13 More Days

If you have been reading this blog, you know that the flour sifter, the cake platter, and the candles are ready.  Unfortunately, the “two” candle broke and I’m going to have to superglue it back together before the big day gets here.  Although life is still “panning” out like it always is, my 30’s have been a decade that I’m proud of. I’m so glad that I spent my 30th birthday with my mother.  We took a day trip to Boone and had a ball.  We stomped on childlike grounds when we went to the Daniel Boone Inn and we did new things like brunch and shopping at the Mast General Store. She got me my first Eno chair that is so, so….comfortable. We had so much fun walking up and down King Street and going into every store including her favorite antique place.  We had a blast riding in the car and singing along to music and just being together.  I held her hand because I knew before she had even told me the news. I just knew she had cancer before she even told me.  Yet she waited until after my birthday to tell me. I’ll never forget driving home from school that night and pulling over at the gas station to really, really take in the news.  A year went by of me acting out in anger and confusion. By the grace of God, I made it through.  By the time 31 came around, I was in a much more stable place and began to focus on spending as much quality time with her as I could and caring for her the best way I knew how.

Alex and I went to The Palm for my 31st and I wore my favorite dress. I spent my 25th birthday there too so it was nostalgic yet forward-looking.  The forward-looking is still to be determined only because I am still figuring out what I want 32 to look like.  As a 31-year-old woman, I spent my last year with my mother.  As a 32-year-old woman, I will be venturing into a life without her.  Someone once told me that for women, the entire month is their birthday and for men, the entire week is for their birthday. I’m embracing this thought and liking it a lot.  I’ve already been lavished with a delectable birthday dinner, a card I can’t open until the 20th, and a fun birthday lunch with colleagues.  Mind you it’s only the 7th so this truth is finding me.  I’m excited about the simple stuff this year. I’m excited to go to the grocery store and to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby to get the perfect cake ingredients and decorating tools for a 32nd birthday cake. I’m excited to go and have a couple’s massage with my boyfriend whose birthday is the 16th.  I’m thrilled about the simple things and simplicity is what I want for my birthday. Simplicity in everything- my relationships, my career, my routine, my life. 32 is a growing experience as I will be making some big decisions this year about what my next moves will be.  I have to keep reminding myself that there are only two semesters away from me and my ASU diploma.  At work today, I realized how many years I have put into my insurance career and what exactly I have to show for it. I wish I were farther along in my expertise but I’m trying not to be too hard on myself since I do have my insurance license and 13 years of experience.  The goal for me is to find my niche in this industry and really, really focus and commit to that niche. I’ve worked in so many different segments of the industry so my career in some ways is just beginning and that’s OK.  The important thing is that I name that career, that relationship, that life and go for it.  I think 32 is going to bring all that and more.  I’ll be using superglue in more places than a candle and I will, without a doubt,  glue it all together.  Instead of focusing on what is not there *yet*, I must focus on what  I have always been working toward and still am.  My work means a lot to me as well as a comfortable work-life balance so this is what I’m putting out to the universe, giving it to God and asking for it for my 32nd birthday.  It’s that simple!

The mission of this blog is to write it all out and hope that there will be others who will write out their goals, their dreams, their visions, and their day.  They will share with me and the community of Words On Sleeves.

What is on your “sleeves” that you’ve been too afraid to share with the world?  Share it here!  I am!

 

Blogging

Blogging is something I am committed to now. It’s something that is mine.  There is a lot that it entails for me- like finding my place.  When I say finding my place, I mean being comfortable at my desk.  I used to have a desk, a few actually, that became my happy place.  I haven’t had that in a long time.  Although my desk looks perfect, I’m still not comfortable there.  I don’t know what it is exactly.  I bought this desk from someone on Craigs List who actually became one of my dearest friends.  It’s even a Pottery Barn desk! I have the drawers immaculately organized, the most beautiful lamps, my mother’s picture, my niece’s picture, and my mother’s favorite perfume on it. I have the cutest pencil holder and the paperweight that reads “dream big work hard”.  Everything is in its place except for me.  I am highly affected by my environment. If it is chaos, I am chaos.  There are other parts of my apartment that are chaos for me.  Namely, my dining room.  It used to be the perfect place to eat but once again, I’ve turned it into an office/recreation room.  It’s a good place for me to work when I work from home so it just makes sense for me to utilize it the way I am right now.  It’s even a place I’ve made for me to sit down and write thank-you notes. I just wish I had a big enough “office” space to do all of these things- blog, write thank-you notes, work from home, do my school work, handle my bills, etc.  It’s just not like that right now similar to my life.  I am at a crossroads between Greensboro and Charlotte. My family is in one city and my work life and everyday life is in another.  I just don’t feel settled in one place in all aspects of my life. Which to me feels like utter chaos. However, I realize sometimes the most beautiful beginnings and endings are made from chaos. Not only do I have no choice but to embrace it, I’m kind of excited about it.  It gives me something to really think long and hard and about. It gives me something to really create- a new life for myself.  What I create needs intention but I have a feeling that it is going to be a surprise in the midst of my intention.  Trusting the journey sounds easy but it is so, so hard. I used to call the journey a process and trusted it.  I can see how much I’ve grown when I stop and realize that it is not really a process after all.  It’s not black and white. It’s very grey but grey and purple are my favorite colors.

It’s all going to be OK. I’m going to find my place and I have a feeling that I am going to do it through blogging. Stay tuned.  I’ll be at my desk soon!

Tough As Trails

Grief comes in many forms.  Many have given me the heads up.  I’m so thankful for them because they make me realize I’m not alone. Somehow, I feel like I’m experiencing life more because I know real grief.   But God knew what He was doing when he picked the date and time to take my mother home.  My rock climbing class was a major blessing in disguise.  Two excruciating weekends I spent away from my mother; however, being on the mountain prepped me for what was to come.  In fact, my rock climbing teacher (pictured above) was going through something very similar.  On the way back down the mountain, we had a conversation about our mothers.  He lost his mother just a few weeks after I lost mine.  I didn’t realize completely what I was signing up for when I registered for the class but it was the real deal and it made me “tough as trails”.  I finished the class (the two weekends) and then the next morning (Monday), I went to work. I sat down at my desk.  I think I did two tasks and then I turned my computer off and drove to Thomasville.  By the time I got there, it was time for my mother to go to Hospice. Nancy was there.  My experience with Nancy and my sick mother is something that is etched in my memory forever.  It was time and I had no choice but to accept it. I gathered the most precious items she had and took them to Hospice to fill her room with pictures and things she loved. We received an outpour of people visiting her and telling her goodbye. It got to the point where I didn’t want people there, I didn’t want any noise because I was trying to preserve any and everything left in her. She was surrounded by friends, family, and love. I know that meant a lot to her. I won’t go into everything but that time there was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my almost 32 years of life. I realize it just might be the hardest thing I ever endure.   I wasn’t ready for her to go. I didn’t want her to leave this earth. I held on until the very end hoping for a miracle. I didn’t want to say goodbye because I knew I would see her again someday.  I believe with all of my heart that it is not goodbye, it is just “see you later”.  I’m just so thankful I was there. I’m thankful I could hold her hand until the end and tell her the things I wanted to say to her before she took her last breath. I’m just thankful I was there and as promised, didn’t leave her side (except for the time I went to get her some cobbler she was craving).  I’m thankful that God is still pouring into me and helping me see life in a grateful way instead of an angry way.  I’m not angry, I’m grateful and I am so, so, so sad. I am so saddened by this but I’m trying with all of my might to do something productive and good about it.  I understand it’s a process, a day-by-day thing. I just need to be patient and embrace the day ahead while planning intentionally just what I am going to do. Lately, communicating with and seeing people have been my top priority. People- all of those people who were there have filled my heart up and yes, I am so extremely thankful for them. I’m thankful for the experiences God has put in my life since this has happened.  I hope for the best.  I will keep climbing and I will get tougher through this. It’s going to cost me some tough decisions, tough choices, and tough natural consequences.  I’ll be tough enough to handle it because God is with me through every trail I journey.

Bringing it All Together

How does one mix having deep affirmation for the 50’s and the 21st century at the same time? I’m figuring out what that looks like but mostly I want to be self-sufficient and independent.  My mother tenaciously lived an independent life.  Even when she was married, she still lived so independently- most everything she did was on her own. jogging, boxing, shopping, cooking, working- these are all things she had the desire to do regardless of her counterpart’s interest.  She did it and she did it big.  I admired her so much and even after her death, I admire her so much.  I admire her for staying true to herself and always, always doing what was right for her and her children.  I don’t have any children *yet* ( I deeply desire to have kids one day) but I do have a cat and he brings out a lot of motherly instincts in me as well as the preschool class I used to teach (So glad I’m starting to teach the four year olds again in just a few weeks).  I took a break from my church and teaching the Sunday school preschool class when my mother got sick.  I took a break from everything and focused my whole life on her and what she was enduring.  I know I wasn’t there as much as I would have liked to be and I didn’t have the resources I would have liked to have to take care of her better but I did my best.  Being next to her every minute I got meant everything to me.  There was a time when I planned to take her to Graceland (she loved Elvis so much) but she was too sick to go.  She got to a place where it was hard for her to ride in the car for a long time or travel at all. She got to a place where she couldn’t do much but it didn’t stop her from knitting!  It was one of the coolest things in the world to come home to her and see her knitting in her bed. She knew I was having a hard time with life- understanding it, dealing with it, accepting it etc. Yet there she sat in her illness embracing the life she had.  It’s how she lived her life.  I can say that she was the most content person I have ever known.  Bringing it all together, there is a lot I want to achieve and do in my life but contentment is where the magic is.  After all, God tells us to be content in whatever state we are in and it brings me to tears thinking how content she was through her long battle with lung cancer.  Complacent, no.  Contentment yes.  When you are content, nobody can take that feeling, that being away from you and the rest is all extra.  It’s the bonus you always receive because you are already content.  Have goals.  Have ideas. Have a “to accomplish list” but don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t reached that goal yet.  Instead, find your place and be content there.  I can promise you that the rest will flow from there.  Happy hiking, happy running, happy writing, happy reading, happy baking, happy working to you! It will all happen, it will all work out.  That’s what my mother used to say and now I have no choice but to admire those words and now that she’s gone, I believe it.  I wish I could have believed it when she was still here.  So don’t wait until it’s too late. Be content and it will all come together.  In the end, all she wanted for me was to be happy so I’m determined to become it it in the midst of being oh so content.

be happy

Dream Big Work Hard

I found this beautiful paperweight at “The Market” in High Point, NC. It is so pretty and is sitting on my desk. Everytime I look at it, I’m inspired by all of the things and ideas I have in my head but haven’t sat down and started yet.  I have definitely entered into a new place, a good place.  It’s just still in the midst of so many hard and heavy things I’m dealing with outside and inside of me.  It’s that place where you are ignited for newness but dealing with life. My current routine looks like waking up at the last minute to get ready for work. Somehow I find myself polished and out the door in probably my “greatest timing” of 15 minutes.  I make my way to work, fill up my water bottle and have a cup of tea. I’m at my desk working premium audits and all that it entails.  I take an hour lunch break.  Sometimes I come home to my apartment on my lunch break and sometimes I run errands.  I head back to work and am there until 5pm.  I come home and wind down with some light-hearted TV.  After dinner, I pull out my laptop and attempt to make something great.  Right now, creation for me is cooking, baking, and writing.  I desire to get back into a running and yoga routine. I desire to be a better employee and professional. I desire to feel accomplished at the end of my workday and have the energy and zeal to moonlight my way into my BGHAG (big hairy audacious goal) which is writing a book.  I realize in order to write a good book, I must read good books.  The book I have my heart set on reading right now is “Little Women”.  I think it is a perfect piece of literature that will certainly light the way for me in the areas of my writing.  My dilemma right now is that I am just so tired.  School starts back in three weeks so I will be committed and very busy with keeping up with the cohort.  Something I have to look forward to is the fact that I only have two more semesters until I graduate. I am excited for what comes after graduation but I fully realize that what happens next rest in my hands- what I’m doing with my “mental muscles” and my “heart muscles” every day will determine where all of these ideas in my head will take me.  I have to push through the tiredness and keep progressing towards those goals. I want to get more intentional about my goals so that I am back on track to absolutely reach them. While I may be simply writing about my life happenings or my life dreams, it feels like progression because I am writing.  That really is a big step for me because I am committed to it no matter how good or bad the content is to my readers (if I have any out there).  That’s what this blog is- not worrying about what other people are going to think and just writing out what flows within and without. That’s what I want for me and that’s what I want for you. For me, a successful blog is creating a community that wants to be a part of something I am putting out in the world.  Right now, it’s me sharing my heart with you and that’s a lot harder than it sounds.  You’re helping me without me even knowing you are there.  I’m accountable to you in my writings and in my development to become. Let me be your accountability partner too!  The good news is there is a lot of desire in me.  Just like baking the cake, if I add integrity and a good attitude to it, I think it will end up tasting as delectable as I dream it to be. cake platter yellow

To Bake or Not to Bake

Life is like baking a cake. There are layers to it and it is a process. It has ingredients, measurements, and temperatures. It can go as high as you want it to.  Three layers? Four-layer?  Additionally, I am in the market for a new flour sifter and the most beautiful cake platter I can find.  If you haven’t seen “The Hours” yet, it is a must-watch. It, for the most part, depicts the life of Virginia Woolf.  Namely, her emotions, her mental state, and her brilliance.  I don’t think she ever thought about baking cakes.  I bet her mind was mostly occupied with writing her books just like the film depicts.  When I saw that, it astounded me. She was writing the book always, not just with a pen and paper at hand.  She couldn’t help herself. While trying to spend time with her niece, the words were always on her lips.  However, what if baking cakes helped her mental state?  There again, I think happy people bake cakes and she was not happy.  There is a quote I love and it’s something along the lines of “Fit People aren’t happy because they are fit, they are fit because they are happy”.  Depression and anxiety-related disorders keep people from baking cakes and running but somehow they can completely fuel people to write. So that’s what Woolf did.  Deep down, I want to bake a cake for her.  And that’s like life- we have to figure out what we are baking for in order to be happy about it.  We have to figure out what we are living for in order to live it out.  Loaded question but some of us need to ponder it. We need to pick out the cake platter, use the flour sifter, measure twice, cut once, and bake.

 

10 Year Review

 

I remember when I first heard about reviewing life as a type of meditation. I remember when I would actively and presently do it and the amazing difference it made on my life.  Now that things are a lot heavier than they have ever been, a “review of life” has been a must for helping me to understand better or accept better where I am today.  I love having so many pictures at my fingertips that I can download and place here. I can depict so much that I want to say.  For now, today I needed meditation and I took the “review of life” or “review of the last ten years” route.  Without even having to write it on my sleeves, it’s been happening in my waking life.  People are literally coming out of the woodwork- I’m running into people all over the place from the last ten years of my life. I’m hearing from people and I’m thinking of people who were there.  I realize the people in my life were the most important part – they were more important to me than anything I was doing for myself. Because of that, my life was enriched in so many beautiful ways.  While I was often stressed about my future, I was still in a good place because of the people I had beside me.  I’ve been hit hard with a few reality checks and it’s almost as if I am being hit with one now.  I’m hit with the fact that the dream I had ten years ago is still the dream I have today.  It’s still the dream I’m aiming and working to accomplish.  It can still come to fruition.  I’m finding that the venture I thought would get me there is a  molecule size stepping stone to the other things I must do to make it happen. One of my favorite quotes is “a millimeter of progress is progress”.  So maybe some of the things I’m doing are molecule size stepping stones but at least I’m carving that path.  Maybe getting intentional about what that path resembles is where the breakthrough happens.  Have you broken through your path? If so, tell me about it!  If not, tell me about your stepping stones or your intentions. Let’s ponder this together and become who we want to be. I confess that I’m a late bloomer.  I  look forward to meeting others on this journey and being inspired by you, too.  I look forward to hearing from people I know and connecting with you more through this platform.

Rogue

 

Looking back on old memories has been a huge part of this blog for me. Writing is therapeutic and sometimes we have to go back to where we were to figure out where we are now and where we are headed. The definition of “Rogue” has been on my mind a lot lately.  It’s associated with dangerous, devil, evildoer, monster, rascal, savage, no-good, nazi, villain, and wretch.  The official definition I received from my mother’s trusty dictionary is ” thieves’ slang, formerly, a wandering beggar or tramp; vagabond.  A rascal; scoundrel, a fun-loving, mischievous person: used affectionately.  An animal as an elephant, that wanders apart from the herd and is fierce and wild.  in biology, an individual varying markedly from the standard, especially an inferior one”.  However Rogued is ” to cheat, to destroy, to live or act like a rogue”.  It’s funny how this word can be used so playful yet so serious at the same time. We can call a little pug peeing on one’s yoga mat “going rogue” or we can name a Nissan vehicle or Coach purse after it.  The word itself is so extraordinarily broad.  When I decided I wanted a new vehicle, I kind of had my heart set on a white SUV Acura.  I chose to go more within my means and purchased a white SUV Nissan Rogue.  About a year later, when I was in the market for a new purse, I discovered the “Rogue” Coach purse.  Just looking at the name, I knew I had to have it.  All of the sudden, I was obsessed with this word and excited to dig deeper into what it means for me.

For me, I can relate to the monster, the fun-loving mischievous person, fierce, wild, and an individual varying markedly from the standard.  Although, I deeply desire to conform more to society for the good of myself and others, I can’t help but be honest with myself and my Eastern Kentucky roots.  Thankfully, those English Wales roots of mine are prominent too.

To be authentic, is to embrace the good and bad of this word and how it relates to my character.  With our humanistic instincts, I think we can all relate to the character traits describing this word.

God has put me in a lot of places and when I look back on old photos, it’s clear to see. He’s put me in some amazing places.  Yet I’ve strayed and put myself into some questionable ones.

Like the sheep comes home to her shepherd, I want to do that with Jesus.  I want to stop wandering and be known in His presence.  But when the mischievous side of me comes out, like it inevitably will, I have a savior there to reel me back in before I go too far out.

So the reflection of this word was surprising to me.  While I thought I was a horrible person there for a few weeks, I realize I’m just a human being made up of good and bad.  And that I need Jesus’ grace to cover me in all of it.  When my heart is made whole, I can thrive where he places me.  Then, I can be like a funnel and pour into others like they have always, always poured into me. I’m so excited He loves me regardless of my roguery.

Interesting enough, rouge is ” to tackle a runner between his goal line and a line, yards behind it, the tackler scores one point for his side by doing this aka Canadian football”.

I’m excited to tackle a lot of things in my life- career, relationships, finances, hobbies, etc.  What are you going to tackle? What are you going to turn from rogue to rouge?

 

Please comment! I can’t wait to hear from you.

Solitude

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When I moved to Nashville, the theme of my heart was solitude.  Not only did I find a home in Franklin, TN., I found two amazing roommates who exposed me to so much while I was there.  While I was barely making ends meet, I felt like I had the best bedroom in the world. It was big enough for me to have a sleeping and dressing place as well as a reading/writing nook.  It had a perfect place for my desk which was right in front of the window. That was my happy place.  When I woke up on a Sunday morning, I would make a cup of coffee, sit down, look out at the Franklin view, and write. After I would write, I would go to church and it was a church filled with people my age.  I was reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchin Rubin at the time so a lot of my writing had to do with what my happiness project looked like.  I felt like I had to sort out my whole life before I could even attempt to create it hence starting the book of my journey.  My mother used to get so irritated with me wanting to analyze and sort everything out.  It’s like my life was this one big puzzle to solve and I can’t do anything until I solve it- sloooooow down Partner, that is no way to live!!  I can see just how much I have grown because looking back at that mentality, I can hear it sounding really selfish and I guess that’s what my mom saw all along.  But I genuinely feel as if I was coming from more of a stoic angle than selfish one.  There is a longing in my heart to make so many things right that I have no control over.  Accepting that now is very healing and accepting that solves the puzzle.

Well, it wasn’t solved when I lived in Nashville, so eight months later, I found myself right back in Charlotte.  I was making it work and made a trip to D.C. two years after I had been back.  The trip to D.C. was amazing because I just decided I wanted to go, packed my bags, drove to the metro and was on my way.  I was roaming around D.C. with my luggage, that is until I finally got to my hotel in Dupont Circle.  Dupont Circle is where my favorite yogini, author, blogger and activist lives and works. I finally got to visit her yoga studio and it really was such a blissful experience.  The yoga session I went to was at night so they put stars on the walls and we practiced in the dark.  Still to this day, it makes me want to invest in a sitting cushion. I can imagine how much that would still and slow my life down if I learned how to sit.  I did buy a tiny book at one of the book stores called “How to Sit” but four years later, it has made it’s mark as a treasure in my home instead of something I use on a day-to-day basis.  I did a lot while I was in D.C. One thing I will do different next time I travel is learn more about the transportation system!

Thankfully I made it back home safely.

Right now I am so thankful for my younger brother, Casey. He is pictured above.  That was the day of his boot camp graduation from the Marines. I wouldn’t have missed it if I had to sleep in a car (which I/we did)!!!  Long story but we made it, I made it, and that’s all that matters to me. I want to be there for his life, my sister-in-law’s life, my nieces’ life, and the rest of my family’s life.  I want to be there for my friends’ life, and I want to show up for mine.  I want to be there for others and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House really did make the books for me.  A new chapter is on the horizon.  I’ll be blogging everyday.  Please comment along with me if anything I am saying resonates with you.

 

Places to Be

Pictured above is a song by Wrabel called Poetry.  When I began dating my boyfriend, Alex, this song is what my heart spoke.  Pictured below the song is a picture of my mother and me – me holding a security blanket and my mother deep into a book.  Pictured to the right of us is me on Christmas morning at my grandparents and my Nana and I on Mother’s Day.

Today makes one month and eight days since my Mama passed away.  My Nana is in a nursing home with a serious disease- many diseases actually, but one, in particular, that is killing her.  As she sang “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray” into my ear, I felt her saying goodbye to me.  When I took off my gown, mask, and gloves, and said goodbye, she saluted me.  She saluted me like she was proud of me and she knew I was going to write “that book” one day.  She saluted me knowing that I was going to be OK. She saluted me knowing, really knowing just how much we both loved each other.

Alex, Mama, Nana, and Poppy-  these are people in my life; people who were in my life and God gave me a purpose in them.  I can think of chunks of my life where it felt like I had nowhere to be.  This past year has been full of places to be and people to be with so I am heartbroken and elated that I had a place in their lives.

When Alex came into my life, I entered his world and all that it entailed.  Even though he wasn’t fond of this song and this wasn’t the song he was singing, he gave me a new song to cling to as it is my love and thankfulness for him. He was there with me through my mother’s sickness and stood by my side through it all. My mother loved him dearly and always imagined the day we would start a family together.

My Nana was happy too, that I had somebody. But deep down, she knew there were things that were unsettled about our relationship and there are.  My mother believed in miracles and I’m holding on to one- one that will take us from unsettled to settled.

Yes, it’s complicated but isn’t all of life?

God has put so much on my path just in the last month.  He’s revealing and uncovering mountains of questions I had that are now answered.  When I think about the journey I’ve been on searching for these answers, I never thought in a million years that it would be my mother’s death, my best friend’s father’s death, and my Nana’s deathbed that he would use to provide these answers to me.  I’m a smalltown girl from Thomasville, NC who set out for adventures and to find my happy ending.  I’ve become a woman living in Charlotte, NC who found her answers in the midst of family and friends.  Maybe sometimes it takes sicknesses, illnesses, death even, to discover who you really are meant to be.  At least, that’s what it has taken for me.

I’m on this road built of choices – some really, really bad but some really, really good. I think it’s the mixture and the product of all of those choices that have led me back here to my favorite place, Amalie’s on North Davidson, feeling like a writer. Feeling like a writer is giving me meaning because I always wanted to be one, but never felt like one. I feel like one now because I’m writing and I’m not afraid to share it with the world anymore.

I want my entire journey in a book and I’m thinking of the steps I need to take to self publish. One of my best friends, Tuan, did it and he is such an inspiration to me.  “Ta Dah” is what he would say after setting his mind to something and then doing it.  I wonder why the doing part can be such a long, long process.

There was a time in my life when I questioned: “Is Jesus God?”.  This question put me at a hard stop because I knew I couldn’t move forward with anything having these doubts.  Realizing how warped my relationship had become with Jesus put me in a place of disbelief and rightfully so.  Thankfully, I got plugged into Church at Charlotte and the doctrine there reshaped me.  Even though my time there was filled with trying to forge a new path while being on the same path that put me in disbelief, I was rescued in God’s love.  He put a lady in my life who tenaciously would not back down from me having that precious relationship with Jesus I so genuinely wanted.

I think of all of the people in my life, all of the people I know now and knew then, and I realize how every single person has been a part of my development.  I’ll graduate from Appalachian State University in the Spring of 2020. I wanted to get my degree to become a better writer and to have the skillset and confidence needed to do it.  I have gained many skills from being there.  One advisor once told me “it’s more about what you learn out of the classroom that what you learn in the classroom in your college career”.  I’ll never forget him telling me that.  When my mother passed away, I was right by her side.  I’ll never forget that experience in Hospice, I dream about it every night almost. That experience has changed me as a person and that experience- watching her take her last breath has left me in a state of knowing who I am and what I need to do.  I was her little girl. That’s what she called me and that’s who I was. When people see me now, as a 31-year-old woman, they tell me that I look like a little girl. What they don’t know is that I am forging into a woman who has a heart full of God and a heart full of memories, brokenness, and fullness to carry me into the person Jesus is forming.

I can let go of the security blanket and look at my mom holding that book.  She’s holding a book!!!   This picture is my dearest treasure and it really is worth those 80,000 words that I’m working to publish.

So for now, here is my blog- Words On Sleeves.  It’s a place for me to share myself with you, grow, and hope that you will do the same with me.