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.

Popsicles & Pillow Forts

This morning I woke up with a first grader. By lunch I had a second grader. In between the carpool lane and the chair in my office, I teared up. It wasn’t because I’m worried I didn’t take enough photos or didn’t attend a field trip. It’s because I’m just so damn proud. I’m proud of both of us. 

Our faces should be the number one image when you google “resilience.” We’re a team. I’m the ketchup to his nugget. The ranch to his pizza. What an incredible year we have had! I can’t be more thankful for the village of people in our unlikely yet magical bubble in Dallas. People can be amazing. 

My goal this year is to remain humble and grateful. At the halfway mark, I feel on target! I love our life and the people we hold close to our hearts. I’m proud of how we’ve navigated this year. I’m humbled by how much grace has been shown. So many of you who barely know us have individuality and privately reached out to show your love, concern, and generosity with your heart and we cannot begin to thank you enough. 

Life is amazing, full, warm, and just blessed in infinite ways. My life is so busy. When my son falls asleep, I always sneak in to just look at him. In those moments my life slows down and I’m in absolute awe. It’s those beautiful moments where a sleeping little boy is capable of showing me a world of love that no one else can. If anyone deserves a superhero cape, it’s him. 

This summer I’m looking forward to sleeping in on Friday, too much time at the pool, lots of orange popsicles, pillow forts that take over our house for days, staying up too late, and being guilty of too many snuggle parties with one very cute little boy. 

I really love summer.

I like to be SNEAKY.

This pet peeve bothers me the most. It’s the one that shows the true colors of someone’s heart. I feel sad when I see people who are ungrateful, entitled, or unforgiving.

I am not perfect. I have very bad days. Even days where I fall into one of those categories. I can’t point to a day in my life that I could label as perfect. (Well.. with the exception of any moment with my son.) I wake up trying to be better than the day before. I usually fall short in some capacity and I’m okay with that.

The only thing I can confidently say is that I’m always trying. It’s not enough for some. But for the people who know me, it is.

Something that brings me a lot of joy is doing something to pay it forward. Out of nowhere. In secret and for the fun of it. Can you relate? Do you think about how fortunate you are and have the intention of giving back?

Our hectic daily lives can get in the way and cloud our minds. I’m so guilty of this. I have so many wonderful people in my life. In 2017, I’ve done my very best to keep a sense of gratitude at the forefront of my mind. There are days I have to write a “pro-con” list to get my mind right.

I want to share something that always brings me back. It’s sneaky. It’s a deck of cards. It’s exactly what I need. img_0400-2

Sneaky Cards can engage anyone. You. Your significant other. Your child. Co-workers. Sometimes we need a reminder to find the bright, lighthearted side of life. This is a good start.

Isn’t it fun to be a little sneaky?

For less than $10 on Amazon you can lift your spirits, set a good example for your family,  and do something good for a stranger.  That means giving up your Starbucks for two days. Just do it.

Sip, Swab, & Save a Life with the DJCC!

Click here for original publication by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce

For our March Happy Hour we had the honor of working with DKMS, an international non-profit organization with the tagline “We Delete Blood Cancer”.
DKMS partnered with the DJCC Happy Hour to provide the opportunity to swab members’ cheeks to register into the DKMS bone marrow registry.

“It’s not everyday one gets presented with an opportunity to potentially save a life, let alone with such ease. The swabbing process was surprisingly fast and far from inconvenient. I have to say, I felt very proud knowing that I would potentially make an invaluable difference in a person’s life someday”.
-Derek Brisson

The Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce had the honor of partnering with DKMS at our “Sip & Swab” event during our happy hour at Mac’s Southside this past month. When partnering with an organization with such an amazing cause, it’s easy to become consumed with the idea of saving a life. The philanthropy committee worked for weeks to ensure all of the details were taken care of. We’re incredibly proud to say our hard work paid off! The Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce registered a total of 22 bone marrow donors!

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the DKMS organization. More specifically, our event representative, Judith Garcia, is top notch. She walked us through the process from the very beginning. Her passion for her work is unmatched and contagious.
A big takeaway for me personally was seeing the uneasiness of some of our guests when chatting to them about donating. We registered 22 people as bone marrow donors, but we raised awareness to so many more people that evening. Many people I spoke to that evening knew very little about the process and what it can truly do for someone in­ need. It was incredible to see so many genuine and surprised faces when they learned the options for being a bone marrow donor.

“My life, my life has to be like this. It has to keep going up.”

It seems like an eternity since I scribbled down my thoughts. My dark tunnel turned out to be the passage to unveil a beautiful period in my life. I once heard someone say, “Things are replaceable but people and relationships aren’t.” I thought I had a grip on what that meant but I was wrong. 

I have a few very special people that have walked into my life recently. They have given me grace when I haven’t deserved it. They have offered it just because they are good souls. They’ve listened when I have cried or complained and been at my most vulnerable. They’ve held me when I had no idea how I would pick up the pieces. I recognize that not everyone is so fortunate. This is a thank you to each one of those people. Little do they know how much they have renewed my faith in people during an otherwise dark time for me. 

My son is the person I owe the biggest thank you to. He’s the reason I refused to crawl into that big dark hole to throw the most extravagant pity party you can imagine. His heart is so pure and kind. 

I’m so excited for life right now. I’m amazed when I think back on where I was even two months ago. I think it speaks to how amazing the people around me are. They are forgiving and understanding beyond measure. I’m the busiest I’ve ever been both professionally and personally. I’m often tired but I don’t remember the last time I was so happy and had so many things to be proud of. I think it’s easy to agree when you hear some cliche about people and relationships not being replaceable. But being at your worst and having people who show up and unknowingly elevate you to your very best is a pretty incredible and humbling experience. 

Here’s the truth. 

I’ve glanced back at my previous posts and they’ve been pretty sappy. I have read each of them 10 times (at least) to find perspective and I still get a little teary on a few of them. Reflection can be quite a roller coaster. 

The truth is that this is a form of therapy for me. A place to be honest. And the honest truth is that I’m going through a difficult season. 

My primary focus is my son. Making sure I make it to work everyday and look put together and smile is all the world should expect some days. Another truth is that accomplishing those simple things is truly my very best some days. 

The unraveling of a life you once thought would be shared with someone is painful. No matter who’s fault, the reasons why, or the amount of support you have will make the heartbreak seem like less of a failure.

And yes, it is that stressful and painful. 

The specifics do not matter. What does matter is that my son will pull through this. Anyone who knows him, knows I’m right. And I will make it through this just fine. In fact, I’ll be better. I’ll be better because this is one more life experience I’ll navigate only to help someone else through later. One less person to pass judgement on them. One more ear to listen. I’ll be one more hug they’ve been dying to feel.

I’m gradually accepting this new season. I’m finding the rainbow. I’m throwing myself into things that used to scare me yet I’ve had passion for. 

I’m typically not a mantra type of gal. But I keep having the same phrases race through my mind. BE HUMBLE. BE GRATEFUL. I promise, when you think the good in life has left you in the dark… someone else’s life is darker. Colder. Lonelier. Being humble and grateful can mean the difference of being in a rut and living your life in a valley.  

Reset Your Humble Gauge.

There are evenings I look at my tired self in the mirror and want to write the phrase “STAY HUMBLE” in red lipstick on the mirror. I’m hoping it will leave a stain that I can’t seem to get rid of no matter how many times I find an amazing Pinterest pin declaring it will completely remove lipstick from a mirror. Why? Because I never want to forget to be humble.

Let’s be honest. I’m tired. I’m really tired.

hosHowever, I am never too tired to pry my eyes open for “One more story”, “Mommy, please sing sunshine song again.” I salute you too, Moms. You are doing the same thing. Every. Single. Night. Your daily schedule is likely different from mine but we are all moms. Do not let anyone tell you that your day is any easier, less complicated, more cushioned than theirs. The reality is that every one of us magically gets the day done only to lay our tired heads on a pillow. We all fall asleep praying that this wasn’t the day we didn’t do enough, love enough, or pay enough attention. Just stop it. It was enough.

I’ve been in a room of others mom’s before and thought, “I have nothing in common with any of these women.” My perspective was wrong. Common ground is all you need. We each pray for our babies to be healthy and happy. It’s simple. We are each doing our very best for our children.

I’ve never been a new year’s resolution kind of girl. I have never understood why I can’t just decide something is right for me and do it. However, I feel differently this year. I want to be consistently humble.

Last month I randomly went to tidy up the restroom my son uses. I’ll admit, I used to become slightly irritated for what I found. Often I’d find that he hadn’t put his towel up, imagehad wasted the ENTIRE tube of newly purchased toothpaste to paint the mirror, or that he thought it was super cool to decorate the bathroom with a roll of toilet paper.

This particular evening was different. I checked out of my day for a moment and sat there. I saw a shower curtain halfway closed. I felt proud he tried to close it on his cute tippy toes. I saw bath toys randomly everywhere. I felt grateful I was blessed with a child with a creative mind. I saw toothpaste in the sink where he had drawn a heart for me to find. I found toothpaste splattered on the mirror. I felt relieved I didn’t have to ask him to take some initiative. Oddly enough, I left that bathroom more humbled and grateful than I had anywhere else in my life in a very long time. I savored each page of the story book that night. I sang our special “Sunshine Song” until I saw his sweet face fall asleep. I sat there wondering if he would ever truly know how much he’s taught me.

yardSince that evening, I’ve felt more grateful for many people in my life. I’ve recognized just how great people can be. Perhaps it’s always been there but resetting my “humble gauge” has given me a renewed heart that is incredibly grateful. Each of us know how challenging
parenting can be. I can also attest to how difficult juggling life can be. I’m learning to really savor the reality that I am guiding my son through life. However, we will forever be educating each other as we navigate each phase of life. And that is the most beautiful and humbling gift I could ever receive.

Dear Son, I am not your friend.

I don’t feel compelled to be my son’s friend. 

I have a desire to act lovingly towards him. Nurture. Protect. Guide. Provide him with tough life lessons. All of those lame parental terms. He’s literally the only person I’d actually lay in the street for. Does it make me lame? Boring? Maybe to some. #idontcare.

I recently filled out documents that had this question: “Describe how you define the role of a parent. Additionally, list your strengths and weaknesses.” How would you answer this? It was much more difficult than I thought it would be.

What a double edged sword!  Strengths and weaknesses?!? That list could vary depending on the status of how the morning went at drop off. Or what color my son was on that day. (The dreaded color coded behavior chart!!!!) Did I have to threaten to give away all of his toys to get him to tie his shoes? I can’t be the only one who has those types of mornings.

The truth is that I have strengths and weaknesses. Both as a parent and a person. Sometimes I’m a crappy friend who becomes very caught up in my own day to day life. Thankfully, I have very forgiving people in my world.

It took a long time to really absorb the question. My reflex was just to answer in genetic bullet point responses. But the question really got to me. I did make the list. I had more strengths written down than I thought I would. My biggest weakness is stress management. I have some stressors that I simply cannot control. I have to be committed to letting those go. At the end of the day, all it does is steal my joy. It robs my son and me of moments. I own that and it’s getting better everyday. Remember the bachelor season where that diva had the anthem, “Don’t let anyone steal your sparkle!” Her mama was right, guys! 

My biggest strength by far is acknowledging that I don’t know it all. I will never have this parenting thing down. I will never stop growing, evolving as a person, or know everything about the world. It doesn’t mean that I’m always chasing the next thing or that I’m unsatisfied. It doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence. It means I’m always growing. I feel that is the best thing I can show my son. My heart strings pull when I see that our shoes are almost the same size. But I don’t ever want him to stop growing.

Did you hear about the HEARD?!

My son and I had a roaring good time this weekend! We’re talking fort building, pizza party, mountains of legos kind of time. One of the highlights was THE HEARD MUSEUM, located in McKinney. 

I haven’t heard many people mention it so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ll admit, I usually gasp at the thought of going north of 635. So the questions is… Is it worth it?  Here’s my take on it…

  • Cost:   Very reasonable Adults: $10, Seniors 60+ & Children 3-12: $7, Heard Museum Member & Children 2 and Under: FREE
  • Parking: #Winning. Parking is limited. However, this was not an issue and I magically found a front row spot. It didn’t seem like a packed place. And I didn’t see any jerks inventing parking spots. 
  • Staff: Very nice! A young girl provided tickets and pointed us in the right direction.
  • Play area: Humble & Historic. As you begin and end the trail outside, there is a small play area, Pioneer Village. This is primarily 50 million pounds of wood mulch with numerous wooden old houses. 
  • The Main Event: Dinosaur Live!            My son LOVED this! The first Dino on the trail was a life sized T-Rex that actually startled him. It moves in ways that makes it pretty entertaining for anyone. The small details, like the eyes scanning visitors, make it so much fun!                   

          My son enjoyed the ease of the map and it made him feel like he was really leading us to the next big find. Each dinosaur moved, made realistic noises, and one even spit! There’s even a spot for a photo op with a Triceratops. 

         We made it through the main event in about 30 minutes. It’s a casual, not congested stroll through the trail. 

  • Animals of the World Exhibit:              This was unexpected! Just off from the front desk, is a great exhibit! I think I may have enjoyed this more! They have lemurs, an iguana missing a claw, owls, Texas sized snakes, and giant shells collected by Miss Heard herself! 

My favorite find had to be the Mosasaurs! This giant sea reptile was excavated in 2008 from Duck Creek in Garland. It is sure to impress anyone AND IT’S LOCAL!

In all, the price is fair and the kids will love it. As a parent, the highlight was just getting outdoors and feeling like we checked out of city life for a minute. There’s something about being on a trail outdoors and experiencing life through your child’s eyes that is magical. 

Check ’em out!


Normal Is a Setting On Your Washer.

Life is tough sometimes, y’all. 

Other times…I can’t even handle the indescribable beauty I’m graced with. What is difficult for me, could be easy for you. Having grace for one when they fall short is showing what you are capable of. 

At the end of each day a political race doesn’t matter. Your really shitty work day doesn’t matter. That jerk who cut you off in traffic….that also doesn’t matter. 

Comparing ourselves to the next family or the mom in the carpool lane who just seems to freaking have it all…. stop. I can assure you, it’s hurting you more than you think. 

Can you think about a time you thought you had it all? Perhaps it’s a wedding proposal, a pregnancy, a graduation, a career move. Whatever it is, I can imagine you felt thankful. Beautiful. Happy. Optimistic. Anything positive. 

Fast forward a few years. Do you still feel the same passion? I don’t mean “Oh yeah, I’m lucky… I know.” I mean real passion. 

When you thought you had it all, your passion became your normal. That is incredible. 

What humbles me the most is remembering that normal is a cycle on your washing machine. Life is a cycle. It can be delicate, heavy, normal. No matter what cycle you run it on, it must be handled with care. If we’re being real, life will give you the light load and the dark load. It’s even going to yield that ridiculous load you wash and then dry 3 times only to want to just start it over again in the washer 5 days later. 

And that is normal. Learn to love your normal.