We all have an inner light that can make us shine, don’t let your light go out. Find it and brighten somebody’s day! It will feel so much better than judging. Promise. 🙂

xoxo,

Stacy

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

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

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