Promises

Last night my heart was heavy and these were my thoughts……

My aunt Tina asked for a pedicure during a visit a few weeks before she passed. I worked at a salon before starting a family and she wasn’t very mobile, so the shoe fit. The day she passed she made it a point to thank me, and show me her feet again. She was so proud of them. She was proud of something on her body…… A woman who had been battling cancer for 2 years, no hair, no ovaries, unable to eat for 6 weeks, unable to move, and face swollen/bruised from the migrating cancer. I can’t express how emotional it is typing this as I am still unpacking her passing. I just feel like these life lessons are important. When a loved one is passing you will never think to yourself “I wish they did more for me.” Instead “I wish I served them more.” Serving someone is honoring them. It is also one of the biggest honors we have access to experiencing. Spending those moments with her, cleaning up her feet, was one of the biggest privileges I’ve had in some time. It just made her so happy. Which left me also digesting what I identify as privilege in my life… That kind of experience doesn’t have a shallow point of registration. It is penetrating and valuable. But only when you are doing it just for them, not the people watching, is it mostly effective. Honoring people with heart and only having them in focus, inside of your mental lens, is a dual deposit.

There is pain of knowing the things we will not have in the near future…. I just miss her, I know where she is, but the deep parts of my heart are reaching for more of her. Most of all her conversation and time. Her time was never divided. I miss her being healthy. She was a personal trainer. She taught me how to play most sports like badminton, softball, and tennis. She was very active. I miss her being lively. She was her happiest when she was being active. I wanted to get old with her in our lives and enjoy more life things together, without the cloud of cancer constantly looming. But, all of those things show up dull next to the vibrancy of heaven, I know.

Her final days she would doze off often from exhaustion. When she woke up I would ask her what she dreamt about and sometimes she would mumble “Pepper”. She really loved us, with such a reckless abandon, in the way I love Pepper I think. The kind of love that is always available and doesn’t look back or withhold. You don’t notice that kind of love until you feel it for another human like your own children….. To her, my sisters and I were still little girls. She didn’t have children so my siblings and I were the closest thing to that for her… There was a point we didn’t have a home and we lived with her in Florida. She did a lot for us, she served us. We would jump on her trampoline with her and her golden retriever so hard our feet met the grass. It eventually broke, mid trampoline party, and we all fell off. She was fun.

The conversations I’ve had with her the past couple years where filled with wisdom and humor. I loved watching her love Pepper and Davis. There is nothing like seeing people you love, love one another. It’s heart food. Observing her work ethic and forgiveness is a treasure to me, she was a treasure. Pain and celebration are a rare cocktail of emotions. She was saved before she passed. Thinking of that makes it feel like Christmas for a moment, then the rollercoaster loops again.

I found myself running from her cancer too often. But don’t run from people with illness. It is more emotionally costly in the end anyways. It is not self preserving it is selfish. Honor people and take delight in moments of substance. Pine for it, harder than anything. If you feel like something is missing in your life, fulfill something for someone else. Kindness is always worth it and people are precious. She was precious.

Testimony

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Ten years ago today was the last day I saw Tj alive. It is all still clear. We were just weeks away from junior year and I gave him clothes that I had bought for school, it was a tradition we did. I also borrowed his new Jack Johnson cd and by borrowed I mean stole LOL. I made him a healthy smoothie before finding out he just had a milkshake from Chick-fil-a, we joked around, he drew a picture of him surfing with a shark in the water, and then he took my little sister to swim practice. That was it, the last time I would see him before his car accident the next day. There has been many dark times in my youth but this segment was the hardest to get through. I remember feeling so alone, to the point of taking my own life. I remember feeling so lost. It took me a year to stop thinking to call him and tell him about something. Death is so tough. It’s a brick wall that your mind can’t wrap around, can’t go around,  just keeps running into over and over again with the same truth every time. You can’t fix or undo it and nothing truly takes your mind off of it. But in these dark time, God revealed himself over and over.

I choose to put a flower at our favorite surf spot as kids rather than the cemetery. I know he isn’t here but he is more here than he is the cemetery. Tj was my boyfriend in middle and high school. He was my best friend more than anything. He showed me so much kindness, patience, and shared his love for God. He saw each person for their strengths. It’s like he was blind to weaknesses or flaws. He truly loved people, kept no record of wrongs, and never judged.

I didn’t know how to accept or give back love. I was never taught to feel worthy, and it almost seemed like a joke when I came into contact with such goodness. “This isn’t real, this won’t last, his going to end up being awful, don’t trust him.” These were all mentalities that were instilled in me. I had never seen what a healthy relationship looked like growing up. So me, knowing how to love correctly was a shot in the dark. Like asking someone who has never seen a sunset to paint a sun set. But through it all Tj stuck by my side. I knew because of his example what a good guys was. My father and step father were no longer in my mental dictionary of what a “Man” should look like.  My mind was forever reset. I wasn’t raised in a religious household. It was actually very broken. My step father was also an atheist and often left anti religious books around the house. So in many ways the odds were stacked against me having a relationship with God.

Tj was one of my lights and church became my safe place. Somehow I have always been blessed with friends that are difference makers. There are some people that will come into your life, put their hands on the steering wheel and redirect you for the better. Don’t give them friction and don’t be afraid of love. Its better to have love and lost then never have loved at all. Never take those people who want to steer you onto a better path for granted. Be grateful for anyone who wants good for you, encourages you, and brings out the colors of your soul. They are not a dime a dozen, they are treasures. They are the kind of people you will miss the most. Never feel so ashamed or attached to your darkness that you are unaccepting of light. He was such a light in a dark place and his story will forever be apart of mine.

I still have so many questions, but I know he has so many answers. I’m not sure if Tj was born to die at just 16 years old in a tragic car accident. But I do know that God can make the most beautiful painting with the ugliest colors. He just needs us to be a canvas.

 

The Transition

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So every mama out there knows after having a baby it takes a minute to find yourself again. Getting back in the grove isn’t easy and sometimes you never find your “old self”. At least I didn’t. It almost felt like I had to reinvent myself. It’s so hard to explain but I truly feel like I met myself when meeting my daughter. Beyoncé put it like this, “My daughter introduced me to myself.” I couldn’t relate to that statement more. Society tries to imply that once you have a child you are done. Your dreams, goals, potential, and sense of self is over. You are no longer a person and you are just a “mom” now, and we should be pitted. “Her life is so over.” It couldn’t be further from the truth. I have never felt more empowered, motivated, productive, focused, or worthy  in my entire life. Motherhood is the best reason to want to be better. Its is the best reason to stop cursing, to never quit, to try new things, to chase your dreams even harder, to keep the laundry going, to live a healthy lifestyle, to continuously pursue God, and to get into a healthie state of mind.

I would have never guessed 5 years ago that my life would be what it is today. I don’t recognize that girl anymore but I can relate to her. It’s strange. Being a mother is one of the most beautiful things you will ever become and when you become a Mother the most beautiful part of your life starts to be written. Everyday isnt easy but each day remember you are woman, you are strong, you were made for this, and you are completely badass because of it!

No Cable No problem!

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I’ve been on a soul cleansing mission lately. Not just for me but for my daughter Pepper and my husband. You know the saying, “you are what you eat” I feel like there is truth to that. I’ve been feeling that way about TV lately too. There is so much negative, materialistic, toxic, messages that are portrayed the majority of the time. Love and Hip Hop ATL has been my jam and my guilty pleasure for years. It all started with Flavor of Love. I still quote the show daily. But seeing these beautiful humans settle and not living to there fullest potential bummed me out. All of this talent but endless negative exchanges between the cast members. I feel that way about most of the shows I allowed myself to get sucked into. After a while I have just realized that these shows weren’t feeding my brain, bettering me, inspiring me, or encouraging me. They weren’t helping my exchanges with other people or my state of mind in general. Then it hit me. Why lend my time to anything that doesn’t contribute to my growth as a person, even for my family.

The next day was my trip to Nashville, Davis had Pepper of course. Being away from Pepper was one of the hardest things I have done in a long time, but healthy at the same time. While on the plane, I sat next to people from so many different backgrounds. They were so special. We exchanged words of encouragement and empowered each other. It was made clear to me again how special real human connection is. Anything that takes away from that, with such little trade off, isn’t worth doing. I texted my husband and chatted it over with him, he agreed and said he didn’t like having cable anyway. He canceled it immediately. Keep in mind I was addicted to the Kardashians and all of the other big shows, so this was an adjustment.

We are trying to focus on the things that enrich us as people and as a family. Spending time with each other and God. When we get the TV itch, we watch Sermons from our church in Nashville Cross Point. If you want some good brain food, that is a great place to start! Painting,  cleaning, reading books, going on walks, connecting with people, encouraging people, all things positive are welcome! We have been crafting a TON and I think y’all will love it! Going to be sharing that next!

If we spent as much time lending ourselves to the betterment of this world as we do on our bad habits and guilty pleasures,  I think life would be even more beautiful!

Local Lovers

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THIS is where we are on Saturdays when we aren’t swamped with filming weddings. Pepper is a busy body so staying in the house all day, no way. She loves getting out and we usually go on a couple walks a day. We are so passionate about small business in our family! Could have something to do with owning one ourselves LOL! There is a Farmers Market every Saturday in our neighborhood and we like getting organic blueberries and other goodies they have. It usually rotates often at markets. Peppers favorite thing to eat is BLUEBERRIES! Which is so cute because she has the biggest blue eyes, her middle name is Blue, and her mamas hair…Blue! It is so important for us to do what we can and contribute to keeping small businesses a float, you meet a ton of special people along the way too. This little joint is Blue Pelican Coffee( there’s the Blue thing again I swear i didn’t plan all of this). The couple running it were super sweet and friendly. Check them out if you get a chance and remember to shop local as much as possible! UGH just another reason we are so pumped on our move to Nashville in November! Should make this whole obsession a breeze!

– DIY – 4TH OF JULY POM POM CROWN

Hey Lovelies,

Ok, we are right around the corner from one of my favorite Holidays! Sooooo of course getting crafty had to happen! This pompom crown was something i tried for my little Peppers first birthday, just last weekend. Yeah, i have a one year old and still have mustered up the courage to say it out loud! Anyways, it was too cute not share with my spirit animal Dolly Llama Mama. She opted that we bring it to life for everyone, step by step. This is a super easy and inexpensive little project! These cowls would be super cute for birthdays, new born shoots, and they double as decor! Tag us on IG with pictures of your little munchkins wearing the DIY Pom Pom Crown!

Keep it Fresh!

Minty Fresh Mama

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