🎵 …Because I’m Happy 🎵

Today is a good day.
 • My best friend gave birth to a gorgeous little girl last night & I woke up to pictures of her happy family, which put a big smile on my face. Knowing that I’ll get to see them soon makes me even happier.
 • I had a parent-teacher conference this morning and I only cried a little bit. *winning!* I also curled my hair. *trying too hard* *also winning*
 • I have orders in my Etsy shop that are all painted & waiting to be shipped.
 • Our bills are paid. Our pantry, fridge & freezer are stocked. I have gas in my car & my radio still works. (Not that it was ever in danger of not working; I’m simply thankful for it.)
 Regardless of all I have to celebrate and be thankful for, some days I feel like I can barely function. I over-analyze my interactions with people, & feel guilt & embarrassment over things which the logical, rational side of me knows are ridiculous. I wonder why I said this or that thing, or why I didn’t say something. I often feel inadequate; I’m not enough or I’m not doing enough. I take responsibility for things that couldn’t possibly be my fault, but I bet you I can twist it in my brain until it is. I am not gracious with myself when I make mistakes, no matter how small.
 I say that to say this:
I’m still happy. I am SO happy because I have so much to be happy about! But often, it takes an intentional effort on my part. I don’t just wake up burping sunshine & farting rainbows. I have to count my blessings and remind myself daily of all I have to be grateful for. I have to intentionally think positive thoughts & say positive things. I have to surround myself with positive people, which is a bit more challenging than you might think. I have to practice yoga daily. I have to pray & ask for help. I have to watch what I eat & stay the heck away from caffeine! (Which, unfortunately since I paint coffee mugs I have a hard time doing – I have to test them, right? *wink wink*) I have to interact with people, go for walks & get outside even when I don’t want to…especially when I don’t want to.
 Sometimes I do a pretty great job, like today. Sometimes I fail and I let my irrational feelings swallow me. Sometimes I just fake it, for my benefit as much as anyone else’s.
 So, if you’re reading this, maybe you could remember it; consider it the next time you interact with “a happy person.” That person you’ve rarely seen without a smile on their face, the one you might go to for a laugh, for comfort, for sound advice…
Remember that sometimes they need someone, too. They may be sad, anxious or struggling in some way and they won’t always say it for of fear of embarrassment, shame, or just not wanting to burden anyone else. Sometimes they cover their struggle with a blanket of humor. Sometimes they don’t know what to say or how to say it. Sometimes there’s nothing they can attribute their sadness to & they just don’t want to hear “what do you have to be upset about? There are people everywhere who have it so much worse.” I promise you they know that already. You might think those people already know they are loved, needed and necessary in the world, but they don’t always. Sometimes they need to be reminded.
Today I challenge you –  first – to remind someone how necessary they are because you never know when they might need to hear it, & secondly, not to take anyone’s smile for granted; they may have done a lot of work to put it there.
 ….And…that’s all the word vomit I’ve got for you today folks!
 Now, I am going to go lend myself to something productive. Happy Tuesday everyone! Thanks for reading. Comment &/or share if you feel so inclined. 🙂
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Thoughts…

I shared a guest post with you yesterday from MeLissa Hicks. I shared it because I can relate to it. Her sense of what was normal was different from everyone else’s perception of the term. I think we all have a different “normal.”

When I was younger I thought everybody had broken families; I had exactly two friends whose parents were still together when I was in high school and remain so to this day. I’ve seen my best friend’s parents dance in their living room to music that nobody else was listening to while their kids teased them about how “mushy” and “gross” they were. That is what is supposed to be normal, but to me it was strange and wonderful considering my parents (& most of my friends’ parents) were divorced & both remarried. My childhood normal was…tense…and you can bet I never saw any combination of my two sets of parents slow dancing in the living room like they actually loved each other. That sweet moment with my friend’s parents is one that has always stuck with me & I hope someday I’ll hear my kids complaining about how gross their dad and I are.

As tense as things were when I was a child, as I got older I began to notice and appreciate how close certain parts of my family are. I believe my mother’s side of the family in particular is how we got through a lot of heavy things. My granddaddy was there every single time my mom, his brothers, one of his grandchildren or anyone else he loved needed him. There was not a thing he owned that we couldn’t have also. My grandmother had the kindest soul & the sweetest spirit. She was also, sometimes unintentionally, the funniest person I knew. My mom is like the best parts of both of them. She is the strongest & most wonderful woman I’ve ever had the pleasure to know, and she raised my siblings and I to always love and care for each other no matter what. She has come literally halfway across the world to be with me when I needed her, and even when we don’t necessarily agree we respect & support each other. My family is very loving & supportive, so I was appalled to learn that not everyone is similarly blessed. I mean – don’t get me wrong – I suppose I always knew it, but I didn’t really let it sink in until I was an adult.

I have friends whose families disregard their very existence and won’t lift a finger to help them unless there is something in it for them. I don’t understand how families can be that way toward one another. I understand tough love, but what I’m talking about has nothing to do with love of any kind. Sadly, it’s more common than I’d like to believe and in this situation, I know my family is the odd one. I’ve had several people tell me they have never met another family like mine; so eager to help & lacking the usual squabbling & family drama that has come to be depressingly common in other families. We have our share of dysfunction, for sure, but my grandparents & great grandparents made sure our roots were so firmly planted that there isn’t anything in this world that could truly break us. I’m thankful for that.

I Shall Call Him…Sparky

Thank God it’s FRIDAY.

I don’t know why I’m thanking God for Friday in particular because it’s not like this has been a hellishly stressful week in which I looked forward to Friday like it was the end of the plague or something. As a matter of fact, my entire week has been filled with Friday-like Bliss. I can attribute every single bit of that to Sparky my husband. So, on second thought, rather than thanking God it’s Friday, I’d rather thank him for the gift he blessed me with in James. (Feel free to vomit a little if you need to – I know the ooey-gooey sweetness is probably killing you. But be warned; it isn’t over yet. If you don’t have a strong stomach, it may be best to retreat now.)

I love this man. He is rough around the edges; sometimes…really rough. He’s blunt & often times he’s even downright crass. He says things that might be a little bit a-lotta-bit inappropriate for the time, place &/or present company. But he’s also open, honest & never hides himself from people. You rarely have to guess where you stand. He doesn’t pretend to be anything he isn’t. And his choice of words…well…they grow on you.

He gets moody, he does senseless things that I will never even pretend to understand (like yelling at the TV) & sometimes, he drives me absolutely, insane-crazy. But married people are supposed to do that to eachother, right? I’m sure he feels the same way about me because nobody is perfect – how boring would it if we were? Those aren’t the things that matter.

He’s also strong, reliable & trustworthy. He’s always there when I need him & he has never failed to amaze me in how he goes above & beyond for those he loves. He works hard without complaint. He loves our children to the ends of the earth & back & he may not always show that love in the way others think he should, but he has his own way. He sacrifices so much for them (& for me). He’s tough on them when he needs to be, but he can be just as gentle as he is stern when the occasion calls for it. We don’t always agree, but when that happens, he’s careful not to over-ride anything I say without talking to me about it first.

Story Telling...

I know that I’m blessed to have a man like him in my life at all, let alone get to spend every single day with him. Our days are not always perfect marital bliss. We don’t get along like two peas in a pod all the time – we fight, we bicker, we have moments where we hardly talk at all – & our relationship is hard work just like anyone else’s. But it’s hard work that is so beyond worth it. When we have those not-so-great moments, I know that it’ll be okay because we’re strong enough to make it through them. I know that one fight, no matter how big or small, isn’t going to make or break us. I know that I can go three whole days being so mad at him that I could spit fire, but once we actually get to a point where we can talk about it, he won’t yell at me. He won’t belittle me. He won’t threaten me. He won’t even make me feel bad about being an insufferable cow to him in the days before. I know he’ll listen to what I have to say & take it to heart. And he won’t even laugh at the snot constantly dribbling out of my nose. ( Thank God for that. :/ ) Instead of arguing that everything is my fault when I have an issue about something (like some people tend to do as a defense mechanism) he takes the blame all on himself, telling me he’ll try to do better; even if it’s something we both know is not his fault or his responsibility to fix, he’ll try to because he’s that kind of man. He’s the kind of person who wants to do whatever is in his power to make things better for someone he loves. This is a trait I frequently undervalue since it can make me feel like he’s insinuating that I’m incapable of solving my own problems when I’m not. He know’s I’m not incapable, too & I know it’s not his intention to make me feel that way; he just wants to make life a little easier for me. It’s something I have a hard time remembering, but I’m getting there.

Sorry if this offends you, but this is my man...lol. It becomes endearing after a while.

To look at him or talk to him once, you don’t really get to see the whole, awesome package. You get a tiny little glimpse…enough to make you think one of two things:

A.) Eh…he’s a pretty cool guy. Or B.) What. An. A-hole.

He knows it’s true! But that first impression, whether it be good, bad or in between cannot come anywhere near what he really is. Every now & then he talks like he’s the biggest badass that ever lived & he can even look like it, too, but once you get to know him you find out that he’s got this gigantic heart. He’s loyal & honorable. He is exactly the kind of man that I want my son to grow up to be.

I know it’s not Father’s Day or even Valentines’ Day yet, but I don’t believe in only celebrating the ones you love on some governmentally-fabricated, commercial holiday. We don’t have our loved ones for long & a few times a year is not nearly enough to show them the kind of appreciation & admiration they deserve so I’m taking this awesome Friday to tell my hubby how much he means to me. Weird that it’s on my blog when I could just tell him, right? But I’m not really good with words. Okay well…I’m not good with spoken words so I have to write it down.

He’s helped me out so much this week & he has been so thoughtful that it kinda blows my mind (as those of you who have seen my recent FB statuses know), but it’s not the whole reason I’m posting this. I need to remember to love & appreciate the gifts God has given me even during the times when they don’t feel so much like gifts. James is one of those blessings that I take for granted even when I try really hard not to. It’s always going to happen to some degree or another because that’s just the nature of people, but this is my public declaration (& reminder to myself) of how wonderfully I have it. I don’t mean to brag, but what can I say? If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Take whatever moments you can to cherish all the good things & people in your life because you don’t get forever with them.

I’m going to end this post with a list of things I’m thankful for (aside from what I’ve already written above) about my extraordinary hubby. You don’t have to read it because it might make your boyfriend/hubs/SO look like a total douchebag & send you into a heart-breaking depression but at least think about making your own list of things to be thankful for with your “someone special.” I think we spend way too much time focusing on negative things when there are all these fantastic, happy things we can celebrate!

James & I when we first started dating. He was 19. I was 16. He's hot, right? 😛
  •  I love that he doesn’t badger me about the house. I clean & clean & clean, but somehow it always gets messy again and yet he never comes in with a bad attitude about it. If it gets overwhelming for me, he’ll help & if he really wants something done but can’t help (or if he’s just being lazy & doesn’t want to <—see, I’m realistic…) he’ll ask me rather than demand it of me.
  • He doesn’t complain when I drop my June Cleaver & forget to take something out for dinner. Even when it’s 5pm & he’s dead tired, not to mention hungry, from working. He just takes something out & fixes it himself or happily accepts the cheap hotdogs & macaroni I make without complaint. This happens way more often than I care to admit.
  • He has this weird thing that he does where he refuses to eat until I fix my plate. It gets on my nerves sometimes, but I appreciate the sentiment. It’s just another way that he puts me first…who could argue with that?
  • He makes my plate at dinner for me more often than I fix his. The longer this list gets, the more like a domestic-failure I feel, lol.
  • He cooks. A lot.
  • He brings me breakfast in bed.
  • He recently cleaned almost the whole house for me. Including laundry. Did I mention that he let me sleep in & didn’t even ask me to help with the cleaning? It was unspeakably wonderful to be able to do all the work I had to do uninterrupted & without having to worry about all these other wife & mommy-related things. I’ve had such a peaceful week because of you, James Dean. ❤
  • He acknowledges it when I work hard at something. Example: I told him thank you for all the things he did around the house recently & his reply was “it’s okay, baby. You do it all the time.” Then he told me that he needs to help me out more. I know, I know…you want my James now….go get your own.
  • He backs me up where the kids are concerned & if they forget their manners towards me, it’s a miracle if I can reprimand them before he does.
  • If I tell him I need a break, I get one no questions asked.
  • He shaves his scruffy, brillo-pad of a beard just for me even though he really likes it. Yeah, he lets it grow out for a really long time and rubs it all over me just to aggravate me, but eventually, he’ll shave it. Usually when he wants something, but you take what you can get, right?
  • He gives the best hugs ever.
  • I’m thankful that I have a husband who actually wants to spend time with me. If I work too long on pictures or anything else, he’s quick to tell me he wants me to stop & do something with him. Isn’t that usually the other way around?
  • He got dressed up & took me to military balls just because I wanted to go even though he hates wearing a suit. It gave me an excuse to get all pretty-fied, too 😀
  • I love his unique choice of words about things. It’s not exactly the most romantic thing in the world, but it has its own charm. This is how he asked me out the first time: “So…you wanna be my girl, or what?” Yeah…that really happened.
  • I love his fearlessness.
  • He rarely comes at me with an attitude about things. He’s always polite in the way he asks me to do things, making it a request or a question rather than a demand. Sometimes he does seem to have an attitude, but it’s how he expresses frustration with a situation; not with me. It took me a while to learn that one, but it was a good thing because my calling him out on it helped him learn how to talk to me in a more acceptable way & it helped me learn not to take everything with him so personal. (Something I’m still working on actually.)
  • I love that he never quits
  • I love when he brags to people about me. Who wouldn’t love that, right? Actually, I wish he did that more, lol. Yeah…you read that right, Sparky! I am awesome…go ahead & tell all your friends 😉

There are a ton of other things that I could list here, but it might be wise if I actually spent some time with the man I’ve spent 2 hours brag-blogging about this morning. It feels great to acknowledge one’s blessings…I’m about to go do just that in the form of (the best) hugs (ever) & lounging around on a very comfy couch with the person I was fortunate enough to somehow finagle into falling in love with & marrying me. Hopefully whatever juju magic I did won’t wear off anytime soon.

All that just to say this:

Dear James,

I love you. A lot. A whole lot. There are not enough words to tell you how much even though I just used an abundance of them. I’m wordy & you love me anyway. =) Thank you for all that you do & all that you endure to make my life the blessing it’s been. I hope that I can be even half as good to you as you’ve always been to me.

XOXO

P.S. You rock my mismatched socks 🙂

♫And It’s A GREAT Day To Be Alive… ♪

It’s been a while, yes? More than a week anyway so that may not constitute “a while” for the rest of you, but it is for me. I didn’t even make a July 4th post which is odd for me considering I’m an Army wife and way proud of our soliders.

So Happy *belated* 4th! I hope everyone enjoyed your long weekends to celebrate our freedom!!

Our weekend wasn’t filled with music, warm weather, face painting, American flags and celebratory fireworks like I hope everyone else’s was, but it was a celebration in its own kind of way. See, we’re supposed to be at home in Georgia right now, but instead, we’re still in Germany. Where does the celebration come in, then? Mostly, it stems from the fact that we’re even alive.

The day we left for the airport was June 28th (& my G-ma’s b-day R.I.P!). We picked up a friend who was going to drive our truck back from the airport for us so we wouldn’t have to pay for long-term parking and then we went on our way. I was sitting in the middle and hadn’t had much sleep the night before so I laid my head down on my knees and fell asleep. About two hours into our trip while driving on the autobahn, I was jolted awake (briefly) by the feel of the truck swerving heavily, but I don’t remember the vast majority of what I’m about to tell you after that part because I was knocked unconscious shortly thereafter. The story was put together for me by our friend, my husband and a tiny bit by the kids. It turns out a little orange Audi TT cut in front of us in the fast lane causing my husband, who was driving, to have to slam the brakes in order to avoid hitting him. He was about a foot or less away from slamming into the cars rear when he swerved to miss it. We were doing about 90mph so when he swerved, he lost control of the truck, we slid across 3 lanes of traffic – miraculously not hitting anyone – until we landed in the dirt and started flipping. The truck rolled over anywhere from 3-5 times, but I only felt the first one because that was the point at which I hit my head on either the dashboard or the steering wheel and passed out. Apparently, I was thrown over my husband and could have potentially gone out the drivers side window, but he grabbed me, turned his back to the open window and held on for dear life. We even made a nice little path through the trees before we finally stopped in one place with the truck landing on all four tires. And the Audi that started the whole thing? That asshole kept driving.

I can’t really see it that clearly, but this was a picture of where we slid through the trees, taken by the friend that was with us almost immediately after the accident. Supposedly you can see the shape of the truck back up in there somewhere, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t see it.

I find this whole experience to be ridiculously full of miracles. I’m listing them in chronological order – not order of importance because the most important thing is, of course, that we’re all alive.

First of all, going across 3 lanes of traffic on the autobahn, where there really is no enforced speed limit unless it’s raining (and it wasn’t) and not hitting any other oncoming traffic? I believe that counts as miracle number one.

2.)  No one else was hurt or caused to wreck.

3.) The back seat of the truck, where our children were buckled in, was untouched. The windows and doors…everything…was still in tact and aside from being shaken up & scared, the kids were fine. No broken bones, no serious injuries. Little James had a cut on his finger, Krysta has a scratch on her forehead & Kira has a few tiny cuts on her fingers and a black eye. That was it for them and to say I’m thankful is the understatement of the century. They were my very first thought when I felt us swerve and start to roll that first time and apparently they were my last thought for about 10 minutes or so because I got knocked out after that.

4.) The other passenger we had with us in the front was free of any serious injuries as well. He got a pretty nasty-lookin’ bruise from the seatbelt and whiplash, but other than that, just the normal bumps and bruises. He helped get our children out of the backseat and made sure they were okay. I’m incredibly thankful that he wasn’t hurt because my husband and I would have harbored a crazy amount of guilt if he had been, not to mention the unbearable pain it would have caused for his family. I’m grateful that he was such a help to us with our children as well and I’m also 100% positive that he will never get in a vehicle with us again…

See, my sense of humor lives on 🙂

5.) The whole drivers’ side of the truck was caved in where my husband and I were and yet we’re still here.

6.) The air bags did not deploy and (yes, I’m going to say it again) we’re still here. Also, my husband is dead set on a law-suit because of this. He said, “Dodge is gonna buy us a new house & two new vehicles! From Chevy!” <—Isn’t that like the ultimate middle finger to a car company? It’s like walking into a McDonald’s with a Burger King bag or meeting Britney Spears just so you can get her to sign your Christina Aguilera CD (which I totally want to do, by the way).

I know without a doubt in my mind that someone or something was watching over us that day because we wouldn’t be here otherwise.

My husband has 2 broken ribs and bruised lungs. I have 3 broken vertebrae’s, my lungs are bruised like the hubby’s, but I also have some blood built up in them and we both have to be very careful in following Dr.s orders so we don’t develop pneumonia. I have a pinched nerve somewhere that is causing my right arm to drive me insane, but hopefully that will loosen up soon. I’m tired of having my last 3 fingers feel like they’re asleep when my thumb and index finger feel fine – it’s so weird!! I hit my head repeatedly so my face is pretty beaten up and swollen, but all the injuries, bumps and bruises that we have are expected to heal completely. Can I just say THANK YOU, GOD over and over again? And a GIANT thank you to my husband, too, because if he hadn’t grabbed me and held on, my injuries would be so much worse right now. I ♥ you!

I don’t remember having the following picture taken because I was in shock at the time and I had so much head trauma that I literally couldn’t remember anything the first 10-15 minutes after I came back from the land of the unconscious. I couldn’t have even told you my own name at the time and I kept asking the same questions repeatedly. I bet that was annoying…

I did remember the kids though and I’m sure they got annoyed with me, too, because I kept asking them over and over again if they were okay.

Shortly after that, I did get it together though and started remembering everything. They took my husband and I to two separate hospitals and (after cutting my first ever Victoria Secret bra!! *sad face*) put us both in ICU. I didn’t get to talk to him until the next day. Meanwhile, our friend stayed with the kids in the hospital until they prepared a place for them in the children’s clinic. He came up when he was able to see me and took this picture because I was morbidly curious to see what I looked like at the time.

The kids were in the hospital for 3 days, but since they were fine, they were released before I was so some amazing & wonderful friends of ours graciously kept them while we were still in the hospital. James actually got released the same time the kiddos did, but he refused to leave me at the hospital and stayed with me while I was there another 2 days. I’m sure he was supremely uncomfortable, but he never left me and was so unbearably sweet the whole time. The German girl I was sharing the room with told me at one point “your husband is so beautiful to you.” And he really, really is. I won’t get into all the details because I don’t want to embarass him, but I will say that I am incredibly blessed to have married him and he has turned into such an amazing man, husband & father – even if he is a little rough around the edges ♥

When I was finally able to check facebook again (from my husband’s phone) I was so completely overwhelmed with all the prayers, well-wishes, we-love-and-miss-you’s & get-better-soon’s that I still don’t even have words to express how much it meant to me. It’s an amazing feeling to have so many people thinking about you and wishing you well – it’s fantastic to be loved! 🙂 And I genuinely do appreciate every single one of you! When we got back home, we had friends offer to cook for us, help us get our recycling taken off, offers to take us to doctor’s appointments or wherever else we need go in the next few days, help with chores and the kids…seriously – thank you all so, so much. I feel like I would be taking advantage to accept everyone’s offers to help, but just knowing that so many people care enough to even make the suggestion makes me want to cry.

I will admit that there was one thing that annoyed me and it has nothing to do with those whose offers of help and friendship were genuine. Over the course of 3 days, I got 10 friend requests on facebook from people who have never shown any interest in talking with me or being my friend EVER, but right after the accident, my facebook was flooded with requests from people who pretty much just wanted to be a part of the gossip. It’s safe to assume I denied ALL of those and it irks me so much that some people are so nosy & ill-mannered that they feel the need to try and make their lives more interesting by gossiping about events from someone else’s life. Also there were rumors flying around at first that we were in a plane crash, our injuries were depicted inaccurately and some people were even saying that the only reason my husband and I were flying home is to get a divorce! So, I guess there were 2 big annoyances if you want to count the rumor mill, but that will always be in effect everywhere you go. Maybe I should have added the gossipers so they could at least keep their damn story straight?!

Ok- tiny bi-polar rant over 🙂 I’ll go back to being thankful and happy now.

Here is a picture of me the day after the accident when I got moved out of the ICU and was finally able to shower. BTW – you would not believe the amount of dirt and glass particles I found in my ears and everywhere else – scary!

I thought I should smile because I looked really scary otherwise…

I took another photo the day we came home because there was a lot of talk on facebook about seeing what I looked like and people who had pictures were not posting them out of respect (thank you!!) so I figured “what the hell?” and posted my own pictures. I didn’t smile in this one because I wanted to be able to see the blood in the corners of my eyes (because that is so bad ass! :P), but I’m thinking I really should have because I totally look like a zombie.

On the other hand, the hot pink color on my eye-lids was kinda pretty (before it started turning all yucky like the above picture) so I may be investing in some eyeshadow soon.

And this is me today:

Heehee…who says I shouldn’t be having a little fun right now? I know what my makeup will look like on Halloween 2011!!

Also, I did some with effects because my husband is gone cleaning all the stuff out of the truck (and trying to find his and Krysta’s glasses that are hopefully still in there and not broken) and I’m really very bored right now.

Alright, enough of that. I’m not taking pictures of all the other bruises I have because I can’t see most of them except in the mirror right now and also because that would just be creeptacular…although, if I could reach the one behind my ear to take a picture of it, I totally would because it’s such an odd place to have a bruise that I’m fascinated with it.

Here are some photos that hubby brought back with him of the truck:

 

Can you believe the air bags didn’t deploy after all that?

There are a ton more, but this is all I feel like sharing. Should I reiterate the whole “Thank God” thing again?? No? You got it? Okay…good 🙂

I’m so tired of talking about this so I hope this helps clear up the curiosity for the rest of you 🙂 I am going to take a Tylenol 3 and attempt to pass out somewhere.

xoxo