dallas

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. 

Is Starbucks Profiting From Our Sleep Deprivation?

I’ve been feeling pretty run down lately. My sleep habits have been pathetic. One factor is that my car was recently broken into and all of my Adderall was stolen. My doctor won’t prescribe anymore to me regardless of waving a police report in his face. Needless to say, as I sit here I’m prying my eyes open. The last few weeks I’ve found myself just struggling to even write a to-do list much less feel accomplished at the end of the day. Is this the real version of myself?

As a mother, I’ve realized how much I do not want my own child to begin taking Adderall at any point. I’m running a sleep company, I should know better than to fall victim to the dependency of Adderall. I began researching how to make it through the struggle of being cut off cold turkey from Adderall. Nothing has been helpful and I’m convinced Starbucks is preparing to offer me a job considering how often they see me. I stumbled upon an article published by Central Dentist who cites an article from The John Hopkins News-Letter  discussing children and mothers sharing sleep patterns. This certainly made my eyes finally open!

I could relate to so much of this article! I’m a mother to a seven year old boy and I’m submerged in all things sleep related on a daily basis. The study involved 200 healthy children age seven to 12 and measured their sleep patterns for one night using a home sleep test device. What stood out to me was when a mother reported sleep issues, her child would get less sleep, spend less time in deep sleep, and also go to sleep and wake up at a later time.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a lack of sleep can contribute to errors in judgement or sudden changes in mood, as well as a child’s ability to retain and learn information.

Sleep is so crucial to our bodies repairing properly, it affects our mental health, and gravely affects our quality of life. This is amplified in children as their bodies rapidly grow and as they are constantly soaking up life around them. Their growth and development is directly affected by the amount and quality of sleep they are getting consistently. I’m certainly adding “sleep habits” to the epic list of things I hope to instill in my own son.

To learn more about how you can ensure you and your children are getting your best nights sleep, check out www.CentralDentist.com!

 

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: 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.