Lots of irons in the fire, folks!

You know how I’m always saying I wear eleventy jillion hats? Figuratively speaking, that is. I think it’s reached a fever pitch now, y’all. So I’m about to list ’em for you, and then ask a favor. You knew that was coming right? Of course you did. Because y’all are fancy schmancy mind reading followers.

1. Full-time, mom

Lots of people would just stop here. After all, it’s a 24/7 PLUS job. Especially with The Beans. Which is why it’s listed FIRST.

2. Creator, Co-Producer and actress for THE BAR, a new comedy web-series coming soon from Bless Her Heart Productions.  

Trust me. You wanna know more. And you’ll want to get in on the action. Now, watch this.

3. Stella & Dot  jewelry stylist 

Oh, and I just promoted to Lead Stylist, which means I have people under me now. Wanna have a Trunk Show?

4. Kitten mom.

Let it be known, I didn’t intend to have a cat. But it was destiny. His mama abandoned him, and I took over when he was a day old. Round the clock bottle feedings…keeping him clean and safe…basically like having a newborn. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about THAT. We named him Hiccup and he is almost 7 weeks old now. Eating food on his own, potty-trained, getting into mischief. I guess he’s a toddler now? Regardless, he’s the cutest. cat. ever.

IMG_3772

5. Mixologist/Bartender at one of our favorite local spots. 

This was an accident. I swear. But I’m gonna roll with it, okay? You should too.

6. Volunteer at our church. 

God called, and I need to make sure my ticket to Heaven is punched. Enough said.

7. Blogger 

This is no surprise. I mean, you wouldn’t be reading right now if I stopped wearing this hat. But, recently I’ve been doing more posts like this onethis one, and this one.  Oh, and this!!  So I think it’s kind of a big deal.

Since seven IS a lucky number, I’m cool with it. That is, until somebody hands me NUMBER EIGHT. Because I simply don’t see the line most people believe exists somewhere between ‘overextending yourself’ and ‘why-can’t-I-say-no-insanity’. Yeah, that.

Anyway, remember when I said I needed a favor? Well… here it is. I want y’all to help me with #2. Oh, stop snickering like Beavis and Butthead.  I’m serious. Please consider donating to the Indiegogo campaign for THE BAR. We have the best ensemble cast ever, and it’s hilarious. Not to mention there are some serious, tangible perks to donating! Every penny counts y’all and we’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there (See what I just did? Do you recognize that line from the title song of another iconic Southern film? Hint: Smokey).  It’s my baby, and I really wanna see it blossom. But if you can’t donate, I totally understand. You can still SHARE THE LINK TO THE CAMPAIGN WITH EVERYONE YOU’VE EVER MET. Or share this post you are reading. Or even better… BOTH!

 Love y’all. Have a great weekend 🙂

Facing the Unknown–My Messy Beautiful

When I first received the email from Momastery detailing The Messy Beautiful Warrior Project, I knew I wanted…no…HAD…to be a part of it. You see, the whole reason I started this blog is because of Glennon and the shameless truth-telling and hope-spreading she does everyday when she shows up for her Monkees, as well as the rest of the world. Truly a force of nature that one. With all her brokenness, and honesty about the brutifulness of life, she sets me free over and over again by reminding me it’s okay to let the world see me. Shame doesn’t lie in honesty. Peace does. And when you come clean, you often discover not only are you not alone, but you’re in amazing company…and together we’ll make the best of what’s around. The last part is a line from a Dave Matthews song. I feel the same soul connection to him that I do about G…I’ve just known him longer.

Completely blurry and imperfect...but you can see the joy!!

Me and Glennon. Completely out of focus and imperfect…but you can see the joy!!

But I digress.

This post is about how my broken, messy path in life has qualified me as a warrior and equipped me for future battles.  If you follow my blog already (thank you, btw), you may have read this. If not, then welcome! The aforementioned post is not required reading by any means, it’s just a prequel…sort of.  But onward we march.

I grew up in a small Southern town, where people not only knew each other, but could also greet the skeletons in their respective closets by name. In fact, trying to keep secrets was as useless as a trapdoor in a canoe. Perhaps that’s why, once I managed to recall and assemble the memories from my fractured childhood, I felt perfectly comfortable…even relieved…writing about them for the world to see. Except for one, which continues to haunt me to this very day. In fact, my heart is racing and my hands are trembling as I sit here on Good Friday, about to lay my soul bare just before attending a prayer vigil at church. No time like the present, right? Okay, no more stalling.

When I was in the 3rd grade I had a very good friend–let’s call her Ginger–because that’s not her real name. She lived just down the street from me, so I used to walk to her house to play and vice versa. Although we lived very close, we went to different schools.  Her mom worked at a local elementary school, so Ginger was allowed to attend that school because logistically it was easier. The only time we saw each other was after school, on weekends, during holiday breaks or for sleepovers. Ginger lived with her mama and adoptive dad. Best I can remember, Ginger’s biological father either died when she was a baby, or was never part of her life. When her mom married Guy (also not his real name) he adopted Ginger so they all had the same last name. Or something like that. Sorry for the hazy details. Maybe that’s what happens when you suppress memories for 30+ years and then try to drudge them up?

Anyway, Ginger was the only child in her house. Although her mom and Guy tried to have a baby, I think I remember overhearing Mama say–in a hushed tone– they were unable to conceive. In hindsight, this was perhaps a God-send. What I  remember in shockingly vivid detail though, is one afternoon in particular. I was at Ginger’s house, and I’m not sure why…but her mom wasn’t there. Guy was in charge. We were playing in her room and he came in and sat down on her bed. Then he began stroking my very long, straight hair while saying, “Your hair is pretty. If I ever have a little girl, I want her to be just like you”, despite the fact Ginger was sitting right there listening. I’m sure that must have upset her, and evoked resentment. Just writing it makes me sick to my stomach. Sometime after that, could have been days or weeks…the phone rang at my house, and it was Ginger asking me to come over and spend the night. I covered the phone, turned to Mama and explained how I didn’t want to go and “would she please tell Ginger’s mom I couldn’t”?  She obliged, and may have asked why I was adamant about not going, but I don’t remember her pressing the issue. Again, it’s all foggy.

Eventually they moved away, out of state. I have no idea why. Maybe a change of employment, maybe a guilty conscience. Who knows? Ginger and I kept in touch by writing letters. On real paper, with stamps and everything! Then one day, maybe during 4th or 5th grade, I was in class and the office aide came to get me because my mom was on the phone and needed to speak to me. Thinking about that day still makes me shudder. Mama was calling to tell me that Ginger and her parents had shown up for a surprise visit. Oh, and Ginger and her dad were coming to pick me up from school early! A feeling of panic set in, but I internalized it, careful not to draw attention to myself while standing in the school office. I told her I wanted to stay at school, and begged her not to send them. By then she had to know something was amiss, because let’s face it…what kid doesn’t want to leave school early? Seriously.  Nonetheless, they picked me up…but Mama was with them. Thank you, God. After that I don’t remember seeing or talking to them ever again. If I had to speculate, I’d be willing to bet both my parents suspected Guy of molesting me, but couldn’t prove it because I was too afraid to tell them anything. Apparently, they decided it best to make sure the friendships were simply severed. Since they lived out of state, it was easy enough to just…lose…touch. Figuratively, and literally. Amen.

There are few things in life I’m fearful of. Among them…snakes, water I can’t see through (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc), suffocation (I’ve been in anaphylactic shock numerous times due to medication allergies, so I know what it feels like) and… that man’s face. Yes, I remember it. If he were to pass me on the street, I would stop dead in my tracks. His gaze haunts me, and the sound of his voice in my head is frightening. He is my Boogeyman, but the exact details of why are no doubt lying just beyond the reach of my cognitive memory. Both my parents are in Heaven now, so I can’t ask them what really happened. Nor do I blame them for not pursuing the matter. Living in a small town is both a blessing and a curse sometimes. Thus far, just the flashbacks have made me hyperaware and vigilant when it comes to the safety of The Beans. I’ve made sure they understand never to be afraid of tattling on anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable. Even adults–especially adults. Be warned: come after me, and I’ll fight ’til I fall. Hurt my babies? God have mercy on your soul. My survival is a testament to sheer will, considering all the things I’ve endured, and if this tiny little five-foot-one-inch warrior can walk through the fire of life unscathed, forgiving along the way…well then…so can you.

So I guess that’s it. Not a secret anymore, and if knowing I’m a Messy, Beautiful Warrior helps someone else drop their armor and face their own battle then it’s definitely been worth telling.

Now. Back to Dave….

Hey my friend
It seems your eyes are troubled
Care to share your times with me
Would you say you’re feeling low and so
A good idea would be to get it off your mind

See, you and me
Have a better time than most can dream
Have it better than the best
And so can pull on through
Whatever tears at us
Whatever holds us down
And if nothing can be done
We’ll make the best of what’s around.

(The Best of What’s Around; RCA Records, 1994)

MBW-285

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

10 Reasons I’m a Bad-Ass

well, there's #1

most important reason

(If I knew whom to credit this photo/saying to, I totally would. Unfortunately, Mama Google left me hanging.)

Judging by the fact the last list I posted here sucked 499 people in to read it…in one day...I thought I’d give you some more fat to chew on. You can thank me later. Or never. I’m cool with that.

Let me start by saying that given the festive and colorful life I’ve led, I should be a DEAD ASS. So that, folks, begins the list:

#1…I’m alive.

And have been called a force of nature by at least 2 people, who aren’t related to me and don’t know each other at all.

#2…I can bleed for 7 consecutive days without dying, or showing visible signs of injury.

All bets are off for others showing signs of injury, either physical or emotional, if they happen to be in close proximity during those 7 days. You’ve been warned.

#3…I can pitch a tent, start a fire, rig a pole, bait a hook with a LIVE worm, cast a line, reel in a catch, and then clean, fillet and cook it. Oh, and I can forage greens to sauté as a side dish. In other words: I know how to camp…low-impact style. Don’t mind squatting to pee in the woods either. Yes, I’m a happy camper!

But to be fair, I enjoy 5 star hotels and room service too. I’m flexible like that.

#4…I can say my ABC’s backwards in less than 6 seconds. It’s true, I swear. My daddy taught me how when I was 6 years old, and Sugar Bean timed me about 3 months ago, after I taught her and my other 2 Beans.

Useless, stupid human trick, I know. But try it…it’s fun.

#5…The very first time I ever played Texas Hold ‘Em Poker was with 2 of my older brothers and 3 of my 20-something nephews at our family Fourth of July shindig one year. I took all of their money. One of them even had to write me a check. Could have been beginner’s luck, but was likely because I’m a bad-ass.

FYI–I didn’t cash the check, or keep their money. I’m a bad-ass, not a bitch.

#6…My homemade chili won 3rd place fin the Beverly Hills Chili-Cook Off one year. Didn’t take the top prize, but I cooked 6 gallons and there wasn’t a drop left. So the crowd liked it, which is so much better than winning.

Friends sometimes call and ask me to make it for them, because they crave it. Now THAT’s bad-ass.

#7…I have a Smokey and the Bandit t-shirt, and know the words to the theme song, because my sister let me watch the movie when I was about 8 years old and I’ve never forgotten them. She also taught me the lyrics to a famous Jimmy Buffett song around the same time, so now…

I like mine with lettuce and tomato
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer
Well, good God Almighty which way do I steer for my Cheeseburger in Paradise

#8…My alma-mater holds 15 National Championship Titles. Enough said, except ROLL TIDE ROLL.

#9…I was in the cast of HAIR! at the University of Alabama the year it celebrated its 25th anniversary on Broadway. We sold out every performance….and yes…I participated in the nude scene. BUCK NEKID. Even during tech/dress rehearsal under full-flourescent lighting with about 15 people seated in the audience whom I’m certain had zero interest in seeing me naked.

I assume, once word got out that dancers were taking off clothing on stage, all the campus frat boys voyeurs stormed the box office, & bought a ticket. That would explain 8 sold-out performances, huh?

#10…Without hesitation, I would trade places with the one person in my life whom I know is struggling the most right now if I was sure it would end all the pain, anxiety, stress and hurt.

Why, you ask?

Because God thinks I’m a bad-ass too, and I can handle it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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oops.THAT Word.

 

To be fair, it was only the ‘ess-word’.  I mean, it’s not like I flashed the EFF or SEE words. And it was a total accident that, of course, caused an eruption of hearty laughter….in Sugar Bean’s 7th grade, Advanced English class last Thursday.

You see, after Sugar Bean oh so proudly told her teacher that I write a blog, she began following, and then asked me to come and speak about the benefits of good grammar skills in everyday life, the advantages of having an English degree, and the blessing that came from writing my thoughts down right here and having them turn into a job. That pays. A little 🙂

Anyway, I was delighted to go in and speak to the students. I’ve never been asked to do such a thing. Of course, that could be because I’ve only had a blog for a little over a year, and it’s hardly proper for the under 12 crowd, don’t ya think? So I prepared ahead of time, decided the key points to talk about, and then chose 3 posts to read aloud. Sugar Bean helped in the selection process. If you would like to read the selected posts. They are here, here and here. I had planned to read this one also, but got completely flustered after “Cold Turkey” popped up onscreen while I was searching for “Good Morning, Radio Listeners”. (wtf is that about?) I had all the selected posts pulled up in different tabs on my laptop, so I could easily navigate from piece to piece, but God decided to laugh at my technical preparedness, and throw me out of sync. In other words, I couldn’t project the screen of my laptop onto the wall of the classroom. Not for lack of trying though! Luckily, my blog isn’t blocked on the school’s server (although I’d throw down a heavy bet in Vegas it is now) and we were able to use Mrs.W’s computer. Short on time, and not really remembering how to open a new window on a PC, I decided the best way to find each post quickly was to simply search. BAD IDEA. After reading the first post, I typed in the keywords for the next one into the SEARCH BOX, and was taken to a post accompanied by an image with a caption containing the ‘ESS’ word. Oh, and the background was bright yellow, as not to be missed.  Of course, the projector was working very well that day.  GO ME, right? 

Fortunately, the class was only exposed to it long enough to read it, and react with roars of laughter. Once I realized it was there, I scrolled down and pulled it from view. Then I scrolled back up by accident 2 or 3 more times, inciting more hysterics. So, I’m oh for three now.

Oh well. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Or at least that’s what Mama always said 🙂

All in all, it was a very good day. I never lost their attention, and believe they genuinely enjoyed what I had to say. The word on the street is they told Sugar Bean I was pretty, and thought I was younger than I am. That’s ALWAYS a plus! They may have even learned a thing or two, who knows? A couple of the students had questions, and although I didn’t have time to discuss them in class, I want to now.

The first question is: “Do you blog everyday?” 

The obvious answer to this is NO. However, I do write everyday. I keep a journal in my purse, and I am constantly jotting things down in it for publication later. At any given moment, my brain has 8 gazillion thoughts running through it and it’s necessary to record the ones that shine. Or else they will be gone forever…lol. I want to blog everyday, eventually. But honestly, if I put down ALL my thoughts and adventures here….someone would show up at my door and fit me for a nice jacket and room with padded walls. So I’ll just stick to publishing the important stuff. For now. 

The other question is: “Do you want to write a book one day?” 

OMG, yes. That’s a dream of mine, and honestly, I didn’t know it was a dream until I started writing. That’s years down the road though…I think. I’ve got so much more living and learning and storytelling left to do, right here on this blog before I have enough to make a whole book worth reading. As I discussed with the class, my soul-sister whom I’ve never met (but will very soon), Glennon Doyle Melton–the genius behind Momastery–has written a book. Due for release  to the public on April 2nd. In a magical moment 2 weeks ago, I was contacted by TLC Book Tours about posting a review of her book, Carry On, Warrior, here on my blog. After I peed my pants, I enthusiastically accepted. The book arrived a few days ago….

It's REALLY here!

It’s REALLY here!

And I’m reading it…right now.

Thanks again, to Mrs.W, for making me feel like a ROCKSTAR by asking me to visit my Sugar Bean’s class. And thanks to the class for laughing at the inappropriate image your eyes were drawn to. That totally turned the day into a post 🙂

 

 

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