My Baby

I have been an author for as long as I can remember. A romantic to the core, I ultimately find my greatest pleasure in making everyone else's life easier and happy. Sometimes, this comes at my own expense. Giving and giving without any refilling can ultimately exhaust you, not to mention your emotional and financial resources.

My children are my greatest achievement and their happiness will always be my medal. Their successes are theirs, alone, and my only care is that they succeed in living their authentic self. Giving to them is my motherly duty and I love them wholly. Their father and I chose to bring them into this world.

Now……
My happiness is no longer on the back burner. I continue to fight the "guilt guidelines" I was raised by to reach my personal goals in life and love.
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Opening this site is like an uncorking of a shaken champagne. It will be full of stories, ideas, misses and gains. Some will be raw and some may be cold. There is a line of nature vs nurture here. There is a line of faith vs religion here as well. I have met so many souls along this journey, so many have inspired me and so many have taught me lessons.

If this speaks to your soul and you can relate, or you completely disagree, respond to me. I only request that all remain respectful.

Love your self more today,
Stace

Who Wouldn’t Want to Be with You?!

You Can’t Hurry Love

An inspirational story of “f yous…….”

There are people that you frighten. Literally. Your confidence and assertiveness scare the (insert your grandmother’s word for excrement here) out of some people. Do not change. Forge on. They will either DFO (done fall out) or step up their game to stay in your orbit.

Everyone lives from experience. Some think they have it all figured out. They know just what and what not to do in their relationships that will ensure success, or more importantly, will keep them from avoiding failure. Again. It is better to love and lose than to never love again.

Everyone has a story, a past, a string of broken hearts. It’s made us who we are right now. Does it make you stronger or ultimately weaker? Do you think that putting up walls will keep your heart from being scorched again? Love is such a wonderful feeling. Caring about someone else’s happiness more than your own and having someone that feels that for you. But, if you’re in a situation where you’re the only one giving? There’s only so much you can do. If they ask that you wait and help them along? Great. If they’ve already put the restrictions on what you can become? Walking away is the best idea.

I don’t know how they find us. The emails from all the “experts” telling us how to “get the guy” and “make yourself more his type…” really? I’m not changing. I’m not going to play some game to make someone wonder about me. I love with everything I have, show all my cards. It’s just how I am. Doing something else just isn’t even comfortable. And really? Why do people keep feelings for someone inside? Wasting them because of fear.

Bottom line? I don’t want someone who doesn’t want me back. Nor should you.

Let them go. They have their own stuff to figure out. It’s not you. It’s them. You keep on rockin that hot bod, gorgeous smile and outgoing personality. Do not ever be ashamed of giving someone 110% if they respond with a “no thanks.” You know you were yourself and didn’t hold back. Delete the emails telling you to do “this or that” and “watch the turnaround.” Ha. Games. No thanks.

If they like you. You will know. We make time, even minutes, for someone who matters to us.

And that is why you will find the love you so deserve…..the ones who don’t deserve you?

F em. With a smile on your face. Be grateful and move on.

Love hard, it’s the freakin best way to do it.

Stace

Life is for the livin…just be sure to confess it.

First of all, thank you to all who have reached out and asked where I’ve been. This one has taken awhile….I apologize, but again, thank you for your support.

We don’t come out or come up with a roadmap. Rarely are we not a product of both nature and nurture, but percentages vary individually.

If you’re born, raised and raising yours in a private community (read “Religious Parish) The nurture includes/included much more than just your family’s values. The course and the boundaries were tightened the longer you stayed. The parishioners wanted their say and opinion.

The beginning of the end for me was early in my raising years. Parishioners need a reason to drink. Hence the Bunko game of dice, food, prizes and booze. Women live for this night. A chance to get together with other ladies and discuss the latest goings on in the church, school or rumor mill. I was rarely able to attend because I worked evenings or was on call most nights.

This time I was able to leave work early. I walked into Bunko and realized I was 2-3 drinks behind them as the Eucharistic Minister and the Lector were holding court, talking about a child who had unruly behavior in the classroom and his broken home situation. When I looked around and confirmed his mother wasn’t there to defend him, I did. I had to. This wasn’t comfortable. These ladies were intimidating. They “held the keys” to the principals ear, the pastor and the rumor mill.

“Is this Catholic group of ladies really talking about a child without his mom here to defend him?” Standing there in scrubs, probably with blood or goo on me from work, I was shaking with anger.

Nothing. Silence. Crickets. The hypocrisy was there. I actually mustered “ I wonder what you say about me and my kids when I’m not here….” as I walked out the door.

When word got out a few years later that we were getting divorced, the sea parted. Everyone wanted a say. Many gave their advice. Some no longer acknowledged me. One of my best friends at the time called me at work to warn of my final damnation….and that I would be judged by God. Nice.

As time goes on, the cream has floated to the top. The “holier than thous” have had their own issues with unholy behavior. Some may say Karma, I just say it’s life. As soon as you point a finger, you’d better know that finger can come back on you and yours…..and may be 10 times worse.

Notice the ones who judge you the harshest….they are jealous of your strength and will to move forward. They are deathly afraid of standing up for them self against the Lector, Eucharistic Minister and the congregation. They would rather live how the community says they “Should” instead of how they wish they “COULD.” There is no God that says you must be miserable in order for him to love you.

As you distance yourself from them, pray for your haters, they really just want to be you.

Love yourself enough to make happiness a priority.

Stace

Rewiring

Why is it that I look for (and expect now) the most challenging situations to engage in?

The mind continues to search for the comfort of the familiar. The heart follows suit and breaks in the same patterns, but more pieces, than the previous time. Why don’t we learn from the past and pay attention to the flags? No one is perfect, but there are certainly some that are sweeter than others. When that sweet one comes around, are we re-wire-able? Can we learn to accept the sweet when we are so used to the challenging?

There is a lovely tale of the person who gives too much.

……She is kind beyond your worth because she sees in you what you cannot. She gives you more than most have or will, not because she wants a return, but because she respects you and thinks you deserve it. She is not naïve, she has been hurt badly before. Regardless, she gives her love fully. But, when she’s decided that the traits she thought she saw in you aren’t there anymore? She will turn and walk away, wishing the best for you but knowing there’s also better for her………

But……if there’s a sweet one who appreciates her and cares for her, can she accept him? What does that scenario look like when she’s used to walking away?

I still believe in the partners. I believe in the happiness that comes from of taking care of someone because you want to, not have to. I believe in the inside jokes and the secret ass grabbing and laughing.

Getting someone.

I also know that there is no greater feeling, almost super power like, than someone beside you that cares as much for your success and smile as you do for his.

Do not ever be ashamed to love with all that you are. Give 110% and be proud that you do it.

Some day, and it’s coming, you will feel it coming back to you.❤️

Stace

Sifting through needs vs wants….trusting your heart or your head?

Shifting into Pre-Empty Nester mode has brought on a flurry of anxiety and self imposed pressure. What does my next phase hold for me? What should I be doing daily to ensure success in any area of my life? There are only so many hours in a day and 50

Is looming large. Things to do …. so many things to do.

I’m constantly reminded of two of the most precious elements of life…..our time here and our health. Working 8-10 hours a day in cancer research can give you an edge and urgency that some people don’t understand. Cancer picks and chooses who it wants, I’ve always personified it as Heath Ledger’s Joker in my mind…..evil.

I used to work with pediatric cancer patients in the hospital. People always say, “I could NEVER do that…..” or “it takes a special person….” and to those I respond “No, I’m just as special as you are…..those kids taught me how to live.” I never met a child in that unit, and I took care of some unruly teens, who spent their time feeling sorry for themselves. They were always hustling me to finish my work so they could get back to the task at hand….their life. “I need to be done because it’s my day for show and tell….” “I can’t come in then because I have Homecoming….” “can I get these down in the playroom? I want to see my friend….” Yes, it was an HONOR to be in their presence, out of the mouths of babes comes truth.

We become hardened by losses. Broken hearts and egos form a different attitude in adults. I am not saying we all need to revert to childlike behaviors, we’d be fired from our jobs, but I am saying we need to pay more attention to what makes us feel good. If you knew your expiration date, would you live your life differently than you are right now?

As you finish your week and head into the weekend, don’t load your schedule with errands and home tasks that need to be done. Those things will always be there.

You and your health won’t always be here.

Find something, at least one thing to do, that brings you true joy and a huge smile to your face and take the time to enjoy it this weekend. You need it!

Love,

Stace

The end of the Road…Preparing for the Empty Nest

For 24 years it is all I’ve known. Parenting. Parenting as a married mother, divorced mother, dating mother, re-married mother…..single, happy mother. You get it, no matter what, I’ve always been their mother. Half of my life has been living responsible for a child then 2, then 3.   2:1, Man to Man then Zone defense….I’ve played them all.   All of a sudden, and I mean it, all of a sudden…it’s about to change and I’m not sure how to feel about that.  The 3rd of 3 is a Senior in High School.

When you’re in “it” you cannot see the forest for the trees.   Raising children is a string of awesome and awful hours and days that quickly turn into months and years.   Yet we wish them away….”it will be easier when.. (insert any future life moment here..) I get back to work, when they go to school, when they start to drive themselves around town, when they go to college…”.  “We will have more money when.. they aren’t in daycare, they aren’t in private school, they aren’t at home.”   Sorry to burst that bubble, but they get more expensive, not less.   Money can be fixed but time cannot.   To that thought, time is always precious, there are no guarantees that we have anyone for the time we want them here with us.  I have witnessed the unbearable heartbreak of friends who have lost children…arguably the most unnatural and cruel event that could ever occur in a parent’s lifetime.

We don’t get time back.   No picture in a frame or super 8 video can bring back that “snuggle time”, bustle of sweaty boys coming in the house from practice or the morning kiss on the cheek as they hurry out the door.    We take all of it for granted when we are in the midst of it and then grasp to hold on to every second of it as it comes to an end.   I know that I am smothering my last child right now, but honestly?  I don’t care.  I’m trying to get every last bit of it that I can before she goes away next year.  Is she moving to the moon?  No.  But the house is going to be empty for the first time in 24 years.

Someone once told me that being a parent was like watching your heart live outside of your body.   I completely agree every day.  It seems like just when they start sleeping through the night, they start driving and you’re up again waiting for them to come safely home.   It is not a job for the faint of heart and truly the weak struggle to survive.  I totally condone the use of “mother’s little helper” and frequent visits to a qualified professional.  Hey, these people did not arrive with owner’s manuals and that internet will make you believe that Social Services will be at your door if you parent your kid as you were parented.

Get all of  the goodbye kisses, relish the smell of sweaty children running through your home and don’t every go to bed without talking to them and telling them how much you love them.  You’re on the clock and Father Time is an ass.

Seems like such ordinary stuff, until you can’t reach them on their phone to do it.

Don’t take one minute for granted with those children.  They aren’t home forever.

Stace

 

I am James………

There was a time in middle-ish school (I’m horrendous when it comes to recalling any dates other than my children’s bdays….) that the goofy boys in our class started a word -association lingo all their own.

They would try and converse using associations so the ladies or teachers within earshot wouldn’t catch on to their ridiculousness. Yeah goofballs.

As I have always prided myself in my sports knowledge, I was particularly proud the day I cracked one of their codes. It wasn’t THAT hard. They kept using “James” when referring to themselves in regards to women and their test grades, in that order.

“We aren’t James…..”

First time I heard it I knew……the number one NBA draft pick in 1982……James……WORTHY.

They weren’t James. That’s for damn sure. They spent more time concocting sentences to use associations than they did on their grades or girls.

I actually had this come to me tonight as I’m in deep reflection this week. There are days that are so full of bs and challenge that I wonder if I’m doing the right thing anymore.

Where do these tough, no-nonsense people get that edge? Is it a gene? Is it an invisible

Shield? Was there a sale on emotional armor at Target and I missed it? A Diagon Alley-esque trinket? Or is it a facade???!

You know what I mean…that trait that separates the weak from The (seemingly)STRONG. Emotional strength. Like Cutting off People when they need to be cut off. Yea….I don’t have that gene.

I will give you 75 chances to be a hurt me. Lunacy? Probably. Are you James? That’s yours to Answer. I’ll see something good in you and I hold on to that MF’er like it’s the last possible possibility on earth.

I refuse to let go and let people get what they deserve. Maybe it’s time for me to start believing that,finally at forty-freakin-eight

And a half——————I AM JAMES. You are James, too. Do not forget it.

I love you all tonight, make yourself a priority tomorrow. And, next time you spot that sale on visceral armor at Target, let this girl know.

Stace

Authenticity….as a Verb

Realizing and projecting our true self on a consistent basis is a difficult task. Turning the mirror, or the iPhone Camera, towards ourself, up close and personal can be terrifying and enlightening all at once.

My double chin in a selfie is not my biggest concern anymore. Maybe it should be….

Anyway, I made myself a promise not too long ago……I am going to stop trying to change or stifle myself to make others more comfortable in my life. Specifically, I’m going to do my damnedest to live authentically every day.

1. My Emotional Maturity. Are there some days that it’s just too hard to put those feet on the ground? Hell yes. My best days start when I get good sleep (selfish), turn off my phone (rude), lay out my clothes before bed at get to gym at 5:30 to claim myself invincible. See? I put myself first before I had to deal with anything else. Mindset over matter. I have to give myself that edge. That said? I’m still in my pjs today…..but I’m hitting it hard tomorrow because I don’t like this feeling. I fall off that wagon, but I know there’s a tire on the side that will help me get back on. The gym for me is more about endorphins that make me happy then becoming a fitness model. The latter ain’t happening.

2. My Appearance. “I’m a Pretty Girl.” This is hard. It’s a hard thing to not compare yourself to others and critique your physical attributes. I know that smiling makes me happier which in turn can radiate beauty. Plus, I know that by continually being positive and giving to those in need makes me happy….so…..yes. I have made my health a priority which is making me physically and mentally stronger. I will continue to try and love this temple that I live in enough to make her as strong as possible.

3. My Mom-ness. “I’m a great Mother.” Somedays I suck at it. Royally suck at it. Look, it’s #3 where it should be #1 on all Mommy lists. Truth? If you don’t come to terms with taking care of yourself mentally and physically, there’s no possible way you can be a good mom. That kettle has to be full in order for you to give out the level of care & love a child deserves. “Love don’t cost a thing…” BS–Love does cost a thing…..and that thing is momma taking care of herself. There is no greater accomplishment than my kids. They know it too.

4. My Friend-ness. “I’m a good friend” Debatable. I can’t be the judge and have let people down, to say the least. I heard somewhere that if, at any given time, you have 5 people that you could call for any emergency, any time, you’re lucky. I think I have 4 now. Sometimes, a good friend lasts forever, sometimes they don’t. It’s ok. Keep moving and you may come back together.

5. My Intelligence. “I’m the smartest girl I know.” Truth? No. But I tell myself this everyday. Reinforcing the positive and seeing yourself as your BEST SELF can only propel you forward. I try to be the first person to admit when I don’t know something, and that I’ll look it up and get back to someone about it when I have more info. I can’t stand the “one uppers” and the bs’ers…..you can tell they aren’t listening and are thinking of what they’ll say next. I don’t care anymore about who has what, knows who or has been where. If it made you a smarter person? Awesome. If you’re just trying to tell me you’ve lived better than I have? Pound sand. Bring me your knowledge .

Listen > Talk. Makes you smarter every time.

This is a short week. Try putting yourself first for the next four days and see how your days turn out. There really aren’t excuses. You can go to bed earlier to get up earlier.

Walk down the block and run back. Do something for your peace and strength.

You will be so much better off….Your patience with the kids, your self awareness and your understanding of the unthinkable.

Love yourself most this week so you can love your people better and harder.

Stace

In the Midst of Devastation…..take Care of Yourself and your People.

There is a current feeling of anxiety at paralyzingly high levels. With the current devastation of Texas, watching such loss happen to so many innocent people is heart breaking. What can I do? How can I help? What if this happened to my family?

Unless you are turned off to the world, you have experienced 2 acts of terrorism, another nuclear war threat to our country and continuing natural devastation to our southern friends and families. In the past 2 weeks alone. 2 weeks. 14 days. The emotional and physical stress that occurs from these events alone can kill someone. Yet we’ve endured 4. That’s not counting what is happening to us in our personal lives….jobs, relationships,illnesses or other issues. My stressors aren’t your stressors,granted, but all of these outside tragedies are taking things to a new level. Alcohol and Xanax are flying off the shelves in record time.

How do you prepare, but more importantly, how do you pre-care?

You can help the victims. You can send money, diapers, bandages and water. You can pray….pray for the strength and comfort of people who are, undoubtedly, questioning their belief and overwhelmed by their losses.

But for you, and your family? Your people? You can care. Care hard. Whether by praying as a family or by sitting together to send $10 through the internet, show your family that you care. I remember one of the most terrifying things to me about 9/11 was how I was going to tell my boys, ages 5 and 8, when they came home from school that day. The school would not release them to their frantic parents until the 3:00pm bell. Thank God they made that decision. It gave me extra time to plan the discussion. Undoing the safety and telling your children that there are bigger bullies than the playground is a daunting task. Making them understand, feel and talk about their emotions help them to deal with the stressors. That was an awful day and the innocence was scarred. The discussions didn’t end there, the lessons evolved and the awareness continues.

I don’t agree with sheltering children from pain or tragedy. Showing children how to cope and find strength in their family and loved ones is a tool we place in their belt at a very early age. Of course there are age appropriate considerations, but talking and coping together as a family is key.

There is a quote out there from someone in the midst of Hurricane Harvey saying “my God is good..”….. all he has is a backpack and his child’s hand in his own.

Someone responds with “no God ….would ever unleash this on his people….”

The believer responded with “in the midst of an impending civil war, my God found a way to bring his people all back together……”

Love your people hard today and every day. Do not take them, your health, home or anything for granted. We are all susceptible to stress, pain and unimaginable loss. Don’t turn away, turn towards.

Love your people most today,

Stace

Sowing the seed…..oh, you didn’t plant any?

There comes a saying, passed down through the ages….”you can only reap what you sow.” In money, friendships, love and retirement (not the same as “money”) there will only be a return if we have invested something in said venture.

Now, is it prudent that we, as consumers, throw it all to the wind and wish that there will be enough some day for us to have a savings, a friend, a lover or a retirement if we do nothing to nurture that pasture now?

No. In fact, if you are throwing your future to the wind, you are certainly dumping roundup on your said “pasture.”

The love we feel for ourself today will absolutely determine what’s ahead of us in that department. If we only love ourselves as part of a couple, we are shorting ourself the greatest love of all. We have to be certain of our own worth as an individual before being anyone’s partner. If you’re “partnering” with someone who breaks you down or makes you question yourself, silently show yourself to the door and get away from the toxic behavior. Trust your gut enough to know that the issue is with them, not you. You are way too good for that.

Love that temple you call your own. Invest in your happiness and the rest will follow.

Love yourself, Period!

Stace

I love the Thought Catalog. Samuel Leighton-Dore’s “8 Steps You Need To Take In Order To Love Yourself First”–

AUGUST 11, 2014

8 Steps You Need To Take In Order To Love Yourself First
By Samuel Leighton-Dore

1. Stop caring about how you look.

Yes, we live in a society obsessed with beauty. There’s no two ways about it. We’re raised to admire beautiful people: successful actors and models with dimpled grins, defined waists, and toned arses. As a result, we inherently associate our perceptions of attractiveness with success and happiness.
If we’re to truly love ourselves, we mustn’t allow the way we look to define our personal value. It can’t be our sole “calling card” for love, sex, or relationships. It can’t be what dictates our worthiness of joy or family or a promotion at work. Think about it: the people who know and love us the most really couldn’t care less about our weight, skin tone, or hairstyle.
So why then do we continue suffering at the manicured hand of some self-imposed criteria for beauty?
If we really want love — the kind that lasts — we must first hold our pride in what we do, not how we look. We must hold it in our ability to write beautiful words, or paint striking paintings, or explore creatively that for which we’re passionate. These are qualities a future date will remember. It won’t be the dress or the shoes or the shade of your lipstick. Trust me. It will be the passion in your voice.

2. Let go.

If we’re to redefine the love in our lives, we must first attempt to reconcile previous experiences of heartache. We tend to carry around the tiny fragments of failed relationships, folded up neatly in our breast pockets. We let them weigh us down; allow their judgement to dictate our confidence, their disappointment to taint our optimism.
Here’s the deal: we’ve all been hurt. We’ve all been let down. We’ve all had that someone who didn’t message back, or stood us up on a date, or treated our hearts like monkey-meat. We’ve all been left feeling exposed and vulnerable and weak, our trust abused and our egos bruised. We can’t resent these feelings, for that would be handing them more power than they deserve. That would be handing them our futures.
We need to forgive. We need to move on. We need to let go.

3. Win yourself over.

You’re an absolute 100% drop-dead catch, so don’t you dare treat yourself otherwise. You might need to occasionally remind yourself, surprise yourself, woo yourself. Bowl yourself over with your thoughtful ways.
I’m talking about buying your favorite tub of ice cream and hiding it in the back of the freezer, only to be rediscovered on a rainy day, when you know that you’ll need it most. Or grabbing yourself that bunch of flowers from the farmer’s market, and realizing that even though they’re temporary, you deserve their color and beauty in your day.
Why not take a weekend class? Learn how to do yoga, or speak french, or play the acoustic guitar. Then write an acoustic song in French, and sing it to yourself in the downward dog.
You can’t rely on future lovers treating you to the specialties of life. Lovers are great, but they’re fundamentally uncertain in a way that your joy shouldn’t be. They’re not to be counted on for something as crucial as personal happiness. They can’t be the source. It has to come from you first.
So do whatever makes you feel good, even — and especially — when you don’t.

4. Don’t compare yourself.

Life’s not a race. Love’s not a race. Stop competing.
Yes, what’s-her-name might be in a longterm relationship and kicking major goals at work, while you’re still single as hell and stuck in a minimum wage job. Who cares? Life has a funny way of evening out in the end, it just takes everyone a different amount of time. Chill.
Remember, she’s is probably looking at your life and wishing she had the same level of independence and freedom. The grass is always greener. It’s important to enjoy your own pasture, safe in the knowledge that it’ll grow and thrive at its own pace.

5. Build strong friendships.

Being in a relationship really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s not going to define who you are, where you go, or what you achieve. You know what will? The people you choose to surround yourself with in day-to-day life. The love and support of beautiful like-minded friends can’t be undervalued. Carrie would’ve been nothing without the company of Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. Let’s be honest, the audience was never invested in Mr. Big. He was just a cameo.
Men didn’t carry the show — the friendships did.
So build yourself an intelligent, bashful, sharp-witted support cast — and feel content knowing that the show will go on regardless.

6. Get healthy.

This isn’t about the way you look; it’s about the way you feel. Try swapping the rush of wine for the rush of endorphins. Rediscover the beauty of hangover-free Sunday mornings. Sit in the sun, read the newspaper, form educated opinions on politics, drink a green smoothie, take a spin class, stock up on chia seeds and kale and goji berries and free-range eggs.
Let yourself be that annoying, overtly ‘together’ person — the one with the inner glow. Why? Because you deserve it. Really.

7. Travel alone.

There’s nothing quite as empowering as getting completely lost in a foreign country by yourself. You should work hard in a shitty job for six months, not go out on weekends, save what little money you can, and buy yourself a plane ticket to somewhere you’ve never been. Wake up and know that you have nowhere to be, no deadlines to meet, and nobody to see. Turn your phone off. See the local attractions. Walk everywhere. Ask strangers for directions. Try a cocktail you can’t pronounce. Smile for no reason.
Let yourself become totally disconnected from the world as you know it — and realize that time moves on regardless, that you’re okay by yourself.

8. Know what you deserve.

It’s corny, but true:

"We only accept the love we think we deserve.”

You deserve someone who loves you the next morning, when your hair’s in knots and your mascara’s smudged. You deserve someone who remembers the way you take your coffee, and buys it for you when you’re caught in the sweaty grips of a hangover. You deserve someone who takes the time to learn all your insecurities, and why exactly you have them. You deserve someone who doesn’t judge you for them, someone who loves you regardless — someone who offers up assurance, not through their words, but through their actions. You deserve someone who thinks your arse is the perfect shape, and loves the slight dimple in your thigh, and strokes that stubborn roll of winter-laziness fat — because you have flaws, and so do they.
You deserve someone who makes you feel beautiful, someone who makes you feel special. You deserve to be someone’s first priority.
And in good time, chances are that you’ll find that person.

But for now, that person has to be you.

Because you need to love yourself most today,
Stace

featured image – Emily Lucha