Memorial Day 2013

Memorial Day I had been invited to many social gatherings, even carb day.  Instead of attending any of these, I opted to keep the twins for the weekend.  Friday I prepared for their visit, sort of baby proofing the living room.  Brought their high chair in, set up the pack in plays & had the house clean.  Saturday they arrived.  Evan, Skyler & I attended the EMS cook out & enjoyed the yummy food & meeting the paramedics.

My twin niece & nephew Jaycee & Keedan are approximately 8 months old on Memorial Day 2013.  They are just too precious for me to even describe.  So without words, here are some photos from them being with me that weekend.   Memorial Day Jaycee & her spoon memorial day snuggle buddies Memorial Day with Jonny my bear eian & Keedan memorial day

The oldest boy in the photo is my soon to be 18 year old son, Eian.  What you need to know about Eian; is he is not a big kid fan.  For some reason he has never really liked kids especially babies.  He use to scare his own cousin Morgan by walking up & yelling at her.  She remembers too.  With that being said, he still doesn’t like to sit with them very long but, he has loosened up to the twins.  He now at least acknowledges that they exist & he will even rub their belly for a second.  Now with Keedan, it is a bit different.  He tends to like Keedan.  Eian says it is because he is so cool.  Keedan doesn’t move around a lot, baby chatter, scream, or grab at you like Jaycee does.  Keedan has what we call the stare; where he just sits & stares off into space.  He has personality but, he tends to hide it.  Eian decided to take a video of Keedan laughing.  Well, when he played the video back, Keedan laughed and laughed at himself.  I don’t have that entire video but, I did manage to catch a short version of Keedan sitting on Eians lap watching himself.  My favorite part in this video is Eian knew he was being recorded & he tried so hard NOT to laugh at Keedan, he failed.  In the video Keedan is saying, “dad dad”.    http://2013keedanmemdaywitheian.shutterfly.com/pictures/8

That night Keedan fought sleep for 30 minutes.  Pattie has told me that this is his normal routine, fighting sleep.  We all rested well.  Sunday we got up & all of us enjoyed some company with friends.  Then we headed to Boss & Tiffany for a family cook out.  There was a “cursing episode” you will read about in another blog.  But, everyone fussed over the twins & I got to see many of my cousins.  We had a great time then headed back home to enjoy more company.  Billy & Pattie picked up the twins Monday late morning & I was sad to see them go.  All in all it was a great Memorial Day for me.

On a side note, sometimes I am not able to upload my videos from my phone/text/email.  So, I have located the shutterfly website that allows me to share them along with slideshows so you will probably see more shutterfly in the future.  Happy Reading.

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I just couldn’t wait

Life is fleeting – this is my favorite of all time.

I know that when I die many things will happen ::  the world will still continue for all but a few.  Those few will certainly grieve for me.  They will feel a void, they will feel cheated, and not ready.  The will feel as though a part of them died as well.  They will want more time with me.  I know this from losing those I love and grieve for today.  Knowing this, I want to teach you, teach you how to remember the past but, live in the now.  My time with those I love, that time, those memories are finite and fleeting.  So l pass this knowledge on to you before too much time passes & I am no longer here.

If you have lost anyone you loved, anyone you wish you had just one more day with.  Think of that – that pain – that want – and don’t waste another second not filling the time you have even if just 30 minutes with those who you love and if time was taken away you would say, “I wish I had one more day”.  Make  today count.  That way there are no regrets.  In death you can embrace life instead and cry with tears of happiness and tears of joy for the gift of having them for as long as you had them … until you meet again.  Make your seconds matter, share yourself with those you love.  Do not squander that time – it will pass and you will have regret.  DO NOT spend your time on those who don’t make an effort or time for you – who mistreat you or don’t appreciate you.

LAUGH/SMILE – smile and be happy – stop allowing others to make your day better – you control it.  If you constantly argue or have someone who is wearing on you and taking that smile away – remove them from your everyday.  NO ONE should have that power over you.  It is yours to keep.  USE that power wisely and SMILE; life is so much better, I promise.

SARCASM – Don’t take everything so seriously, mock many things in life & enjoy it but, be serious when you need to be serious about serious situations.

DECISIONS – really get to know yourself, and once you do.  Make decisions about your life and your happiness based off of you and who you really are.  Don’t compromise who you are for others.  Make decisions that will lead you where you want to be.  You are the only reason you don’t succeed.  Sometimes you have to think about a decisions before you make it, if you are struggling with it.  Talk to God & also write down the positives/negatives and help yourself make the decision.  But, it’s okay if you make the wrong one.  Sometimes they are hidden gems that lead you to a place you never thought of.  LEARN how to do things yourself.  Check the oil, change your tire, and a little maintenance.  Read the directions you can build it, you can cook it.  DO NOT QUIT – allows follow through, always be a person of your word….character is what defines you.  Don’t smoke if you do quit.  Your body is a temple and this will destroy it – I promise.  If you choose to do illegal things, know the consequences and pay the price.

PROCRASTINATION – don’t procrastinate – make time for things – one thing at a time even, finish them – a project or hobby.  Today is only here today.  I’m trying to catch up on mine – I started too many.

THINGS – remember things are just that, things – over priced – replaceable.  Spend your money on yourself and those you love for fun and memories.  But, make the gift worth your money.  I’d rather have one really nice necklace I can wear daily than 40 cheap ones.  Because one is all you ever really need.  (but, trust me I have 100 because I’m cheap) Just remember to buy the things that you really want.   The other things just collect dust and end up being sold for a $1 at a garage sale.  Make GIFTS, put thought into the gifts for the people you care about.  Don’t be afraid to shop at goodwill (or coupon and sale shop) for clothes and know you can look FINE as hell.  I rocked many goodwill dresses and outfits.  Spend your money on what makes you truly happy.  For me, it’s vacation!!!

LOVE – This is not negotiable!!!  You MUST love yourself first.  If you don’t love yourself, you will never truly be happy with anyone.  If you aren’t happy with yourself – fix what you don’t like.  I don’t mean just the physical parts, I mean emotionally, mentally, spiritually.  Make yourself strong, love yourself – even your flaws.  Make your flaws work for you, not against you.   if you aren’t sure you are in love – it’s not love.  When you know – you know.  If you are willing to give up everything and I mean everything for one person it’s true love.  That doesn’t mean you have to give it up because if they love you – they won’t allow that to happen.  There are many different levels of loving someone, don’t be afraid of any of them.  But, when you find REAL TRUE love with another – hold onto it & remember it is better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all.  (this goes back to appreciating what you have) even when it’s taken away.

FORGIVE – forgive yourself for any mistakes and pain you may have caused others, even yourself.  Forgive those who have caused you pain.  Forgive them … when you forgive you will feel free.  Just because you forgive doesn’t mean you will forget.  Use your mistakes to learn, use others to avoid making the same.

ALWAYS GO WITH YOUR GUT – if it says this isn’t right, it feels wrong, believe it.  If it says it’s unsafe – get out – don’t wait!!!  Your intuition is just that it’s almost never wrong.

FAITH/HOPE – ALWAYS have faith, find something bigger in you to believe in.  Prepare for the worst & hope for the best.  This way you are never truly disappointed.  Know that anything is possible, good or bad.  Learn how to cope, how to deal.  You have to find healthy ways to deal with life, changes and sadness.  Don’t make things bigger than they are.  Things take hard word & patience.  There are so many healthy ways to deal with life and sadness, don’t self diagnose and don’t always take a pill to fix it – the world today is too offended & blames everything on a “diagnosis”.  It’s called life – FIX the things that cause you all the bad emotions.  If you do need medicine make it temporary, remember to look for healthy home remedies too.

DON’T BE AFRAID – fear is only fear if you don’t face it.  If you live in fear you are never truly living.  Try new things, try them more than once, we change as we grow.  Expand your pallet – taste new foods, taste them more than once, our taste buds grow too.  Know the difference between “I don’t like the way that taste” and “I don’t really like the thought of liking that”.  Really TRY it.  This isn’t just about food.  Don’t be afraid to dance, to sing, to be silly, to laugh.  Don’t be afraid to be HONEST, to allow your partner to have friends of the opposite sex (you either trust them or you don’t – if you don’t you’re wasting your time with that person).   It’s about a job, a career, school, staying at home, being a friend, having friends, sharing, helping a stranger, giving, taking, asking for help, driving, flying, boating, sking, parachuting, being a sibling, a child, a mother, and grandmother, an Aunt, a Godmother, it’s about EVERYTHING.

LOYAL & HONEST – lying will only cause you more pain, more lies, and more drama.  A relationship can never be built on dishonesty.  Avoid temptation, if something is tempting you & it’s bad “avoid it, them”.  Don’t be afraid to walk away from it.  Always tell the truth!!!!  Always – in the end truth always wins.  If you have to hide it – you aren’t suppose to be doing it.  We all have a moral compass, we direct it.

FIND THE FREE THINGS – find the free things in life – the library gives a pass to one state park for free.  Find out when you can go to places for free, discounted movies for free.  Some of the best things in life are FREE.  You just have to take the time to find them.

TRUST – trust yourself – trust that you will figure it out, trust that you can do it alone, trust that you picked a good partner, trust that if it doesn’t work you will find a way  to make it work (even if on your own), trust those who have proven to you they will never turn their backs on you, trust that the only guarantee in life is CHANGE, trust that there are no promised tomorrows, trust that in life you can either survive in this world and be a victim your entire life or you can LIVE life to the fullest enjoying everything the world has to offer.  If you don’t like your job, find a new one.

When you become a parent, let your kids sleep in the middle sometimes but, mostly in their bed, say yes more, be strict but loving, guiding and affection, sit back and just watch them, soak in the moments in awe & know that you created that.  Watch them, let them choose sometimes, most importantly ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH.  There are consequences to actions, they must know this.  Don’t sway or feel bad, no means no, it’s not up for negotiation.  Don’t parent from guilt.  Parent with enforcement, honesty & love, don’t allow them to disrespect you or others, don’t give them everything they want make sure they hear NO, make them do chores & know how to survive on their own, teach them life skills, and how to be good human beings.  SHOW them by leading them with your example, teach them about money.  Make time for yourself, make time for each child individually.  Embrace their differences but, love them the same – never have a favorite.

ENJOY IT – have fun, enjoy everything life has to offer, make acronyms, write poetry, do whatever you want.  Learn to carry a tune or play an instrument.  GIVE back, volunteer especially with the elderly.  Listening to them is therapeutic.  Read a book, go for a walk, a run, use your imagination.

Last but, not least TRUST that when people show you who they are believe them.  It’s simple really, don’t make it difficult.  This one is the most difficult for people to believe but, it’s true.  Do things because it’s the right thing to do, you know it’s deserved, appreciated and not because of guilt.   Listen to music and let it change you, dance!   Don’t complain about it, find solutions and fix it. We only have one body, one life here on Earth make it the healthiest and happiest!

Know whether you are my child, my surrogate child, my niece/nephew, my surrogate niece/nephew, my relative or my friend.  I choose for you to be in my life – because I am blessed.  Know that I LOVE YOU.

LOVE YOURSELF FIRST                        Keona Michelle Shelley Stidham   10-28-2017

~ Be strong, but not rude.  Be kind, but not weak.  Be bold, but don’t bully.  Be humble, but not shy.  Be proud, but not arrogant. ~ Jim Rohn

~ Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal ~ Richard Puz

Today

I’m kind of obsessed about specific things.  Once a thought pops into my mind, it always comes back – maybe not today but, it does return.  One of those obsessions is being prepared “today”.  Being prepared for whatever comes my way, being organized, being somewhat flexible but, mostly prepared for today – which for me is always tomorrow as well.  For I don’t look back, I always look forward.  While I can’t prepare or plan for everything.  The things that I can plan for, I will.  Some call it OCD, I just call it responsible and prepared.   My friends call and ask, when can you pencil me in.  I love being busy and filling my schedule.  It means I’m not missing out – that I’m able to fill every important second with important people, places, events, memories and moments.  Please listen when I say … THEY ARE ALL IMPORTANT TO ME.

In that preparation, I think about death – often.  It may seem strange to you but, not to me.  I have had a will since I was 20 & since I have aged, that has grown.  From a will, to a living will, to a medical will, to life insurance policies, to a list of gifts for specific people, to writing my own obituary, knowing what I want for my services, to even picking out the songs.  I of course will leave room for others to add their own music or photos and clergy but, I have my desires listed (I will haunt you – if not followed).

Back in the day when I first decided to travel without my children.  I found it somewhat risking to possibly die at the same time as their other parent.  So, I even opted to fly separately if the children weren’t with us.  This inspired me to write them letters.  Letters for graduation, wedding, birth & so forth in case I had left the Earth prior to said events & milestones in my childrens lives.  I still have those letters.  Then I decided to write letters to all of my nieces/nephews.  I often bring up death and if people have a plan and have paid for their services.  I don’t find it odd, I find it responsible.  I don’t want to leave behind any burdens for my children or significant other.  Therefore; I have the life insurance to pay for my wishes & leave a little something behind to help my children not struggle so much financially.  (No you’re not getting $100K).

So, to the point – somehow it came up with both my parents, they have a plan and are prepared so I am not left with a financial burden.  It has also came up with my Aunt Jamie who has my mind processing things even one step further THANKS!  Then there was this day with my niece McKenna.  I told her about my preparedness and my letters and it shocked me but, she wanted to read my letters now and not wait.  Me being a stubborn person of course told her not today, she had to wait and she would receive them once I passed away.  Then my niece, Kyree lost her Grandpa on her mothers side & my nephew, Gage mom posted about the loss of her brother 7 years ago.  These specific things come up often in my head and today I began to remember conversations with others about death.  My mother said, “whatever you want to give someone in death, you should give them now”.  Well, that’s her way.  I’m still stubborn and won’t give away the letters I wrote for when I pass.

But, I did take something from what my mom told me.  Last year I gave all of my nieces/nephews & children an elephant of mine.  They were the first things I ever collected.  I wrote them a paragraph with it.  I copied the paragraph (and gave all of my nieces/nephews one that actually said, LOVE MOM and it had stuff about them being born.  It’s funny because even when trying to be prepared I make mistakes – this is a perfect example of one.  I know that when they opened those gifts, it meant more to me then them.  But, I took my moms advice and I wanted them to have it now – not later.  I also decided that I needed to write them a letter – a letter about life – advice – just words and share it with them now if they are old enough about TODAY because tomorrow will be our TODAY and I don’t want them to wait until I die to hear most of these words of encouragement and wisdom.

I’m going to post the letter on my blog so they can all see it when they want to, when they are old enough, when they need words of encouragement, or just want to hear it again.

These are some of the topics that will be in the next post.  Death, Smiling, laughing, sarcasm, decisions, procrastination, things,  love, forgiveness, faith, fear, truth, loyalty & trust.

TODAY (is your yesterday, your today & your tomorrow)
2013 Chris Fuller & Evan at Lucas Oil Stadium football.jpg

How Do You think
By Anonymous

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t!
If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,
It’s almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost;
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind!

If you think you’re outclassed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself
Before you’ll ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the person who thinks he can!

Mine is different from yours

My Mother’s Day doesn’t start like yours.  I work night shift and therefore; have the luxury of receiving the earliest of Mothers Day wishes from my eldest son at 3am.  While you are tucked away sleeping, I receive a phone call from 1,087 miles away.    1997 Eian 2 and Evan 3 months

He’s now 21 and living in Coloroda and in the US Army.  He hasn’t been at home for almost 3 years now.  He is a smart, genuine, handsome, athletic, faithful, caring but realistic and determined young man with dreams.  He tends to stay to himself, he doesn’t like attention and he is very passionate.  He is strong willed and focused.  He has thick skin & doesn’t let much get to him.  He works hard and he plays hard.  He and I grew so much closer once he joined the Military & I will never forget “that letter” he wrote while in boot camp.  The letter was written of his own persuasion & from the heart.  It was like I felt the ink drinking onto my heart from each and every word he wrote.  He also gave a shout out while he was in Qatar on Facebook one year – and when he posted it.  I thought to myself – damn girl you got it right – motherhood.  He stated that it was the little things he missed the most and that he didn’t take things for granted and he missed my hugs.  He is absolutely one of a kind and I am so proud to have shared the firsts with him in Motherhood.  Technology obviously makes it easier for me to see him but, there’s nothing like seeing him or hugging him in person.

My phone has yet to ring today from Evan.  He is my 19 year old spunky, spirited, humerus, loud, stubborn, not easily embarrassed center of attention, creative, talented fly by the seat of your pants son.  He will be the life of the party and light up every room he walks into.  You are somehow drawn to him and his personality.  He has a caring soul, he is sensitive and wears his heart on his sleeve.  He finds his own road and determines every direction based from today – there is no planning.  He is unorganized and the risk taker.  He cares what others think and he wants to help everyone and see everyone else happy.  He’s a giver.  He was my baby boy and we were close when he was little & it held up until right at 18.  As he started to take on the world as an adult – we began to clash. I was too nosy, too involved.  He is right, that’s exactly the type of parent I am.  As he started his Senior year in HS, his invincible attitude lead him into a few rough patches.  He struggled to finish that year but, he did.  It wasn’t easy – I know as I was the one calling, emailing, checking in, helping and yes even doing sometimes.  He had no desire to be in school as he felt he wasn’t understood.  Luckily, there was one Teacher who did understand him.  Mrs. Hale came to his open house & I could see the respect in his eyes and the adoration in hers.  I’m so thankful she was there for him in HS.  This young man is unique in every way & I adore him.  I have been blessed to have him as the 2nd child.  He is the one I experience everything last with.  I am so proud of that.

Now, before you think – son call your mom.  I have to say it’s not his fault.  He is at boot camp for the US Navy.  I’m hoping that they will allow him a phone call on Mother’s Day so that I may hear his voice but, if not I’ll hold on to the memories before and that will suffice and push me through.  However; I think those who are in charge have mothers and know their mothers would say – let them make the call 🙂  I have been blessed 3 times while he was away for very short (no more than 2 minute) phone calls.  Most of it was scripted and we didn’t really get to talk.  He spoke, I listened.  The first call was horrifying for me as I could hear it in his voice – he hated it.  The 2nd call, I felt better as he sounded more relaxed.  The 3rd left me smiling because he sounded more like the Evan I know.  I am very proud of this young man and I can say there was no need to send a card or post anything on a media site.  I got what I needed & that was confirmation in his voice the last time we spoke that he GETS it.  He understands why I was rough on him and pushed him and while he hates it now, it will pay off in the end.  That he loves me and appreciates me undoubtedly.    Click below

You’ll Be In My Heart Always

 

With all the above stated, I must say, “it’s different”.  This is the first year where both of the boys are gone.  My nest is empty for sure but, they are not even in the same stateas I am.  It’s the first time for them both to be not in Indiana at the same time and it’s been a bit rough.  The house isn’t just quiet, my day is quiet, my phone is quiet (no text), the town is quiet.  You see my boys are very well known to my friends and we all spent lots of time together.  So, my friends would text and say – just ran into Eian or Evan.  So, it’s all a different feeling for me to accept.  TRUST me when I say I love the quiet, the no interruptions to my day, not being late, not tripping over the rug my son rolled up with his foot or being woke up after just falling asleep in the afternoon to answer a simple question.  I also must say that I MISS those exact same things.  I have every intention of embracing it all and sitting on the sidelines watching and waiting for them to call or contact me.  Instead of being sad or thinking how much things have changed.  I will allow their memories to make me smile & drive me as I enjoy all the little things life has to offer.  I’ll pack my bag and hold them in my heart every single mile of the road ahead.  For today for Mother’s Day – I am headed South for a full weeks vacation.

I’m also lucky enough to have a boyfriend who cares.  Who tries with everything he has to make the transition of the boys both being gone a little bit easier.  He checks on me, he sends me notes, text, brings me drinks, cooks for me and yes today he even purchased me a bottle of wine, a thermos, cactus and balloons with a touching card – even if I’m not his mother.  He’s a sweetheart and it doesn’t go unnoticed.

I have a beautiful, inspirational, passionate, caring, kind hearted and extremely loving and sensitive mother who is still a very big part of my life.  For that I am grateful!!  I worked some OT today allowing others to have time off for Mother’s Day & Bob purchased my lunch, such a nice thing to do.

I have always said I am not just Eian & Evans mother.  I wear many other hats and am my own individual.  Now it’s time to let that shine!!  I want to see the world and all the beauty it has to offer.  Happy Mothers Day to each and every one of you who give it your all and do what needs to be done.  Extra hugs to those who don’t have their mothers here to help them in their time of need.  Remember her, tell her story, share.  For our legacy is our children.

“Being a mother, it is the greatest gift”

“Many people are passionate, but because of their limiting beliefs about who they are and what they can do, they never take actions that could make their dream a reality” – Anthony Robins

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

 

 

Motherhood has changed me

Over the past few years, I have been experiencing many different emotions in my life.  My children have both left home.  Eian is 21 – currently stationed in CO for the United States Army.  Evan is 19, graduated from HS & currently living with his father here in Frankfort.

I can honestly say I’m proud of both of my boys.  While they are completely different people, I love them both the same.  With Eian, my first born, I learned to experience my FIRSTS with him.  As a parent, your first born puts you through everything first, you feel so inexperienced and unprepared.  With your second child, you think you should have things mastered.  You have experienced most everything you thought possible.  WRONG, he’s my baby – the last one to leave the nest.  Truth is since Eian turned 13 I started preparing for his graduation, and departure emotionally.  So, that I didn’t break down and cry at graduation or his open house & such.  With Evan, I began the same process but, it was different.  It was different because I knew I wouldn’t have to prepare for those emotions ever again, he was the last one I would experience those emotions with.

You see as a Mother, I tend to take everything personally when it comes to my boys.  Their success, their errors, their compliments, their flaws.  For, I am half of what created them, and all that carried them.  For me, being a Mother – fulfilled me.  Growing up, that’s all I knew for a fact I wanted.  I wanted to be a Mother.  I didn’t think about how the roles of Motherhood would change once they became adults.

Obviously, I’m always going to be their Mother – nothing can ever change that.  But, the roles change.  You step aside, you watch from the sidelines waiting.  For if they need or want your input, they will ask.  You hope that everything you gave them was enough!  You hope that what they experienced growing up, they remember.  You were brought up in a loving home of God.  You got to watch your parents in a kind & loving marriage.  You watched your parents work as a team together, your team.  You knew you were number one.  You got to enjoy family vacations, playing any sport you wanted, have your friends over & have some of the best parties EVER.  You were shown pride, honor, dignity, love, respect, truth, compassion, affection, strictness, and forgiveness.  You watched two adults change while maintaining their self-worth.  You were watching your Mother as she learned to stand strong on her own as she went through a divorce.  You watched me be frugal, handle finances and got to see first hand how they can change,  and how to manage them.  What is important and what is not.  You saw me be sassy, spirited, stubborn, opinionated, self-loved, motivated, hurt, happy, angry, independent, involved, and even weak at times.  You watched my friendships blossom with old friends, new friendships develop and even some friendships disappear.  You watched as I opened up to another man, other than your father & you accepted him.  You embraced him & allowed me to be happy – without guilt.

But, did you learn anything from what you experienced?  That is the question I as your Mother worry about every single day.  I know you had chores, there were consequences to your actions, you were loved, hugged & kissed daily.  That you said, “yes ma’am & yes sir”, you opened doors for others, you didn’t liter, you smiled, you laughed, you learned because I watched it happen.  But, do you remember, did it stick with you.  Have you forgotten about all the good?

The only guarantee in this life is CHANGE!  Change is around us every second of every day.  As ugly as this world is, there is still beauty to be seen.  It is up to us to choose to see the beauty.  We start by looking at ourselves & seeing the beauty within.  See yourself for who you really are, a loving child of God who has so much to give this world.  Look in the mirror and see yourself, see your flaws, embrace them, if you can change them – work on them.  See your mind – educate it, use it.  See your heart – open it.  Don’t hold back with fear, allowing yourself to not live a full life because you are afraid of being hurt, failing or being rejected.  See all the mistakes from your past & know that they are learning experiences and you can and will grow from them.  They aren’t mistakes if you continue to make them.  Repeating them means they are just bad choices that you continue to choose to make.  See all the flaws you have and make them work for you, not against you.  Create the person you want to be by: knowing you are never alone, loving yourself, being honest with yourself, respecting yourself, respecting others, loving others, setting goals and achieving them.  You have so many qualities that I can’t even begin to list them all.  See them, see what I see, see what others see.

I have tried each and everyday to live my life as if it were my last.  There are many many things around us daily that remind us – it could be ME.  I could become ill, I could lose a sense, I could die today.  It could be you, it could be any one of us.  Time is too precious to waste & have nothing that really truly is important to you – and I don’t mean “things”.  Embrace yourself, those you love, and the things that make you happy – truly happy!  L I V E

Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory ~ Dr. Suess

To Joey, With Love ~ this is a move that is a perfect example of what I’m talking about for even in death from cancer – they managed to remember what was important & to share it with the world.  God & Love.

Find tickets – only showing Oct. 6, 2016

 

 

 

Who is a Greeter?

When my son joined the Military I knew it would be a plethora of new emotions.  Each and everyday of my sons life I tell him I love him and I am proud of him.  I truly had no idea what the Military would bring for me.  I don’t know how it is possible for someone like me to feel more than I already do.  But, since he joined less than a year ago.  It is abundantly clear to me that I am experiencing more than I imagined emotionally.

There are a few things I have come to realize with my son being in the Military.  It is,  “ALWAYS hurry up and wait”.  You learn to love strangers.  You bond with people you may never get to meet in person.  You don’t get to share all you want with your friends and loved ones.  I get to see things that continue to amaze me!  My emotions and pride grow stronger and stronger daily.

Since I can’t share videos/photos all the time. I  will share my stories and feelings instead.  Once he was deployed, I wasn’t sure how I would handle it.  The first day, I was distant to others and sat beside my phone waiting for him to keep me posted.  As he called me, text or factimed me with his arrival and departure(s).  I became a little comfortable and settled in knowing he was doing all he could to keep me informed.  Once he arrived, knowing he was “bored” makes me feel so thankful – for it means he is safe.  During deployment, he had arrived at one airport and I made contact with volunteers.  I was shocked by the events that unfolded in front of my eyes when the cd arrived in the mail.

I watched as all of the Soldiers – my son were welcomed to the airport with love and pride by complete strangers.  Decorations all over with flags from the fallen, group photos from others previous deployments and returns.  A communication center with phones for Soldiers to use and books to read.  Signs hung everywhere.  YOU MAKE US PROUD with pictures from Elementary age students.  WE SUPPORT OUR TROUPS with each Military Branch.  A HEROS WALK where each Soldier walked through.  A quilt made in memory of the 13 soldiers killed at Ft. Hood November 5, 2009.  A miniature display of the Greetors station.  Franklin D. Roosevelts Bible, & many awards on display.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, WELCOME HOME TROOPS.  They had an amazing program put together with shirts, stars, food, sundaes and photography for our Soldiers.  They sang the National Anthem with our Soldiers.  They had prayer with our Soldiers.  Veterans were there sharing their pride and love for our country with the new Soldiers.  They meet and greet them, HUG them, thank them and take the time to share the moments with us – me!!  I watched each and every video.  The video of how it started, how long it has been taking place, how much work goes into it, who assists in the donations.  The video of the FLAG.  Describing what our flag means to them – the Soliders.  As I watched the videos and looked through the pictures of all the Soldiers – I saw all of their smiles.  The emotions overwhelmed me!!!  The love that I have for these strangers is indescribable.  They are there, somewhere I can’t be, supporting people they don’t even know.  It absolutely solidifies my PRIDE to be an American.  A Mother to a Soldier.

So, here is what I can share from the CD and I hope you all find it as moving as I do.

It Is the Soldier

by: Father Dennis Edward O’Brien United States Marine Corps

It is the Soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.  It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.  It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us freedom to demonstrate.  It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, Who has given us the right to a fair trial.  It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag,  Who serves beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

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New Hampshire Eian Pease Greetors getting on the plane  In the Hanger, a photo I would have never been able to take

What is a Greeter?  Someone who greets a stranger as if they were a member of their family, someone with unconditional love for their country and those who fight for it.  A selfless and generous human being.  From the bottom of my heart – thank you to each and everyone of you that volunteer and or donate to such a program.  For those who have served and sacrificed and keep on giving.  This mother is eternally grateful.

SHMILY

Mom traveled from Ohio.  We celebrated on Saturday having a cook out.  All of her grand children were there.  With that said, the following day … Sunday I did not see my oldest son.  Instead, I received only a text stating Happy Mother’s Day.  Very much disappointed in the system for this huge error.  I was told that his father already had plans for the two of them to have dinner together out of town.  I had received a message from the Department of Corrections as most of you know Eian is on house arrest for underage drinking.  So, could anyone please explain to me why DOC would even leave me a message stating it was okay that he be out of town when he is on house arrest?  Not to mention, is there any one or any thing more important on Mother’s Day than that of a child being with his Mother?  Pish Posh to the system and to his father for once again being a selfish man.  Not that it matters who it was with, he wasn’t with me which is shameful!

Evan however; made Mother’s Day comical as always.  I had called him to wake him, he was still asleep at 10:30am.  He said he had a few things to do and needed to be up early….really.  He calls me at noon, mom where are you?  I am at my friends, why?  Well, I thought when you called me you were upstairs, so I went upstairs and you were not here, so I just needed to know.  I said, I am actually heading home is there something you need.  Yes, mom I am hungry.  Okay, great cause a double cheeseburger sounds good to me.  I pull up outside of the home.  Evan is dressed and standing patiently on the side walk.  Putting the car in park, I look over at his huge smile.  He raises his arm in the air  & says to me …. STRETCH IT, it’s Mothers Day, I am chauffeuring you around.  I laugh, and he walks over, opening the door & giving me a HUGE hug & kiss saying, Happy Mother’s Day.  He says, so where shall we eat?  I am not into fighting the crowds and since we had a wonderful cookout yesterday, I’m good with … and before I finish he says, just sit back I shall surprise you.  We pull into the drive thru at Milky Way and get tacos.  After that he said he would weed eat the yard later and just let me relax.  He was off to shoot some hoops.  I went home, did a load of laundry and relaxed until he called wanting a ride to play football.  He plays football for fun with men.  He told me after the game today that there was a new guy from Indy and he was like 6’3″ and 260 lbs, big guy and he tackled him.  He always just cracks me up.  Then we stopped at one of his best friends home.  He went inside and woke her up to give her a hug and tell her Happy Mother’s Day.  She said she was in tears.  Her son, Chris called me wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day later and said I would have came to visit or got you something but, I am kind of grounded and it made me giggle.  These boys have been friends since they were 5 years old.

Going through some of my things, I located a list of 10 reasons why Eian loves his mom.  Mothers Day collage

The list makes me smile just re-reading it.  It is all 100% accurate and my favorite part is that he wrote in cursive.  You will notice that he mentions where I work & that I always call him from work.  As he grew, he enjoyed going to work with me.  One time he was really ill.  I could not bare to leave him at home without me.  I brought a sleeping bag, pillow & placed him on the counter top behind me & allowed him to sleep right there in dispatch with me.  These were the good ole days.  Dispatch was under staffed & they would rather me bring my ill child then to call into work.  You were the best little sick kid a momma could ask for.  I also located this typed note Eian wrote me a few years later for Mothers Day.  You were at my job, and you cut out several hearts from our scrap paper :: notice the COPY, SERVE AS COMMANDED on the hearts.

You typed the letter and told me that there was nothing more than hearts in the hand made enveloped & that I needed to not mind the words on the hearts.  My heart swells with pride as I remember always being there for you, always loving you, always enjoying your little moments, always putting your needs ahead of my own.

I also located a hand made card from Evan.  The funny part about this card is that both Eian & Evan were very much intrigued when they found out that my name was not Keona Michelle Stidham.  When they found out that I use to be Keona Michelle Shelley, they just found it funny.  So, they began calling me Keona Shelley sometimes.  If we were in a place where lots of moms were, that was their favorite time to yell Keona Shelley.  They knew if they yelled mom … everyone would look.  So, in this card Evan wrote the card to his mom, Keona Shelley … his spelling of course is much more humerus.  And after Matt & I divorced, I had discussed with them taking my maiden name back.  Evan stated, that is fine mom we will just change our name to Shelley as well.  I chuckled & stated it doesn’t work that way, I chose to keep the name for my children.

My mother wrote me a letter telling me about how she came across a story of a couple who use to use SHMILY on everything they wrote to one another.  She stated that they would write notes and sign it this way, or write it in the fog of the mirror, write it with the ketchup on top of the meatloaf.Whatever came to mind.  SHMILY stands for See How Much I Love You.  After mom sent us this story, she began using it when she would write to us all.  Matt & I began using it as well.  We shared it with our boys.  I would write them notes in their lunch boxes with SHMILY, it would be on their birthday cards & anything else for that matter.  Matt & I basically made it a tradition to use for our entire family.  I am grateful that my mother shared it with us.  After Matt & I divorced, Eian would still use SHMILY (& still does).  I did not mind that he used it however; I could not bring myself to use it as Matt was no longer a part of my family & this was something we shared as a family, as a whole.  So, I wanted to find my own phrase.  It wasn’t long after that – I started using YBIMHA.  It stands for You Will Be In My Heart Always.  It is a song in the Tarzan movie, it was one of Evans favorites, mostly because of the music, his eyes would get so big & his smile the biggest I had ever seen when he was younger & this song would play.  Even better because Evan & I argued about the song, I said it states You’ll Be In My Heart Always & he said nope it does not say Always ….well, he was right.  So, with me being wrong, I decided to add it as a special touch between he & I.  One that we were able to communicate, two that he was right, 3 that I was willing to admit I was wrong.

So, this is something I plan to carry on as a tradition with my boys FOREVER.  Many people see it on my fb posts & I have had several inquire about the meaning.  A relative, Jenny Kochert & I actually had a genuine conversation about it, the meaning & where it came from.  Our conversation reminded me of my Mother’s letter & she inspired part of this blog.  Hopefully, she has used one of the phrases herself or has created her own, as I think it is spectacular to have in a family.

I have many things I want to pass along to my boys as a Mother.  My love for music, especially the golden country tunes, George Jones, stories about our family growing up.  Most importantly I want to pass on the love that their father & I shared at one time.  We created those boys out of love, they were planned, they were wanted & it was all 100% real.  We were devoted to them.  We were raising them properly in our home, attending First Christian Church as a family & doing things together.  We were involved, we worked together, we were a team.  We showed them what a relationship & love was suppose to be like.  We have many amazing letters, poems, gifts, videos, photos, & memories.  I want to leave my boys with this part of our marriage & life.  I want them to remember that part of their father & I.  Not the part they get now, as it is not always pretty.  While I tried in every way possible to find a way to make us be friends & communicate.  Sadly, it just is not happening.  For reasons unknown to me, although I have my suspicions of the influences.  No matter the reason, this is one way for me to show the boys that I did everything to make it better & for them to REMEMBER the good & the love.

It is very necessary that I point out some inspirational women in my life while growing up.  Without these women I would not be who I am today.  Darnell Marcum, Annie Buser, Brenda Cottrell, Jamie Kochert, Debbie Crowe.  Darnell allowed me to see what a family was & how they were suppose to be, together, surrounded, supported.  Annie whom is now the boys Godmother guided me through HS, she saw me for who I was and somehow always knew when I was down, & would reach out to me.  Brenda raised me like her own daughter, giving me the chance to stay a part of the Shelley family when I could have been put in foster care.  Jamie showed me there was more in life.  More than what you have, that you don’t have to settle, that there is reward when you apply yourself, put forth an effort, and stop having excuses.  She showed me that there is so much in this world to explore, and I want to see it all.  Debbie, showed me how to accept someone & love them as your own child.  She also showed me that we are stronger than we think & that we can manage to over come even the worst.  She showed me the value of being a Mother & through a pain of her own, how NOT to allow a moment to pass without cherishing your gifts & what you have.  Other women/mothers have inspired me in others ways.  Mostly showing me through their own experiences; many things that I do not want to be as a Mother.  Not to be jealous of a relationship my son may endure.  Not to challenge that relationship.  How to support my son even when he is wrong while still being honest with them & letting them know they are.  Not to be a person who says one thing and does another.  When push comes to shove; I may have to show my son(s) that I am their Mother not their friend & if we’re lucky & their seed grows properly as it was planted, we will be blessed enough to be both.  To never lie to my children.

You’ll Be In My Heart ~ Phil Collins

Timothy 1:5: “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”                               This quote allows me to remember while I seem strict & my teen may be angered & believe my punishment is too harsh.  That one day he will be rewarded with the understand knowledge that I provided sound instruction when it was difficult & chose to be his Mother not his friend.  That he will thank me one day for it.

There are few things more satisfying than seeing your children have teenagers of their own ~ Doug Larson

A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be, A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be. ~ Frank Howard Clark

I am a prisoner of his music

April 26, 2013 driving around Carmel shopping at Garage Sales with my friend Lorraine.  I don’t text & drive & I even try to ignore phone calls.  Today it was just going crazy.  When we got back into the car, I decided to check my phone.  I had numerous messages telling me that George Jones had passed away.  I barely finished reading the first message before the tears were filling my eyes.  George Jones has been a legendary icon in the Shelley family since before I was born.  I actually do remember being little & I remember hearing his music.  I remember watching our family members get together and sing his songs.  My Uncle Bob is the first person I think of when I think of George Jones.  Growing up, we heard George Jones & AC/DC.  I know what an odd combination but, it is the truth.

Whenever, I hear a song that the Possum sings, I am filled with any and every emotion you can possibly describe.  It reminds me of so many things.  I think of the old days, black & white, people sitting on their rocking chairs on the front porch & just enjoying life at an easy & peaceful pace.  I think of my own Uncle George.  He was a huge BLUEGRASS man & I don’t know how but, Mr. Jones was even able to reach that level for me.  I don’t have a lot of memories of my Grandma & Grandpa Shelley but, I sure remember their love for George Jones as well.  Grandpa & his medicine (his wine).  As I was kindly reminded by my loving Aunt Tonya.  To be exact it was “Wild Irish Rose Wine” & George has a song about it. Grandma with her stories of how her and Grandpa use to fight.  Our family of what I remember growing up had a massive indescribable bond.  When we were growing up, I remember us all living in the same neighborhood.  Our first cousins felt more like our brothers & sisters.  We always watched after one another & had the others back.  We were a force to be reckoned with.  If you messed with one of us, you got all of us.  At our family gatherings, if alcohol was involved you could guarantee there would be a fight with one of our Aunt/Uncle.  We as kids thought this was normal & how all families were.  Growing up, we were simple minded, music loving, strong, under educated people with a drive to defend & protect our own.  Those traits have changed but, the drive to defend & protect will never leave me.

shelleyGrandpa Ewell Shelley & Grandma Helen Shelley

I grew up with lots of hurt & anger as a child.  The people who were suppose to love/guide/protect me were the ones who hurt me.  I relied on music a lot of the time to keep my company & keep me sane.  When I was grounded (back then we were really grounded).  I remember putting in a cassette tape, taking a pen & a tablet.  As the song played, I wrote the lyrics out.  That is when I realized not only did music dig deep into my soul & touch something that no one else could.  But, I realized just how much of a healthy release it was for me to write.  I didn’t even have to write from my heart.  Just the feeling I got when my hand touched the pen while the ink gracefully flowed from the casing onto the paper.  I felt like there was no wrong in the world.  While writing the lyrics, I found myself drifting & dreaming of what life would be like when I grew up.  I thought about what I wanted out of life.  The only desire I ever had was to become a mother.  I had already found the person I loved & was willing to share my everything with him, and that would be creating life.  I remember writing lyrics to all sorts of music.  Air Supply, Journey, just nameless people & groups but, AC/DC & George Jones were the ones that meant something to the Shelley Family.

May 1, 2013 It is with honor that I decided to attend George Jones viewing services in Nashville TN.  I was lucky enough to have my cousin Jamie Shelley & my Aunt Tonya Shelley Heaton along with her husband, Mike Heaton attend.  We traveled to Nashville.  Stayed at the Fiddlers Inn & were able to enjoy some of the downtown Nashville Wednesday evening when we arrived.  Mike had worked a 12 hour night shift, left with no sleep.  So, they called it early that PM.  Jamie & I however; found ourselves looking for local entertainment.  We walked around the parking area and located  Music City.  This was a small country local bar.   We had an awesome time where we met many talented people whom actually have played with Lee Ann Womack, Merle Haggard, & LeAnn Rimes.   They were just down to earth people doing what they enjoy.  We finally called it a night, only 2 be awakened 2 hours later by Aunt Tonya cell phone.  She had planned on getting their early.  I disagreed with her, lying in bed moaning as I am not a morning person.  She said there would be people in line already.  I told her that they probably couldn’t even get in until 9 am when the doors opened.  Luckily, I got up and we all took off skipping breakfast.  We arrived at about 6:30am to find a line already.  We ended up being about 545 of those already waiting in line.  So, she was right & I was wrong.

We patiently waited in line watching others.  We saw many celebrities walking by.  Police came through advising us what to do when the doors open & advised us once again no camera or video was allowed & to take your cameras back to the vehicle.  If you were caught with them out you would be escorted off the premises.  We entered the Grand Ole Opry and found our seats.  Seeing that the bottom section was reserved for family & friends.  The stage was magnificently lit with flower arrangements on easels including butterflies of flowers from Dolly Parton.  Below the stage was his casket covered in flowers.  As his family & friends entered it was silent.  The performers came on and told stories, singing songs & sharing with all of us.  I felt myself that Brad Paisley spoke the best telling people of young age to learn about George Jones & know his music.  I felt that Travis Tritt had the best performance aside from Alan Jackson of course singing “He stopped loving her today”.  I knew it would be something to remember but, I had no idea that I would see that many performers under one roof celebrating the life of George Jones.  I am so thankful to his family & to the music industry for allowing us as fans to be a part of it.  As I write this, I can say that even Patty Loveless expressed her heart felt sympathy as the Shelley family did….he was a member of our family, or so we felt.  He was a country song, he lived it, wrote it, sang it, survived it, & shared it.  I have included my fb URL with the photos for you to view if you would like.

 

In my eyes, NO ONE will ever fill his shoes.

Below is MY favorite duet with George Jones & Lorrie Morgan

RIP George Jones