Putting the brakes on fear.


Spring break went by in the blink of an eye. This year my family had a one week stay-cation. The days were jammed packed with a visit from Nana and Pap, DIY projects, baseball practices, jumping on the trampoline, bike rides and some brown cows (FYI – it’s ROOT beer and vanilla ice cream). “Yummy!”

Bike riding with my family is always a challenging task because my son is afraid to ride a bike. I remember the day I first decided to take off the training wheels for my twins. I gave my daughter a push and she just kept going. She is the ultimate daredevil. 

 My son, on the other hand, pedaled and screamed hysterically as I let him go the first time. Don’t worry…  I only let go for a second!
We have been practicing since he was four, although he still looks like a baby deer taking its first steps. I try to be patient with him, but there are times my frustration builds because he does not seem to try. Argh!!!  

“Seriously put your butt on the seat and pedal the bike. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?” 

Okay. I could feel it in the air. I knew this week was going to be the week. I could see it happening – he was going to hop on the bike and zoom off down the street. I just knew it.

 As I held the back of him so he would feel safe he was yelling “Please get me off, Just get me off, I am going to die.” “You are trying to kill me.” “Not!” I took Ben off the bike and we sat in the grass and I showed him how flat the road was and how far away the trees were. But to no avail.  

He tried once more but was done, my expectations were shattered.

As I worked with Ben this week I kept thinking about his FEAR. I realized how FEAR can either prevent us from doing things or can challenge us to do better.  

We all are afraid of something. Were my other kids FEARS holding them back from things as well?

On our morning drive to school, I decided to ask my kids what their fears were. Not surprised at all, Ben was afraid of bikes. Natalee was afraid of heights and Sophia had a fear of taking tests at school. (I hate timed tests too, YUCK!)  

But, what was my biggest FEAR? (Hairy Spiders, Heights, Being a Good Mom)

Even better… one of my biggest fears is rejection.  

As a little girl I loved to talk and speak in front of people. As I became as college student I grew to hate it. Each public engagement or job interview I attended felt like riding a bike for the first time. My palms would sweat, my words felt like they were jibberish. The moments blinked before my eyes and I felt like a Mac truck ran me over me by the end. I always assumed the worst.

If there was a show for worst first dates I would have been on it. I always spent time worrying about how I looked. I didn’t ever truly meet the person and take the time to find out about them. I was to busy wondering, “What were they thinking?” Most of the time I rejected them first because I knew the time would come… EVENTUALLY!

I just wanted to fit the mold. If I bought the newest trends then I would be like the girl next door. But, I really just wanted to be me. (College Course : Finding You 101- should be mandatory)  

I have already begun to tackle my fears as I have found some self-confidence. But there are still things I hold back from doing. So now I have to ask myself two questions,

“What do I really want?”

“What is the worst thing that can happen?”

I just took the chance of putting my life on paper for everyone to judge. As I have written personal stories and shared photos, some people have questioned why? Others have enjoyed the posts, even though I have had many flops. By completing this a huge weight was lifted. 

 Some of the rejections in my life have been disapointing.  Let’s face it God never gave me the body of an Olympic Gold medalist! 

With each rejection it has only made me try again. Every single time I was rejected from a job, a piece of writing, or a relationship, I believe it was God’s way of telling me that path was not the right path for me. It forced me to reevaluate myself and learn from the experience.

Nowadays, I am not as concerned with what other people think. I don’t worry about having my makeup on every time I step out the door or the cutest shirt from the local boutique.  

The fear of rejection shows itself today when I say YES to everything to try to make people happy even though it can be at times stressful. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to bring cookies to school. I just don’t bake them – I BUY THEM. And I still might buy those cute shoes someone else is wearing.  But it’s now because I like them.  

Ben and I are now in training together. We all have fears we have to face, it is how we react to a failure that determines whether we are a winner or a loser. If we listen to the FEAR it will completely control us, but if we choose to face the FEAR we keep going forward.  

 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

How suffering can bring JOY.

 

A woman fell down to her knees sobbing. She looked up to the heavens and prayed. She begged God to save her little girl. She promised she would do anything if he would allow her child to live.

 “Why was God punishing her?” 

“Why wouldn’t God help protect an innocent child?”   

 The mother stood up and looked out the window of the hospital room where she sat night after night with her daughter. The rain was pouring down from the sky as the tears streamed down her cheeks. The perfect storm just hit all around them and she was struggling to hold it all together.      

On that dark night she closed her eyes and her mind drifted off thinking about her favorite movie, Ben Hur. She thought about the rain healing the leper’s in the movie. And, for a brief moment, she thought of running out into the storm with her badly burned baby. Maybe the rain would wash away the burns that covered her tiny body. Her dream was as vivid as in the movie Ben Hur when the rain fell and healed the Leper’s. 

She opened her eyes and reality sunk in. Her dream had vanished like a cloud of smoke. This was not a movie and the rain was not going to heal her daughter. She had no control of the situation and her only hope was God.

She prayed…

Thirty six years ago my mother fought her battles with God. She couldn’t stand to see her child suffer.  Every parent wants their child’s life to be filled with joy. I know she has had more battles throughout her life. Over time she acknowledged that consistent faith could help her find Joy. 

There are days when life seems unbearable, when everything seems to unravel. Everyone faces struggles in their lives. They are all different. Maybe we have lost a loved one, or are fighting addiction. Possibly we have been injured or are facing divorce. It may be that we are just trying to parent our children. We see our scars each and every day when we look in the mirror.

I have realized we have to withstand and wait out each storm. As a storm comes our way we have to face it. Sometimes when a storm comes, it can bring about destruction in our lives. But the important part is rebuilding and finding joy again. 

Rebuilding is a path that takes the most courage. It takes perseverance, strength, and faith. There were many days I lie in bed and prayed for God to “transform” me into a new self. Praying for God to give me another teenage body.  I struggled to parent three children under the age of three. 

My next struggle could be a mid-life crisis… UGH… Then my husband will be praying!

When we need God the most, his presence is unmistakable. He can give us strength, it is often the only way to survive. These are times when it is difficult to find Joy, but knowing that God is by your side can help you get through the tough times.

“You are one of the lucky ones.”

My mom told me this when I was younger. 

“LUCKY!!!” “REALLY??”   

 It took me a very long time to understand why I was so lucky. But I now get it. Those who never suffer, may never come to fully know God. The people that turn to God with their pain, can find true Joy. I will still have pain in my life. I know this to be true. And during the most challenging moments I know God alone can fill us with his Joy.

I can’t fathom the pain my mother went through so many years ago, but I know God answered her prayers on that day. It takes time but Joy will come through pain. I watch my children and pray each day for that they have Joy in their lives.  Life is full of challenges that I know they will have to face.  My hope is for all those who are suffering that they find Joy with God’s unending love in their own circumstances. 

 

 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”           James 1:2-3

What I Learned About Kindness.

  

Digging through a box of old photographs, I found myself in uncharted territory. Memories cascaded through my mind of my childhood.

I remember this little girl.

She loved to play in the woods. She would race the boys at any opportunity and she would win. She was the first to raise her hand in school. She knew all the answers or thought she did.

She challenged her mother on a daily basis. Secretly, she was just like her. She loved to cuddle with her daddy at night. She loved sports and was very competitive. 

I remember this little girl.

She was just like all the other kids, but she looked different.

I brought the box of photos out after my son ask me a question one night. “Mom, why do you care so much about us being kind to other people?” “It’s okay to joke with people and call them names, right.”

A simple answer would have been, “Be kind because I said so.” or “Because God tells us that we have to love everyone.” 

 I wanted them to understand the truth. KINDNESS is huge in my vocabulary. WORDS HURT.

I wanted to show my kids the photos of me that they had never seen. The photos that showed a little girl that was just like them. She was happy and loved cartoons, riding her bike and going to school. On the inside she was just like them, she just looked different. 

Questions swirled through my mind. I wanted to ask them if they saw this little girl, would they be her friend? Would they ask her to play at recess or would they ask to be moved away from her?       

Would my children recognize this little girl in the photo?  

It took me two months to show my kids the photos of myself as a little girl. (Some were very graphic.) I did not know what they would think of the pictures. Would they see their mommy as the same strong person? Or as the little girl that was teased in school. How could I convey to them how important this was to me?

I prayed for strength. I prayed for guidance and faith. 

I finally sat down with each one of my kids and shared a past that only a few people have seen. I told them the story of a little girl who reminded me of each one of them. 

Then I asked them if they would like to see a picture of her.

 I told them how loved the girl was. I also told them how people who did not understand could often be very hurtful and cruel.

As I talked to my oldest daughter her response was, “Cool.” “Can I show my friends?”  and “That must have hurt.” “But, can I go watch Cupcake Wars now!”

Hmm… God! I was expecting a bigger reaction…. (Sigh of relief)

 My son offered a hug and compared the size of our scars. We measured them in inches. He said, “I love you.” “That must have hurt your feelings when someone would tease you.” My youngest daughter did not want to see any pictures of the boo-boos mommy had. I only showed her one picture and that was enough for her to feel sad and scared.

As I looked at each one of my children I could see myself. Ben is caring and questions everything in the world around him. He also has his mother’s competitive spirit. Natalee is fierce with infinite amounts of energy. Sophia is relentless and exercises her right to debate at every given moment.

I showed my children the pictures of myself because I wanted them to be able stand in my shoes for a moment.  In order to be a kind person, you need to have be able to see what other people are going through. I want to see my kids have the ability to show compassion and feel empathy for another person. 

 There are many times when we miss out on the chance to meet someone great out of fear or because we think people are unlike us. I hope we all take the opportunity to step out of our comfort zones. Lean over and talk to the person in a wheel chair, say hi to a person with special needs, and be especially nice to the quiet nerdy girl or guy sitting next to you in class.  Who knows, he or she may be the next President of the United States.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

Father knows best, or does he???


I am writing this week’s BLOG in response to an article I read in the Metro Column. The article was titled “If he asks your dad before he ask you, you shouldn’t be marrying him.”  
I was entertained as the author told a story of how her boyfriend spontaneously proposed at 2:00 a.m.  Her new fiancé tells her that he has not asked her father for permission.  She instantly knows he is the one to marry.

If he would have asked her dad she just might have thrown up in her mouth!   SPOILER ALERT!!  

Hmm. A squirrel faced proposal? Really?!?

And all because the author believed there are historical problems behind asking permission. Asking a father’s permission developed at a time when women were forced into marriage or were deemed property.  

“Is it such a ridiculous thing for the man you love to ask your mother, father or friend if he could have their blessing to spend the rest of his life with you?”

I have to agree that this tradition was originally started when women had little position in life and it was a way to grow their family’s wealth. But through the ages it continued as respect for the family, including mothers, fathers, and extended family. Asking for a brides hand also shows respect for marriage itself and the value we place on “love”.

The article claims that by asking for a daughter’s hand, you are placing more respect for a father than the bride.  It is not about respect.

My husband asked for my mother and my father’s blessing before he proposed. He also had a sit down with my grandma. (She was not exactly his number one fan at first.) When I found this out, I was a little shocked. “You did what?” “Why?” “But, you went behind my back.”  

It was very important to my husband that he had the respect of both of my parents as well as my family and my friends. He told me, “My family and your family will be connected forever. If they do not accept us, then a WE will be very difficult.” (Now we all know that with approval or not, blessing or permission, most likely today a bride and groom will still get married.) It is the risk you take for a lifetime reward.

I was surprised, but not offended by this gesture. I wanted my father to walk me down the aisle and give me away as well. It is not fair to pick and choose when we play the feminist card.  If you choose to have your dad give you away, then it should he should be respected enough to receive a phone call.  After all, this man did change my diapers and teach me to ride a bike.  

I agree that parents do not need to be involved in all of their older children’s decision making. Today’s brides and grooms are more mature, on average waiting longer to get married. They are merging families together, and they have greater respect for marriage. But a family’s role in marriage is vital to success.

On the day I was married there were two question that were asked:

1. “Who gives this woman away?” “Her family and I.”

2. “With all of you witnessing these wedding vows with your power do you plan to uphold these two individuals in the union of marriage?” “We do.”

The man who say to you, “It’s just me and you babe.” “I am not marrying your dad or your family, I am marrying you.” Run away and run fast.  

Yes, there are moments, days and night of just you and him. You may be inseparable today, just like peas and carrots.(lol)  But one day real marriage sets in… This is where the hard work begins.

  • The first time you disagree about what color the sky is. Arguments can be small or large.
  • The day you find out your father is in the second stage of Alzheimer’s and every moment is precious. 

Can you agree to disagree?  Will your husband understand if you quit your job to bring him to live with you? 

Family and friends are the “glue” that help you weather the tough moments. The moments when you need to see the good, the moments when you need to be refreshed, and the times when you need to bond with someone other than your spouse.

The decision that you make to ask your girlfriend’s father or mother depends solely on the kind of relationship you want to have with her family. They are your soon-to-be in-laws for the rest of your life. 

In my personal opinion,  being from parent’s that are divorced, good relations make for a happier future starting a life together. Knowing the woman you are with and knowing whether her family values are important  or non- existent is all part of being her best friend.  It’s true that any family would be happy to have an in-law that treats their daughter with kindness and respect. However, there’s a respect shown to the family by this simple gesture. When I see a loving and successful relationship, it was one built with strong roots and mutual respect.  

My prayer is that we treat all children with love and respect.  As they find love they continue to treat their partner with dignity, respect and kindness.

“A good relationship is when someone accepts your past, supports your present and encourages your future.”

“A mom or dad is someone who will hold you when you cry, scold you when you break the rules, shine with pride when you succeed, and has faith even when you fail.”

 

 

 

   

 

   

Valentines Day, Already!

  

Valentine’s Day is here. February is the month of LOVE. I will let you in on a little secret, I do not Love Valentine’s Day.  WalMart has once again vomited red and pink balloons in every aisle. People are pushing and shoving to grab the last pack of their favorite character valentines. Argh! My smile eludes me as I turn the corner as four million stuffed animals are lying all over the floor.

Check Please!

Oh my… I cannot bear to see any more tiny red cactuses, miniature tulips or mylar balloons. Ugh. I am overwhelmed with to-do lists. But just wait everything will be half off tomorrow and Easter will be draped in every aisle. 

Don’t forget the valentines! Twenty per child times three, candy times twenty times three and teacher gifts. “Mommy, you can’t buy candy with gluten?” “Does candy have gluten in it?” As I am standing there waiting to check out, I read the box of Valentines. Conveniently, sixteen per box and eighteen in a class. Of course, another plot to try to make the consumer spend more money. Ha, well the last laugh is on you because I am not buying extra. My kids can handwrite the rest of their valentines!!! I am now convinced this holiday wants to add stress to mothers.

But, let’s not forget the boyfriends and husbands who are constantly compared to the guy who does it better. That creative guy who drips candle wax in the shape of the first place they met. He has generously handpicked roses (I think he grew them) and scattered them across the floor as he is down on one knee with an engagement ring from Zale’s. (Fairytale Syndrome)

“Thank you hunny, I love Mylar balloon and my mini red cactus from WalMart.” 

Cheesiness is in the air. As I scroll through Facebook I see the love on the screen. EVERYWHERE! Those who profess their undying passion for one another, their Godly love, their longevity. But what I really want to hear people say is sometimes I want to leave, sometimes I am so angry at you, but this is hard work.

Could this be me talking? I am usually so optimistic. Why just a day to show love, shouldn’t we show love every day.

I went to my room and just sat by myself for twenty minutes of God and chocolate. As I walked outside, I saw that my husband cleaned all of the spilled goldfish and crumbs out of the back of my van. (Godwink)

That was my Godwink for the day. And I winked back. “I know, I hear what you are telling me.” Be still and listen. It is not about the day or the balloons, it is about Loving God first. Now go share that love with others.

“Let all that you do be done in Love.” 1 Corinthians 16:24

I really do Love “Love” so I want to try to celebrate the Month of Love without gifts. There has to be something I can do to enjoy the love without Fifty Shades of Mylar. 

Give Love: God is Love and he wants us to give our time and talents to help others. It is important to talk to my kids about how we give love to one another and some ways we can be more loving people this month.

Code Name/ Word: We made a special code name or word that means “I Love You” with each child. It can also be a hand symbol. This way everyone has their own unique way to signal to mom, dad or their siblings. (If you see a lot of dabbing going on you know a lot of love is in the air.)

Listen: I have promised to put my phone down when my kids are talking. This is going to be a difficult one. When they are telling me about their day, I will focus on them and listen. I know my kids feel more loved when I give them full attention. An offer to cuddle at night won’t be turned down this month.

Love Jar: We are creating a family “Love Jar”. The jar will be filled with positive affirmations about other family members throughout the year. Special events or fun times can be shared. At the end of the year all of the thoughts are shared. I am excited about this one.

Say It: There is not a night that goes by when I don’t say I Love You to my husband or my children. But it is hard to find a moment to pull someone aside to just say “You look so pretty today.” and “I love you.” I am going to try to find a few more of these with each one of my kids.

Whether or not you love Valentine’s Day or hate Valentine’s Day because of what it represents to you, I’m sure you too can find a reason to celebrate it. My kids are totally pumped about giving out Valentines and that makes it all worth it. I think I may even bring some cookies to the class party.

A blog on Valentine’s Day from a Mom who can have a rough day, but when she sees her kids and hubby smile everything gets better. XOXO

Courage For Christmas

  When my son Benjamin was about to turn seven, he only asked for one gift. “COURAGE.” And I could tell he was intent on figuring out how to get his gift. “Well, how do you get more courage, mom?” I looked at my husband a little puzzled wondering “Where does he get this stuff?” and “How do we box up some courage?”  I’ve heard of liquid courage but courage in a box may be a bit more difficult to find. I looked up the meaning and by definition courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. More importantly we found out in latin the root “Cor” means from the heart.  

I guess life is tough even in the second grade. As we talked more, Ben explained that he needed courage because the taller and faster boys at school already had it. He envisioned courageous people as warriors with suits of armor, superheroes, army men, and the roughest and toughest boys at school. I assured Ben courage would come if he prayed about it.

I still was taken back that my son was so concerned with physical strength and believed that “COURAGE” was only being fast and fierce. Although physical strength can be an important attribute to courageous people, it is not the only one. I wanted to find a way to teach him what true courage really is.

To me, true courage is not just physical strength of super heroes using brutal force to attack an opponent. It is not the fiercest player on the team who scores every goal, but ignores the other players on the field. I explained to Ben a courageous team will come back and play again after it is defeated.  It is the runner who determined to win, but will stop to help someone who has fallen.

  • The first part of courage is being brave, persevering and overcoming obstacles. 
  •  More important the second part was whether or not a person had heart and compassion.

As we are surrounded with love from others, we build up an abundance of strength. Our family, friends, and church give us this love and support. Then in turn loving deeply is courage. With love in our hearts and God by our side we can persevere and overcome the obstacles that we face. Courage is having compassion for your friends and your family. It is always being humble. Courage is being unashamed of the scars we live with. It means we were stronger because of them and have overcome. When we walk with courage we share a voice and a smile. Our hearts are always open to the people around us.     

This Christmas I have had caught a glimpse of true courage that touched my heart. I met Richard at church about 100 times over the past 2 years. I always got a smile but never knew his story. One night I shared my story with the youth at church and met his children Caleb and Kaleigh. Now it was Richard’s turn. Richard shared his story of his wife who just passed away and Caleb who was diagnosed with All Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Caleb is 13 years old young man with a heart of gold. Like any boy his age he likes playing his video games and being silly with his friends. I have never seen Caleb without his contagious smile. He has been poked, prodded and has shown tremendous courage through rounds of chemotherapy. This week, Caleb will be receiving a bone marrow transplant from his sister Kaleigh. This family’s journey is one of faith, family, love and TRUE COURAGE. True courage and unabiding love are gifts that most people search for their entire lives.

Dear Richard,

My friend, you are stronger than you think. I walk by you smiling and poised. I will never express to you that I know what you are going through. I know that you are about to walk onto the battlefield. I see how proud you are of the courageous young man you have raised. Two amazing and blessed children. First daddy, then doctor. As I teach my son about courage, Caleb is the role model he will see and has heard about. Someone who is humble and selfless. His contagious smile has touched so many along with my heart. As Caleb sends bags of love to kids in the hospital, he has now put the “cor” in his courageous journey. Richard, I see how strong your faith in God is and how your children care about others. Let your strength come from the prayer warriors who love and support you. Trust in God’s plan and know that this journey has impacted the lives of so many people.  

I now can teach my son the most important lesson about courage. “If you’ve got “cor” you are cool!” The person that lives courageously follows their heart. Courage can be seen everywhere. We see courage in the military in men that fight for our country, in veterans, and of course superheroes. Although the unseen heroes, the ones that overcoming the obstacles they live with each and every day, are also courageous. Caleb and Kaleigh are examples of courage that show not only perseverance but heart. That have overcome the obstacles that have been placed in front of them and are still smiling. They are still humble and giving to the people around them. 

This Christmas Ben wrote his letter to Santa. He asked for Skylanders and Pokemon cards and on the back he made one request to Santa stating: “Santa, if you know God could you ask him to bring me some courage this year for Christmas.”   

My prayer this year is that we all look at the courage of Caleb. I hope that when our children are opening gifts on Christmas morning, we look at what the real gifts are sitting right in front of us. Each day is a gift and every moment is a blessing.   

“Be Strong and Courageous. Do not be Afraid or Terrified because of them, for the Lord God goes with You.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Faith Family and A Side of Stuffing

Well, it’s official. I am a Yankee and in five days I will be a homeowner in the Deep South. 

Unlike all of the recent birth certificate scandals, mine is quite dull. I was born and raised in the small coal mining town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It was undoubtedly North of the Mason Dixon line. 

It was not until after college that I got my first taste of Southern living (or what I thought was the South). I worked as a teacher in Fairfax, Virginia. I heard phrases that I thought were made up for the movies. The librarian habitually wanted to “Bless My Heart” and I realized there that peaches must be a considerable fruit because she compared me and the students to peach pie on a daily basis. Even on the worst day she would bring out a smile. 

Yes, my husband is a Yankee as well. Who could imagine leaving the hometown we both adored? But, when industry shuts down the railroad company sent us packing to Roanoke, Virginia. My daughter now smelled like roses and she was “as purdy as a peach”.  I knew otherwise, she smelled of formula or cheerios, but I would smile at every kind remark that came my way. “Yes, Mam” and “Yes, Sir” were now part of the daily vocabulary.The food was unfamiliar. A pig in the blanket was now a hot dog wrapped in a crescent roll. Really? I grew up with hamburger and rice wrapped in cabbage slow cooked in a tomato sauce. Where was the perogi isle? No pierogis. That is a sin in itself. In Pennsylvania we eat frozen perogi, homemade, church cooked and no one knows what a perogi is. I want my fish Friday, some halupki, halushki, perogi, and a cheese steak! That’s it. But now I am being fed white gravy for breakfast, beans with most meals, chicken stew, and lots of barbeque. Although the barbeque has grew on me after nine years, I still look at those buckets of chitlins and I have not bought one yet.    

“What do you think about moving further South to Alabama?” “Hell, no!” I believe that was very close to my answer. “Are you crazy?” was in the same discussion. It was not an option. But I have been here for two years and I suppose one can say we compromised. I thought leaving what I knew would be devastating but prayed for faith, strength and huge doses of daily patience. After living in the South for nine years now, I realized that the Confederate States have so much to offer.      

Faith is probably the biggest part of who you are in the South. The first two questions people ask you are “What church are you a member of?” and “Would you like to visit our church?”.  At first I found this almost intrusive. “Why is someone asking me about my religion?” As I lived here longer I understood the value placed on church, family and community. The people are the church. It took a long time but my faith grew along with my love for the South. From the Bible Belt in Virginia to the Tennessee River in Alabama there is a church on every corner and sweet tea served every Wednesday night.  

The meaning of family is especially important to families in the South and this gives me a greater appreciation for my own family. The people are loyal, humble and extremely faithful. I often giggle at the grocery store because everyone says hello, how are you or have a blessed day.

The problem with such gracious hospitality and religion is that it can sometimes seems false or overdone. I am not one to raise my hands in prayer or pray out loud in public but Southerners are comfortable with all of these acts. The people I have met and befriended authentically want to pray with you or for you. They are happy to bless your family and freely talk about God. As a person of faith I have grown to fall in love with this.  

I am not sure of how long you need to live in the South to consider yourself a Southerner. I can’t tell you how many years my family will reside here. But what I can tell you is I will enjoy all of the moments the South has to offer while I am here.

I am happy to give hugs to people I don’t know when they ask for “some sugar”. 

I will smile when the little kids call for my son “Bin”(Ben) with that sweet Southern drawl.

I will love on my babies even when they are “being ugly” or having “hissy fits”.

I will joke with my neighbor each and every time she is “Fixin’ to do it”.

I will even say Y’all because I can.

I have been blessed with a large and wonderful Yankee family that My husband and I miss each and every day.  This year I will miss passing the stuffing around the table with my mom, dad, aunts, uncles and stepchildren.  But this holiday my family will share the blessings we all enjoy.  Well, maybe not the dressing. The South is not for everyone but I think we may stay and check out the view for a while.