Be Nice

The LEGO Perspective

In my mid 20’s I was kind of a jerk.

I was that “kid” who wanted a kid that thought, “Well when I have a kid…” and could name half a dozen reasons why I’d make it all look so easy.

So basically… the universe is laughing it’s ass off at me.

As it turns out kids don’t come with a manual the way my food processor did. In fact, the only thing in life i am ABSOLUTELY sure of is that when I think I have something figured out, THAT is the exact moment I’ve screwed up.

My son is eight. He is very perceptive and in touch with his feelings. We’re navigating the process of overcoming hurt feelings, being a good sport, identifying strengths and accepting weaknesses. And most importantly, taking responsibility for our actions. And with every one of those moments, I can’t help but pray I’m handling them right.

Parenting is no joke! On one hand, the mama bear in me wants to lunge toward anyone who looks at my kid funny. On the flip side, I recognize we’re approaching the part of life where character is built. I’m fully aware we have days ahead where someone will make a comment about his glasses, the gap in his teeth, or being picked last. I hope to raise a young man with compassion for others. I hope I use these moments to help him draw from these seemingly unimportant events to always be there for others.

I stepped on a lego tonight. Parents, you know that pain! For some reason, my mind went to my son with thoughts I didn’t expect. I didn’t have chosen words race through my mind. I had compassion. It was God’s funny little way of helping me keep perspective. We have so many amazing things ahead of us! Yet help us all not forget how small something can look on the outside yet feel so big to the one walking through it.

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I Have It Together-ish

I’m definetly over 30, single, a mom, and have it together-ish.

Every now and then a lady like myself will hear feedback sounding as if a potential suitor is saying, “Challenge accepted.”

So what IS the challenge for said man?

We expect too much from you.

And unapologetically. Unfortunately for this guy, he’s getting “interviewed” for multiple jobs unknowingly. I may enjoy your company but what actually matters is if you’re a good fit for my son and I… as a team. Do you see me standing next to him or in front of him? Can I count on you? Do we care enough to deal with each other during our “jerk” moments?

Like it or not, if I date you, I’m constantly asking myself if you’re father material. Not only for my child but any future children. All my exes live in Texas… and so do I. Can you navigate the waters with my ex? Only the strong survive.

You’ll need a suitcase for this baggage.

Naturally, I analyze everrrrrything. It’s how my brain works! Ask my boss. What is seemingly a straight forward situation will include me calculating every angle we could potentially be sued with followed by hypotheticals that will derail the entire conversation. I can’t help it. Throw in the last 15 years of my life and you’ll get a big ole’ helping of unwelcome nonsense from me that may manifest in silence or irrational conversation.

I’m tired.

I know the general population is tired these days. But I’m real tired of the games. I think kids had it right when they passed those simple notes asking for a “yes” or “no”. That’s where I’m at. Tired of the games. Tired of dating. Tired of wondering where I stand with people. Who in the world came up with the dating rule of waiting 3 days to call? If you wait 3 days, you’ll realize I already blocked you.

I do not have the time, patience, or energy to compete to be at the top of your list. I can’t date multiple people at once. I tried it once at the suggestion of a friend and it lasted about 48 hours. I find it gross and just a waste of time. I have laundry and stuff. Like… big girl things to do.

I used to joke about being the lady with a cat. But now I’m the lady with a cat who has his own Instagram. (@oliverflinn) Many of my friends are unhappily married. That sounds worse than being single! But why is this the case? Do we lose sight of why we fell in love? Do we over look the cup of coffee he brings us in the morning? Or the car that magically never needs an oil change? What about everything he misses out on to be the first one at the office and the last one to leave?

Let’s go back to the way our kids “play the game”. We all have a different job on the field. Don’t we all want to get to the finish line to see our teammate there to celebrate with us?

Mommy Fuel

To the mom at pick up:

Hi. We don’t know each other. I have a feeling we’re more alike than we realize. For starters, I imagine you’re pretty tired. Did you rush here to pick up your little with as much excitement as you felt when you dropped them off this morning?

Me too. Free at last!

“Free at last!” can mean so many things! Maybe you’re at home with the younger kids or doing the laundry and errands to simply make life simple when your husband comes home. Maybe you’re rushing off to a board meeting, leisurely off to the gym, or maybe you’re battling depression alone all day.

I love nothing else more in this life than my son. My only child. My only four eyed, combed hair, argumentative son. But man… does he wear me OUT!

Don’t act like you can’t relate! You aren’t alone.

I’ve always said being a parent is the hardest job you will ever love. Don’t believe me? Would you give up everything in a second for them but you’re constantly tired and finding fuel in places you didn’t know existed?

Let’s credit our littles with unknowingly forcing us to find parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed. That’s some powerful mommy fuel they’ve given us!

Recently I’ve done my best to look at people around me and have a glass half full. I’ve focused more on what we could share rather than how we are different. The word “differences” is often used in a reason for divorce. Irreconcilable differences. I’m looking for more reasons in my life to connect to people than push them away.

Look for the connections. It’s powerful.

A Quest for Peace

2018 is here but I’ll be writing 2017 until June as per the usual. If you stumbled upon my blog in 2017, you know it was a hell of a year for me. Most of it I was in the dreaded “fake it till you make it phase.” I made it. Sometimes barely but I’m here and standing.
There are good people that unfortunately got the worst of me. I owe apologies to some of you. I think life has finally leveled out for me. I was blessed enough to wrap up the year with a life changing trip to Africa over Thanksgiving. And boy, did it ever change my life. But now what?
I want peace. 
But what does that mean exactly? It likely has a different definition for each of us. Having peace from struggles and bondage we manage to walk through life with will be different. We’re all human. We all fail. I think failing forward is something to celebrate though.
Why do I want peace?
I came out of the womb struggling. Literally. The cord was wrapped around my neck. I’m stubborn so I managed to wedge my foot in between the cord and my neck. That likely saved my life. That same perseverance has saved my life both physically and emotionally time and time again.
I want peace so badly because I finally felt it in Africa. I’ve never felt it so powerful and obvious. I vividly remember a moment where I stood at the top of a hill at a school. With my back turned to instruments being played, singing and laughter, I took in the greenest rolling hills I’d ever seen.  I was finally alone. Tears filled my eyes because I was so overwhelmed with the feeling of peace. Excluding the absence of my son, I could have taken a one way ticket and stayed until my welcome was worn out.
Let me paint a more clear picture. This is day four of our journey. At this point I had spent days feeling guilty for where I was blessed enough to rest my head each night. I had a clean pillow and a mattress. I had windows. A lock on my door. And an actual toilet. I had just gifted a child I connected with a mosquito net. When she realized what was happening she gave me the most fierce hug I had ever felt.
How do I get that peace? Here. In America. In Dallas.
What I’m finding is in our busy lives here, it’s more about evaluating what is in our lives first. Personally, I can’t possibly add in something else to my life without removing some things. Ask yourself a few questions. Is this bringing me joy? Peace? How is it enriching my life? If you don’t have a valid response, opting out of it may not be a bad option. Let’s take social media as an example. (Ironic I know since I’m writing a blog that is shared via social media… stay with me though.) If you removed yourself from all social media, do you think you would be as connected to your current group of loved ones or friends? What percentage of the relationship is part of the “fakebook” world? I’m not dissing social media as much as it may seem.  It’s more of a personal inventory. Am I pouring my energy into what I should in my life? If I answer honestly, no. No I’m not.
What’s the plan?
My plan is simple. Delete my social media for one month. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. After one month I’ll write about what I’ve learned, what I miss about it, and how it’s affected my life mentally, physically and spiritually. I plan to spend more time taking care of myself. More time in prayer and reflecting on where I am. Sitting in silence and taking in life isn’t a bad thing. It’s often quite difficult to do for this small town girl in a big city. I’m always on the go as I juggle being a single mom, employee, friend, and my sometimes nonexistent love life. However, I think if I just slow down and take in what’s actually happening in my life, I’ll find more of what brings peace to the world around us that so many of us miss daily.

I’m Right Where I’m Supposed To Be

Someone recently shared a song that embodied everything I was needing in that moment. The title of the song itself spoke to me. I’ve been feeling very comfortable in my own skin and where I am in life. I’ve had an increasing sense of self awareness. I’ve realized that I am in fact exactly where I’m supposed to be. That’s a feeling you can’t put a price tag on and it has come only after a series of waves through very rocky waters.

Even considering my level of comfort in my simple yet beautiful life, I know something is missing. I have no idea when the last piece to the puzzle will come together. I find the process to be beautiful yet often uncomfortable.

For the first time in my life, I am truly being open about my knack for failing forward. I’m finding that it’s the only way for me to save my sanity and remain in control of my feelings. I’m not hiding behind anything anymore. It’s been so encouraging to read older posts and see how far I’ve come. I can’t even begin to thank those close to me for loving me through my failures and celebrating my successes. 

I’ve danced around writing about what I’ve been through. I’ve told half truths, omitted details, and been vague. My intent has never been to mislead people or hurt someone. It has been the result of shame and embarrassment. And that stops today. 

I’ve been married twice. I married my son’s father at a young age and that likely doesn’t need much explanation. I waited many years to get remarried. I thought I was the luckiest girl alive to have found him. I thought I had everything. I can assure you, the smile on my face was absolutely real and full of love and hope. 

I failed. We failed. He left on a Tuesday. I got a text message saying, “I won’t be here when you get home.” My thought was he had an appointment. After clarifying, I immediately bolted from my office in tears heading straight to my house. As the color left my skin, I absorbed the reality of what was happening. It felt like every dream I had with him was being thrown with haste into those suitcases. I begged. I cried. I fell apart. I watched him back out of the drive way. I watched the gate close. And that was it. Three hours later I walked to the school to pick up my son. I still wonder how well I hid my pain from him. 

It took me weeks to share my failure with my mom and best friend. I remember sitting in my living room with my best friend and saying my biggest fear was not making it out of it and still being a good person. I’ve had pain in my life but this was larger than life. 

I’m really sharing this story with the hope it will help even one person pull through a really dark time. I can honestly say that I’ve had a more beautiful life since my divorce. I’ve been shown more grace than I thought possible. I’m so humbled and thankful for every person in my life. I’ve realized how strong I am and I feel proud of that. 

I spent days crying in the bathtub for hours. I felt humiliated, devastated, angry, confused, and scared. I finally decided I wouldn’t let someone cheat my son and me of the beautiful life we deserved. I threw myself into anything and everything positive I could get my hands on. I took a volunteer position with the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce as Vice President of Philanthropy. I began volunteering in our city and that quickly put my life into perspective. As a result I’ve found a space that is comfortable and beautiful with love. 

I love thinking about something that is making me happy right now and tracing the steps backwards to find how I got to that place. I can honestly say that everything I love about my life right now happened because of something that felt devastating in the moment. There is always light at the end of the tunnel even if it takes a minute to find it. Reaching out for help is courageous. 

Finding Home Base

I’ve done it again. The first step is admission, right? I’ve overcommitted myself in many aspects of my life. While my intentions are well it’s left me feeling like I’ve half assed many things I truly care about. That’s when guilt sets in. 

How did I let this happen again? Early 2017 was by far my most hectic and emotionally draining time period in years. I’ve previously mentioned how I mindfully chose to throw myself into everything positive I could get my hands on. It was very intentional with the purpose to avoid some devastating events to not swallow me whole thus affecting both my life and my son’s. Mission accomplished! I can’t even count the number of beautiful people that have walked into my life. I can not recall ever feeling more proud and humbled at the same time. My friends, both old and new, have picked me up when I needed it and celebrated my successes this year. Personally and professionally this year I have had lows that would make you shake your head and highs that would make even a stranger proud. So what’s next? 


I honestly feel like I’m exiting that “fight or flight” phase in my life. I’ve spent months just grinning and bearing it, faking it until I made it. Well, I’ve made it through and now I’m exhausted. I’m happy but tired. At least I’m not sick and tired of being sick and tired, right?

I’ve spent a lot of time just regrouping and evaluating things in my mind. I have intentionally been on a small hiatus regarding my blog. I needed a minute to not dissect everything I was going through. I needed to just live for a minute and then see where that left me. 

I know how and why I overcommitted myself. It was to keep my mind and heart busy. I was constantly surrounding myself with volunteer work and drowning myself in my “be humble, be grateful” mantra. I have no intention of stopping either of these things. I do have intentions to be balanced though. 

The million dollar question is what matters the most to me? That’s easy. My son. I’ll be room mom again this year. I’ll make copious amounts of videos with cheesy sayings scattered throughout while not giving a crap if anyone else actually watches them. I’ll spend my nights striving to be that Pinterest mom crafting the most adorable party favors with my hot glue gun loaded as I swim in a sea of craft ribbon. And yes, I could have easily just bought the damn favors for a reasonable price on Etsy. But that won’t satisfy me nearly as much.

The point is that balancing life is difficult enough for all of us. I like to think we all manage the best way we know how and it’s okay if we have some missteps. Admitting it and being introspective about how it happened and how we can get back on track is the real success. I believe the first step is asking yourself two simple questions. What or who is most important to you? What do you identify yourself as? When I did this I instantly felt like a ton of bricks were lifted off my shoulders. My answers to those questions were, “Landon” and “a mom”. While I firmly believe I have an identity completely separate from being a mom, I know that will always be my home base. 

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. 

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?