Thursday, August 21, 2014

Changing Blogs

If you are reading this, chances are it is because you are on the list to receive emails with any new postings. Recently I lost the server that I was connected to and in return lost For the time being, this blog is listed as You are more than welcome to share this with people you know who enjoy reading our blog. However, I will have a new blog link soon, as I have decided to combine both of my blogs and start "fresh". All that I have written has already been loaded onto the new blog, I am just updating and working on getting it how I want it before sharing.

So, keep an eye out for the new link soon!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Be Kind and Look Around... My Thoughts on Robin Williams

Within the past twenty four hours I have seen so many posts about Robin Williams' death. I have seen sadness and sympathy. I have seen breaking hearts as one of the worlds most well known comedians/actors was consumed with depression and lost the battle. I have seen cynical attitudes that are full of ugliness. But what gets me the most, are the hateful comments that are relating suicide to selfishness. I am angered by this suicide only because of how individuals are carrying on in such a negative manner. Have a heart, people!

Money may seem like the cure to many people, but guess what folks... It doesn't buy happiness, it doesn't make life perfect, and it sure as hell doesn't ease the pain someone feels when battling the evils of depression and anxiety. Unless or until you have battled depression and hit bottom, you have no right to judge. Then again, you have no right to judge anyhow. It is not up to you to place judgement on Mr. Williams or anyone for that matter. As a person that has hit rock bottom due to depression, my heart hurts for this man. I mean, it outright aches. Like many, I was fortunate enough  to find something in life that pulled me out before it was too late. I found my way back and have found more happiness. Yet, unlike so many out there, he couldn't. I have lost close friends, veterans, and even spouses/children of wounded vets to suicide. I have seen own family struggle with the aftermath that suicide leaves in the days, months and years that follow this action.

All I can think is how mental anguish and the hell that Robin Williams must have felt when he decided he couldn't do it anymore. It's heart wrenching. When the point of suicide is reached, all grasp on reality is pretty much lost because that person is so consumed with the evil thoughts and feelings that depression brings. They can't see a way out. For years, he had struggled with depression and rehab visits. This wasn't new. Yet, people want to say "How could someone so funny act in such a way?" Did you ever stop to think, maybe it was his way of masking the pain? Like many, finding laughter and humor can be a cure. If it only cures for that small moment they are in, it was one moment of happiness. For that, we should be grateful that he had it. Instead of judging this man, have a heart and think about his family and all that they are taking on right now. Think about the pain this brings them and keep them in your prayers.

Think about the happiness that Robin Williams brought to so many in their lives. Whether you have watched his moves and smiled, cried, or laughed or you have seen him in person, he has toughed your life. Think about the vets that he has helped while in combat simply by showing up and bringing some humor to their lives for a brief moment during a year tour. He possibly made them forget they were there and for that, they will always be thankful. Think about the countless children he has selflessly  helped and all the awareness/work he has done for St. Judes. When looking back, there isn't too much that was selfish, so why now? He lost the war to depression and with that, maybe we should all become more aware of those around us that are struggling. He gave more than most have given or would think about giving.

Look around you. You have no idea what those next to you are going through or what they are having to endure. You have no idea the hell that exist behind closed doors. Men, women, and children become pro's at plastering a smile across their face when they walk out their front door, masking hard times with humor, and becoming preoccupied in things outside of their home life. Be kind, you never know the battles that someone is fighting.  So, instead of judging, reach out to people. Be a friend. I've been that person with what felt like no one to turn to during some real dark's not easy. It only takes one person to step up and make a difference in someones life, so what if we all stepped up? Can you imagine the differences we would all make?

My thoughts and prayers are with the Williams family and all that loved Robin. Thank you, Robin, for bringing sunshine to the lives of many on their cloudy days. Thank you for making a difference in so many lives.

You can view my post on Facebook:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Moving Put Me Behind

I have become one of the worst bloggers lately! I hate how I have neglected something I find so therapeutic to me, but what can I say other than life has been so incredibly busy! In March we put our house in Macon on the market, to find ourselves very surprised when just a few days later we had an offer. We had to get our heads together very quickly in order to find a house that would work for the five of us, in a great area, good schools, property for Kevin so he could hopefully adjust and so on. It was not an easy task to say the least, not that finding "the" house ever is, but when you throw in a combat veteran that can't deal with people and is always to himself, it tends to complicate the search a bit. However, we were very fortunate and found close to, the perfect house for  us! I cannot begin to express my happiness in this. More to come on that part! The buying part held some trying times, but we managed to come through with negotiations that we were all happy with. The selling part on the other hand was an absolute mess! The buyers for our Macon home were not easy to work with and really had us fired up most of the time. They were terrible when it came to submitting things in a timely manner, would disappear for a week at a time when documents needed to be signed, put us behind with closing a few times, changed their loan not once, but twice after being approved (the last time the day after our original closing date), did not bring certified funds to closing (who does this, y'all?)..instead, they brought cash and had to leave in the middle of closing to get a certified check. There are quite a few banks in the area of the attorney's office we used, hell there is even a Kroger a mile from the office that I know deals with certified checks. This should have taken them 20 minutes and instead took them over an hour and then they came back to closing with food from Wendy's that the buyer felt necessary to set out on the table and prepare then eat IN.THE.MIDDLE.OF.CLOSING!!! A baked potato!!! I could never even dream of making this crap up! We were furious at how they behaved and are so thankful that it is all in the past now! It was a total mess! The poor seller for our new house was thrown all over the place with this mess and closing dates. We felt terrible over it all, but our hands were completely tied. I could go into more, but I will spare you all the details of how chaotic it was.

Our new home has kept us busy for a month now! We closed one month ago today! That's kind of exciting to say, other than never catching a break since closing! In all of our moves, none have kept us as busy as this one. I honestly think the difference is that we never felt as though we had found our "home" until this one. With that being said, we are pretty amped up at the projects we have had, the ones that we have completed, and all that lies ahead! One day at a time. Our home is smaller square footage wise than the other one, at least in the heating/cooled area of the house. Other than that, it is larger and absolutely gorgeous! I am still in awe that it is ours. It's a three bedroom with a large bonus room, so big that it has more space than our three car garage below it. We decided to make the bonus room into two bedrooms by splitting the room with a wall. The girls are both in there, Nic has a room beside them, and I took the other bedroom as my office - LOVE IT! All of these rooms are upstairs. The downstairs consists of the master bedroom and bathroom, half bath, kitchen, dining room, living room, laundry room, and garage. For the first time ever, we have a covered patio that we are in love with! Kevin and I spend time sitting outside on our patio, enjoying our home and yard. Here soon, we will be able to spend much more time out there. The builder of this estate neighborhood lives behind us, who we have a ton of respect for. We are just getting to know him and have enjoyed chatting with him.  The pictures I am going to share of our house are ones from when we made an offer - so pay no attention to the ugly yard! It looks much better now and will look much better in the upcoming weeks. I will post more pics in the next few days once I take them. Our house sits on over 1.5 acres, just as all houses in our subdivision do, which was one of the first things that pulled us in!

Front of our home

Back of home

Other than moving and attempting to get settled, we have stayed busy with life! My business is picking up more and more and this leaves me thrilled. Thirty-One has become a huge part of my life and an absolute passion of mine for personal and professional reasons. I absolutely love what I do, the mission behind our company, the company itself, my Thirty-One sisters, helping others through what I do, what this opportunity had done for my family, and what it has done for the ladies on my team. There are not enough good words I can use to describe how blessed and thankful I am. I have stayed busy with events, parties, and more! You know how to contact me for anything pertaining to Thirty-One that you are interested in!

Caught on camera... lol

In between all of the chaos, the girls and I got away for a couple days and spent it at the beach. We needed a break from the madness around us. Looking at the photos below, I realize how much my girls have grown and am so proud of them! They are turning into gorgeous young ladies now!

Yes, that is a real alligator.... Saint Simon, GA Beach. An awesome sight!

Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, GA

Towards the end of May, my baby sister, Katie graduated from high school. It's hard to believe that it has now been 18 years since we welcomed her into this world. I am so proud of her and cannot wait to see what lies ahead. Kevin, the kids, and I spent the day at my dads for lunch the day of her graduation, excited to share this special day with her. Attending the graduation would have been way too much on Kevin, so he stayed at the house with the little ones for a short period while I attended her graduation. As always, we had a great time with the family!

Look for the shortest one...that's my sister!

My brothers and sister... Dustin, Josh, Katie and me - Love you guys and this pic!

Dad, Katie, Barb - awesome photo!

Me and Katie

Katie - congrats! I love you!

Dustin, Josh, Katie, Me, and Whitney (Dustin's wife)

As you can see, May was a busy, busy month - but one with many wonderful memories! 

More to come, so stay tuned!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Missing Combat Vet from Kennesaw, GA

When someone is missing, worlds are shattered, while hoping and praying for the safe return of that loved one. Right now, a Combat Veteran, Chase Massner from Kennesaw, GA is missing. He was last seen on March 27th off of Hawkins Store Rd and Bells Ferry Rd in. Kennesaw.

Please take the time to post this information, as well as the photos below on your Facebook pages and email. Help locate Chase and reunite him with his family!

Monday, April 7, 2014

NYC Writers Workshop

Had someone told me that going to NYC and working with the Writers Guild would change my way of thinking, I would have told them they were crazy. However, it was one of the most amazing experiences on so many levels. When I attended the first part of the Writers Workshop last September, I left unsure of my writing capabilities and of myself. I am not sure why I felt as I did, I just did. When I left this last week, I left with confidence in my writing and ready to take on the world...ready to share my story in this life journey.

The workshop was beyond amazing. It was life changing. I was able to look deep inside of myself and touch a place I have closed off. I was able to pick up my pen this time and write on pretty much every topic we touched on. I had doubts in fiction that were proved wrong...more than once. I was able to put into words things that I hold close at heart, but not able to read those words because of the emotions that ran through me. Within time, I will share those words here.

I had three of the most wonderful and selfless mentors that taught us more than I can repay. They helped me reach new heights and allowed me to find myself in writing again. This trip was so needed.

Thank you Wounded Warrior Project for such an amazing experience!

Aside from the workshop, we were able to see NYC and all that the city has to offer. In September, I was able to see a lot and stayed out real late. This time it was different. I was still able to do and see, but I wasn't feeling the whole "out all night" part. Instead, I decided to head back to my room before between 8-midnight every night. I know, that sounds lame to many.

Upon arriving, I checked into my hotel room at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square. FABULOUS!!! I spent a little time checking in with our WWP, then dropped my bags off in my room, followed by some time in and out of stores. I think I was the first to arrive, a little after 1130 Friday morning, so I had some downtime.

Last time I was in NYC, my room faced Times Square and the chaos it brings. This time, I was very thankful to have a room facing the river.

Around 2:00pm, I met up with some other ladies and we headed to the 9/11 Memorial together. Together, four of us were able to take in what our husbands so selflessly fought for. We were overcome with emotions that we have been holding onto for years. Seeing the Memorial took me back to 2001 when our lives were all forever changed. It was a day that none of us will forget. Everything flashed through me...I thought about that tragic day, my husband reactions, his enlistment, almost 10 years in the Army, our 10 years in the Army life together with our  kids... I thought about his injuries. The injuries that will always be a part of our lifestyle now, that have changed the way each of us view life.

As I stood looking at the Memorial and in a moment of gratitude for all that has been given, I wished I had Kevin by my side. This is something I have always wanted to share with him. With him not being there, I could not have asked for more amazing and courageous women than what I had at my side.

Me, Gail, and Mallory
Freedom Tower

After the Memorial, we rode the subway back to Times Square. We met with all the ladies, moms and wives (caregivers) of Wounded Warriors for dinner at the hotel. It was wonderful to see the beautiful faces and catch up. After dinner, a group of us headed to check out Toys R' Us and the Disney Store. We had more fun at these two stores than we probably should have! Y'all, Toys R' Us is THREE stories!!! And, it has a human size Barbie House in it! How cool is that?

Oh, and we did ride the Ferris Wheel!!!

Is this not the freakiest Elmo ever?

The Toys R' Us Ferris Wheel!!!
The Peeps Department on the 2nd floor...this was seen while we rode the Ferris Wheel
On the Ferris Wheel
Heather on the Ferris Wheel
The 2nd Floor Wonka cool!

After the toy stores, five of us decided to take some time and relax while having a drink at The View bar. This is the bar at the very top of our hotel...the 48th floor I think. It spins, overlooking NYC and is fabulous! We spent a little over an hour or two laughing and just catching up.

On Saturday, we all woke up and spent the day at the Guild writing, which was wonderful! After that, we ate dinner at the hotel and then broke into our groups to explore the city a bit more. The weather was not the best for sight seeing with all the rain pouring down and crazy wind. 

Together, Anna, Heather, Sharon and I took on the city and walked more than 10 blocks to Penn Station so we could ride the subway over to Hoboken, NJ. Yes, you read right! We all had to check out Carlos Bakery...or as most know it, Cake Boss! During the trip over, I faced a major fear...I rode the subway UNDER WATER!!! If you know me, you know I absolutely detest bridges and tunnels, so to ride under the Hudson River is a HUGE thing for me! Of course, this did not dawn on me until after we were under.

The Carlos Bakery experience was fantastic! The only bad part...No Buddy! We were told he was on his way to Las Vegas for a bakery he is opening there. We were all very sad and would have loved the opportunity to meet him. We did leave with a few of our own treats though! Very yummy!!!

Anna, Heather, and Me (Love these ladies!!!)

 After our visit, we made our way back to the subway and NYC. With feet that ached like never before, I was quick, along with the others, to head to my hotel room after our walk back from Penn Station. I pulled my boots off to find bruises on both feet and decided a shower would make it all better. With wet hair, I sent Heather a message to tell her about my bruised feet and then told her I was heading to Aero for shoes. Yes, Aero was still open...until 2am!!! I found a cute pair of shoes to wear on Sunday because I knew there was no way I was putting boots back on. Thankfully, she decided to walk across the street with me.

On Sunday, we spent the day at the Guild again. I seriously could not have asked for better mentors and a better group! All aspects of it was simply amazing. After our workshop time and dinner, Heather and I walked around Times Square for a bit before deciding to retreat back to our 9pm. It was nice to end the trip relaxing in my room and just enjoying some downtime. It gave me the opportunity to take it all in, to watch the NYC traffic and just think.

Looking back, I will always be grateful for this trip as well as the one in September. Words cannot express my gratitude for WWP taking the time and funding to support those of us that have a passion and desire when it comes to writing. They took the time to allow each of us to meet with people in this field that have made something of themselves. Time was dedicated to each of us by these amazing men and women.

I was surrounded by some of the most courageous and inspiring women that are caregiver of wounded warriors, but most importantly, that are wives and mothers loving their veteran with a love that runs so deep words can never describe. Our stores are all different, yet so much alike. We do this because of the love we have and share with our men. I could not have asked for better women. I am blessed to have shared this opportunity with these women and will forever hold them in my heart.

Thank you WWP for allowing us this opportunity, for funding it, and for being there every step of the way as we find ourselves on an unexpected journey. Every time I try to find the right words to show my appreciation to WWP for not only this trip, but the one in Tampa last year, I struggle because works never seem sufficient enough.