Dearest Mom

Dear Mom,

Six months ago, our lives looked completely different. We both could not have imagined the changes which were about to pervade our lives.

I must share with you the abundance of feelings that overwhelm me today, this Mother’s Day 2013.

First, you have sacrificed so very much for me. No longer have you had the opportunity to have your own time; it’s been enveloped with Tatum and me. That has to be hard, although joyful, it’s hard after you have been so independent for so many years. I recognize that beauty of all that you have done.

You have opened your house up and overhauled it in record time. You did not need to do this, and I know you say you would have, but deep down, I know how difficult it has to have been for you; not only physically, but emotionally. Years and years of items you have accumulated which were very meaningful, you have had to rifle through and make decisions about. And for what? Me. You cannot fathom the depth of my appreciation.

Next, you have had to put up with my stress with a new baby, moving out of a comfort zone, and a difficult injury. My moods are not always so pleasant, and yet you have been there through it all. Again, your sacrifice and your selflessness overwhelm me and make me so grateful.

I can only pray that I can be as lovely as you have been to me all of my life. Not one moment goes by where I doubt how much you love me with all of your heart. I want Tatum to know that kind of love. I’m so very blessed to have you. And now, I get to raise my daughter with you. There is no greater gift that I can imagine.

May you never forget, and may I always remind you how much I love you.

Thank you for being my mom.


Your daughter and your granddaughter

Steph and Tatum



Happy Reflective Mother’s Day

Reflection on being a mother; 6 months of lessons

Advice…it is everywhere. This is the first lesson I have learned in becoming a new mom. It reminds me about being in the gym in the weight room while meathead boys try to show me the correct form on doing a deadlift or a squat. “Thank you for your help” I would say. I’d take it or leave it. Obviously, opinions on motherhood is on a much grander scale, and I listened to every bit of it only to find out, it did not matter. Reams of books are written on motherhood, and everywhere one turns, there’s a wise woman sharing what not to do or what must be done or one will damage her child. It’s enough to make one run for the hills before bringing home her precious package.

When news got out that I was going to have a daughter, the advice started to roll in. “Run the vacuum when she sleeps;” “Make sure she sleeps with a humidifier;” “Try to rub a little Vicks on her chest.” “Don’t use a baby carrier or you’ll destroy her neck muscles; You have to try this stroller”; “Put her on her stomach; Don’t put her on her stomach”; Have her sleep in your room”; “Give her own room”….SHEESH!
I realized that for every piece of advice, there was 50 other pieces of advice saying something completely different.

One thing I can say: Until one is looking at THAT situation mano y mano, no decision can be made. Trial and error must trump all of the advice.

What have I learned?

  1. I can go three months without a lick of makeup or a curling iron to my hair, and it’s ok!

Sure, I take pride in how I look, and I always try to at least put some under-eye concealer on to hide my dark circles. Sometimes, however, it just doesn’t matter. Really, becoming a mom one become a bit invisible. “Selfies” are now replaced with constant pictures of my little one. Literally, hundreds and hundreds of shots. What did they do before the iPhone? It didn’t matter that I had one black and one blue sock on, or that my hair was hoisted at the top of my head. My child was more important than me and my world was about her, no longer about me. As much as I would like to deny it, before I had Tatum, my needs really came first. Sure, I would stop everything to help a friend or a family member, but deep down, my world was still mine. No longer was this the case; it was truly a new feeling to have her be my first love; a total change in perspective. Hearing her cry in the middle of the night resurrects me out of a deep sleep and her needs rise above my need for slumber

2. Not every minute do I need to be accomplishing something.

I struggle with unproductive time; not free time, but time that is not leading toward some goal. Now, my days are filled with, well, time with my daughter. This may look like me making funny faces for ten minutes followed by lying on her mat and sitting watching her play. Then, of course diaper changes and feedings every couple hours. If someone were to ask me what I accomplished today, I’d say, Nothing. But, in the scheme of things, I accomplished more than I ever had in the past. Time with Tatum.

3. Gray is a color.

And now it’s not only painted on my walls, Revere Pewter to be exact, but it’s a prominent color in my life. Things no longer are black or white. She cries. What is it? Nothing is working. I have no answer, so trial and error begins. Do I pick her up or let her cry. OH, the field of gray just gets bigger. Being a person who needs to fix things and needs to have a pat answer, I have learned that there has to be peace in the unknown.

4. I know what real tired feels like.

I used to complain about always being tired. I yearn for that day when I felt like that; that was not tired. That was sleepy. Being tired is now a way of life; it’s normal. I have learned to be able to function on very little sleep. Recently, a friend of mine said he was so tired because he got too much sleep the previous evening. What does that mean? That’s not even in my vocabulary. Too much sleep. Hmmmm.

5. Love is complete sacrifice; I’m closer to understanding Jesus.

When one becomes a follower of Christ, one tries very hard to understand the sacrifice he made for us. For me. It’s a foreign concept; the thought of loving someone so much one would die for him or her. Love is not just a feeling one has inside; it’s truly so much more. Until one is a mother, I don’t think one can understand that idea; complete and total love; so much that one would give up everything and give them anything. Before, it was an idea I tried to comprehend. Now, I get it. My Father God loves me this much too! Being able to understand the breadth, depth, height, and width of His love has not been possible until the moment I got to have Tatum.

Motherhood is so much more than taking care of a little child. It’s a complete change of character, and a journey I continue to learn and understand (OR NOT) daily.IMG_2372


Today, Tatum was dedicated at church. The whole church and Pastor Terry, prayed over her and blessed her. May her journey be filled with knowing HOW MUCH SHE IS LOVED AND CHERISHED. May I have wisdom in her rearing.




The 12 Week Wonder

A turnaround this week. I entered PT with much chagrin on Monday, right after my 11 week appointment. Would I ever have less tightness and a smaller ankle? All of my compadres on the blog say, “Be patient; it will get better.” Yet, I thought I was stuck in neutral. Finally, we started to do some lateral walking and ladder walking on the floor. Also, he had me balance on a whatchamacallit platform thingy.  I had great balance and walked without a limp. Today…it is actually smaller, and I say: PATIENCE PAYS.

Photo on 5-4-13 at 1.24 PM #3 Photo on 5-4-13 at 1.24 PM #2

A Week of…


First, my mom got some kind of stomach bug. She felt like she was going to throw up all day, and then was also very week. All week long, I felt like a bus hit my body, yet kept up with everything on my plate..and then some.

Friday, it bit me too, and I wanted to sleep for days. I even had to leave the Sports Banquet early. Trying some toast right now as I stare at Tatum on her little play mat. These are the times I wish I had another set of hands, but on the other hand, I want to spend ALL of my time with her when she is not in school.

Photo on 5-2-13 at 7.08 PM #2

I can’t waste any time, and I know being sick is just a darn waste. Sometimes, I wish I could just suck my fingers and make it all go away!


Ten Daily Reminders

Adapted from Matt Reagan

Out of sight; out of mind. The person who came up with this truism, understands the power of faith. What can be the challenging part is how to continue in faith when the feelings subside. Reminders can prompt our faith and can be the engine in our step when we just can’t feel our way out of a desperation. Somewhere between the time I put my head down on the pillow and the time my eyes become half moons, Ihave forgotten some realities which can easily be taken for granted in my daily life.

God told Joshua to erect 12 stones as reminders to what He has done. God gave us rainbows to remind us that He shall never flood the earth again; a promise. We need tangible items to keep us walking straight and believing in the unseen. So, I hang these up as to remember.

I have “borrowed” these ten from Mr. Reagan, but I have added commentary under each one as an application for myself.

1)    God exists. (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58)

It may not feel like it sometimes. I tend to focus on my list for the day; my tasks. The last thing I ponder is the ultimate existence of an infinite, loving, in-control God. But He is the one who is completely in charge. I submit to His will for the day and for my list.

2) God loves you. (Romans 5:8; John 16:27; Jeremiah 32:40–41)

Seriously? Me? When I know I’m loved and adored by my Creator, this changes how I talk to myself and how I treat others. I don’t’ need to perform perfectly and I don’t need to be accepted by everyone. He loves me, and sometimes that has to be IT.

3) Jesus died for you, and the Father has now bound himself to give you only good things. (Romans 8:28; Romans 8:32)

Jesus died on a cross. This is the truth. But, how he died and why he died is what is important. He died to pay for all of our sins….mine too. He died to give me another helper, The Holy Spirit. He died and suffered so I won’t have to. He died so I can have acceptance from God NOT through my efforts. Furthermore, the cross signifies that even the most difficult of trials will come to me as blessing, for my ultimate good, no matter how I feel.

4) God sees you as perfect. (Hebrews 10:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

But I’m not. I’m filled with anxiety, sometimes pity, and egocentricity. Nothing I do will change how God sees me. Jesus gave His life so His righteousness (and perfection) could be imputed to me (or put into my bank account)  again, regardless as to how I feel. I’m a work in progress and God loves me with my bumps and bruises.

5) That is because of Jesus’s perfection, not yours. You deserve hell. (Romans 3:10; 1 Timothy 1:15)  Key: I’m not perfect so my flesh cannot take claim for some of the things I do well. It’s on loan from God (as Rush would say.)  Next, I must have gratitude and live that way. I deserve what I deserve. Without Jesus sacrifice, I’d be condemned. nothing I can do will change that. Thank you, Father for saving me.

6) You will die. (James 4:14, Hebrews 9:27) So I cannot fear death. It is inevitable. Make each day count, because one cannot know when his/her day is the last.

7) You will live forever in the new heavens and new earth. (Romans 8:18, Hebrews 10:34) But, I don’t fear death because of the promise of the life to come. Live like it’s real because Heaven is.

8) For now, you are an exile on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13–16) I know I’m different. I know not all will accept me. My convictions for my faith make me different. However, my identity is in me being a daughter of the King..not as a citizen of this earth. I will never feel like I fit in, and that is OK.

9) Nothing on earth is truly worth putting your hope in. (Jeremiah 2:13; Galatians 6:14) Which is why I don’t put my hope in the earthly things because they will disappoint always.

10) You have no right to be unhappy. (Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:8–9) Sure, I can be sad for whatever reason, but I must focus on what is lovely, good, positive. My attitude is just that. It’s not a truth.

Reading these everyday will keep me grounded. I will be down and sad at times, but if I focus on these truths, nothing will keep me down.

Pretzel Baby

She has discovered her feet. Now, if she is putting everything that hits her hands into her mouth, then one can conclude that her feet are going….Yep….into her mouth.


My little contortionist has a future as a human pretzel.



A friend of mine sent this to me: (not sure of the source!)


1. Paint her nails. Then let her scratch it off and dirty them up. Teach her to care about her appearance, and then quickly remind her that living and having fun is most important.

2. Let her put on your makeup, even if it means bright-red-smudged lips and streaked-blue eyes. Let her experiment in her attempts to be like you…then let her be herself.

3. Let her be wild. She may want to stay home and read books on the couch, or she may want to hop on the back of a motorcycle-gasp. She may be a homebody or a traveler. She may fall in love with the wrong boy, or meet mr. right at age 5. Try to remember that you were her age once. Everyone makes mistakes, let her make her own.

4. Be present. Be there for her at her Kindergarten performances, her dance recitals, her soccer games…her everyday-little-moments. When she looks through the crowds of people, she will be looking for your smile and pride. Show it to her as often as possible.

5. Encourage her to try on your shoes and play dress-up. If she would rather wear her brother’s superman cape with high heals, allow it. If she wants to wear a tutu or dinosaur costume to the grocery store, why stop her? She needs to decide who she is and be confident in her decision.

6. Teach her to be independent. Show her by example that woman can be strong. Find and follow your own passions. Search for outlets of expression and enjoyment for yourself- not just your husband or children. Define yourself by your own attributes, not by what others expect you to be. Know who you are as a person, and help your daughter find out who she is.

7. Pick flowers with her. Put them in her hair. There is nothing more beautiful than a girl and a flower.

8. Let her get messy. Get messy with her, no matter how much it makes you cringe inside. Splash in the puddles, throw snowballs, make mud pies, finger paint the walls: just let it happen. The most wonderful of memories are often the messy ones.

9. Give her good role models- you being one of them. Introduce her to successful woman- friends, co-workers, doctors, astronauts, or authors. Read to her about influential woman- Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie. Read her the words of inspirational woman- Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson. She should know that anything is possible.

10. Show her affection. Daughters will mimic the compassion of their mother. “I love yous” and Eskimo kisses go a long way.

11. Hold her hand. Whether she is 3 years-old in the parking lot or sixteen years old in the mall, hold on to her always- this will teach her to be confident in herself and proud of her family.

12. Believe in her. It is the moments that she does not believe in herself that she will need you to believe enough for both of you. Whether it is a spelling test in the first grade, a big game or recital, a first date, or the first day of college…remind her of the independent and capable woman you have taught her to be.

13. Tell her how beautiful she is. Whether it is her first day of Kindergarten, immediately after a soccer game where she is grass-stained and sweaty, or her wedding day. She needs your reminders. She needs your pride. She needs your reassurance. She is only human.

14. Love her father. Teach her to love a good man, like him. One who lets her be herself…she is after all wonderful.

15. Make forts with boxes and blankets. Help her to find magic in the ordinary, to imagine, to create and to believe in fairy tales. Someday she will make her 5 by 5 dorm-room her home with magic touches and inspiration. And she will fall in love with a boy and believe him to be Prince Charming.

16. Read to her. Read her Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle. But also remember the power of Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost. Show her the beauty of words on a page and let her see you enjoy them. Words can be simply written and simply spoken, yet can harvest so much meaning. Help her to find their meaning.

17. Teach her how to love- with passion and kisses. Love her passionately. Love her father passionately and her siblings passionately. Express your love. Show her how to love with no restraint. Let her get her heart broken and try again. Let her cry, and gush, giggle and scream. She will love like you love or hate like you hate. So, choose love for both you and her.

18. Encourage her to dance and sing. Dance and sing with her- even if it sounds or looks horrible. Let her wiggle to nursery rhymes. Let her dance on her daddy’s feet and spin in your arms. Then later, let her blast noise and headbang in her bedroom with her door shut if she wants. Or karaoke to Tom Petty in the living room if she would rather. Introduce her to the classics- like The Beatles- and listen to her latest favorite- like Taylor Swift. Share the magic of music together, it will bring you closer- or at least create a soundtrack to your life together.

19. Share secrets together. Communicate. Talk. Talk about anything. Let her tell you about boys, friends, school. Listen. Ask questions. Share dreams, hopes, concerns. She is not only your daughter, you are not only her mother. Be her friend too.

20. Teach her manners. Because sometimes you have to be her mother, not just her friend. The world is a happier place when made up of polite words and smiles.

21. Teach her when to stand-up and when to walk away. Whether she has classmates who tease her because of her glasses, or a boyfriend who tells her she is too fat – let her know she does not have to listen. Make sure she knows how to demand respect – she is worthy of it. It does not mean she has to fight back with fists or words, because sometimes you say more with silence. Also make sure she knows which battles are worth fighting. Remind her that some people can be mean and nasty because of jealousy, or other personal reasons. Help her to understand when to shut her mouth and walk-away. Teach her to be the better person.

22. Let her choose who she loves. Even when you see through the charming boy she thinks he is, let her love him without your disapproving words; she will anyway. When he breaks her heart, be there for her with words of support rather than I told-you-so. Let her mess up again and again until she finds the one. And when she finds the one, tell her.

23. Mother her. Being a mother – to her – is undoubtedly one of your greatest accomplishments. Share with her the joys of motherhood, so one day she will want to be a mother too. Remind her over and over again with words and kisses that no one will ever love her like you love her. No one can replace or replicate a mother’s love for their children.

24. Comfort her. Because sometimes you just need your mommy. When she is sick, rub her back, make her soup and cover her in blankets – no matter how old she is. Someday, if she is giving birth to her own child, push her hair out of her face, encourage her, and tell her how beautiful she is. These are the moments she will remember you for. And someday when her husband rubs her back in attempt to comfort her…she may just whisper, “I need my mommy.”

25. Be home. When she is sick with a cold or broken heart, she will come to you; welcome her. When she is engaged or pregnant, she will run to you to share her news; embrace her. When she is lost or confused, she will search for you; find her. When she needs advice on boys, schools, friends or an outfit; tell her. She is your daughter and will always need a safe harbor – where she can turn a key to see comforting eyes and a familiar smile; be home.