Summer Storm 

Laying in a dark room with lightning flashing through the windows, I think of how quickly the week has gone. The summer storm is now spitting rain onto the roof. This isn’t my house, but it feels like home. 

It feels like home because mom is right down the hall. It feels like home because for once, I am not the most worrisome person contained in four walls. I can lay here and dream. I can lay here and just listen to the rain. I can lay here. It’s the most invigorating feeling, to know that I am old enough to not need my mother, but never too old to not want her. 

I have often been envious of my friends and sister who all have daughters. I always envisioned the mother-daughter relationship I would one day share with my own. It seems now that God has other plans for me. I guess that makes the relationship I have with my mom even more meaningful. I will always remember the day I showed her my first (and only) tattoo. She cried, and they weren’t happy tears. I will hold fondly to the memory of my mom and dad walking me down the aisle. I will cling to the sadness in her voice the day I called and told her my loving dog had died. Then there is that comforting feeling I had with her by my side both times I gave birth. These are all emotions that give me peace. They make me whole. 

Tonight, I am in my mother’s house. Tomorrow, I will go home. I will resume command of my own home and my own territory. But, through the sounds of the beading rain tonight, I will enjoy knowing that I am once again safe under my mother’s cloak. 

  
An afternoon shower at the beach, because night pictures just aren’t that good on my phone. 

Farmhouse Swag Bag 

I just had to make a quick post because my favorite bag of all time is back in stock!  I seriously want this bag to haul around all of my so very important “new teacher” stuff! 


  
(The bottom left is my fav)

The motto on the bag says it all! Live. Work. Create. This is perfect for all you girl bosses out there! Get busy being awesome! Click here for this BA farmhouse swag bag! You will find it under PFLifestyle. 

Happy early Friday! 

Love, 

Merr 

D

Last week I attended my first workshop as a teacher. I found that it was very similar to trainings I had done while working for Child Protective Services. It was formal, but helpful. Oh, did I forget to mention that I am a teacher? Yes, you read that right, a teacher. In between the sleepless nights of a newborn last fall, I was taking courses online to get my teaching certificate. And now, here I am, 5 weeks away from my first year as a high school English teacher. 

Anyway, at my workshop last week, I got there a few minutes early, chose a seat at a semi-empty table, and sat down. It was a large conference room with three projection screens, two in the front and one on the back wall. The lady at the table with me was a very friendly second grade teacher. She has been a teacher for 10 plus years. So, the workshop begins. We got instructions for the first activity and the instructor started the first video. Maybe 10 minutes or so in, I hear the door behind me open and I’m suddenly aware that a person has sat directly next to me. We finish the first video and I finally turn to find a very petite blonde women to my left. 

Thoughout the morning, I learn that she also teaches high school English. She gives me several novel suggestions, and shares some insight (she has been teaching 11 years). Lunchtime rolls around, and I was saying how ridiculous it was that we had an hour and a half for lunch. I kept thinking in my head, they should just shorten our lunch and let us leave 30 minutes earlier (I had an hour and 20 minute drive, my dad and his girlfriend had flown in from Ohio, and it was my 3 year-old son’s birthday). 

We broke for lunch and petite blonde invites me to have lunch with her. I hesitated for a moment, because I am the kind of person who packs their lunch, I had just assumed that I would get Subway and come back to the room. But, something inside me urged me to go, so I said yes. On the short ride to the restaurant, we made small talk about our kids. She has an eight year-old boy and a nine month-old son. I apologized profusely for the state of my car. When we got to the restaurant, we both ordered the same thing. 

Have you ever been mildly aware that the question you are about to ask may not be a good one? Then, the moment that your lips form the words and they come spilling out of your mouth, you are immediately embarrassed of your mistake? Well, that happened to me, at this very second. I was squeezing lemon into my water and I nonchalantly said, “So, eight years between kids, y’all waited a while, huh?” 

BAM. The expression on her face told me right there that I had indeed messed up. Please forgive my interruption here, I was only asking because I have a 15 year-old stepson, a three year-old and a one year-old. I thought maybe her oldest was a stepson or hers from another marriage. It is sometimes easy for me to identify with others with blended families. 

This was not that situation. She wasn’t hurt or very thrown-off from my question, which led me to believe I wasn’t the first person to make this mistake. She simply told me a heart-wrenching story of loss, hope, heartache, and unconditional love for Jesus. I will not share her story because I honestly feel like she should write a book. IT WAS THAT INSPIRING. I will say this, at the end of what she told me, my soup was cold, my heart was touched and I was bawling like a baby in the middle of the Jalapeño Tree. I looked down at my watch and we only had 15 minutes before our “ridiculously long” lunch break was over. 

As I was driving home after the workshop, I had some time to reflect. I felt like God had put my new friend (I’ll call her D) in that room with me that day. I felt like she was supposed to tell me that story. I am supposed to carry that with me, as a daily reminder that as bad as things may be, HE is still there with me. We don’t always understand the things that happen in this life, but that’s because we aren’t supposed to. 

D- I have thought of you every day since we met. Thank you. 

  
Luke 22:49

#herestothegoodlife

Why is it that #thestruggleisreal? This is a legitimate  question for me. Tonight, I came home to find my kids’ bedroom was in the process of being taken over by ants. I live in the south. These are red ants. They bite. They leave welts. They freaking hurt. I spent the better part of an hour shaking ants off the kids’ clothes on the back porch, only to find that I shook the majority of them onto myself. Then, I vaccumed, sprayed, vacuumed, washed, re-washed their clothes and vaccumed some more. #thestruggleisreal.

Oh…and I am trying so hard to watch what I eat. Except that I haven’t been home a single weekend this month, so I haven’t been food prepping. After working two jobs, taking care of two kids, and generally just stressing, my eating habits have been out of control. One night this week, I had ice cream for dinner. ICE CREAM. FOR DINNER. Tonight, after ant emergency, we had pizza. Let’s be honest…I ate it. A lot of it. Now, I’m laying here looking at my food baby and wondering what I will eat tomorrow. #thestruggleisreallyreal

Yesterday at church, I was carrying my 11 month-old in my arms, plus the church bag (full of fun, awesome games that don’t make noise) while my almost 3 year-old walked (okay was threatened to stay) beside me. Anyway, some of the sweetest people attend church with me. Here I am, standing in the aisle with my kids and they are all giving me compliments on my mad mommy skills when it happens. Mrs. Smith was mid sentence about how she is so proud that I am able to get kids to church alone and…BAM. I feel a cool breeze. I continue to act like I am listening to every sweet thing she is saying while I wonder in complete ignorance if my 3 year-old has just lifted my dress far enough for everyone behind me to see…or if he just moved his hands in a forward motion which caused a breeze. I wonder these things all the while I am still listening to sweet Mrs. Smith. I am sure the anguish of not knowing was in my eyes because she quickly ended her sentence and scurried off. I found the closest empty pew and plopped down in it. I was too embarrassed to turn around and meet anyone’s eyes behind me. It seems to me that I remember similar situations happening around me when I was a tiny human. I think all the other adults just pretended it had not happened….so I decided to do the same. #thisstrugglecannotbeforreal 

Oh hashtags, how did we ever define our feelings before you existed? With help from hashtags, life makes sense again! I think I can officially answer my own question. Why is it that #thestruggleisreal ? The struggle is real so that every day we have the opportunity to be thankful for the things and people in our lives. The struggle taught me to be thankful for ant spray, carbs, my church family and my kids. Without struggles, life would be easy, but it sure would be boring. #herestothegoodlife

For your viewing pleasure, I have added a few examples of #thestruggleisreal 

     

    
   
    
   
 

   
     

  
 

Scroll On 

I have the worst habit. I follow all these amazing shops on IG. I follow kid shops. I follow home decor shops. I follow clothing boutiques. 

Every day…I window shop via Insta. I will scroll through several times a day. I will start following shops that other shops suggest. I have found some of the most interesting companies and blogs this way. I guess you could say this is my guilty pleasure. 

Are you ready for my bad habit? My bad habit is this: I will see one of these shops is having a “Flashsale” or they are offering a discount code. I will spend time shopping on the website and adding everything I want to the cart. I will apply the discount code….and wait for it…wait for it….do NOTHING. The page will stay open on my phone until the discount code fairy dies. It’s like a way for me to dream about owning things without actually taking the plunge and spending the money. The next thing I know, I wake up the next day and feel like I am hungover. I’m hungover with regret. Does this resonate with anyone else? 

  
That’s how I feel. All. The. Time. 

Please forgive me if all this nonsense bores you. Truth is…these are all just things. But dang it, they are pretty, fun, awesome THINGS! Hey, a girl can dream…can’t she? Anyway, here is a very short and condensed list of things I am currently swooning. 

 
This recycled canvas map of the U.S. by Painted Fox. To check it out click here

  
These super cute bangles by Brin & Bell that can be personalized. Check out this great gift idea here

 
And last but not least…the most adorable tank for the smallest men in your life by Wild + Bear. To snag it..click here

I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy my “bad habit” too much to stop. No bank accounts are damaged in my dreamy process. If I had endless funds, this probably wouldn’t be so addicting. For now, I will continue to scroll, add to my cart, and let my little heart flutter. 

Travel Porn 

I enjoy new perspectives. One of my coworkers is married with kids. On her breaks, she searches realty websites for what she calls “house porn.” These are like fantasy houses. They are the epitome of her dream home. She has shown me a few. Let me tell ya, they ain’t bad! 

I enjoy my own dream home fantasies, but I recently decided that I don’t do “house porn.” I do “travel porn.” In my spare moments, I find myself dreaming of adventures. I dream of open spaces or beaches with no itinerary. But, no matter what, it’s ALWAYS about adventure. Lately, I have been stuck on Montana. I dream about hubby and I taking the kids camping in Montana. I dream of waking up, unzipping our tent (my dream, not hubby’s) and enjoying a cool morning sunrise over the mountains. I dream about having a morning cup of coffee while sitting on a log and taking in the silence and beauty of nature.

  
Yes, to be more specific, this is the view I’m dreaming about. I want to be there. I want to take in a cool, crisp, deep breath in this exact spot. Thank you @visitmontana for putting this sponsored link in my IG newsfeed. I will stalk you and your pictures for my sanity. 

Oh, and in case you are wondering what my primitive coffee cooked over a campfire might look like…

  
it looks like that. In case you love this adorable mug as much as I do, it comes in other colors. It is made by Sea Jay Shop. Check them out here

I have no idea what made me chose Montana to dream about. I guess I equate Montana with the word ADVENTURE. I’m pretty sure my dad went on a hunting trip in Montana when I was younger. When he comes for a visit this summer, I plan to pick his brain. I also plan to buy camping books and educate myself on camping essentials. My kids are still pretty young, 1 and 3 to be exact. But, they are both boys, I hope that works in my favor here. I would love to take them camping in Montana. I plan to go to Ohio for a few weeks each summer from now on. Hopefully, we can use some of that time to practice tent camping at one of the state parks there. Since most of Ohio is sans bears, I’m thinking the most I have to worry about are some raccoons. 

It will happen though. I will complete this dream. We will camp in Montana. We will wake up, unzip that tent, and step out into adventure.

The (Not So) Very Bad Day

I woke up in a bad mood yesterday. It was one of those days that you just want to stay in bed. I was aggravated. I was tired. My kids didn’t sleep. I wanted to scream because all I wanted to do was work out, but I couldn’t because the baby was asleep in the bed with me. Every time I tried to move him back to his crib he woke up crying which, in turn, woke my almost 3 year-old up. I felt like all the odds were stacked against me. I felt like screaming and crying because it’s like asking for a miracle to just have an hour to myself to sweat out some stress. SWEAT. I don’t think I’m asking for much…right? It’s not like I’m trying to go to a movie, or shopping, or dinner, or get a pedicure. All of those things sound amazing by the way. No! Instead, I care for two kids under the age of 3 ALONE. FULL TIME. My husband gets to go to the gym at his own leisure. He can work out for hours if he wants to! He gets whole nights of uninterrupted sleep. Yep. Now I’m mad at him. 

I go to work, my rampage continues. I have so much to do. I can’t focus. The same people I deal with on a daily basis are on my nerves. I sit through meetings and mentally roll my eyes. I contemplate running away for a few hours. Correction: I contemplate running away to my bed for a few hours. An old lady eyes the hem of my dress the wrong way. WHAT? NOW MY DRESS IS TOO SHORT? It covers my knees! Insert teenage “I can’t do anything right” whiny voice. I decide its best to keep to myself the rest of the day. My new motto has become, “Get your crap done and get out.” A kind of stay below-the-radar till it’s over day. 5:00 p.m. comes and leaves. I’m STILL working. Finally, I wrap everything up a little after 6:00. (Hubby has been at the gym for two hours by now.) 

I go and pick up my kids, who are both ecstatic to see me. This is not sarcasm. My oldest greets me at the sitter’s door and wraps his arms around me. My youngest bounces up and down in his walker when he lays eyes on me. I instantly feel my hardened heart melt. I pack my precious cargo into the car and head home. I take care of all the farm chores when we get home, fight with my oldest about him trying to pick his brother up/dinner/how he doesn’t want a bath. I get both kids bathed while washing my face and brushing my teeth with their bath water.  

 My youngest sacks out. I talk briefly to my husband. I fight with my oldest about going to bed. I finally get him down. I sleep walk to my room and crawl into bed. Why am I ranting about this seemingly normal day? I don’t keep a Facebook account, but I do reactiviate it from time to time. My friend got married in Vegas last week and I wanted to see her fun pictures. Anyway, as I’m scrolling through my news feed, or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days…I see that not one, not two, but three of the people I am friends with on there have recent posts about their sweet babies having to be hospitalized for health problems. One is batteling with seizures. One was hospitalized for 11 days because of kidney problems, and the other family was just asking for prayers with no explanation. 

What is wrong with me? Yesterday I am about to cry because I can’t have an hour to myself. Today, I am seeing all these poor heartbroken parents pleading for prayers for their sick children. SOMEONE please smack me. My “problems” are nothing. Parents out there wish they had my “problems.” I quit Facebook because I didn’t feel that it added any value to my life. That’s so not true. Sometimes I need the reminder that I should be thankful for what God has blessed me with. To all my friends wishing they could fight with their healthy kids, I am sorry for complaining. I pray your children regain their health. I pray you have God to get you through this time. But, most of all, I pray that I never forget how I feel in this moment. My heart is with you.