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Thoughtful Thursday: 26 Days

It’s been 26 days.

photo226 days since I closed my front door and fell apart because I wouldn’t see the better part of myself for 30 days. I’ve almost made it. Only 3 more days to go! I’ll be back to complaining because he didn’t really brush his teeth and nagging him to put his dishes in the dishwasher. I can’t wait for him to ask me to read just one more story or have that stinky boy smell back in my house. I have a feeling it’ll smell a little sweeter.

As I reflect on what I’ve done with myself this month, I realize how busy I’ve purposely made myself. If you judge my life during the month of July solely by my social media you will be deceived. I know I used a lot of my free time for good. I volunteered, worked towards goals personally and professionally, had a lot of meetings, and spent more time with friends than I probably will the rest of the year combined. My social media profiles look like I’ve had the time of my life in July! Another reason why many people call it “Fakebook.”

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Don’t get me wrong, my friends are amazing. I’m so grateful! I have a lot of really amazing things happening in my life right now. But there hasn’t been a second go by that I didn’t know how long he’s been gone and how many days until he comes home.I’ve had to stay busier than ever to keep myself from being so sad that I bury my face in tacos and ice cream. (Not that there’s a single thing wrong with that!) I’ve had to keep his bedroom door shut. I waited until this past weekend to do all of his laundry. I wonder if I will ever get used to this?
If I hear one more parent tell me, “Oh that sounds amazing! How nice to have a break!” I will scream. You have no idea. It’s not amazing to not know if your child is okay. It’s awful. It’s pretty helpless and exhausting to go a month without a hug from your little. This isn’t a situation where they are off to camp for a week.
I can’t wait to get back to eating popsicles and building pillow forts. Perhaps the silver lining of my lonely July is that I have a reminder every year that I’m truly so fortunate to have a child as magical as mine.


Don’t forget to submit your thoughts to info@adventureswithalley.com 
to be featured on Thoughtful Thursday!
-XOXO

Thoughtful Thursday 

“Learn to be thankful for what you have while pursuing what you want.”

2017 has been a year full of change. I set out with the goal to be humble and grateful regardless of the many changes I have been adjusting to. Without a doubt, this year I have been more aware of the need to be vocal to those I appreciate. Overall, I’ve made a conscious effort to be grateful for the daily things that make life so great. 

Don’t forget to tell people how much you appreciate them. It takes just a moment but lift their spirits in a way you didn’t know they needed.


Don’t forget to submit your thoughts to be featured on Thoughtful Thursday!

Thoughtful Thursday: Guest Blogger- Shelby Hill

Our guest blogger this week, Shelby Hill, shares a story that would make any parent proud. As parents we often lose sleep hoping our children grow to become adults with integrity and generous hearts. Shelby is one parent who can rest easy tonight. Her story is authentic and is an incredible example of the mother I know her to be.

“Working in Dallas has unknowingly hardened me to the many homeless people living on the streets. As usual, it took the love and kindness of a child to reopen my eyes. This time it was my very own child.

I’m the proud mom of two amazing children. My son, Brock, is 14 and sweet Katie is 10. Recently the three of us spent an extended weekend in San Antonio and Austin to support Brock in a baseball tournament. Although our time in San Antonio was short, was it ever so sweet! What free time we had was spent at The River Walk, dining, and The Alamo. Brock and Katie were itching to spend the money my parents had sent them to “buy anything they wanted!” 

Walking towards the Alamo there are carriage rides, ice cream trucks line the streets, and copious amounts of candy and games. Their eyes lit up. I encouraged them to hang on to their money and “don’t spend it all in one place!” Brock didn’t listen. 

As we approached the Alamo, Brock noticed a man who was dirty and his clothes looked like they hadn’t been washed for weeks. The three of us couldn’t help but notice him digging food out of a trash can. The kids whispered to me, “Is he homeless?” My confirmation provoked an even more concerned tone as they asked, “Mama, is he going to eat that food out of the trash can?” Again, the answer was yes. A couple of steps later Brock stopped me and said, “Mama, wait just a minute.” Before I could question him, his plan was in action. As soon as I realized what he was doing I told my daughter to come look at a monument to give Brock a moment. I was overcome with emotion and so proud of my son. I stood in front of The Alamo with tears streaming down my face. I pulled myself together enough to let him know how proud I was to be his mom! I asked him what he did, although I knew what I had witnessed. He said, “Nana gave me this money to do what I wanted with it. I wanted to give it to him. He looks like he needs it more than I do.” I gave him a hug and told him how proud I was.

I’m blessed that my children are kind, generous, loving and grateful. I will never forget the time my child reminded me that sometimes people just need a little help. ”

Want your thoughts to be featured on a future Thursday? Email your story to info@adventureswithalley.com

Thoughtful Thursday

 Have you ever considered the way your children view your commitment to your community? I do now more than ever. Let’s be honest, kids can be very egocentric developmentally. This isn’t a product of poor parenting or being spoiled. It’s life. 
I’m feeling a bigger sense of responsibility the more involved I become in community service projects. I’m not sure if it’s coming from volunteering just being in my life all of the time or my true self awareness to the world around me. Would the feeling go away if I stopped leading projects to better our community? The truth is that I don’t know. 

A Letter to Myself: July Sucks

I know July will be a mixture of feelings you don’t quite understand. You may feel like you should be prepared. After all, you have 11 months to prepare and it’s been happening for the last 6 years. 

When his dad arrives to pick him up, you’ll be engulfed with a feeling of panic. That lump in your throat and pit in your stomach you seldom feel, it’ll be larger than life. 

You will feel sad. Hurt. Maybe angry at times. You’ll walk around his room just looking for tiny messes to pick up. The granola bar wrapper you find under his bed won’t upset you this time. You’ll wish he were around to exclaim, “Don’t pull the cats tail!” or “Go back and actually brush your teeth this time.”

You’ll have all the time in the world to sleep. That’s something you often dream of! Yet, it’ll be a struggle to shut your mind off because you’re wondering if he’s okay. Is he safe? Is he feeling loved? Where is he? Does he need you? Does he miss you? Save yourself the sleepless nights and know he loves you, he misses you, he’s having fun yet he needs you. Forever.

You may feel a little more free than usual. It will be fleeting, but you are allowed to feel that way. Don’t feel guilty. Isn’t it you that has always described being a parent as, “The hardest job you will ever love.” This also sounds familiar, “You never know what it means to say you’d literally die for someone until you’re a parent.” You deserve the break. After all, there’s only one of you and he is coming back. 

You know there are pros to this time of the year. He gets to spend uninterrupted time with his dad and your son deserves that. All children deserve to feel that their daddy sports a red cape just like their favorite superhero. You’ve done all you can to preserve that image for as long as he will believe it. You will have hit that reset button you reference. You’ll be the best version of yourself when you see him again and you both deserve that. 

Enjoy July. It’s not sad. It’s a time for both of you to renew the love of your everyday simple life together. 

Thoughtful Thursday

img_3834“Learn to be thankful for what you have while pursuing what you want.”

2017 has been a year full of change. I set out with the goal to be humble and grateful regardless of the many changes I have been adjusting to. Without a doubt, this year I have been more aware of the need to voice my appreciation for the amazing people around me. I’ve done my best to be aware of the opportunities I’ve been given. Overall, I’ve made a conscious effort to be grateful of the daily things that make life so great. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily hustle. Doesn’t it feel nice when someone takes a moment to give you a sincere thank you for just being yourself?

I Like To Be Scared.

Weird title, right?

It’s true. Perhaps I’m just weird.

Being scared represents a lot to me. It means I’m out of my comfort zone. It takes a lot to make me feel like I’m outside of my comfort zone. I’ve never been in a “zone” long enough to feel comfortable. Perhaps some of you may understand it when I say that feeling uncomfortable makes me scared because I realize how much it takes to get me there.

The topic of my life right now is Uganda, Africa. I can’t explain why my heart was 110% there the moment the opportunity presented itself. The reality is that I can’t explain most of the amazing things that have happened to me the last 6 months. I’m just humbled.

Why do I want to go?! There’s this intangible factor that I’ll never be able to articulate. I just have to. This is something I can’t work hard enough on. I can’t talk about enough.  The potential impact we can have on the lives of the people we will visit is constantly on my mind. The collective group I’m traveling with have contacts and a platform with resources that can be used for so much good. It’s a sense of responsibility that I’m gladly willing to accept.

I’m scared. I’m scared I won’t make it back. I’m scared I’ll leave my son without a mother and he will forever wonder why children I had never met were worth the risk. I’m scared that I’ll be so physically exhausted from the 16 flight to Dubai, 24 hour layover, and another 6 hour flight, and the unknown ride from the Uganda airport to our destination that I’ll be worthless. That I’ll essentially provide nothing of value to those who will be chanting from afar in anticipation of our arrival. I’m scared that I come back only to realize I’m infected with some horrible disease that leaves me in a bubble forever. (Dramatic, right?)

I’m scared. I like it. I like that I’m doing something so out of my comfort zone yet I find it so rewarding that I’m doing it. I like that I have this much passion for something nuggetoutside of my daily life, my city, my state and my country. I like that I’m bringing awareness of the world beyond the beautiful lives many of us lead in Dallas.

I feel very responsible. I feel responsible to find a way to make sure the organization that provided the opportunity for this trip to be possible to feel as connected and involved as possible. It may not be easy to accomplish but I think about it more often than most may realize.

I’ll feel sick. I’ve been researching and talking to those who have made a similar trip. Thank goodness I have 4 months and 27 days until I leave. The immunizations required will likely make me feel like shit. There are multiple shots that have some rather unsavory side effects. Prophylactic drugs before, during, and after for Malaria. Typhoid and Hepatitis A for any disease spread through food or water. Yellow Fever that is spread through Mosquitos.  I still haven’t flenched. I’m going.

This evening there was a membership meeting with the organization that has indirectly afforded me this opportunity. As the Vice President of Philanthropy, during the meeting I speak for a couple of minutes to outline what events we have coming up and how members can become involved. It’s customary to mention donation sorting or a local soup kitchen. Doing similar events in our local community are crucial and deserve more attention than they receive. However, tonight was different. I’ve never spoken up to ask someone to stop me if I ran over my allotted time. I’ve never had ugkidmore conviction in the topic I presented. I have a tendency to not take compliments or praise very well. Yet tonight when I told the brief story about how the organization brought me to the radio station the day I heard the men from Uganda tell their story and how it has ultimately led to me visiting Uganda, I couldn’t help but encourage the excitement in the room. When I finished the sentence, “So I’m going to Uganda for 10 days in November.” the group began to clap. It was so incredibly unexpected and warm.  I couldn’t believe it. I really felt in that moment how proud everyone else was that we were able to do this. WE. Rather than clap, we could have given each other a high five and had a dance party. For once I didn’t shy away from it. I actually said, “YES! Clap! This is worth celebrating! It’s amazing!”

Mom, the risks are there. I know.

I’m with incredible people. Our safety is priority. We are going about this in the best and safest way possible. I’m so proud of what we are doing. I’m so proud to have an opportunity to show my son what giving back means on a global level. I am so proud that I have a seven year old son who is irritated that he can’t go help his mommy in that country that “starts with a U.” I’m not just talking the talk. I’m walking the walk. I can’t think of a more meaningful life lesson to give him.

Thoughtful Thursday

Summer is here and I love it! More than anything I enjoy being more relaxed in the evenings with my son. I’m not stressed out with the hustle from work to pick him up only to rush home to realize I have nothing to cook for dinner. On a school night, this is when I realize we’re now an hour behind schedule if we expect to get homework done, play, shower, prepare for tomorrow and read a book all before waking up to do the same thing all over again.

Our evenings during the summer leave me feeling much more like the mom I dream of being. A mom who always lives in the moment. A mom who seems to exude joy while picking the few weeds in her immaculate yard and waving lovingly to each passerby.

I seem to hear his giggles more clearly and the hugs are a bit sweeter. There are games on the patio, hanging out with neighbors, swimming, biking, ice cream and staying up too late. Summer is filled with all of the moments we hope our children will replay in their minds as they remember their childhood.

I’m guilty of filling my plate too full more often than I’d probably like to admit. And I’m certain I’ve missed an extra hug here and there with my son. However, others in our lives that are incredibly important need us to slow down for them too. It may be a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker who is stressed out from the daily happenings that can wear us down. You never know when slowing down for someone and simply asking how they are could really change the momentum in their life.

XO
Don’t forget to submit your warm thoughts and questions to info@adventureswithalley.com to be featured on Thoughtful Thursday!

Dallas Life: Giving Life back to Dallas

This year I’ve had the privilege of working with numerous organizations that give back to our community. The best part for me aside from the act itself, is learning what led people to work so closely with a particular organization. Knowing the right questions to ask can give you amazing knowledge. 
This past weekend I volunteered at Dallas Life. Along for the ride were several members of the philanthropy committee we started this year. And let’s not forget my seven year old son who joined in as well. I’m so grateful I have such a phenomenal group around me this year. I know we wouldn’t be able to accomplish half of what we have without each of them.
Our task was simple. Sort the donations. We entered a giant warehouse like room. It was nothing fancy and filled with clothing and shoes for men, women, and children. We spent close to two hours removing the winter clothes from the hangers and tossing them into large bins. Where do the clothes go from there?
Our chatty and gracious guide, Tammy, thanked us repeatedly for coming out. I had more questions however. Where do the winter clothes go? I assumed they stored them in a room in the building only to pull them out next winter. I was wrong.
Tammy took us to the next room where hundreds of plastic bags sat waiting for a truck to haul them off. I couldn’t believe how many bags were there. Tammy explained that once the season was over, the clothing gets sent to another part of the country or world that needs them. The shoes specifically are sent to Africa. The clothing could go to Memphis or Mexico. It’s really about who is in need at that moment. 
From there she toured us around the basement of the facility showing us the supplies for the shelter. The toiletries, diapers, books, socks. All things we take for granted. The holiday supplies got to me. Can you imagine spending Easter at a homeless shelter with your small child? Tammy spoke of a little girl who was 4 years old. She currently lives at the shelter and is so tiny she needs 2T underpants. While Dallas Life is blessed with donations, most donors don’t consider a need for 2T underpants. Most two year old kids would have a greater need for pull-ups. This sweet 4 year old girl just wants underwear that fits her petite little body. And you could see the heart Tammy had for this child without her even saying a word. During our conversation Tammy also mentioned she had graduated from the program at Dallas Life. I have a feeling she’s a very strong woman with a big heart trying to give back to an organization that was there for her during a very tough time.
My son helped a lot that day. He was patient and willing. At the end of the day Tammy, offered to let him pick a stuff animal from the hundreds they’ve had donated. At first I was reluctant because after all, another child surely needed it more. After Tammy insisted, I backed down. Tammy was right. My son did need that stuffed animal. Only not in the way another child might. It was has been a reminder of how fortunate we are. On our way home, I asked him how he felt. He replied, “Happy and Sad, Mommy. I feel happy I was able to help. But I feel so sad that anyone has to go there.” I could see him processing his conflicting feelings as he looked out the window. 
I know it’s called Dallas Life. However, they are reaching a lot further than Dallas. The shoes are sent to Africa. The unused clothing is sent anywhere in the world there is a need. It has put my life into perspective and hopefully yours as you read this. In the few hours I was there I saw many people in and out of a chapel to pray, people walking into an AA meeting, and men receiving haircuts from a barber. They’re simply giving life back to many people in Dallas. 
For more on how you can help Dallas Life, Click here. 

Salon Avalon: Aveda Product Review

I can’t say enough wonderful things about Aveda products! I’m convinced I’ve tried everything at least once. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to attend Salon Avalon’s invitation to attend their “Blogger Soirée” event! As I entered a host of people with the most enviable hair greeted me with smiles and wine. (….well played, Salon Avalon!) I had the opportunity to enjoy many great products. The swag was amazing and I can’t wait to give you the scoop so that you don’t end up with drawers full of unused products. 

I used to hesitate at the thought of using hairspray. I need it but picking up the wrong bottle can leave you smelling like cheap a fragrance or feeling like helmet head. Gross. Aveda’s witch hazel hairspray smells amazing! It’s so perfect you’ll wish it was a perfume! 
What’s even better is it gives you the perfect look by taming those pesky flyways without your hair feeling “gunky.” It never fails to give me the perfect texture and make me feel like I’m having the best hair day. 

The product claims to “provide light hold, reduce static and eliminate fly-aways.” and “provide the tonic quality of witch hazel while boosting shine.” Its true! It’s the best $22 spent. Don’t forget to follow Adventures with Alley as I review the rest of the swag bag!