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

Love me when I’m hard to love, that is when I need it the Most.

You know this story. Whether it stars you and a sibling, a friend, your parents or your partner….the story is repeated 100,000 times in our lifetime. It is the story of the day you lose it, break down, spin or just release your crap for freedom. The day you aren’t your best self.

Who digs their heels in for you and who runs?

We fall in love because we see something inside of a person that we want to have in our lives. An indistinguishable characteristic that blows your mind, and heart. A common passion or endearment that connects us to that person on a more visceral level. Sometimes, it catches you by surprise. You see something that you didn’t expect to see in a person so stoic, so strong and invincible. However it occurs, whenever it occurs, it levitates that person in your life. You like the feeling of that in your realm. It makes you want to be a better person, too.

We aren’t perfect people. We make huge mistakes in life and in love. Sometimes, we feel too safe (is there such a thing? Seemingly so) and let down our guard. Reveal our weaknesses. We tell someone we care about our secret(s).

When you feel safe enough, or have held it in long enough, to finally uncover yourself to someone, it’s as if you’re completely naked in the middle of a busy intersection. You’re raw, vulnerable and open. You would never do this if you had any feeling less than safety.

But there you and your truth are, in the middle of the street, for all who care for you to see. Naked. Afraid.

Your people will either bring a blanket and wrap you up for protection or they may turn and walk away, not wanting to think you aren’t the perfectly, strong independent person they wanted you to be.

You find out a lot about people when you are at your lowest point. When you, an otherwise strong and independent person, are “weak.”

I hope that you have people in your circle that would wrap you in a blanket. Do not give the ones who won’t bother another thought.

“If you can’t love me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”

May your blankets be warm tonight and the loves of your life be your strength. I know you will be there when they need you too. And they WILL need you, so keep plenty of blankets at the ready.

Love yourself and your circle this week!

Stace

Trusting the Healing Process (even when you aren’t ready to …)

There may not be anything more life changing than being forced to deal with a debilitating psychological issue.

The subjects of mental health, illness and subsequent diagnoses have been overlooked and under discussed for centuries. Insurance carriers frown on it, people are turned off by it and parents sometimes make light of it. It is the unspoken cancer in today’s society.

Whether a person has depression due to an event or hereditarily, the symptoms are real, and can be debilitating. But, an upbringing that was laden with “be tough” and “you don’t have anything to be sad about” discussions can lead a person away from help. Society judges, and a depressed person is often not a strong person. Admitting you have an issue is the first, and hardest, step of getting better.

The whole Weinstein and #metoo movement media cut me wide open. Out of nowhere. I could no longer run or hide an event I thought I dealt with years ago. I had, what I now know to be, a true breakdown. Being alone in a hotel without anyone but voices over the phone forced me to start a purge and deal with something that I hadn’t realized continued to affect my life. It also affected the lives of my loved ones.

When this happened 12 years ago, I was worried about hurting others, about how people would think of me and how selfish I would be to stand up for myself when so many others could be destroyed by it. What I thought was the right thing to do ended up almost costing my own life. Three times.

With the help of an amazing doctor and an equally amazing therapist, I have accepted, owned and am continuing to deal with being assaulted 12 years ago. I have lost people that I loved because it hurt them and some who didn’t understand my hurting. After all, who wants more “drama” in their life?

But, the main thing that is happening is that I am seeing myself in a different, stronger light. The needs of security are being met by me, not being sought from others. I am learning to love myself for who I am and what this body can do. Not for what I could be or based on what someone else thinks of me.

I am not taking the focus off of me and putting it on fixing someone else. I want to be my best self for me.

Love yourself and your perfect imperfections,

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