I grew up with family friends that we've remained so close that the word friendship is so lame we are family. true and true.. I've lived with them at times of my life and I have known them since I was old enough to walk probably. Before I was born my "adopted" brother was friends with their parents so we are truly like family.
My "cousin" Trevia posted on Facebook today: What does "pay it forward" mean to you? Not just going out of your way to do something nice, but doing it without expectations..... Do something nice for a stranger unless you know of someone in need... God, family, friends , and everyone else.... I'm paying it forward in my own way.... what have you done lately? I wanna know.... My response was its more of how I live my life not just something I do.I don't plan Pay it Forwards I just do them as the opportunity arises and when the spirit hits me. I live my life thinking Maybe She's an Angel.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLH9-TWGZMgI've been inspired many times in my life by the earth angels I encounter. Homeless people giving me rent money, Free rides from Cab drivers when I was pregnant and had to walk home from work, People that have friended me, inspired me and loved me through my hardest times. I have spent some time in a battered women's shelter and have been homeless with a baby on my knee so my heart really goes out to homeless even before I ended up in the situation. Between homeless and animals... (I would go adopt every dog and cat at the pound if I could take care of them properly). For the last couple of years.. I have used book bags I have gotten as promo gifts or the ones my kids didn't want anymore and put an inexpensive blanket in there, maybe some snacks, a little cash, and perhaps the free shampoo from hotels and whatever else I have on hand (extra gloves?) and if I encounter a homeless person I hand them the bag. I don't think to myself I am giving this guy $5-$10 cash what if he blows it on Alcohol or drugs? Who cares its not for me to judge its between him and his maker right? I wanted to start a charity to rescue Cabbage Patch Kids and Build a Bears from Yard Sales, Thrift Stores, and Flea Markets and rehome them with needy children or for the Police and Fire Departments when they respond to a call. My friend Danielle S did something a few years ago that inspired me she did a Pay it Forward project where she did something nice for someone every day leading up to her 30th birthday so 30 days of good.. You can do it once a week till your birthday or something like that :) Well Trevia says her birthday is next week so I am going to give her 39 inexpensive ways to pay it forward
Put a dollar in the Redbox DVD holder so the next person that rents that DVD will get a free rental.
Tape change to a vending machine
put a small stuffed animals or diapers on a public changing table with a note for the mom
write on a piece of paper "You are Beautiful" and tape it to a mirror in a public bathroom
Pay for someone's Starbucks or meal or even their Grocieries
Volunteer or Donate to the Monkey's http://momastery.com/
Volunteer for a Pet Rescue or donate money
Give a generous tip for good service
Get tested to become a donor.. Donate blood
Help someone that you know is disabled or elderly clean their home or run their errands
Pay for someone's dry cleaning.
praise a child even if you don't know them
leave extra time in a parking meter
visit a nursing home
give a freezer meal to a new mom
Do something nice for your parents
send a care package to a soldier
hand out water at an event
Tell a random parent you see that they are doing a good job
pick up litter
leave a review for someone at a business if they gave you good service
Leave random sticky notes with fun or kind quotes on the mirror of a public restroom
Leave tickets sitting around randomly at an arcade or fair or give them to a young child
Get a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble or something of the like and tape it and a note to the inside of a book. "Great Choice this book is on me"
Let a person cut in line with a smile
pay for a veterans dinner
Leave a dollar in the dollar bins at Target or the Dollar store
leave coins at a laundry mat
Get a netflix gift card (really inexpensive) put it in a basket with some popcorn, some candy, and maybe even a gift card for order in place for dinner... alternative pack a basket with a board game (it can be travel sized) and some candy and give it to a neighbors child so they can disconnect from technology
have a hobby? Make something and then donate it to the needy (ie Hats for newborns at a hospital)
Wow this was harder than I thought on my time crunch!!
15 years seem to have slipped through my fingers like water passes through. A lot of years I am going to have to answer to for my decisions. I am going to have to ask you to forgive a lot of choices that I made and know that my love is sincere and true. First lets go back to 15 years ago (I still remember it like it was yesterday) at 3:30 AM a familiar face was with your old mom then your Aunt Jennifer and your dad the day and time you were born. A few nights before that day we were living about an hour in the town where you were supposed to be born. The town your dad grew up in. We were living in the town I grew up in and we were going to make the hours drive if I went into labor to have you at Kennestone. Your cousin Matthew who was born a week before you was in that very hospital as well in the NICU still fighting. I started to have pretty bad pain one night so I went to the local hospital in Riverdale to get checked and I fought off the doctors trying to give me medications. I didn't want my tiny angel to be stuffed full of drugs. By morning the labor pains had fallen off and the doctors had given me something to help me sleep promising me if I went into labor I would need all the sleep to be able to labor through it. Well the next few days I had an appointment scheduled with my regular doctor and he did an ultrasound to check on you and I could barely stand the pain so we decided to go ahead in the hospital. I labored and they tried Pitocin and the contractions were right on top of each other so they had to turn that off. I slept for about 6 more hours until I woke up and felt like I was being cut in half. Your dad begged me to get the epidural and so I gave in and then slept for another 6 hours not feeling anything. I was woken up by a midwife or a nurse and she went to check me and noticed my water had broke and you were ready to come into this world. They woke your dad and Aunt Jennifer up and your dad had a bad seizure. They kept asking him to go to the ER but he wasn't going to leave us. He pushed Jennifer over to hold my hand and I wanted her to make sure your dad wasn't going to hurt himself. You were ready for this world...6 pushes and about 30 minutes later your daddy's dream to have a little boy came true. You weighed about 7 lbs but looked like you had fat rolls so the nurses all called you Big Mack. You felt heavier than the 7 lbs they said you were. We had already decided your name would be Mackenzie Taylor... it was your dad's idea and not sure where he got Mackenzie from except a dream. A dream where he thought you would be born at the end of May or beginning of June. You were not due till my adopted moms birthday June 11th. I guess he liked Mackenzie because at that time it was a real unisex name so if you were a girl it would have been the same name Mackenzie Taylor Rose... Taylor after your god father your dads best friend Berry Truelove. Taylor was his middle name. Berry was truly the best friend your dad had ever had and I hope he is there for you now. I slept most of the first days of your life and thankful that you were just here, healthy and mine. I was in awe of you. I remember your grandfather Robert coming to visit you vaguely and probably your Aunt Cherish would come check on you when she was watching over Matthew. I think after your grandfather Robert came to visit you we decided to give you a second middle name to name you after him as well. He meant a lot to your dad and I. You were so loved. After we were released from the hospital it was home for the hour drive to feed the animals then a long drive to your great grandparents house (Grand Daddy and Mawmaw I believe they were called) for their anniversary. I believe it was their 50th. That day you always met your great great grandmother and boy did she fall in love with you. I remember her fondly. On this 15th birthday of yours you are very much thought of and very much still loved in my home with your brothers and sister. Your sister looks like you I am told often. I realize how much time has passed and how short time is left. As always on your birthday I want you to call you and just say Happy Birthday. Perhaps one day you can give me a call too!
I have been through a lot. More than you the reader could know or that I let spill out. I say I am an open book but there is a need to keep some pain private...
I guess no one's book is truly open.
Funny thing is this week I have a lot of confrontation with the pain...
I am sure you've heard that Grey's Anatomy is the hot topic for the last few weeks. I have barely missed an episode in 11 seasons... I think in total less than 5. The show can get me wound up but I don't think anything has ever hit me as hard as the last episode... Don't worry no spoilers here...
but a quote does stand out....
Owen to Amelia.. All the stuff you're managing your not supposed to be managing it. Your Supposed to be feeling it grief loss pain it is normal. instead of moving through the pain you're running from it. instead of dealing with being hurt and alone and afraid that this horrible empty feeling is all there is, I run from it. We are supposed to feel... love, hate, hurt, grieve, and break and be destroyed and rebuild ourselves to be destroyed again. That is human. That's being alive That's the point...
and I watched the Lifetime movie about the Cleveland Abduction so I decided to also read one of the survivors books.. I will get to the other books soon. There are a lot of parallels in my life with Michelle Knight. I don't want to pretend I had even endured the same kind of pain she endured before she was kidnapped or that of while she was held by Ariel Castro. But there is a lot of parallel... many more quotes stood out to me...
Here is one...In order to get past something terrible you have to walk through the pain not around it. It might be messy, it might make you sob but if you let yourself cry long enough you reach the bottom of your tears. I haven't reached the bottom yet, but I know someday I will. ~ Michelle Knight. Years ago I used to run... I ran a lot. If I felt like things were caving in, or I was beginning to slip, or a person was getting ready to leave like the others I ran. When I decided I wasn't going to put Skylar up for adoption. When Adam had told me not to... I made a promise to her that she would always be able to depend on ONLY me... That I would take care of her... that I wouldn't run... I haven't ran since... I still have the fight or flight thing and the instinct is there to run... run fast as hell for the hills... save yourself from the pain but I fight it and stuff it down. I try to fix the problem that is making me run and if I can't fix it I let God deal with it. When you fight.... even when you slip, fall, or get destroyed it just makes you stronger and faithful... If you run your problems just grow and will end up destroying you anyways. At least feeling pain is being alive... covering the pain is the easy way out.
There are a few musical artists that write and its like they reached in my soul and pulled out the words that I no longer write. I used to write especially as a teenager and into my early 20's. I used to write poetry and stories and then I found blogging. As I get older I feel more censored protecting others. These songs that are written by others are my outlet. Its amazing how a simple lyric can bring on a memory that was locked far away, an emotion that you forgot you had, a place you were or a memory that is dear to you. Often times for me a memory, a place, a person, or event has a soundtrack of their own in my head. I heard a song today that touched me so deep my bones now ache and I feel darkness and cold creeping up. Its almost like my bones and muscles feel the ache like you do when you have the flu. Music is everything. Music tells a story not just from the artist but of the person listening to it. I bet each and every person can pick out 4 or 5 songs and tell a story about themselves. Maybe even a story no one knew.
15 years ago I was getting ready to marry you, yet I didn't know my own identity yet. 12 years ago I was a lost girl. 12 years ago today I didn't know it yet but my whole world flipped upside and would send me into a tail spin. 12 years ago you passed away in the middle of the night from what they said was a seizure. You never really had your Epilepsy treated or took your medication as directed. Your friends said my actions were the cause of the stress on you which lead to the seizures even though you had them since you were 16 when you drove your bicycle into an oncoming car. 12 years ago you left a scared 3 year old boy alone. When I received the subpoena that you had died and that your mother would take Mackenzie from me. I felt the world had really beaten me down and I had no one to help me up, dust me off, or push me forward. I had one personal had Skylar. She was so little she couldn't even talk or give me a kiss. She was just a few months old. In the years that followed I knew I couldn't let the children down. I couldn't let the world keep me down. I couldn't let it keep beating on me. I had to stand up and be tall. I eventually rose from the ashes and became the strong person I am today.
One one of our first dances we danced to My Heart Will Go On. We saw Titanic at least 12 times in the theater and danced in the aisles of the theater because we were virtually alone or at least it just felt like it to a naive 18 year old girl. When we got married I told my mother I wanted the song played during the beginning of the wedding or at LEAST compromise and be our first dance. She said it was morbid. My friend Megan sang From This Moment On by Shania Twain while I walked down the aisle and our first dance as a married couple was My Heart Will Go On. Ironic isn't it? That was probably one of our last dances as well.
I hope I can remember enough of the memories we made and enough of the memories of you to share with Mackenzie and Skylar as they grow older and ask questions about you. Eventually I hope to be reunited with Mackenzie and I will give him the art work you left me and memories that are only stored in my head, my heart, my soul. I need to do a better job of journaling them for the kids. Not here it feels to private to share here on this blog. I am surprised I am being compelled to blog this now but in a private journal just meant for them.
Two very special people in your family followed you to Heaven. I read about your dad passing away 9 years almost to the day you did. You know he meant the world to me even if he hurt me in the end. I am sure your Maw-maw also found peace. I hope they are watching over and protecting Mackenzie for me.
9 years ago there was this guy stationed in Korea. Trying to keep his head on straight, bored, and trying to stay out of trouble... So he started reading this girls blog on Yahoo 360. She blogged about her crazy life.. the highs the lows and her relationship. Occasionally he would message me some advice or a comment (never posting for public)... who knew how things would turn out... 9 years ago we certainly didn't have a clue the world would bring us together
So my goal was to blog about Christmas until Christmas but I missed yesterday. I am sick :(
Today's topic isn't so much about Christmas either but I have stories to share
My grandfather his name is Carlton. He is the most special man I have ever known. He passed away July 22, 2000. He struggled most of his life with cancer at least all of my life. I think its safe to say my Papa Bear (thats our nickname for my Grandfather) was close to his siblings. He owned a farm in Jonesboro up until a few years before his death. On each side of his farm his brothers also owned farms. Uncle Buck was on one side. Growing up if Uncle Buck was up visiting he would tease us granddaughters a lot. He would pull my pony tail and say Boy why do you got a pony tail in your hair.. He was alway teasing. He would be pulling it and say are you a pony? etc. I was 18 and I moved on the farm with my biological mother and Papa Bears bulldog took a liking to me and I would sneak him in mom's house (she lived in the farm between Buck and Papa Bears houses) and he would cuddle and go to sleep on my lap so I would paint his nails. One day Uncle Buck caught me and he would say Boy, you're Papa Bear will tan your hide if he caught you with that dog in the house. That is an outside dog who doesn't need to get spoiled by being in the heated house. Then what will your Papa Bear say when you finds out you painted Pluto's nails? I said he hasn't noticed yet *big grin* I loved my Uncle Buck and Aunt Beverly and all his children my Uncle Mike. Sadly I lost track of them as I became adults. I did hear that Uncle Buck passed a few years ago. I sure do love him and miss him dearly. I would give up this fancy suburbia to take my kids back to that farm as I had it. <3 life.="" p="" s="" that="" the="">
Uncle Butch really isn't my uncle by blood or relation. Uncle Butch is actually my ex boyfriends Uncle. He is one of Skylar's favorite people. My 12 year old daughter. Growing up I dated Donnie for the first 4 years of Skylar's life and Butch was a constant in her life as if he was a grand parent but better even. He loved to spoil her and play with her. He kept in contact even after Donnie and I broke up and so far he is the only person to visit me since I moved from Georgia to Alabama nearly eight years ago. He made sure we were taken care of and honestly for years I struggled to do what was right or whether or not to accept it. It has been a very big moral dilemma for me. Shortly after I saw him last in 2007 he moved up to Pennsylvania to help his ex wife and adopted son. His health began to fail and and as his father before him and as I suspected for awhile he had diabetes and alzheimers just like his father who passed away a few years ago. I will send him a New Years card along with everyone else (because I didn't get Christmas cards done) I hope he is okay healthwise last I heard it wasn't looking good. Shamefully I was thankful he moved up to Pennsylvania to shield Skylar at the time from the tragedy that is Alzheimers. She was too young to see his father deteriorate and I have seen it many times. I can't imagine the heart break of your favorite person forgetting who you are. Now she's old enough to understand but she still has much anxiety and depression over losing him.
I thought I would blog this today because ironically I was on Facebook and someone who just lost their spouse was walking through Kmart and Christmas Shoes came blaring over the PA... She's like who the heck makes a Christmas Song about a boy who wants to buy shoes for his dying mother. Shouldn't Christmas songs be beautiful. I kinda laughed because how true but I do like Christmas Shoes myself but I am not going caroling or anything. So I asked my tween daughter and my husband for help and we played a little game voting from the scale of 1-10 (10 being the most annoying) Christmas Songs. Of course they aren't much help because my husband has well weird taste in music like Dr Demento and Neil Diamond... but that's none of my business haha. Well my daughter she is who she is at 12 with developing her musical tastes. We will just say she's still learning. I had to tell her what Nirvana was the other day *face palm* and then she claims to like My Chemical Romance, The Beatles, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, 5 Seconds of Summer, Oasis, etc... I have to say one of the most annoying songs at Christmas time is Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time... I knew I would lose to both of them if I played the Paul McCartney version so I played the Demi Lavato version and I still lost. I don't care who sings it I am just not a fan of this song. My adopted father loved him some John Denver and I never quite got the badge of #1 fan from his fan club if you know what I mean... I mean he's just got a certain style of music that I can't see myself listening to constantly. I love me some Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn but I can't do the whiney drunk country music much for myself. So I guess my next two songs won't be on my Christmas playlist like ever...
My daughter just started telling me "turn it off just turn it off!"
Do I even have to say why is an alcoholic singing about his daddy being an alcoholic?
the other one I think my favorite Radio Station and probably a few others are overplaying 30 years late just a bit. Last Christmas by Wham I am not hating on the singer I promise. George Michael has some epic songs but *sigh* this one doesn't do anything for me.. How about you wake me up before you go-go?
My husband thinks the most annoying Christmas song out of the ones I picked is Funky Funky Christmas by NKOTB(New Kids on the Block). I can't ever say I find NKOTB annoying I was a die hard fan then and I am still a fan now.. My friend +Pamela Leffler is traveling and she was listening to this very CD today and she said "... realizing some of this is just bad.. but I am singing anyways" So maybe the music isn't Epic, Great Music... Maybe even a little painful but come'on its NKOTB! I love me some Funky Christmas! Just as long as my husbands dirty socks aren't being used for stockings.. not that kind of funky Christmas. One day I hope my daughter and I can fan girl together with our favorite boy bands and Ed Sheeran... but today she is voting with her dad...
Sometimes I get a creative bug up my butt and I come up with an idea that I won't let go of. My husband calls this a Honey Badger. Anyways our first Easter here I wanted to make Easter baskets for the kids (not just mine but her friends too) so I went to the dollar store got sand buckets, bubbles, shovels and other sand tools, and some candy and filled the buckets up and it probably cost me a few bucks a bucket.. He was amazed what I could do with $20 Then our second Christmas and I wished I would have taken pictures but I went to Old Time Pottery and got decorative Christmas boxes
Like these and filled each one with a Fireplace DVD for those of us who don't have a fireplace we could have a beautiful digital one. Then I made homemade cocoa in a Mason Jar.. topped it off with marshmallows I am pretty sure the marshmallows dried out but it was more there for the effect. I got inexpensive mugs that represented the people like my brother in law and sister are cat parents (you think I am a cat lady haha) so I got them cat lover mugs. an inexpensive blanket, With some with families I put in a travel game. It was like Christmas in a box.
Being that we are a military family shipping was painful for each box though :/
The next year Rick wanted me to continue the tradition so I got a box and then bought popcorn cups at the dollar store, put in some popcorn packages, popcorn salt, candy and a movie. Movie in a Box?
I had an idea for teacher gifts too one year I made altered clipboards and it was something Skylar could help with.
For teacher gifts I got a big furry stocking and bought lots of school supplies (Don't teachers ALWAYS need supplies?) and I filled the stocking with supplies and candy :)
Ive done Ice Cream Sundae in a box... Noooo I don't put ice cream in there (a gift card will work), ice cream scoop, ice cream cones and bowls, a bunch of different toppings, and of course a gift card to either an ice cream place or just the grocery store...
I guess my creative gifting started when Rick was deployed. My months of deployment were passed by Skylar and I coming up creative theme deployment boxes... For Thanksgiving I sent Turkey Spam, a box of stuffing, a can of green beans, and a can of cranberry sauce... with Turkey themed paper products... Of course he fed the Turkey Spam to his Iraqi cat friends and gave the other food products to the Iraqis (after all the Army and Iraqi's kept him fed and the cats kept him company)
What kind of creative gift ideas have you wanted to try or have you tried?
Look at these really cool type of stockings I saw at Walmart! I thought they were nifty...
The story of how the Christmas Stocking came to be is that Saint Nicholas used to leave gold coins and oranges in the shoes of poor children.. I guess we finally got a clue that we were putting oranges in dirty shoes so why not put them in a clean stocking so the evolving again.
My kids make out pretty good on the stocking front. We celebrate St Nicholas Day so they get the above every year from old St Nick. Then for Christmas I get them a stocking filled with different goodies and Santa usually leaves one too. Some great stocking stuffers I have seen are things that are sentimental, jewelry, hair do- dads, tooth brushes, hair brushes, body wash, bubble bath (we have a couple of fans in the house), Razor things for the men, perfume maybe, gloves, and my husband gets a wallet every year. Things like that :)
Oh and the most awesome thing in our stockings Santa leaves his Santa Dollar behind its an actual dollar with Santa's face!
I don't think that I am a super scheduler, hell I am horrible at time management. But I do like to have a timeline to get things done. It always has been an area of contention between Rick and I. I am a little bit of an organizer and I tend to think ahead... I also took Marketing in high school and a few college courses afterward. I know the marketing aspect of all those Christmas Tree's right after Halloween. Basic logic for you scrooges that say lets just get through Thanksgiving for most people that get checks every two weeks that means there is only two pay cycles before Christmas.. Not many people can buy everything within two pay cycles... am I right? So I learned from either my mom or my guardian or perhaps just gotten in the habit myself to buy Christmas gifts throughout the year. Yeah that bit me a little bit when Skylar was no longer interested in something but its okay I could return or resell it if necessary or even donate it. I am a bargain shopper too I look for sales and matter of fact I would say I am almost addicted to a sale I can't resist the 50% off sign haha. So I would rather buy it on sale. So I am fine with Christmas being up in Thanksgiving.. the longer I get the magic right? Plus I don't feel as pressured to rush those last three weeks of November and December to buy last minute gifts. My hubby isn't having heart failure from his debit card catching on fire and he sees all the money draining out of his account like blood running out of his face (haha!). So if I hit $20 here and there over a period of three months he won't kill me as fast! I also don't want to be paying for Christmas in July.. That's not what Christmas in July is supposed to mean. But we are on a budget like everyone else and money only goes so far... Tomorrow I will be running to Target to get a gift card for William's teacher for his Christmas party tomorrow due to our pay period. Friday is Skylar's class party so I will have to get a small gift card because that's all we can afford and frankly I think a teacher can have only so many Best Teacher Mugs.. also if I may be honest I am not thrilled with either child's teacher this year so they won't be getting favors from me other than the pat of the back... Thank you Mrs so and so you put up with my child ALL year and didn't kill him/her. See I have to wait to give that gift in May when I know my child and their teacher has survived the year. Waiting till Thanksgiving two years in a row hasn't gotten my house fully decorated. I think next year I am going to have to deck the halls (like our loft tree that takes a lot of time and effort) and spend more time on those and then I can put up the family tree Thanksgiving weekend by tradition. So other stuff first and put up the family tree last. Because I just don't have time to spend all that time decorating the whole house and then get to enjoy it for a week? Nah! With my Osteoarthritis, kid and husband schedules, my Fibromyalgia, etc... I need some leeway to work around. Hubby's just going to have to start being understanding. This year we didn't use Layaway except for two items and if we were to have to use layaway then that would also require time to pay things off so we wouldn't have a balance on our credit cards. I think Christmas takes time and planning or it just doesn't feel right. Best laid plans of mice and men often go ary... especially for me so yeah I COULD be the one at the store on the 23th and 24th getting stocking stuffers or Christmas dinners :)
I used to LOVE Yankee Candles and I thought I would never give them up and switch to Scentsy then I realized why am I spending $20 on a candle when I can buy a burner and switch out the smells? LOL ... No I am not a Scentsy rep and never have been but boy I have like 10 burners!
I love the smell of Sugar Cookies (I just hate to bake them)
Pine but not in the scentsy
and a real wood fireplace <3 p="">
What are your favorite smells? What smells remind you of your childhood holidays? What are your favorite smells of the season?
I don't know if its a Christmas movie but I think it is.. It at least has a scene about Christmas and its one of my favorite movies of all time.
The animated classic set with the Land of Forgotten Toys, Santa, Rudolph and Frosty of course
Polar Express is near and dear to me..
Other great ones we enjoy are the original animated The Grinch that Stole Christmas (or the Jim Carrey one), Jim Carrey Christmas Carol, Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street, Charlie Brown Christmas, Mickey's Christmas Carol, and my kids and my husband are particularly fans of Elf and Muppets Christmas Carol.