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Daddy’s Little Girl – Father’s Day After Your Dad Has Passed

Daddy’s little girl. I used to be one of those. I remember spending time with him and him spoiling me rotten every time we were there: picking out bunk beds, getting a TV VCR combo hung in our bedroom, playing board game after board game, delicious dinners at LoneStar and Red Lobster where he would spend our entire dinner cracking crab legs for me and Theresa. I remember the Wednesday night visits being cut out of the routine, followed by every other weekend being cut. Eventually the visits stopped altogether. I was young and I’m sure I don’t know all the details nor do I remember exactly how everything played out. I do know, that in time, his alcohol abuse made it unsafe for my sister and I to continue staying at his house. I don’t remember this bothering me much until later. I think it took a while for me to realize that we weren’t actually going to see him again.

It was probably in high school when I started spending a lot of time with friends in their homes, that I saw what a relationship with my dad could have been like. I know that he would have been at all of my dance performances obnoxiously in the front row, he would have bragged about me to his friends, hugged me when I was sad, and told me he was proud of me when I was feeling defeated. I always bonded with my friends’ dads and they always looked out for me, naturally. I still remember the graduation card that I got from my then best friend’s parents. There was a long, heart-felt note written in it and I could almost hear my dad’s voice reading it to me.

Shortly after I graduated high school is when my dad committed suicide. Although I went to the hospital several months before he died to see him in rehab as he recovered from his previous attempt, I just felt like I would have another chance. I wanted to reestablish a relationship that would follow me through my wedding preparations and raising my babies. I wanted to see him turn into a grandfather. We never got that chance. Not long after he was released from the hospital, he was gone forever.

There was a black cloud hanging over the whole wedding planning process. My dad was supposed to be there. I was getting married too young to not have my daddy there. I had the knight in shining armor – the man of my dreams, I had the huge princess gown, I had all my friends there, I had all the pink, bows, and bling a girl could ask for. But something was missing. The next most important person is the father of the bride, and he was trapped in a personalized 5×7 picture frame next to my great grandma and Chad’s grandpa between some candles on the memorial table.

I still have feelings of envy creep up every now and then when I see and hear of my now adult friends talking about their dads. The girls’ questions catch me off guard every single day, but I’m so glad we can talk about him. They know what he looks like and what we liked to do together. They know his name and that he loved me. They know that the reason I buy kiwi all summer long is because one of the fondest memories I have at my dad’s house is sitting in his recliner eating kiwi together. They recently asked if he watched us and if he knew who they were. I assured them that he did and that he was proud of them.

Father’s Day naturally unburies the buried feelings. There’s a void in my heart all day every day, but Father’s Day, his death date, his birthday, ya know, all those important days, that void is so strong. And it’s ok. I’m done feeling embarrassed about how I feel. I’m done pretending like I’m not grieving or that my grief in my situation is not as warranted as someone else’s grief in a different situation.

There is a silver lining…

When I married Chad, I was blessed beyond belief with the world’s BEST father-in-law. He has been there for me since day one. He raised four sons and he frequently refers to me as the daughter he never had (and boy, do I have him wrapped around my finger). He has met me at the Children’s Museum to jumpstart my dead van, he’s had a 45 minute phone conversation with me giving me step by step directions to getting out of the rough neighborhood I ended up in on accident. He came to my house to check it out when I got home to an open front door. He gives me the best hugs and tells me he’s proud of me. He’s one of the few people that can tell something is wrong with me and he manages to pull it out of me when I don’t want him to. I can cry on his shoulder without being embarrassed. He takes the girls for hours sometimes so I can do something alone. He buys me pedicures. We even have our own secret code where we can read each other’s minds across a loud, crowded room. He is a fantastic Pappy to the girls (who also have him tightly wrapped around their fingers). He treats Chad’s mom with respect and has shown his sons how to treat their wives. He literally was sent to me by God and he fills about 99% of that void.

So, maybe you, too, are sitting here on Father’s Day feeling that void, knowing that something is missing. Find whatever it is that makes you feel a little bit better about it and do it, do lots of it today. Maybe it’s crying, maybe it’s eating your dad’s favorite fruit, maybe it’s visiting the cemetery or taking a swig of his favorite whiskey. Maybe you go on about your day and don’t acknowledge that it’s Father’s Day at all. Whatever it is, you do you. Don’t let someone make you feel bad about your feelings. Own your feelings. Feel your feelings. And eventually, put your big girl panties back on, and go make that daddy of yours proud!

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers, grandfathers, and single moms who have to play daddy!

Until next time…

“Dad – your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure…You are loved beyond words, and missed beyond measure.”

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Adulting: Taking 100% Responsibility for YOU

This morning’s church service really, really spoke to me.  I was hearing Pastor Danny’s words, I was internalizing the verses he was sharing from the Bible and the quotes from other authors, and my mind was racing 100 miles a minute on how I was going to turn this message into a blog post.  Not just any blog post; a blog post that would get this morning’s message out loudly to a wide range of people and also give you all a little bit of information about my past.  Here is your warning: this post contains a lot of personal background information some call BAGGAGE.  We’re going to get really personal today, with the hopes that it sheds light for one person.  If just one person comes to understand that their past experiences don’t have to define who they become, if just one person decides to get help for the addiction their currently facing to see what their full potential is, if just one person decides suicide isn’t the answer, I will have done my job.  My goal with this whole blog has always been to be helpful; whether it’s to provide a new dinner or lunch recipe, to make bedtime not the most dreaded part of your day, or to share a new experience with you for you to share with your own children.  Helping others has always been my goal.  Today, I’m hoping to help on a much deeper level.

Pastor Danny started a new series last week called “Adulting” and continued it today.  This might be my favorite series he has ever spoken on, mostly because it has been so practical and applicable to my every single day.  Today’s whole topic was that “adults choose to take responsibility.”  Have you ever noticed how fun it is to play the blame game?  Is it immature, yes, absolutely!  But, it also takes the stress off of your shoulders and might make your consequence more bearable.  It’s much easier to blame others for your current situation than it is to accept ownership of your wrongdoing.  Theodore Roosevelt said, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”  Isn’t this true?  The talk this morning in church then shifted to the baggage we all have.  Blaming your parents, your spouse, your children, economics, or the government for the bad situation you’re in, isn’t helping anyone at all, and you won’t be able to own your life and reach your maximum potential until you stop blaming others.

A lot of my followers at this point are people who know me on some personal level.  Even if you don’t, you probably have some sort of preconceived notion in your mind about how I was raised and what kind of person I am.  Would you believe me if I told you that my dad, although I have fond memories of him, was a depressed alcoholic who lost his driver’s license, spent time in jail, and committed suicide?  Would you believe me if I said the relationship my mom and step-dad had was far from what I wanted my own marriage to be like?  Chances are that when you pieced together who you thought I was, you had no idea those things were true.  Statistics show that when your father has that track record, your own life doesn’t go quite like mine has.  There was much more to him than those choices, and there is much more to me than a dad who made those choices.

Why…how, then, am I not an alcoholic without so much as a traffic ticket to my name?  How have I managed to have a great marriage and a beautiful life?  I can tell you why.  The reason why is because I NEVER let those things define me.  My mom was a strong woman who, with the help of those closest to us, dealt with every single difficult situation handed to her, while raising my sister and me.  She did everything she could on her own, she asked for help when we needed it and I’m pretty positive she never stopped praying that our lives wouldn’t turn down the same path.  There were several other people in my life that made absolutely sure my life would end up much differently than the statistics say it should end up: my Aunt, who was and still is, like a second mother to me, my friends (though they have changed over the course of my life), our extended family, and Chad.  Through spending time with my friends whose parents had good, solid, happy marriages, I figured out what I wanted in a husband and ultimately, in a family.

I know that not everyone who has had an incarcerated parent has the same support I had.  I know, and fully understand, that there are many, many children out there with way more bad going on in their lives than I had.  Children only have so much control over their lives, as much of a youth’s life is actually out of their own hands and at the mercy of others.  However, if you are an adult who had that type of tragic childhood, know that as an adult you can make a change.  You can be different than the parents who caused you to have that childhood and you don’t have to do it alone.

I remember the first time my dad was arrested, I was in second or third grade.  My mom sat down to explain it to me and I was so scared that someone in my new school would see my dad’s name in the newspaper and know that he was MY dad.  I was not only confused and sad for my dad, I was really embarrassed.  You see, the odds were stacked against me.  They were stacked high against me.  Never did I think that because my dad made certain choices, that meant I had to make the same choices.  In fact, I was the opposite of blaming.  I never tried any type of alcohol in high school, despite most of my friends at least trying something a couple times.  I was so afraid that I would have a drink and immediately turn into an alcoholic (naiive thinking, but I’m sure my mom isn’t complaining).  Luckily I have gained a lot more wisdom and understanding with my age.  I understand that people shouldn’t judge me based on his choices and when/if the time is right in a conversation and they’ve earned my trust, I will share my experiences.  With my gained life experiences, I’ve also learned that there is still quite a stigma surrounding parents who are incarcerated and suicide, especially.

Chad and I have definitely had our struggles in the ten years we’ve been together.  We get through them when we take responsibility and figure out a game plan.  Years ago, when we were first out on our own, our finances were a disaster.  We lived paycheck to paycheck and used credit cards when we wanted something but didn’t have money in the bank.  Guess when it all changed?  Things turned around when we owned the problem and worked on a solution together (with help through the Dave Ramsey course).  When we are feeling in a rut and disconnected, as all married couples do from time to time, we feel better when we carve out some one-on-one time to get to the root of the problem and take responsibility for ourselves instead of blaming each other or a specific circumstance we might be dealing with.

Taking ownership can mean a lot of different things for different people.  It could mean taking responsibility for the mistake you made at work, it could mean taking responsibility for your health and doing something about the condition you’re in.  Each person is fighting their own battles, some are just better at hiding it.  We all have baggage, and taking responsibility is the FIRST step to recovering.  No one says this has to be done alone.  Speak to a trusted friend or family member, a church member, a counselor. Talk to someone before you throw in the towel and decide you’re not worth the life you were given.  I PROMISE you there will be many more people missing you when you’re gone than you ever realized cared.

There is a second part to all of this.  There’s a part where some of you are reading this saying, “yea, but this (fill in the blank) happened and it actually wan’t my fault.”  I’m not here to disagree with you.  For example, the loss of a loved one.  How do you not use that as an excuse for your bad mood, eating disorder, or lack of energy.  You are absolutely right!  You are allowed some time to heal and to grieve.  I love what Rachel Hollis said in her book Girl, Wash Your Face:

What it means is taking responsibility for your own life and your own happiness.  Said another way – a harsher, more-likely-to-get-me-punched-in-the-face way – if you’re unhappy, that’s on you.

When I say unhappy, I mean unhappy.  I don’t mean sadness.  Sadness or grief brought on by circumstances outside of your control – like the soul-shredding loss of a loved one – is not something that can be walked through quickly or easily.  Sadness and pain are things you have to sit with and get to know or you’ll never be abe to move on. 

I also like what Pastor Danny quoted by Viktor Frankl, “Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  You really can choose to make the best of every situation.  While anger, sadness, grief, frustration, and confusion might always be feelings that surface every once in a while when you think of those situations that you truly did have no control over, those situations that really shaped you into the person you are today, hopefully you’ve also found something positive about it to bring to your life.  Lastly, if you pray and ask God for guidance, and do as He says, He will add his super natural to your natural.  It might look different than you want it to, it might take longer than you want it to, but He will be there.

Until next time…

“Pray as though everything depended on God.  Work as though everything depended on you.”

Blog, Mom Life

Splash Pad Observations

We recently visited a wonderful splash pad on our vacation to St. Augustine, FL, right on the beach. The girls were so occupied and independent when we were there that those two hours felt like a dream to Chad and me. It was so amazing, we went back for another two hours the next day. While there, I observed lots of different types of parents. Some drove me absolutely insane, some were just like me and my mom style, and some were different but I admired them for it.

1. The ‘my way or the high way’ mom: This mom of two had a some serious expectations as to how her children were going to play in the splash pad. She was equipped with toys for her children to play with, but there was only one way they could play with them. She was never more than two steps away, correcting them if they filled the bucket the wrong way, squirted their squirters in a different way than she hoped they would, or walked around the splash pad counterclockwise. She didn’t like the idea of sharing her toys with the other children, even though her kids were ok with it. She was a bit much, and honestly, she kind of stressed me out.

2. The ‘no friends for you’ mom: This mom chased her toddler (probably 15-18 months) around like a mad woman, stopping him any time he approached a group of kids. She would swat his bottom when he fussed as she pulled him away. She put him in “time out” at least five times in the 30 minutes they were there. She actually said to me, “I think he’s a little ADHD. He just doesn’t care whose things they are, he just goes up to them.” Yes, lady. Yes, he does. He does this because that’s what children do. That’s what makes children amazing humans. This woman just infuriated me and I was so sad for her little man.

3. The playful mom: This mom was sitting right in the middle of the splash pad without a care in the world that her make up wasn’t perfect or that her hair was half soaked. Her main goal was to enjoy this experience as much as her little one did. He was also a toddler and had a much different experience than the toddler mentioned above. You could tell that this mom really truly enjoyed herself and the time she was spending with her little.

4. The mom like me: There were several moms who had children preschool age or older. Most of these moms, like myself, sat on the outskirts on the benches and just observed. I observed how carefree and friendly kids are with each other. They walk right up to a perfect stranger who looks, and maybe speaks, completely different from them, and they begin to organize a game together. I watched as my girls used the tools I’ve taught them to resolve conflict like using their words to ask for a toy back from someone who took it. I watched the cutest one-year-old dimpled little boy chase every bird that came within his line of sight. I watched all these moms, cringing at some of their chosen words or thinking to myself, “I should be more like that.”

We can find these types of moms anywhere moms gather. There will always be vast differences in the way we parent and interact with our children. Moms will always have different expectations of their kids. I try hard not to judge the moms who are different from me. I try to remember that the ‘my way or the high way’ mom might be the way she is because of the way she was raised. Maybe she’s read some book or follows some blogger who says that’s the way to raise good kids and she’s doing her best. I try to remember that the mom who wouldn’t let her toddler play with anyone else maybe had a bad experience with allowing him to play with others. Maybe her kid is a biter and she’s had that experience before. Maybe he has been bitten by another kid who approached him to play. I try to remember that they might think I’m equally as annoying because I make my kids solve problems on their own instead of doing it for them.

If there is nothing else I’ve learned since becoming a mom, it’s that you can’t please everyone, nor should you try. You should raise your kids exactly the way you see fit best for you and your little ones. Heck, I parent my own two kids completely differently because they are two totally different kids who respond to me differently, and that’s what make this parenting journey so stressful…..I mean fun! The constant unknown, change, and possible judgment is what makes parenting so fun.

Until next time….

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.”

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Outside of Your Comfort Zone

It’s so comfortable to do things that you’re familiar with, isn’t it? It’s easy to hope (read, make) your children have the same experiences you did as a child (or maybe the exact opposite), to dress the way you think he/she should dress, or to become who you think he/she should become. The truth is, though, if we only allow our children to have the experiences we are familiar with, we are holding them back. You can argue with me, pretending that’s not the truth, but it is.

I was a dancer. I have always been a dancer. I remember being exposed to other sports, mostly by my childless-at-the-time, sports-loving aunt, but it was never my thing. One of her favorite stories about me was finally agreeing to go play basketball with her at the end of the court after years of being asked. We walked down there, I stood behind the basketball goal in the grass. She asked what I was doing and I told her I was cheering for her while she played. Yep, that was my experience with basketball and it had nothing to do with the basket or the ball. I remember hating (almost) every single gym activity, except that one unit that was country line dancing. That was something I could be enthusiastic about! For the most part, I was your very typical girly girl. I can honestly say that I don’t think it was from lack of exposure, that’s just who I was.

Given that dance was who I was, I searched high and low for the gymnastic and/or dance studio that had the lowest age minimum for Ella because I just couldn’t wait for her to be part of that world! We landed in a mommy and me gymnastics class. While she had fun and gained coordination skills, I knew we would switch to dance as soon as we could. When we reached the minimum age for dance classes, we did trial classes and a lot of internet research to find the studio that fit us the best. We’ve now just finished up our fourth year there and just signed up for next year’s performing company. Obviously, the dance thing is working out for her and Callie is following in her footsteps.

I could have stopped there. I could have ignored her request to try basketball three years ago, t-ball two years ago, and softball again this year because it was all foreign to me, but I didn’t. Basketball three years ago was, um, interesting. One of my best friends was stuck being a coach with no basketball experience herself. She’s amazing with kids and Google, so she actually did a really nice job. Let me paint the picture for you. Ella was a whole 2 years younger than most of the players and had just that year made the growth chart at the pediatrician, coming in at a whopping 0.6th percentile! These two factors put her at about a head and a half shorter than the next shortest teammate. She didn’t let that stop her. She tried hard and kept up with the running. This was a 3-5 year old team, so of course the baskets were significantly lowered. When you’re a mere 2-feet tall and weigh about 21 pounds, even the lowered baskets and “power” behind each attempt didn’t help much. She put so much effort into each throw that even the opposing coaches started to feel sorry for her so they started lifting her above their heads so she could make a basket! This is no joke, and I really appreciated it. The smiles on her face after making a basket were priceless.

T-ball was a little less eventful. This was a co-ed team, she had grown a little bit, and was a little more coordinated. Overall, it was a good experience. I, on the other hand, hated being outside! Unless it was about 75 and sunny, I was complaining of being too cold, too hot, or too wet. This is why me and dance got along so nicely. We were always in a temperature-controlled, dry environment. I felt ignorant about the game, was uncomfortable in the weather, but loved the experience she was getting and loved watching her do something she enjoyed doing.

This spring, Callie expressed interested in softball. Upon researching, I found that she was too young for the league that our new home was close to. She was disappointed but Ella decided to try again. We are two weeks into practice and she’s doing really well. She’s really enjoying herself and has learned a lot. Her and Callie are both excited to practice throwing, catching, and batting at home almost nightly. Callie will be so ready next year when she’s old enough.

Again, I’m totally outside of my comfort zone. I’m lucky enough to have Ella on the same team as a girl she dances with whose mom is a softball player. I tell her all the secrets of dance life and she’s letting me know what the “cool kids” do for softball (like wear socks up to their knees). Having her on the team with us makes the unknown a little less daunting.

I could have said no. I have that power as MOM. I could have made a million excuses and made myself believe them so I didn’t even feel bad about it, but I didn’t.

I started this post with sports because softball and dance are currently running my life. This is so much bigger than sports, though. This is allowing them to wear dresses or athletic gear, clothes you think are “cool” or clothes they are comfortable in. It’s allowing them to have the birthday party they want, within reason. It’s allowing them to choose their Halloween costume even if it’s not what you imagined. It’s about providing love and support through their college or other after high school journey, even if they aren’t going down the career path YOU feel is right for them. Later in life, it’s about being happy they found love, even if it’s not someone you imagined them being with (obviously as long as they are in a healthy relationship). It’s about supporting their choice to have kids, how many kids, or embracing their decision to have no kids at all.

One of my biggest hopes for my girls is that they become exactly who God intended them to be and that they are confident in that person, even if I have moments of uncomfortableness along the way. Who am I to interfere with God’s plans?

Until next time…

“Being a good parent requires knowing when to push and when to back off, when to help and when to let them make mistakes, and then being strong enough to watch them go.”

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BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad – A Must Add to Your Lunch Rotation

If you’re anything like me, you’re always searching for something somewhat healthy and easy to pack to bring to lunch every day.  If it’s cheap, that’s a huge bonus!  I tend to go through phases with the same few things.  Recently, I found a new favorite and I wanted to share it with you!  You only need to purchase two items from the store:

Dole’s Chopped BBQ Ranch Salad Kit
A can of shredded chicken

I used one kit and made three day’s worth of lunches.  Sometimes making salads ahead of time is tricky because the crunchy stuff won’t stay crunchy for long if you mix it all together.  To keep my salads fresh until the third day, follow these steps:

  1. Find a Tupperware container that will fit two small containers in it.  Split the lettuce portion of the salad into thirds and put into three of these larger containers.
  2. Use three snack-size Ziplock bags to even distribute the bag of crunchies that came in the salad kit.
  3. Split the canned chicken evenly between three of the small containers.
  4. Split the salad dress evenly between three of the small containers.
  5. Place both smaller containers and Ziplock bag inside the bigger container filled with the salad mix.

Now all you have to do is grab a container and go.  Mix all your containers and bags together and have a healthy, full of flavor, filling salad for lunch!

Share your favorite go-to lunches you pack for work.

Until next time…

“Some days you eat salad and go to the gym.  Other days you eat cupcakes and refuse to put on pants.  It’s called balance.”

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To My Nephew on his First Birthday

Charlie Boy,

How in the world are you ONE today?!  Just 21 months ago, your momma called me randomly to ask if she could come over.  When I offered to feed her dinner as well and she said no, but was still driving past her house out of her way to “just stop by,” I knew it meant one of two things.  Either she was showing me an engagement ring or a positive pregnancy test.  When she walked in the front door, I immediately looked at her left hand and saw no ring.  She walked to the back bedroom with me and told me she needed to tell me something.  I asked if she was pregnant.  She was shocked I guessed it so quickly.  She expected me to freak out, cry, be nervous for her, and give her my typical what were you thinking talk.  I did none of that.  You see, Charlie, I was secretly excited!  I was excited to have another baby in the family and I was excited to finally become an aunt.  Of course, we had real conversations about how her life was going to change, how her priorities needed to change, and how much you were going to cost her.  She was scared because you were unplanned, but certainly not unwanted.  You were the best surprise we’ve ever gotten.

Watching you make your grand entrance into the world forever changed me.  I already had birthed your two cousins, but witnessing my little sister find the strength it takes to birth a baby was more empowering than I imagined it would be.  Seeing her hold you on her chest for the first time brought streams of tears to my eyes.  For me, it was love at first sight.  I took the whole next day off work just to sit in the hospital room with you, your momma, and daddy; to feed you all, snuggle you all, and help however I could help.

Watching you grow this last year has been just as exciting as it was watching my own kids grow that first year.  Seeing you grow from a tiny baby who didn’t want to latch properly to a big piggy boy who loves nursing; from a squirmy, curled up newborn to a rolly polly crawling, standing one year old; and from a happy newborn to an even happier one-year-old, you never cease to amaze me.  You love your Aunt Chelle so much.  You love your cousins and Uncle Chad, too.  You spend your time with them laughing at them and they couldn’t love you more.

Watching your mom turn morph into her new role made me burst with pride.  She was so strong during the tough times.  She persevered when things got tough.  And, most importantly, she loved you every single day a little more than the day before.  She began to form her own parenting style and she turned into a mentor for all her friends who had babies shortly after you were born.  I couldn’t be more proud of her.

Charlie, my promise to you as you continue to grow older is to always be here for you like my Aunt Glenna was always there for me.  I promise to support you in your extracurriculars, be a listening ear when it seems like no one wants to listen, and give you honest advice when you ask.  I promise to spoil you and to never stop giving you kisses (just get used to it).  I promise to keep your secrets safe and knock sense into ya when you need it.  I promise to love you like my own forever and ever.

My wish for you is that you become exactly who you want to be. I hope that all your dreams come true. I hope that you realize how lucky you are to have the family you have. I hope you are confident and that you never lose your handsome smile and your easy, laidback personality. Most importantly, I hope you always love me as much as I love you.   I am so darn lucky God chose ME to be YOUR Aunt Chelle.

Happy Birthday, buddy!

Love,

Aunt Chelle 💕

Until next time…

“Every birthday counts…especially the first.”

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Are You the Same Person Now as You Were as a Child?

Just the other night, Chad asked me to sit down with him and help him complete a personality test. At the end, the test showed you graphs which grouped you into four different colors and showed your dominant color. The interesting thing about this test was that it asked you to consider the answers as they best described you as a child, not as an adult.

As we were reading through the test, I could answer most of the questions about him with no hesitation, based on how he’s been since I met him (at a young 16 years old), and based on the many stories I’ve heard about him from his siblings, parents, and other family and friends from his early childhood. Aside from the natural progression from childhood into adulthood such as added responsibility and the need to be a little more level headed, he is the same person he was as a child: easy to get along with, spontaneous, always up for adventure, a leader, so full of energy, and pretty stress-free. These qualities in him are the exact opposite of anything about me, which is why our marriage works.

As I was reading the questions and thinking about my own answers, I couldn’t help but to realize that I am a completely different person than I was as a child. As a child and teenager, I had no self-esteem. I would let people walk all over me to avoid confrontation. Although I’ve always had leadership qualities, I preferred to blend in to the background to avoid drawing attention to myself. Several of the questions were about friends. One thing I can say has always been the same about me is that I’ve always only had a handful of close friends who accept me for me. I’ve never been one to have tons of friends. I find a few I can trust and who treat me well and accept me for who I am and I stick close to them.

Anyone who has only known me in my adult life would probably be shocked to hear how I described myself up there. I am now someone who is confident in my skin and in my roles. I’m a confident wife, mother, and teacher. I have learned to put my leadership skills to use as a mentor teacher at my school and to blog, hoping to inspire and help moms. I also don’t allow people to wrong me anymore. If someone upsets me or hurts me, I’ll have a conversation with them about it. It’s not my favorite thing to do, and sometimes it takes days for me to muster up the courage to do so, but it will happen in my own time. I’m no longer a doormat, waiting for the first person to walk all over me with no repercussions.

Is this normal? What makes this happen? Chad and I have our opinions. I think much of my personality as a child was formed by the circumstances of my childhood. When I met Chad, he literally made me feel (and still makes me feel) like the most important and most beautiful person in the world. He gave me the confidence I never had. He didn’t like when people hurt me. Some of his personality rubbed off on me, giving me the tools I needed to not be walked all over anymore. I also learned very quickly that if I were going to survive in his family (of two loud, but amazing parents, and three ruthless brothers) that I was going to have to be able to hold my own. It’s often a joke in the Langdon family how I came into the family a sweet little thing and now I’ve been converted into a “true Langdon.” Most importantly, he balances me out in every aspect of my life and has genuinely made me a happier person.

I’m not sure which of us is more “normal”: Chad being the same person he was as a child, or me being a completely different person than I was as a child. What I do know is that every single life circumstance I experienced has shaped me into the person I am today.

So, which are you? The same person you were 25 years ago or someone much different?

Until next time…

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.”