And then the call comes…

And it’s every emotion imaginable in a matter of seconds…

The call that we know is coming, but are never prepared for. The one that shatters us to our very core. The one that makes our heart skip a beat and our eyes fill with tears. The one that shakes your very existence in a way you didn’t know possible. That call. The one that says, “she’s gone!”

My heavy eyes were barely even able to open when the sting of the tears hit them. The tears were hot on my cheeks and they wouldn’t stop falling. Crying out. Part of me crying because my life can’t be the same without her. Part of me crying because my soul is rejoicing in the fact that she is whole and she is getting to see Jesus. Part of me selfishly yearning and telling God I’m not ready.

How do you convince your heart of something your mind understands, but your heart doesn’t?? Literally, how do you do it?

How do you pick up the pieces of your shattered heart? Of your kid’s shattered heart? Or your mother’s? Or your siblings? At 2:17 AM in the dark, with tears that won’t stop flowing…how do you find the pieces? How do feel okay again? Can you ever feel whole again? How do you stop the waves of nausea that keep washing over you? When you look all around you and everyone is broken, how do you decide who has to be the strong one? Or do you just stay right where you are? In a puddle on the floor asking God for peace. Is this where I’ll be forever? How do you put the pieces together for anyone else when your own puzzle is missing pieces now? My heart has so many questions. My heart knows Jesus, but in a time like this, My heart just can’t comprehend it. But who am I to question God’s plan?

When that call comes in, it is the onset of an unbearable pain. It’s leaves a gaping hole that can’t be filled. Although, as I’m riding home in the car, the clock reads 5:38 and I can see the sky starting to turn colors where the sun is peeking through and I am reminded of how God always shows us his light. Even in the darkest of times. Even the worst of heartbreaks. May 20th, 2018. The day my life changed tremendously. The day my Nana earned her wings.

Rest In Peace, Nana.

Josephine Fleming 6/8/36 – 5/20/2018

The family will be gathering at my home. If you would like to come by for a visit or donate a meal, please message me for address.

Thank you in advance for the continued prayers. Service information will be shared as soon as possible.

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Have you ever known a saint?

Have you? A real life saint? True, in human form, SAINT? I HAVE. And how blessed am i that I have called her Nana?! How blessed am I that she helped mold me and shape me into the woman I am today?!

To know my Nana, was simply to love her! She didn’t know hate in heart, she loved everyone she met just LIKE JESUS DOES! She has always been so selfless. There were many times I watched her go without so everyone in her presence didn’t have too. Myself included. She yearned her whole life to be a mother BECAUSE THAT WAS HER CALLING. And when she couldn’t carry a child in her womb, she adopted my mom. Another SELFLESS act. (I’ll never be able to express how thankful I am that she did!) Every-time one of my friends needed something, my Nana was there. From hot meals and rides to school and the skating rink to advice and stepping in when other family members stepped out. She didn’t care about blood, she treated everyone like family.

She taught me about love. About life. About working hard. About being compassionate. Most importantly, she taught me about Jesus! She taught me how to pray and she taught me to go to church. As I sit here in this hospice house just watching her breathe, my heart is shattered at the thought of what is to come. But my heart is rejoicing because I know she will be greeted at those pearly gates.

I am not prepared for this, but I know she is! Her strength has been an amazing thing to witness my entire life. Her grace has taught me how to handle difficult situations. Her faith has taught me how to have faith. Her kind, gentle spirit has taught me how I should treat people. Not a single day has gone by that she hasn’t taught me something about life. I am so fortunate that she loved me so well.

Prayers are very appreciated during this difficult time.

I’ve been living in solitary confinement.

It’s taking every ounce of courage that I can muster up to be this vulnerable. Especially, about you. The you that broke me before I should have known what broken was. The someone that I should know and look up to. The someone that should celebrate my victories and grieve in loss with me. I have longed for you my entire life. I have cried for you. Cried over you. And most certainly, cried BECAUSE of you. I have hated you. I’ve still been angry with you. I have loved you. I have wished for you to be my hero, like a dad should be to his little girl. I have hoped for an apology for my mom. I have prayed for you! Did you hear me? I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU!

I have prayed for you more in the last year than ever before. I bet you’re wondering why. I was sitting in church after having my son (that you probably don’t even know I have) dedicated to the Lord when my Pastor preached on forgiveness. And that is something that I have always struggled with. I can hold a grudge forever and not bat an eye. And I have. But that day sitting in church, with tears streaming down my face all I could think was – WOW! I never wanted that word and your name in the same sentence. AGAIN. I thought that I could convince myself that I had forgiven you and I would be okay. How wrong I was.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and it certainly isn’t that easy. You see, I have been serving a life sentence in solitary confinement because of you.

Figurative, solitary confinement.

I have isolated myself from people who love me out of fear of not being enough for them. I have been insecure in every aspect of my life. I have always struggled with feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. I know you might be wondering what that has to do with you, right? Well, I’ll be happy to enlighten you. I wasn’t ENOUGH for you. I wasn’t worthy enough in your eyes for you to be an active part of my life. I was inadequate by YOUR standards. And while you never said those things, your actions did. And you also never took the time to NOT say those things! Which makes it very easy for a little girl to believe she isn’t worthy.

All these years I’ve believed those things about myself because of your actions, or lack there of. I have beat myself up so many times wondering what I (A CHILD) could have done differently so that you wouldn’t walk out. Sitting in that seat in church that day, it felt like it was just me and Pastor Rich in the room. I knew he was preaching straight to me!! I knew that God was speaking to me. All these years I’ve been harboring some awful feelings about you and for you. And rightfully so. But all these years I kept pushing aside the fact that my worth SHOULD NOT BE determined by a man who chose not to step up. My worth should be tied to my mom who fought to give me the best life she could. My nana who never once wavered being there for me. The two men who did step up for me and made sacrifices you never would, my Papa and my DAD (maybe not my blood, but he’s my dad!). My husband. My kids – who think that I hung the moon. But most importantly, Jesus died on a cross for me over 2,000 years ago and THAT ACT ALONE SAYS THAT I AM WORTH IT. That says that I am MORE than enough. In all honesty, it’s just a shame that you couldn’t see that.

The person I am today falls and gets right back up. I put my kids above all else. I strive to be Christ like, though I fail daily. I’m a daughter, sister, niece, friend, wife and momma that I am proud of. And maybe you didn’t physically contribute to any of that, you did contribute. I’m forever grateful for you teaching me all the things I didn’t want to do.

My eyes aren’t blurry anymore. My mind is no longer a hostage to your actions. And while my heart will always ache because of you, I forgive you. I FORGIVE YOU. I forgive you for me. For my own sanity. For my walk with Christ. I forgive you because Jesus forgives me daily. I, too, need grace on a daily basis and I am never denied that grace.

Brief backstory: My biological father made the conscious decision when I was very young NOT to be a part of my life. He chose other priorities over his daughter(s) and I can only speak for myself here, but I suffered a lot mentally because of that. However, if I had put someone through the hell he put my mother through – I wouldn’t have been able to look at my kids either. (That’s a blog for a different time…stay tuned!)

Did this make you think a little? Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? It isn’t easy, but it is liberating. You may not forget what they did and you may have to forgive them 100 times – but I encourage you to do it.

Blog Overhaul

Hello, again! It’s been a while since I have written anything that I published. I have been writing a lot and I just haven’t posted anything. The things that were on my heart to write were things that didn’t really fit into the realm of my “parenting” blog. I really want to share them with you all, so I decided to stray away from the “parenting” label on my blog. I’m still as Southern as ever, don’t get me wrong. However, for what I am looking to accomplish with my blog, I outgrew confessions of a southern momma! Don’t worry! I will still be confessing a lot! Haha! Just in different ways.

I wanted to be extremely vulnerable in my writings and share details of my life that many of you may not know. When I write, I can always take myself right back to that moment in time and I always feel those emotions all over again. I write to share my story. To share my truth. To evoke emotions. To let you understand that you can overcome anything. I write so that people will understand me.

Be prepared for lots of emotions, lots of vulnerability, a ton of candidness, an excess of lighthearted fun, and a lot of topics that are sometimes incredibly hard to talk about. I am looking forward to sharing this next chapter in my little blogging life with you all. While I can’t promise you a post every week, I am certainly going to try my best to make that happen. I am open to topic suggestions, questions that you want answered from a different perspective, and anything in between.

So here’s to you; thank you for following me! Here’s to blogging, which gives me an incredible outlet. And here’s to me sharing the depths of my soul with you guys. I am nervous, excited, anxious, and terrified to share some of the things that I have planned. But this is my story and it is time for me to own it. Here we go, y’all!

Second Chance; An Update

First, let me apologize for taking almost two months to post. (I should really work on that! I’ll add it to my list of things.🙄) I’m sure many of you are making assumptions based on the title of the post and that’s okay, you just might be right. 🙃 In my last post, I was very vulnerable and very upfront about the events that had taken place in my life. I will keep that same momentum for this post. (You’ve been warned! 😜) A lot has changed in two months and I have still been soul searching and falling in love with myself. And I will continue to do that from now on.

In my last post I was very adamant about two things. 1. The best thing that Chase ever did for me was to leave. 2. I don’t believe in second chances.

Well, not very much from that last post has changed. I, 100%, still believe that the best thing Chase ever did for me was leave me. We were in a rut. We were struggling to even fake a smile anymore. We were prideful and neither wanted to admit faults leading up to the “blow out.” We were in the pits and we were unhappy. (Side note: I’m not saying that leaving is the answer because I believe you should fight for love no matter what.) The day he left I learned of strength I never knew I had. Through the chaos I was able to find myself again and that is something that is so important. Even through the pain I was able to better myself and I am grateful for that. So that part hasn’t changed at all. I still stand by that statement and always will. I am a better woman for having gone through it.

What has changed is my belief that second chances shouldn’t exist. At the end of July, I was seeing someone else and desperately trying to move on. (No judgement – Chase had been seeing other people too!) I was ignoring all of Chase’s efforts to reconcile. I wasn’t interested. Or so I pretended. Deep down I had questions and hoped that one day I could get to a point where I was ready to pursue a reconciliation. Despite everything, two facts remained; I loved him. And Chase felt like home to me. From the day I met him he gave home a whole new meaning. Not like 4 walls and a door, but 2 eyes, open arms and a heart beat. No matter how hard I tried to fight it or how much I tried to outrun it, my soul got tired of running from those facts. There have been so many instances and so many occasions over the last few months that showed me how serious Chase is about making us work and just how much he has changed. So with that said, I believe him and my soul can rest! I’m home. 💜 No more fighting it, just fighting for us.

Marriage is hard and sometimes when pride gets in the way, it’s harder than it should be. We have both learned so much in the last few months, but the main things are: 1. God has to be at the center of us. 2. There is no one else in this world for the either of us. We were meant to be. 3. TRUE LOVE FORGIVES. (But true love isn’t stupid – I believe in second chances now! Not third, fourth and fifth chances. 😂😜)

On a serious note – as we start this journey, we know it will be hard and we are prepared for that! We ask for your prayers. Between the love we have for each other, church, counseling, swallowing our pride even when it’s uncomfortable and the best friends & family – we will make it. Here’s to our new life and embracing every struggle as a team. Love always wins!!! 💝

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope. – Maya Angelou

What’s the best thing he ever did?

The day he left, my world was flipped upside down. His words were cold. His emotions didn't exist. His heart just wasn't in it anymore. And I was left wondering where I went wrong or if it was all a lie. Confused. Hurt. Angry. Guarded. And "broken". I grieved the loss of someone who was still living. Someone I thought I would never get over. I grieved a marriage, that was troubled, but one I never thought would fail.

And then something happened….I woke up one morning in my new place and looked around. Here I was laying in bed all alone in my house, that was still strange at the time. It should have been a moment where I cried, prayed, and (possibly) screamed. Instead, all I did was lay there and smile. I SMILED. I found my strength. Strength I never knew I even had. I found my courage. The courage to stand up for myself and the courage to be selfish with my time and my energy. I found my happy. Strange, huh? But I did! I found my happiness – happiness in ME! For the first time in a long time I was no longer seeking validation from anyone else. I found my confidence. I lost 36 pounds (with more to lose!) and started to feel good about myself again. I found my tribe. You know those people who ARE always there with no hesitation and no questions asked. The type of friends that we all long for. The friends that you never have to question their motives or their loyalties. I found my peace. Peace in my decisions, my life, my circumstances. I found CONTENTMENT.

And for the first time in probably 3 years, I am genuinely happy. So when the question comes up if I miss him, the answer is no. When the question comes up if I want to reconcile, again, the answer is no. The reason my answer is no is simple…..

I would have never given up, even when I should have, because that's not me! If he hadn't left, I wouldn't know what happiness was like and I will forever be grateful that he did leave.

Thoughts on Beauty

So after being called ugly today for my physical appearance I started thinking. So here are some thoughts I have strung together. Forgive me if they don’t flow properly.

What sickens me the most about the world that my kids are growing up in is the harsh reality of the pressure they feel to look a certain way or be a certain size. At 11 and 12, my girls should not be concerned about their weight. Yet, they are! 
I think that being beautiful starts in your soul and radiates outward. It’s important to me to teach my children, that physical beauty is not near as important as inner beauty. I have said it a million times and will say it a million more, you can be the prettiest woman in the world, but an ugly heart automatically makes you ugly to me. Society is trying to teach my kids and myself differently. It’s a fine line, I get it, attractiveness sells. Really though? What are good looks without some substance? 
I may never be that girl that other women envy as far as physical beauty goes. I’m not insanely fit, I don’t have a thigh gap, or eyebrows that are on fleek (whatever that really means), I don’t have hair to die for, or perfect skin. And that’s okay by me! However, I do have a listening ear to anyone who needs it, a kind word to say when someone needs to hear it, a heart that breaks when I see someone struggling, hurting or down on their luck. I do have understanding. The understanding that we all are different, that we all fall short at times. The understanding that every single person is beautiful in their own way. Physically, mentally and emotionally beautiful; and its that understanding alone that allows me to look for the good in people. 
The day that society started caring more about who the skinniest of them all is versus who the fairest (or kindest) of them all is…is exactly the day that we lost the true definition of beauty. Beauty is so much more than just the skin we wear. I wish more people could see that. I wish more people would find the beauty in someone’s soul smiling or in the laugh lines on their face or even in their brokenness. Sometimes in our brokenness we find all of our inner beauty, believe it or not. It’s where I have sought mine out more than a few times. Being broken can be beautiful too; it means you’re growing. You’re learning. YOU ARE LIVING. And living is such a thing to find beauty in. So start seeking the things that matter most and seeing their FULL potential. Their fill beauty. 
What matters to me the most is that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I want to do all I can to help whoever I can. I’m strong on the inside. I’m brave. I’m optimistic. I have Christ in my heart. And when I love, I love with every single fiber of my being! Those are the things that I want to pass along to my kids. Those are the things that I want to be envied for. Looks will fade, a good heart…it’s here to stay. So while I may not fit your mold because of how I look, you’ll still fit my mold because I’m not judging you on the outside.


 

The truth about my 30….

Today, on my 30th birthday, as I stood after a long day at work staring out my kitchen window while washing dishes. I was sobbing. Sobbing, while scrubbing pots and pans.
And no, not crying because I was doing dishes. I was crying because I’m celebrating 30 years today. Crying because that makes me happy because some people don’t get to see thirty years old or healthy kids. And I don’t take that for granted. Not one bit, I count those blessings daily. But there was more, I was also crying because I was sad. Reflecting back on my life, I’m no where near where I thought I would be at 30. Not in my career, not in friendships, not in relationships with my family, not physically, not in my writing, not financially (but are we ever there really?), not in putting a dent in my bucket list. Just not there. Let me be clear; I am educated and I have a great job. I have some of the best friends and family a girl could ask for. I have a handsome husband that loves me and healthy, beautiful kids. I go to the gym and I’m finally noticing my weight loss. I write, not as much as I would like too or the things I would like too. We live comfortably and our kids are spoiled. 😜 And we are working on the bucket list. So, I know what you’re all thinking…it’s never too late. I know that, I’m working on it. 
The thing that hurts the most? The reason I was so upset? The friendships and relationships with my family. At one point in my life I knew that there was a handful of people that could look at me or hear my voice and instantly know when something was off. But now….Not even close! You see the thing is, things haven’t been right for months now. I’ve been carrying the burden of health issues and silently fighting them…all while NO ONE in my life knew me well enough to notice. I told a select few what was going and their response was “I had no idea!” I am most of the problem here, because I become a recluse sometimes. BUT at one point, there were people that would know anyway that something was off. This is NOT the kind of relationships that I want. I don’t want surface relationships anymore. I want real, raw, intense relationships. The kind of friendships were we cry together, we laugh together, we get angry together, we learn together and we love together. 
I’m not saying this to hurt feelings or make anyone feel like I don’t value them in my life. I value each and every single person in my life. And I have a few friends like this already, so don’t get me wrong. I just want more substance in my life. Museum visits, history lessons, religious talks, childhood memories, trials and tribulations in our lives, political talks, the ugly stuff, the beautiful stuff, prayer meetings, Bible talks….I want deeper friendships. Deeper relationships in general. I want people who want to know the parts of me that I hide from the world. I want to know people on a deeper level and I want people to know me on a deeper level. 

I had a wonderful birthday and am ready to take on my thirties. Sometimes, I’m just emotional and those are the vulnerabilites I want to share with people. With that said, thank you so much everyone for your heartfelt words today and for taking the time to wish me a happy birthday. It means so much to me! Here’s to 30 and here’s to tackling life harder than ever before.  

(Picture is from this past weekend visiting the Angel Oak on St. John’s island in Charleston, SC. Don’t ever pass up the opportunity to visit….it is breath taking.) 

 

I know what kind of love I want

As I sit in the airport this afternoon, I realize that these walls hold the most genuine emotions and sincere embraces I’ve ever seen. The long hugs good-bye that seem to linger until the two hands can’t touch anymore because one is running to catch a flight. The ecstatic yelps of seeing someone again after just a few days, months or even years. The smiles, the tears, the frustration, the rush…it’s all genuine. It’s all raw. Real. On the wake of all the violent terrorist attacks -Everyone of them, Baghdad included – I sit here in Chicago, in the midst of the hustle of a busy airport and I’m reminded of what is so important in my life. And there is so much. (Side Note: I started this blog to be honest and open, so here it comes!) This business trip not only comes when the world around me is in chaos, but when my home is in chaos as well. Life isn’t always easy. Furthermore, marriage is not always easy. Chase and I don’t always see eye to eye and we love VERY differently. Which makes marriage even harder. We have been at each other’s throats lately and we ARE that couple who will go to bed mad at each other. We are both stubborn and if we aren’t ready to make nice, we don’t. We wait until we are both ready (and tempers aren’t flaring) to talk. We do things on our own time and while some may see that as a problem…we know for us, it’s best. This airport has reminded me of how lucky I am. I have someone to miss me while I’m away. My children have a great father. Lawd, knows I ain’t perfect, but he puts up with me. (And if you know me well, you know that ain’t easy!) On the flip side of that, I put up with him….and there is no else I would rather argue with, annoy and love for the rest of my life. Sometimes, a little distance can put things into perspective a little better. My hope is that we all can start having more airport hugs in our lives. Having more airport greetings and sincere appreciation of the people we see daily. And even the ones we don’t. Practice love. Practice sincere love – airport love.  
  Leaving SC.  
   

What are Godparents? 

What are Godparents? 
I didn’t grow up with Godparents, so I have often times wondered what exactly is a Godparent? What do they do? Well, by definition a Godparent is: “1. a person who presents a child at baptism and responds on the child’s behalf, promising to take responsibility for the child’s religious education. 2. a person who will assume responsibility for a child in the event that the birth parents die or cannot take care of the child.” 

So, there’s that definition and then there is the definition that I have watched unfold right before my eyes. I’ll get there in a minute. 
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a “Type A” personality and a planner who suffers from OCD (tease: post coming about that later). I like having a plan and a back-up plan for everything. So in the event that something were to ever happen to Chase and myself and We were unable to take care of Colton, I needed a plan in motion. 
Colton was between 6 & 8 short weeks old when I approached Chase with the question of who would take care of Colton if something happened to us. We had a couple ideas that we bounced around, but we both kept going back to our initial thought….HEATHER AND BRIAN. (No last names because I didn’t get permission! 😝) Heather is Chase’s cousin and they grew up super close to one another. The years and life had inevitably gotten in the way and they weren’t as close as they once were, but we had been fixing that. {And I will NEVER be able to say how thankful I am that we did fix that!} So we asked them and of course, they were honored. Well that little definition in ole Webster is not what a Godparent is, in my opinion. 
I have been shown that a Godparent is there every step of the way. Celebrating the little things like rolling over for the first time, a first tooth, or crawling for the first time. A Godparent is someone who you don’t have to ask to be there for your child(ren), they are with no hesitation and no sense of obligation. I have been shown that a Godparent wants to document everything just like it was their child, because (Heaven forbid) one day it could be! I’ll never know that feeling personally….but I’m so blessed that my kids will. (It’s tricky with the older two where Godparents are concerned because of coparenting.) 
Im so glad that he will know the love of the absolute best choice of Godparents for us. I’m so glad that he has someone willing to spend an entire day sitting at the hospital to make sure that he is okay. I’m so glad that he will know the love of someone (other than his parents) cheering him on in life. I’m so honored and humbled at how Heather and Brian love my boy. I hope it never does (and We get to see all 3 of our babies grow up and become parents themselves), but if something ever happened to his dad and me I know with 100% certainty that my little boy would be loved, cared for, supported and cheered on in everything that he chooses to do in life. 
In closing a Godparent is just a grandparent without the “obligation” or direct tie to the child. Ladies and gentlemen, that is the definition of a Godparent. These two right here. I will never be able to say thank you enough for loving our babies like y’all do!