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.

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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 🙂

AYDA&CO is IN THE KNOW

Okay y’all, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since my last post. But I’m a firm believer in making sure I have something worthy to write about before tapping away on the keys. I mean, ain’t nobody got time for me to waste, right? As a matter of fact…in general…I’d be willing to bet y’all could use some tips about products that will actually SAVE you time. Uh-huh.

You’re nodding, aren’t you? Well you have hit the jackpot with this post then! Thanks to my dear friend Kit over at Blue Eyed Entertainment, and the geniuses behind AYDA&CO, I am about to share some fantastic news:

THE FANNY PACK IS BACK, SPORTING A MAKEOVER YOU WON’T BELIEVE! 

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Although I’m not the model in the picture above, my fabulous new belt bag looks just like the one she’s wearing. I’ve had it about two weeks, and I adore it! I’ve been wearing it all over my little ‘hood, receiving compliments every step of the way.

Remember how convenient fanny packs were back in the day, but you hated wearing one because…well…they just weren’t stylish or cute? Gone are those days, folks! The belt bags from AYDA&CO are not only stylish, they are down right sexy. There, I said it. Handmade of genuine leather so soft, the feel of it rivals a newborn baby’s tushy. And talk about functional! In addition to a roomy compartment for essentials such as keys, a cellphone, lip balm, etc…there are also credit cards slots so you don’t have to dig through your purse for a wallet. Oh, and did I mention my mini-iPad fits in mine? Because it does. How’s that for convenient, when you’re a jewelry stylist (ME) who books shows and sells on the go, or a scatter-brained mom (ME) who runs the family schedule via iCal? How about if you’re a producer (ME) running a crowd funding campaign, who must have easy access to the Internet on the fly? The answer is a belt bag from AYDA&CO, so you can keep everything you need right there on your hip. Look…as a busy mom, I am often spread so thin I’m invisible and anything that helps maximize my reach is welcome in my life. It’s a beautiful thing, people. Embrace it.

Get yours today, and be footloose and fancy handsfree…like me!

Now THIS is me!

Now THIS is me!

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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)

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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!

Shout out to FRESH BROTHERS PIZZA!!

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It’s no secret that when I plan things, Murphy’s Law kicks into high gear and throws a curve ball the size of the moon. So I usually just trust the wings I have growing out of my butt, and fly by the seat of my pants. It works for us, so probably best not to tempt fate too often, right? On occasion though, it is necessary to deviate from our mellow, go with the flow lifestyle in order to enjoy one day only, special events (hint: Murphy doesn’t take the day off.)

This past Saturday was one such day. I planned for our family tribe to attend an event at the latest location of FRESH BROTHERS PIZZA in Hollywood. The event was for MomsLA contributors and promised to be awesome….packed with pizza making, face-painting and all around fun. The Man and The Beans were ecstatic when I told them, so off we went!

It was scheduled for 11am and we arrived around 11:15. Much to my surprise, we were the only ones there…..except, of course Murphy and that Law Book. I approached the counter and confidently introduced myself to the manager, announcing we were there for the event. He looked at me with a bit of surprise, and asked if we’d booked a private party. Wait…what?!!  When I explained, he immediately got on the phone with Debbie Goldberg, one of the owners, while I whipped out my phone and logged into FB to check the original posting, and see if I’d completely lost my mind (don’t answer that). Turned out, the event was rescheduled for September….but of course, I’d missed that detail. Yeah…I’m a bonehead, and this is a sparkling example.

Not to worry though. Debbie and I chatted briefly on the phone, and she said for us to have a blast…lunch was on FRESH BROTHERS! I couldn’t believe it. The mix-up was completely my mistake, and she went out of her way to fix it. That is the ultimate in customer service!! The staff rolled out the red carpet of hospitality, and we had THE BEST TIME! The Beans made pizza, The Man watched sports, and I took pictures. A fabulous day was had by all!!

playing with dough

playing with dough

ingredients for perfect pizza making

ingredients for perfect pizza making

The Man, The Beans and some quality pizza making

The Man, The Beans and some quality pizza making

YUMMY!!!

YUMMY!!!

Oh, and the pizza?  To be honest, I’ve never been much of a pizza fan…so it takes  a lot to impress me when it comes to that particular cuisine. But I can, without any hesitation at all, say it was the YUMMIEST I HAVE EVER TASTED! Fresh Brothers has shown me the light…lol. In fact, I told The Man I would be ordering it often, and he would be picking it up on his way home from work 🙂

Again, I can’t thank Debbie and her staff enough. What a way to make me look like a hero in front of my tribe!

 

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