Leading by Example

Everyday we teach our children that lying is bad. Yet, everyday many people lie to the children thinking they are protecting them. If we want our children to grow up and not lie to others, we first need to lead by example.

You don’t want your child to smoke, don’t smoke.

You don’t want your child to dabble in drugs, don’t do it.

You don’t want your child to drink to excess, don’t do it.

You want your child to be kind and unabusive, show them.

You don’t want your child to run around having sex with anyone who will hop into bed with them, don’t do it.

There are a thousand other examples that I don’t have time to list, but if you don’t want your child to do something, don’t do it yourself and lie about it. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They know when you are hiding things from them. This teaches them that if you can hide it, you can do it. What kind of morals are we teaching our children when we tell them one thing but do another? How will our children grow up to be the person we expect if we can’t show them how to be that person? Why is it okay for parents to lie and hide things but expect different of our children?

It isn’t okay. We are all humans and we all make mistakes but our most important job is being a parent and showing our children what we expect, not just telling them.

Show your child how to be an upstanding citizen. Show them how to be strong in moments of weakness. Show them how to be kind, even when it seems impossible. Show them how to say no, when yes would be easier. Teach them that this world is not kind, that it’s not easy being “only human”, but it is worth it to be a good and honest human. Teach them that there will be times that they make mistakes or are wrong, but teach them that that’s okay and more gratification will come from being honest about it and trying again, not lying. Teach them in the face of fear to be brave. Teach them in the face of a good deed or job done right to be humble.

If we teach our children how to be kind, humble, honest, upstanding citizens, what a world we would have. If we teach them that honesty is the best way to live and encourage them in times of weakness and hardship, we will be raising generations that can rise above the lies, violence, and hatred we encounter today. We will raise children who can take the world by the horns, when they stumble they will know it’s okay and they will be able to pick themselves up, dust off and try again.

When we are honest with our children and lead them by example, we will end up with a more honest and kind world. Who doesn’t want that? Teach them that the correct path may not be the easiest, but is the most gratifying and will make them feel the best. It will show them that in this world, they can do anything. It will teach them how to be honest and hardworking and teach them to be encouragers of others. It will give them the tools to coach others and help them gain the skills needed to try and make this beautiful world we live in even more beautiful.


I Love My Crazy

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind of day I’m talking about. The kind where your mind is numb from stress. You are so stressed that your stress is stressed and you don’t think you can be anymore stressed, then it happens. Yep, you guessed it, my last several weeks  have been that way. Okay, if I’m being honest I’ve been this way for years. I can’t remember a day in the recent, or not so recent past, that I haven’t felt this way.

My husband is a boilermaker so he is gone from home for long hours. We have three boys of our own. They are 15, 8, and 4. We are also adopting a little girl who is 1 1/2 years old. I love my life and wouldn’t change it for anything, but some days it’s hard. Who am I kidding? Every day is hard. My kids are the light of my life, but some days my light burns more like a raging brush fire of stress rather than a pretty twinkling Christmas light. I’m going to give you a little glimpse into my world…

My morning starts at 4:30 every morning when my husband gets for work. He wakes me to let me know he is leaving. Usually before he comes into the bedroom and quietly whispers that he is leaving he’s slammed around in the kitchen, slammed the front door several times going in and out, stomps around some in his muddy work boots and strewn his underwear and towel around the bathroom. When he leaves I get up because my I can no longer sleep due to his noise and the fact that my phone starts ringing every 15 minutes at 5:30. I am a substitute teacher and the automated sub caller wants to know if I want to work that day, even though most days I’ve already accepted a job.

I get up do the dishes if there are any, get the kiddos their clothes set out for the day, feed the cats and nurse our paralyzed dog, who by the way has to be put to sleep in the morning because some terrible person drove by about a month and a half ago and shot him. We held out hope for quite some time that he would get better, but his hind legs never started working again. I wake everyone after all of this is done, dress them, feed them, try to get them loaded in the car by 7:15 and head to school. All the way to school the boys are fighting with one another, fighting over their tablets, begging to use my phone instead of playing their own tablets, and sometimes all the while my 5 year old is having a meltdown because he forgot that he wanted to wear his tennis shoes instead of his boots that day. He insists that we turn around to get them but it’s too late for that because we are already 15 minutes into our 20 minute drive to school when he comes to this revelation.

We finally pull into the school parking lot and my eight year old is chomping at the bit to get out of the car but my five year old isn’t budging from his booster. Now he’s refusing to leave the car. He wants to go to work with me, his stomach hurts, his head hurts, and he’s lonely… finally, I have to get out of the car in the bus loop, unload the baby and drag him kicking and screaming from the car. As we walk up the sidewalk to the school entrance, he is screaming. The teacher at the door knows the drill and rushes out to help me. She takes him and his kicking and screaming through the door inside. He’s screaming that he loves me, that he can’t go to school, that I forgot to buy him the sucker that I promised to a month ago and that he wants a dollar. I get the baby buckled back in as the buses are pulling in and try to get out of their way. Then I drop my 15 year old off at school, the one who wrecked his dirt bike, tore his ACL, and has two cartilage tears so he has to have surgery over spring break. He’s on crutches and as he gets out he bonks the baby with the arm of the crutch, she screams even though he barely touched her, he turns around to console her and smacks me with the crutch. As he exits the car he tells me he loves me and to have a good day. I finally make it daycare to drop off the baby and I’m off to work.

I work from 8:00-3:00, this is the least stressful part of my day.

At three I decide to stop and get the kids a snack because they are always so hungry that they can’t stand it and they might die before we can make it home. If I get a snack then the five year old isn’t hungry, he’s thirsty. If I get a drink, he’s hungry. I can’t win… I get to hear screaming about this for the next hour. After picking all of the boys up I go to daycare and get the baby. We are on the interstate on the way home now and the five year old has to pee. He has to pee so bad that he says he can’t make it home. He can and he does but that just adds to his complaints. I suddenly smell poop in the car and think someone passed gas. When I get home and unbuckle the baby I notice that she shit her pants in the car, it’s up her back, in her seat, it’s bad. When I get home I have to clean up the dog, pick up the house that I picked up the day before all the while wondering how it got so messy in such a short number of hours, especially since we were asleep or gone most of them.

As soon as we walk in the door the kids want some kind of snack again, someone has to poop but someone else is already in there so the screaming begins again, of course no one can just use the other bathroom. The other dog comes in and starts eating out of the cat box. I put the baby in her high chair, give her a snack and fill up her cup. It’s time to make dinner now. While I’m making dinner everyone is starving, no one can wait until it’s done, but when it’s done no one is hungry. I give everyone baths, get them ready for bed, and sit down to do my homework. Oh yeah, I didn’t mention that I’m also a full time student… While I’m doing my homework the five year old decides he has to sit on my lap. He falls asleep but I’m afraid to move him because if he wakes I’ll never finish. So, he sits on my lap until I know that he’s been sleeping long enough that I can transfer him to the couch or bed. I sit up for the next several hours and do my homework and get into bed around 12 or 1. I am exhausted, some days I don’t know if I will make it to the next. I wonder how I don’t collapse from pure exhaustion. Then I look at these four kiddos and I l know that it is all worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life and who I share it with. My family is my whole world, even on my crazy days, so every day. I know as they grow and things become easier I’m going to wish for the crazy again, I’m going to beg God to give me back my sweet babies because as hard as it is some days, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. I love my crazy.

How Did We Get Here?


I’ve been listening to people crying out for stronger gun laws. I want to know where that is going to get us? When we made laws against drugs, who followed the rules? When we made laws against murder and killing people, who listened? Who is it that follows the laws and regulations set forth? It isn’t the criminal or the person with malice in mind, it’s the LAW ABIDING citizen.  

I am a mother, a wife, and someone who works in education. I believe that as a country we have a right to protection and to protect our family and to protect those around us. If you are at the grocery store and someone comes in wielding a gun and the man beside you takes out the threat as he’s raising a gun to your head to kill you, are you still going to be against carrying?  

We offer protection to our law makers, to banks, and jewelry stores. We offer protection to celebrities and others of high profile, yet we fail our students daily as we send them to school as sitting ducks to wait for something bad to happen. Have we really become so clueless as a society that we think a sign stating the school is a gun free zone is going to keep our children safe? Are we really stupid enough to think that un-arming law-abiding citizens is also going to un-arm the criminal?  

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that as a society we have a problem. We have a human problem, not a gun problem. The laws we already have in place don’t stop addicts from using. Speed limit signs don’t stop drivers from speeding, DUIs don’t stop all drink drivers. I believe that we need to protect our children and ourselves, just as we protect those of high profile. I believe that having several administrators, and even teachers or coaches, in our schools who are highly trained to handle guns would be a major deterrent for those who mean harm to our children. In the event that one of these terrorists enters our school meaning harm, they would could be neutralized before another tragedy like Columbine, Sandy Hook or the most recent in Florida has a chance to happen. Open your eyes people!  

How did we get to the place where we blame everything and everyone but the perpetrator? How can we blame the NRA, the President of the United States or those who legally own and use guns, rather than the sick people who have caused the tragedies that we see? How can we be so naive to think that restricting those who don’t cause harm, will restrict those who do? Protecting ourselves in this world we have all come to know isn’t only logical, but it is our right. We have the right to be safe, our children have the right to go to school and receive an education, free of the fear of an intruder ending their lives as they sit there defenseless. We have a responsibility to our children to keep them safe. If we don’t, who will? Who are we kidding? I know that as a parent, I would feel much better if I knew that my child had someone at school defending them. I don’t care if it’s an administrator, a teacher, a coach, a parent, or even one of the many retired military personnel that need a job. We need to stand up for our right, and our children’s right, to safety and get someone in each school who is trained for situation exactly like what we’ve been seeing. I know I will get backlash for this, I don’t care. What I do care about is keeping my children, your children, and the staff that willingly go in everyday and teach the future of our world safe. We have an obligation to every single one of them.  

Sleep Paralysis

Today I woke up from a nap but no matter how or what I tried I couldn’t move. I could hear my children joyfully playing with their Christmas toys and the tv show my husband was watching in the living room. It was so frightening. It is every time. I tried moving my legs, I tried moving my arms, I let out what I was sure was a scream that could have been heard for miles but no one came to see what was wrong. I realized I hadn’t screamed, I couldn’t. I tried to move my toes and made a little headway. Then I tried my fingers. Yes! They were moving slightly. Now it was time to try for the arms again but no matter how hard I tried, nothing, and now my damn fingers won’t move again. I wish someone would come find me before I stop breathing. Every time I try to move an extremity it sounds like a freight train is rushing between my ears. What if I never wake? What if I don’t die but I’m stuck in this state forever? What if I do die? Why isn’t someone checking to see what’s wrong? Because I told the kids I was tired and needed a nap so for once they are listening and letting me rest. Everyone knew that I needed a nap so no one wants to disturb me. Damn… 

Finally, I surrender to whatever is wrong with me. There is no point in fighting, it isn’t getting me anywhere. It’s only making the situation more scary. Soon after giving in my eyes pop open, what a relief! My arms begin to move again, my legs, toes, arms, fingers. I test them all. They work flawlessly. 

It was another nightmare. These nightmares are called sleep paralysis. I don’t have the normal nightmares about something awful happening or the monster in the closet. No, in my nightmares I can’t move. I have done a lot of research regarding the condition and apparently it isn’t that uncommon. People suffer from this awful condition worldwide. No matter how many times I read,”don’t fight it”, or “this is normal”, I still fight, I still try to scream. 

I have had sleep paralysis on and off since I was in high school. The first time it happened I was at my grandma’s. I had fallen asleep on the couch watching tv. I awoke to her singing as she washed dishes, the tv show in the background but I couldn’t move. It was the single most terrifying event in my life up to that point. As I’ve gotten older I continue to have this occasionally. Sometimes I willgo years  without experiencing it and other times it will be semi-frequent. 

Sleep paralysis is a very scary thing. Although, the research I have done has shown me that it isn’t dangerous, there is no demon holding me down, I will wake, and it is common. I don’t remember all of this when I’m in the midst of an episode but it is comforting to wake up and know what has happened rather than think there is something seriously wrong. Has anyone else ever experienced sleep paralysis? If so, id like to hear your experience and what you have learned or know about the condition. 


In a previous post I was very hard on my mom, the choices she’d made, and how thankful I was that she was my mom and showed me what I didn’t want in my life, how I never wanted to make my children feel. Addiction is a nasty, despicable thing that ruins lives, kills, and separates sufferers from those they love. Often times they blame everyone and everything around them for whatever is wrong in their lives so to never take the blame themselves. They distance themselves from loved ones and make choices, that if they were in their right mind, they would be appalled by. Not many who have an addiction, even those who are strong, can ever beat it. I must say, that my mom, after many years of addiction, has changed. There is a long rocky road ahead and she may stumble but I can say that she is now someone that I can say I’m proud of and I look up to for beating the demons down, for finding better things in life. It may have taken her more than 20 years to see the error of her ways but she is ‘my mom’ again and not just an empty, mean person.  I haven’t had that since grade school. She has worked so hard, gotten her license back, has a good job and is trying to be the best mother and grandmother that she can. I know it’s hard and that you can’t get lost time back but looking into the future, I think she has a lot going for her and I know she will do her best to make us all proud of her. Unfortunately, this isn’t a post I thought I would ever write. Sadly, I thought one day I would be writing one about her untimely death due to an overdose or a drug deal gone bad. I am so thankful for the fact that I was wrong. I love my mother and I am glad she is strong enough to beat her addiction, to admit her wrong doing, and try to unite her family around her. She may not have lived an amazing life of great achievement but she has made the greatest achievement of her life and I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud!

Absolute Disgust

To say I’m livid would be the understatement of the year. My seven year old child was sent to the office today with a cheese sandwich and a carton of milk for lunch. He does not receive free or reduced lunches. He had fallen negative in his lunch account and was singled out from the other students, embarrassed, and left hungry because of an error on my part. He had no control over his lunch account balance. I find it disgusting that school admins, teachers, and support staff find this acceptable. I find it even more disturbing that there are children who are given free or reduced lunches and the school goes to such lengths to ensure that those children are never made to feel differently. My taxes and school tuition goes to cover those children while my child sat in the office and ate a damn cheese sandwich. How is this justified? How do they choose which child it is okay to humiliate?
Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that the free and reduced lunch program exists. All children should have meals while at school but I feel that it is unjust and extremely disgusting that a paying child be treated so unfairly and different than a child who receives free lunches just because he falls behind on lunch money. Where have we gone wrong as a society when we punish an innocent child over something beyond their control?

Someone is Missing

In 1995 I was in 6th grade and mourning the loss of my barrel horse Sassy. I never thought I would find a replacement that I could ever love like I had her. One crisp fall day my grandma, who raised me, told me she had called about a four year old gelding and we were going to look at him. I so excited about the prospect of getting a new horse but also didn’t have a lot of faith that he would make the cut. We made the hour drive to see him. After I rode him I knew he was the one. He was full of spit and vinegar. He was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen and I was instantly in love. Standing 17 hands tall he was packed with muscle. His coat was sorrel with two high white socks and a twister on his head for a blaze. Over the next several years Twister took me to the top in our horse show circuit. He was faster than blue blazes and put on a heck of a show! I rode him parades and rodeos. I always felt like kind of a hot shot when I was on his back. In parades he would canter in place and prance sideways. The ooo’s  and ahh’s from the crowd made me feel pretty special. No matter where we were he stole the show. Twister was absolutely amazing. After I retired him from barrel racing he was still ridden regularly and about 5 years ago my boys started riding him around home. When they were on him he knew his job was babysitter. He would trudge along and make sure that they were well taken care of. This horse show season we’ve had two shows and Twister is not standing in my pasture any longer. Two months ago we said goodbye to him. I have never felt so miserable or helpless as I did the day he came up ill. I’m 31 and have had sadness and heartbreak but I have never had heartbreak in my life that came close to losing Twister. He was my best friend from the day he came home with me. We grew up together and we were an awesome team that competitors hated to see pulling into the rodeo grounds. Then after his retirement he continued to give his sweet heart and love to me. It’s hard knowing he is no longer around to tell my secrets to or to stand out in the pasture and pet his soft coat and look at his sweet face. As much sorrow as his passing has brought me, I wouldn’t change it because I got to know the most amazing, sweet soul that God put on this earth. I got to call him my best friend for 20 years. I will always remember all the wonderful adventures we went on and all of great time I spent with him.


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