I didn’t get the job.

I just found out that I didn’t get a new job that I applied for. I had three interviews for this position and have been waiting patiently for the news. This job would take me out of the public schools. It is a brand new position to this organization and I would have been able to work from home. The crazy thing is – I already knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to get the position. I told my husband a week ago that I didn’t think they were going to offer it to me. He told me I was being negative, but I just felt God speak to me and tell me that I am right where I am supposed to be.

I prayed a lot about it. I prayed for God to open the door if it was meant to be and to close the door if it wasn’t the best thing for me and my family.  I didn’t want to have to make the choice to stay or go. So, not getting the job wasn’t a bad thing. It was just God answering my prayers and his answer was – to stay put. I can conjure up some excuse as to why I didn’t get the job or I can thank God for coming through, as always. At least I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be. What is his plan for me now? That is the question.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Tour Guide

We live in a small southern town in central North Carolina. When it snowed here (twice in a matter of two weeks – which is just unheard of!) the pictures that were captured were just beautiful. Weekly Photo Challenge

Link to photo credits To the slideshow pictures.

The snow pictures are of my little family!

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Friends

Friends are really important. Especially when you are a mom and you need someone to talk to about your crazy children and you need advice or just someone to listen about things going on in your family and marriage. I moved to NC in 2005. I left behind a pretty large group of supportive friends who I have known since I was 14. When I moved It was only supposed to be for one year. I joined the AmeriCorps after college and served the Corporation for National & Community Service as a VISTA (Volunteer In Service to America). I had all intentions of moving back to Michigan, but I fell in love and the rest is history. I wouldn’t change my story for anything. I am happily married and have two amazing children. But, I miss my friends. I have lived here for 13 years and I still feel lonely in the friend department.

I have met some great friends here, but I miss the connection that I had with the girls that I was friends with back home. The girls back home I grew up with. We shared so much together and they knew everything about me. I’m not saying that the friends I do have here in NC aren’t great, because they are, but it is different. I feel like God uses me here to help my friends in NC. I feel that I am there to listen and support them. I feel like I can act as “their person” with absolutely no problem at all.  I don’t know why, but I don’t share my feelings or life with them. I don’t open up about myself or my struggles like I do to the girls back home. I can’t blame my girls here for not “being there” for me, because I never ask them to. But for some reason, I just don’t break the surface with most of my friends here and I think that is why I miss the girls in Michigan so much. I’m blessed with a great husband and children, but sometimes you just need girlfriends to share life with.

So, sometimes I throw a pity party for myself. Social Media can make me go into a funk pretty easily. On Facebook I see them all together. Celebrating each other and the important days in their lives – birthdays and holidays and sharing births, baptisms, birthday’s of their children. But also the every day things. Their parties, nights out on the town and it is especially hard for me when I see all the girls together for a girls weekend. It makes me sad that they don’t know my husband or children very well and that I don’t know theirs, either.

I just keep plugging away at life. I try to talk myself through what is bothering me and I call and text my best friend when I really need a pep talk. But, a cell phone cannot take the place of a best friend. My husband is helpful, but he is a man…and doesn’t always understand the girl things that girlfriends get so easily. Maybe I need to work at the friendships I have here. Maybe I need to stop comparing everyone with the girls I left back home. I don’t know what I need to do but today I felt sad and missed them a whole lot.

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Adulting Can Be Expensive

We have lived in our house for almost five years and we purchased all new appliances when we moved in. You would think that appliances would last more than FIVE YEARS, but my washing machine is pooping out on me.  We bought from HH Gregg before they went out of business and we purchased a warranty that covered all of the appliances. I didn’t want to spend the extra $500 at the time, but the warranty has proven to be beneficial. Our washing machine is a top loader without an agitator. I didn’t like my old front loader so we thought we would give the top loader a shot. Bad idea! This washer has been nothing but trouble since day 1! I’ve had the warranty folks out at least 3 times and this last time I called they gave up! LOL They are sending us a check for $300 (not even half of the cost of the darn machine!) to replace our machine altogether. So, we went shopping for a new machine last night. I knew that I wanted to go back to an “old school” washing machine. You know, the ones with an agitator! The thing I hated about the top loader is I didn’t feel like it cleaned the clothes well at all! They just got spun around and stuck to the sides of the machine. How can that possibly be cleaning my clothes? I told Brent that I really wanted to go back to the agitator. We talked to some really nice employees from Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowes Hardware and all three of the men recommended the Maytag top loader with agitator!! You know you are old when you are excited about a new washing machine! We are gonna buy this one shown below! It has a glass top and it will “deep fill” with water so ALL of my clothes will be soaked when washing!! I gotta say I’m excited to try it out! I’ll let ya’ll know how it works!

Are you on the bandwagon??

If you haven’t started watching This Is Us like the rest of the world, I insist that you sit at home on a rainy (scratch that – the first free day you have!) Saturday or Sunday, go to on demand on your TV and watch. You will be captivated. You will cry. You will laugh. You will relate to Jack and Rebecca. This show is written so well and you never know what is going to happen next. The struggles of pregnancy, parenthood, family, addiction, death – it’s all there and it’s breathtaking. Get your tissues, you’ll need them!

Valentine’s Day Deals – Save $30 on Fire HD 10 – was $149.99 – now $119.99. Limited-time offer

 

5 Reasons why you should RSVP to an event you received and invitation to.

I’m hosting a baby shower tomorrow and people have still not RSVP’d. I think it’s so rude. When I receive and invite to party I RSVP right away. Here is why…

1. The hostess needs to know how much food to buy! When you don’t RSVP, the hostess will overbuy and food and money will go to waste.

2. If the event is at a home, the hostess needs to know how to set up their home. Tables, chairs, tablecloths, everything is determined on the number of people that are expected to attend….thus RSVP.

3. Plates, napkins, silverware – all of these items are purchased for parties (unless you use real cutlery….but who wants to wash them!). Again…more wasted money if people do not RSVP and don’t attend then the items are not used.

4. Party favors – these are purchased for every guest.  If you don’t attend and don’t RSVP, then again, the hostess overspent = wasted money.

5. It’s just plain rude. Always RSVP to a party that you receive and invitation to. If you are not sure if you can make it, just tell the hostess that. Or, say no and miss out on the party. It’s so rude to leave the hostess hanging.

Swarm

March 6th Swarm

Suicide Prevention

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It was April 2016. I got a call from my dad. “Hurry home. Dino killed himself – he hung himself in the basement”. We were at my son’s first baseball game of the season. He had just got a home run! It was a beautiful April Saturday. Sunny, warm. It was supposed to be a fun day. It wasn’t.

Mom and I ran to the car. I yelled to my husband who was on the ball field. “I have to go. Dino killed himself”. I got to my mom’s car and I really don’t remember even driving to their house. I had to have been driving 100 mph.

“Please don’t tell me he did it. Mom I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for him to kill himself. He’s got to be OK. Maybe dad saved him”. I was saying all of this on to my mom during the 10 minute drive to her house. We were both so scared.

When we got there, there was a swarm of emergency vehicles. The sheriff’s department. The ambulance. The fire truck. More officials came in. Asked questions. Made my dad explain what happened over and over.

I was sick. I thought I was going to physically get sick. I was crying harder than I’ve ever cried. I was shaking and didn’t know how to feel. Dad didn’t save him. It was too late.

My Uncle Dino moved to NC in December 2015. He moved here because he was suicidal at home. He had a successful hair salon for years, but lost it all because of drugs. He lost everything. Friends. Family. His business. His home. His car. Everything. Gone. So at 50 some years old he moved 12 hours away to live with my parents, his brother and sister-in-law. A brother and sister in law that he hadn’t seen in over 10 years and didn’t speak to for about 8 or 9 of those years.  Needless to say, I wasn’t really happy about it. I have two kids that were at my parents house every day. What if he was still on drugs? What would they be exposed to? The deal was he could come but no drugs and no alcohol or he would have to leave.

So he came and he looked terrible. After a few months he seemed to be doing better. But one night I took my mom and kids to Chic Fila for supper. He was acting strange. He seemed high. Out of it. Trying to take my kids food. Acting like he was going to steal things like the salt and pepper shakers or something like that…I can’t remember exactly what it was. He was just off. My mom saw it too. So I told my mom that I was going to talk to him and give him an ultimatum. He went to a clinic and got help, or he was out of here.

The next day I went to the house and asked to speak to him alone. I told him that I thought he was on something the night before and I wanted him to tell me the truth. He denied it and said he was just taking caffeine pills because he was out of his adarol and didn’t have a prescription for more. I told him I didn’t believe him. I told him that I was taking off work the next day and I was taking him to a mental health facility for treatment by a psychiatrist. He didn’t disagree. I took him. I sat in the office for two hours waiting for him to finish. He was told about other resources available to him as well – food stamps, etc. It was a good thing for him.

The next couple weeks passed. Uncle Dino would cut my hair and moms hair and I would pay him 20 to 25 bucks so he had some cash. He started talking to different places around town about his ability to do hair. He worked as a volunteer at a salon and got to know some people.  And then he abruptly left the salon he was working with. I never found out what really happened. In the mean time he started doing all of the wigs for a local theater. It started out as a volunteer thing but then they started paying him to do it for each play. This started in October of 2015. That’s when I saw the biggest change. He started avoiding me. He never stayed around me for long. He was gone a lot. Started borrowing money from my mom and dad. They paid his cellphone bill, gave him a car to drive. The bills all increased – water, electricity, etc. He never helped my mom around the house. No yard work. Didn’t even take the garbage out. All he ever did was run to the store for groceries once in a while. He was doing hair for folks around town and charging them a lot. About 100 bucks for a cut and color and they were buying their own color most of the time. The money never went to pay back my mom and dad. It was always coming…the money was coming with the next check he earned…the next time…the next time. The next time would never happen. Mom started a tally and he owed them well over $1000 dollars. Mom and dad live on a tight budget. Dad’s a retired veteran living on disability and my mom never worked. They are strapped for money. My mom would vent to me about him. She would even cry sometimes about how he doesn’t help at all. I think she felt like his mom and she had a lot of pressure on her to take care of him. I told her and my dad that I wanted to confront him. They said to just let it go.

I started getting angry. I would come over to help my mom in the yard or do work around the house and he would just sit there. Nothing. No help at all. I would buy dinner, take us all out to eat and he never paid. He never even offered. At first I didn’t mind. But it got old. So he would cut my hair and I only paid him about 20 bucks. Then one day I asked him to color my hair to cover my old highlights. He said sure. I paid for the color and all the supplies. He dyed my hair. I knew something look weird with the color. It seems dark. It had a blue tint. No…it’s not blue. I went home. Rinsed it again. BLUE. Really?? Blue? I woke up the next morning and my pillow cover was blue. I texted him and he said he had no idea what I was talking about. He played it off and said he thought I was crazy. Then he read the box of color and it said  Dark BLUE. Yes. He dyed my hair blue. I wish I had the picture still. At the time I thought it was an accident, but now I think he did it on purpose.

So I quit having him cut or color my hair. Months went by. He avoided me. He still didn’t help. Weird things happened….like the one night when two people rang the doorbell at 3 in the morning. He went out and talked to them and told my parents that it was a girl who needed to use the phone. Of course they didn’t let her in. Weird. They just shrugged it off. I thought it was odd.

I started to be honest with my parents about how I felt about him. He was drinking a lot. He even tried to steal alcohol from my house during the holidays. Just ask. Don’t take from me. I didn’t trust him. We caught him downing our vodka at Christmas. Literally just tipping up the bottle. He just laughed.  He started skipping holidays and he was definitely avoiding me.

I knew it was drugs. My parents were oblivious. He lived in their basement and they couldn’t see what he was doing. Some weeks he wouldn’t even show his face upstairs. A few more months passed and I couldn’t get in to see my hairstylist. I texted him and asked him to trim my hair again. (I Know! Why would I do that after he dyed my hair blue a few months before!) I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, he was my uncle. He texted me back with an attitude. He told me I would have to pay him like 75 bucks if I wanted him to cut my hair. I was furious. He is my fricken uncle and I have helped him for months now. Why would he charge me so much just for a hair cut?

That’s when I fired back. “I am not paying you that much money. I buy my own products and dry my own hair. All you do is cut it. I know what you are doing and I’m on to you. Get a job and quit mooching off my parents.” Silence. No response.

I called my mom and told her what I said. He had already been upstairs trying to get my mom and dad to take his side. He was a liar and a master manipulator. He was trying to get them to turn on me. They told him that I was their daughter and they would not take his side and that I was just looking after them. The next couple of days they said he was up and down with his emotions. A few mornings later he came upstairs and had scrapes all up and down his face. My mom thought he was drunk. It was 8am. He said he couldn’t sleep so he took 4 benadryl pills and fell down in the basement. She asked him if he was drunk and he said no. She believed him. He went to work and she didn’t see him again that day.

The next day was Saturday morning. Mom got up and got ready for my son’s baseball game. She said he was in a good mood and was getting ready to go to the theater to work on wigs. Mom left to go to the game. He and dad were talking. He asked dad to borrow 100 dollars. He needed gas and cigarettes.  Dad told him he didn’t have the money to give him. Dino then went downstairs. Dad thought he was getting ready for work. Dad felt bad so he called downstairs for Dino. He was going to give him 20 bucks for gas and ciggs. Dino didn’t answer. After calling him a few times and getting no response, dad went downstairs. Dad has emphysema. He can barely walk. He can’t walk down the stairs so he has one of those chairs that takes him down. It took him a few minutes but he went down and didn’t see him in the sitting area. So he went to the back of the basement and there he was. He hung himself. Dad was too late.

Dad went back upstairs to get his phone. Called 911, back downstairs, mouth to mouth, a trip upstairs for something to cut the cord…he was too late. The swarm of emergency vehicles…we showed up. Too late.

I felt so much guilt. I felt like I did this. I was so sick to my stomach for weeks. I couldn’t sleep. I was scared to be alone – I couldn’t be alone in my house. I couldn’t walk outside in the dark. I was terrified. For months. Dino used to tell me that he would come back and haunt all of the people that he didn’t like. He was the closest thing to evil I have ever experienced.

My brothers came in from out-of-town. The first thing they did was search the basement. They found a lot. They knew they were going to. My parents were shocked. They couldn’t believe that the missed what was right under their nose. Heroine needles. Spoons. A filthy basement. It was disgusting. We threw everything away. All he owned was put into a trailer attached to a truck and thrown away. So sad to think that all someone owned ended up in the trash.

A month passed. The theater held a little memorial. Mom and I went. We cried and people told stories of their memories of Dino. He was a funny man. They told numerous stories of partying together and all the times he cut their hair. It was nice and I felt some closure. I left earlier than my mom did. My mom stayed and drank some wine and visited with the folks from the theater. They all started talking about it. What he did. How he hung himself. How they knew it was suicide or overdose. Mom told them about how she thinks he tried to do it a few days before, but was unsuccessful. The morning he woke with scrapes on his face and all drugged up…did he try that night? The women at the theater looked at mom. They said “You mean Alison didn’t do that to him?” HE TOLD THEM I HURT HIM. THAT WE GOT INTO A FIGHT AND I HURT HIM. They thought the scrapes on his face were from me. Mom obviously told them no. I didn’t hurt him. It all started over again. The fear. The pit in my stomach. He was sick. He was mean. He was evil.

He was so sick. More sick than any of us ever knew. It’s been almost a year and I still have a hard time. It took me a long time to really believe that I didn’t do this. He chose this. He had a plan and he followed through. My text did not make him kill himself. There are so many more stories about him and the terrible things he chose to do to our family. Not just my mom and dad and me, but my extended family up north too. None of that matters now. He made his choice to end his life.

It’s been a hard year. I have grown in my relationship with God. God is who I turned to. The only way I got through all of this was prayer. I read the bible every day. Devotion after devotion. Christian music. I surrounded myself with prayer warriors. God is the only way I made it through. Dino was so sick. It’s sad. The whole thing doesn’t consume me everyday like it used to. I forgave him.

John 10:10  “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Tired

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Some days I just want to crawl into a hole. Maybe a hole in Cancun Mexico where I can lay on the beach, book in hand. Sand in my toes and sun on my face.

I’m so tired. My kids don’t listen. We talk about the same things every day…all day. It’s exhausting. I try. I try kindness. I try being stern. I try spankings. I try rewards. I try praying. I’ve. Tried. Everything. So many days I feel depleted. Depleted of every ounce of of my soul. I feel angry. I feel sad. I feel overwhelmed. I feel lost. I feel nothing. I feel everything. I feel like a failure. 

Before we left for church today the kids broke my (new) vacuum and spilled hot wax from a scentsy plug-in all over my new bathroom counter. I yelled. And said things I probably shouldn’t have. You can’t take back words. I know that. So, I yelled and off we went to church. But not before my husband said “what’s the point of going to church when you just yelled and screamed like that?” Yes I yelled, I do that a lot, but we were going to church. I needed it. I needed it to heal my soul. My soul needs church every weekend. My soul needs to feel recharged and renewed. My husband doesn’t always go to church with us. He doesn’t have the same desire to grow in his relationship with God. He goes to church sometimes, but only to make me happy or so my kids can see he goes too. If he can golf or ride his motorcycle instead, he doesn’t go. I can’t change that.

So off to church we go. I lectured the kids all the way there. I dropped the kids off at child care and went in. I sat down. Empty. Tired. In a bad mood. When I got to church today I felt like a failure. I fail everyday. I feel like I try and try to make life changes, but I continue to fail. I think – is God annoyed by me? Does He think “Gosh lady, get it together already”. That’s how I feel. How can he keep forgiving me? I pray for peace and and joy and calmness, but I’m just a ball of anxiety and anger and I never know what is going to send me into a tizzy. The clothes piled up? The dog hair? The dirty floors or toys all over the place? The groceries that I never made it to the store to buy? Bills that need to be paid? Money for the book Fair (again!) I forgot snack day? The kids not listening? A smart remark from my husband? Nothing that matters really. Stupid things. I can’t seem to change myself. I try every day to be better than the day before. To be calm and peaceful. Some days are better than others. I just wish things didn’t bother me. A clean house is not important. My kids don’t have to be perfect listeners. Why do I let little things bother me? I guess I feel like I’m not in control when I can’t get things to go exactly how I think they should go.

Sometimes I wonder why I feel so broken. I have a great life and great kids and a great husband. My heart feels empty some days. I know that I need God to make me feel whole. But sometimes I feel like I am failing God, too. Do I not know how to pray right? Is he not listening to me and my desire to be a better wife and mother? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I change? I feel like I have the weight of the world on my heart and someday it’s just going to burst.

I don’t want to ruin my kids. I don’t want to push my husband away. I don’t want to make my kids feel like they have to be perfect or that they have to be exactly as I want them to be. I want them to be confident and happy children, BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET THEM TO LISTEN. I don’t want my husband to think I’m not happy, because I am. It’s exhausting to have all these things on my mind at the same time. I cant seem to shut it off. I think it’s a normal mom thing. Right? Or am I really going crazy!?!

We went to the neighbors to cook steaks over the fire. A little time outdoors, next to the fire, under the stars, can do wonders for your soul. I’m still tired, and overwhelmed, but I feel better. Nobody’s perfect. I’ll never be perfect so I shouldn’t expect my kids or my marriage to be perfect either. I’m too hard on myself some days. I don’t always have to have it all together. I’m still praying. I’m not giving up.

It’s nice to have this place to vent. Thanks for listening. 💕

Psalm 23  – The Lord is my shepard, I have all that I need.

The Road Taken – Mountain Trip

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March 4 – The Road Taken

The first time I rode on my hubby’s new motorcycle we took a trip to the mountains of North Carolina. We took the scenic route and rode on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We got caught in the rain, but it was totally worth it. We had a great trip and it was such a beautiful ride. The waterfalls were amazing! I can’t wait to go back! Next, we are gearing up for bike week in Daytona, Florida. #bikerchic

Doggy Alarm Clock

I get up early every day during the week. Usually at 4:45…I know, that is early!! I need an hour to sit and drink coffee, read my proverbs 31 devotion and read my Bible. I didn’t always get up this early. It started about a year ago. Last February we started thinking about getting a dog. I wanted to adopt one so we started looking at animal shelters and craiglist. I found petfinder.com and used that to search for puppies! I ran across adorable 4 week old boxer/bull dog pups that were at Odins Orphans in Rocky Mount, NC. I put in my application and they called me a few hours later! They told me I could come and get the puppy that night! I made a HUGE mistake and took my kids with me. The lady brought out all of the pups and two walked right into both of my children’s laps. So, we left that night with two puppies. Yes, two four week old puppies. TWO of them. Two, 4 week old puppies  Two. TWO! What was I thinking??

Here are the pups right after they crawled into their laps! Arent.They.Adorable? The kids AND the pups!

These are the pictures of them the first few days of their new life with us! They only weighed 5 pounds when we brought them home! 

A year later and now they weight about 55-60 pounds, each! They have had a great year. It took me a long time to get them potty trained, but we did it! They are both super sweet dogs. Carolina is a tad more mischievious than Blade, but they have done well. 

So, they little turds are why I get up so early. I feel guilty (more guilt again!) if I don’t get up and spend time with them in the mornings! So, I get up super early to sit with them. They play and eat and potty and I sit and drink coffee and read. I’ve actually REALLY enjoyed my new power hour in the morning! This is the only hour of the day that I get all to myself. And I’m really not alone! These dogs are just as needy as my kids! 

The cool thing is I have really grown in my relationship with God this year. I started journaling each morning and praying more than I’ve ever done before. As silly as it sounds, the dogs have added much more to my life than I have ever imagined. The dogs have helped me to make quality time with God each morning. Who would have thought?

There have been times over the past year where I thought these little turds were way too much work and took way too much time, and cost way too much money, but my kids LOVE them so much. Can you see the love??? I can. 🐶

💕🐶🐕