What's Up Wednesday

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I'm excited to join a new link-up today! I've been reading Mix and Match Mama for about a year and absolutely love her blog and her adorable little family!


1) What We're Eating This Week

Well, this is what we had last night...
If I can't cook it in the crockpot then it has to be prepared quick. After football practice, exercise, and anything else that has to be crammed into the evening, dinner usually doesn't get started until 7 p.m. I'll tell you one thing, the crockpot is the greatest invention known to man. Well, that and sunglasses.



2) What I'm Reminiscing About



I've been reminiscing about all the group runs my friends and I used to do just a couple of years ago. We pushed one another when we needed to and were accountable to each other. We try to get together and run periodically, but it's not the same. We are all being pulled in so many different directions...it's just not fair. ;(



3) What I'm Loving



This and cooler weather are right around the corner!


4) What We've Been Up To




It seems like this is what we do 24/7...I wouldn't have it any other way!


5) What I'm Dreading

   Hahaha! 

I have a love/hate relationship with my training runs for half marathons. I'm dreading the Long run I have to do this weekend...

I never regret a run after the fact, it's just the days/hours/minutes/seconds leading up to the actual run.


6) What I'm Working On

Trying to balance everything...work, fitness, Hope Outreach, writing, freelance, parenting. Juggling everything is a full time job in and of itself!


7) What I'm Excited About

My birthday is seven days!! I was just looking at the list I made almost a year ago and I can't believe how much things have changed in just a short amount of time. I'm looking forward to making a new list!


8) What I'm Watching/Reading

I am hooked on this show





And, I'm currently reading this book...good stuff!




9) What I'm Currently Listening To


I could listen to this song over and over again!


10) What I'm Wearing

I wish I could give some impressive answer here, but unfortunately I can't. I am pushing the limits on wearing summer dresses. I know it won't be happening much longer!


11) What I'm Doing This Weekend


Other than my training run and normal weekend stuff, I'm also going to one of my favorite places, the Nashville Rescue Mission!


12) What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Refer to number seven :)


13) What Else is New

I had to get my driver's license renewed this past week. It's been probably about 10ish years since I had my picture taken for my license. I was happy to see that I really don't look that much older!

If I Didn't Have to Work...

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Boy howdy, what would I do if I didn't have to work? This is a subject I really have to think about. I've worked since I was 16 years old. I was a mother at 19 years old. All I know is work.

Here are the first 10 things that come to mind...

1) Watch the Bravo channel as often as possible...


2) Take this girl on very long walks...


3) Be all up in this boy's business...all day 'ery day


4) Get my workout in by 10:00 a.m. every day


5) Make wreaths, wreaths, wreaths, and more wreaths


6) Learn how to cook...better


7) Volunteer at the Nashville Rescue Mission at least once a week


8) Blog more!


9) Write a book



10) Eat lunch with friends more often


I really enjoy my job and I thank God for it, but this list becoming a reality would be pretty awesome too!


One of my biggest fears as a single parent

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Not too long ago, I learned that Brenn's half sister had decided to move in with Brenn's dad full time. Her mom is a little on the loony side, but it really got me thinking. What would I do if Brenn ever told me he wanted to live with his dad full time?

This is actually one of my biggest fears as a single parent. I know if that ever happened, he would be well taken care of. My fear stems from the fact that raising him has been my number one full time job for 15 years and I would be lost if it was suddenly taken away.


This subject has never really manifested itself, but I know as Brenn grows older he might feel like he needs his dad more and more.

I'm not into parent bashing, but his dad would get a pretty good deal. I mean, Brenn is already pretty much "raised." He makes good grades and is a good kid. Being involved two weekends a month did not accomplish this (he had a choice to be more involved). Being a full time parent accomplished this...


It's scary, it's frustrating, and it's depressing to even think about.

What would I do? I know I have enough going on to stay busy, but being a mom is my label. It's what I do. I'm used to hearing on a regular basis, "I'm hungry." I'm used to shuttling teenagers from one place to another. I'm used to finding dirty laundry on the living room floor. What would I do if all that changed with just one decision?

Surely I'm not the only one who's had this fear. This has to be a very real concern for a good number of single parents.

Right?

Hope Outreach Update

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Time to put on my Hope Outreach hat...

As I've shared earlier, in January of this year I started a community outreach program. We are currently working under the umbrella of a local church. As we grow bigger and outgrow where we currently are, we will be applying for our own non-profit status and looking for a building in the community. 
Let me tell you, this outreach is quickly becoming another full time job. I came into this with limited knowledge and a lot of faith. I have the BEST core group of people involved and I really don't know what I would do without them. 

I'm hoping that one day I will be able to actually make this program my full time job. Running your own business is a big leap of faith and I'm beginning to feel like running a non-profit is an even bigger leap of faith. Our income is going to be based on community support and fundraisers. There are so many guidelines to running a non-profit and it's going to take some time to figure it all out.

All that to say, I have never been happier. I feel like after years of not knowing what my purpose is, God has finally reveled it to me. 


At times I stop and ask, "why me?" I'm just a single mom. I don't have the nice big house or a large savings. I'm working hard just to keep my own household afloat. 

Thankfully, God uses people from all walks of life to fulfill His mission. A non-profit established to help people living in poverty might not make me successful in the eyes of some people. It doesn't matter though. I feel like what makes a person successful is finding a job they are passionate about. 

Being able to go to local hotels where a good majority of our "homeless" are staying and handing them a hot meal is definitely my idea of success.

Life's Lessons

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On any given day, he could make me feel like I was on top of the world.

And then there were those days when his actions would make me feel like I was wasting my time.

I thought he was everything I had been looking for...

Secure in his job
Confident with who he was
Loved his kids
Good sense of humor
Treated me with respect (or so I thought)



I never saw it coming...I mean he was already a part of my life but in a very different way. Because of a series of unfortunate events in both our lives, we were thrown together and began to rely on each other to forget the pain.

I was so happy at first. I felt like this was meant to be. I mean, I already knew him and he had played a pretty big part in my life already. And truth be told, I had always had a little crush on him anyway.

But as time went on and the days turned into months, I knew that this man was trying to put a band-aid on the hurt, pain, and rejection he was dealing with. I was just one part of that band-aid. No matter how hard I tried or how available I made myself to be there when he called, I couldn't make him feel about me the way I craved.

It was bad, bad timing.

I was holding on tight, but my self worth and self esteem began to hinder on whether or not he paid attention to me. I knew I had to let go.



I look back on this season of my life and I see it as a lesson and a time of growing. Even though there was so much hurt and pain during that time, I learned a lot about myself. 


Life Lately

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Life has been pretty awesome lately!

Here's a little update:

We celebrated National Dog Day because of this girl. 



She wove her little self into our hearts about five months ago. I never knew that a trip to a local animal shelter would change our world. I seriously haven't felt this much love for a pet...ever. She is a sweetie. She's half blind and hard of hearing, but she still thinks she's a puppy.  She's the best!

I am officially in half marathon training. I started with a four miler last weekend. I haven't done very much running at all, so I was worried about how my body would take it. Thankfully, I did surprisingly well. My pace was almost identical to what the pace was for my last half, which means that things can only go uphill from here.



Speaking of uphill, I decided to incorporate some hill training. I've never really done and hill training before, but given Nashville is full of gently (and not so gently) rolling hills, I felt it was necessary. So, this past Monday I did some stairs running...over and over and OVER again. It was exhausting yet pretty empowering at the same time. :)



I've blogged for about five years and never really had the opportunity to meet any fellow bloggers. That is, until last week when a fellow blogger contacted me! We live in the same small town and had the opportunity to meet up and talk. I really enjoyed getting to know her. I love hearing the reasons why people start blogging. We all have a story and sometimes we want to share in an effort to keep in touch with friends and family. Sometimes we write because it's one of our only outlets. Whatever the reason, there is a kindred spirit among bloggers and it's pretty awesome.

The guy I'm seeing (We'll call him "J") came into town this weekend. I'm not even sure how many miles we covered, but I know I'm exhausted!

We did the Jack Daniels Distillery tour Saturday morning. Neither one of us are big drinkers, but it is interesting to see the process that goes into making Jack Daniels. After the tour we took a walk around downtown Lynchburg. I love walking around small towns!






So, Saturday afternoon we planned on heading to Shelbyville before going to church in Murfreeesboro. There's a little background story on why we headed to Shelbyville...

I have never heard the name, "Big Smo" before this weekend. I didn't know he was a country/rap singer. I didn't know he had a reality show on A&E, and I certainly didn't know he was from the middle Tennessee area. Well, J found out that Big Smo is from the Shelbyville area and wanted to go check out the town. 


On the way to Shelbyville, I suggested we stop in a little town called Bell Buckle. It's one of my favorite small towns and I feel like a "must see" for tourists. 



Well, guess what?! Big Smo and his family have a store in Bell Buckle. And on top of that, his daughter was working in the store. J's day was made. 


Since then, I have watched most of season two of his show. It is pretty interesting. And his mom is such a sweetie. I can't say I'm crazy about that genre of music, but props to him for working hard at what he loves. 

That's what is happening in my world lately. I am sure ready for fall!

I Can't Believe It's Been Fourteen Years

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I can't believe it's been fourteen years. 

Just like most people, I remember September 11, 2001 like it was yesterday. Brenn was just a year old. I was on my way to the babysitter's house when the first plane hit. I remember the confusion about what was going on. I think at that time we weren't sure it was a terrorist attack. And then on my way to work, the second plane hit and it was clear this wasn't an accident. 



Very little work happened that day. A lot of time was spent watching the news and trying to wrap our minds around what happened. The news reports...the horrific photographs...it all was so much to take in. I was supposed to go to class at our community college that night, but I rushed to get my son. I didn't want to be away from him for another moment. For days, I was glued to the television...paralyzed by what happened. People jumping from buildings, search and rescue happening among mountains of debris. 



I can't even begin to imagine what the families and victims went through. 

Today while listening to the radio, it hit me that my son will never understand the emotions of that day. He will never know the terror that filled the hearts of everyone in the United States as we watched our country being attacked.

I'm also afraid that he will never again witness the unity among people no matter race or denomination because of what happened that day. Seeing a vast number of people who searched for answers and as a result filled churches all over the country. I pray that we never forget what happened that day.




I Love Tennessee

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List 10 things you love about the state you live in

I have to say, I live in one of the best states in America.

Here are the top 10 things I love about Tennessee:

1) Smoky Mountains










2) Small Southern Towns

Three of my favorite small towns:

Gatlinburg



Bell Buckle
This town has the BEST craft fair that happens every October. They also have a RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival every year. :)




Sewanee
There are some of the BEST hiking trails in and around this area



3) Lakes


4) Hiking 


5) Nashville


6) Bonnaroo





7) Chattanooga



8) Football


9) Waterfalls




10) It's Home...and there's no place like home