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A Not So Brief Hiatus

Taken by me on April 11th, 2022, on a road that can lead you anywhere you imagine.

I can hardly believe I haven’t posted since last summer! Don’t fret, my friends, I may disappear for awhile, but I am still here. I hope this post finds you well. I have been a busy bee, with my family, business, and just living my best life!

Since I posted last, so much has happened. My adult son was asked to move out. That caused a lot of heartache for everyone, but it was time. Things were not going well here at home and we needed to get some separation. It hasn’t been an easy adjustment for anyone, but I think things are in a good place for us now. He has his own place and is trying to find his way in the adult world. My daughter is thriving in ways she couldn’t while things were so toxic for everyone. My husband and I are less tense and not edge so much of the time, which helps us as individuals, parents, and a couple.

Taken by a random couple, with my camera, we met while at Copper Falls on May 16th, 2021, our sixth anniversary.

Next month, I celebrate seven years of marriage with my amazing husband! We will be together for 10 years total this October, a decade together!!! In these last 10 years, we have faced so much. We have an amazing relationship, but that’s only because we continue to work together. There have been many days that were rough. We have faced loss, illnesses, injuries, struggles within our family and our own relationship, financial issues, and much more. We have not always liked one another, but the love has remained because we keep fighting for it. I am happy to have seen both my best and worst days the last 10 years with him. He has been my rock through a lot and still is. I battle bi-polar, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and a few other issues that make it a challenge to get through life, but he stands with me through everything, even when he may not feel like it. He has gone through some tough things and hasn’t always managed them well either, which has made it extra tough on me, but like him, I keep standing with him like he does with me. We are a team. He is not just my husband, he is my partner in life and as corny as it sounds, one of my best friends. I can confide in him and I know he will listen, not judge, and be here for me. He knows he can do the same and I will stand with him. It isn’t about simply finding the one who is right for you, but also the one who you are good for as well.

Taken by me, on my daughter’s first day of 5K, September 1st, 2021.

My daughter will be wrapping up Kindergarten in June. We have just about made it! It has been a rough year at times. She is battling ADHD and anxiety, which has made things difficult for her and for everyone who is trying to help her learn, grow, and thrive. She was recently diagnosed and with the help of her doctor, the specialist assigned to her, the school, and others who have been through it and are being supportive, we are making headway. She is a vibrant young lady, who is so smart, driven, talented, and kind. Her impulsivity and huge emotions can get in the way, but we are all working together to help her get through this. She is not any title assigned to her, she is so much more than that! I believe she will excel in life and find a joy and success all her own as she grows up. We just need to help her find her way.

Taken by me, while spending time with my son yesterday, April 11th, 2022.

My son is struggling with his own mental health issues, but he is trying to find his way. He moved into his own place in early February of this year and loves it. He can have the space and privacy he needs, but knows if he wants to be around others, we aren’t far away. He has been writing and drawing a lot, which I am happy to see. He is an especially gifted writer and I hope he does something with that. We used to talk about writing a series together, several times. I hope now that he is older and his skills have developed so much that we will make it happen. I would love to co-write a book with him. Either way, I hope he does something with his talents, because he has so much to say and is good at saying it. I have also learned he has a pretty good voice and since he has been spending a lot of time practicing with pitch, harmonies, and more, that voice is even more amazing. He is like me, a true artist and I LOVE it. (and huge into computers, technology, history, etc.) I want to see him use his creative outlets for not only managing stress, his own huge emotions, and more, but also would love to see him touch the world with his gifts. Right now, he is trying to find his way. I am excited to see what path he will land on. Whatever he does, I believe it will be great.

Taken at the end of a session, our kids have become friends. 🙂 I took this on March 23rd, 2022.

Business has been booming! This year marks the most weddings I have ever booked in a single year and I am so excited!! (and a bit nervous too!) In 2020, I added my Polaroid booth, day/month of coordination, planning, and officiating to my stand alone services and since then, things have been changing for the better. I used to bundle these services with my photography packages, but I find myself happier now that I have made this leap. Another thing that has helped is being more selective on the clients I book. I used to hire anyone who wanted to book me, if I was available, to bring in more revenue and make a name for myself. That has led to some disasters. I haven’t had a huge amount of drama filled clients, but the ones I have had have made me question everything. I have almost quit several times, because I just didn’t want to deal with the headaches and heartaches. It took my amazing husband to remind me each time that more often that not, my clients are absolutely amazing and that I truly love what I do, so I shouldn’t let a few bad experiences here and there ruin it all for me. I am glad I listened to him and to others who have been so supportive since I began my business in 2016 and started doing weddings as well in 2017. I am thankful for all I have learned, for the fun moments I have gotten to capture and be a part of, the places I have gotten to travel to, and for the wonderful people I have met along the way, both clients and fellow vendors alike.

Seeing the ocean for the first time, I took this in San Diego on July 11th, 2021.

On a more personal level, I have developed a love for cooking, most especially baking. I never minded it growing up, had fun in cooking class/home economics and learning some basic skills at home or through friends, but I don’t think I ever LOVED cooking and baking until more recently. Since finding out I have a gluten allergy, among others, I have had to explore new ways of cooking and finding ways to be included at things like family functions and by doing all of that, it has ignited something within me. I find that I really enjoy making meals and baking these days. It has become a lot of fun. I like experimenting with new ways to make things as well. I like to add my own twist to standard recipes too, shake it up and make it my own. My passion for photography was dwindling a bit, but the spark came back recently. I think last year was so hectic, it drained me. I needed some time away during the slow season and that helped me recharge and find my way back. I have missed writing, so here I am sharing a bit of myself with all of you today. Singing is next on my list! I do it with my daughter and when I hear something I like on the radio, but that’s not the same. I miss doing it for myself and sharing it more. Yesterday, while hanging out with my son, he mentioned that he thinks our voices go well together, that he regrets not doing karaoke with me at my wedding or vow renewal, and that we should sing together more. That would be fun, just like it is when my daughter and I sing together. I love singing, but when I can do it with others, sometimes it is even more enjoyable. I went for a walk yesterday, after I dropped my son off, and took pictures just for me, as well as let my eyes take in the beauty around me. I found I missed that too, exploring and just taking in my surroundings. I am really trying to work on myself more lately and it feels nice. I also think it helps me be a better mom, wife, friend, businesswoman, and overall person. That would be my little piece of advice to anyone reading this right now, take time for you. Find your passions, make time for them. Get out and enjoy the world around you. Work on yourself. We are never done learning and growing. Find your happy, live life surrounded by it, and share it with others. ❤

Yes, I am still here!

Hey all! It has been about six months since I have posted. I am still here, just been dealing with a lot and haven’t known how to put it all into words. Fear not, I did and will not disappear! I am here to stay! Next month, it will be nine years since I started this and I am in it for the long haul. So, you’re stuck with me. 😉

I have two kids, one is 18 and the other is five. My 18 year old has been causing a lot of problems the past few years and the last several months have been really difficult, more so November through April. He came at me, never before or since, the week of my birthday in December this past year. Things had reached a head and he snapped, which left me feeling very frightened. It took me a couple of months to be able to fully look at my son without imagining him lunging at me. He was nearly kicked out. I was not doing well. In January, he was failing in school and he blew off every chance they gave him to catch up. At one point, he even fudged the appearance of his grades so that I would get off his back. When the school told me he was still behind and that things were worse, I defended him and looked like a total fool for it. I found out what he did and was mortified. They didn’t press charges and still offered him help. He still blew them off. He was doing virtual learning first semester. As that didn’t go well, I sent him back to in person learning for the second semester. He started skipping school and causing problems right away. At home, things weren’t good. He was mean to his little sister, stealing from us, lying, blowing off therapy, not taking his meds a lot of the time, not going to his probation meetings, and causing issues. None of that was exactly new, but he had been doing decently for months and then started spiraling downward again. We had to make some tough decisions.

After talking about it for awhile, we decided he had until April 5th to get his butt in gear or he would need to find somewhere else to go. His dad and step-mom seemed taken aback by our decision, until I pointed out that they had distanced themselves from him. When I asked if they would be willing to take him in is when they got silent. They knew we were in a tough position, one they had once been in and realized they didn’t have a leg to stand on when we told them our decision. It was one that was not entered into lightly. It hurt me so much to make it and to tell my son, but it needed to be done. The school continued to reach out and for a bit, he still did nothing. I feared he would end up with no where to go in a couple of months. I was on edge most of the time. I was crying or screaming quite a bit. I didn’t like who I was becoming at all. My relationship with my five year old daughter was suffering, as was my marriage. It was really hard wanting to get out of bed or do much of anything. I knew we had made the right decision for everyone, but it sure didn’t feel like it a lot of the time.

The school reached out again in March with two opportunities that my son could do to graduate on time. He did decide to go for his HSED, paid for by the high school. He did struggle a bit with that at first. On the April 5th deadline, he tried pulling a no show, lying about COVID to try and get out of going. When I said he needed to get tested, he acted like he was going and I said you know you need to schedule with them and he said he did. When I asked him to prove it to me, he said he shouldn’t have to. We fought. At the end of it, I said either you prove it to me and I will even take you to get tested so you don’t have that long walk or you go to school if you want to stay here. I said if he was just going to bail, he could go. It was the deadline date and I wasn’t playing. While I was angry on the outside, I was also breaking on the inside. I hated being the “bad guy”, but I didn’t know what to do anymore. He decided to go to school, knowing he really shouldn’t keep pushing his luck. Other than a few e-mails about him not putting in enough effort, he started doing better. He started taking his tests and one after another, with some help studying and taking pretests, he passed them all. On May 4th, he passed his final test. I can not begin to tell you how happy I was. One weight had finally lifted.

The next up was what does he do now? He hasn’t had any concrete plans for college, which is okay for now, but he needs to get a job and get on his feet then. We gave him a deadline of June 19th to find a job and if he found one in time, then he has until October 1st to get a place of his own. Living with him long term just isn’t an option, especially with our five year old to consider. She doesn’t deserve the often tense and stressful atmosphere and nor do we. Also, he needs to learn how to take care of himself and once he does and starts to do well for himself, he will feel a sense of pride and find joy in his successes. I want both of my kids to be happy and to do well. He got a fast food job on Friday and starts today. He did go on an open interview last for a factory job last week as well. He did say that Taco Bell is a placeholder job, knowing he needs something more substantial to live off of. That was a really smart thing for him to say, to realize he will need more and that this job is only temporary, but is better than nothing in the short term. I am wishing him so much success and more than that, I am wishing, hoping, and praying for him to have the life he wants for himself. I want to see him happy and fulfilled. That is all I have ever wanted for him.

When I photographed a wedding on Saturday, I cried during the mother/son dance. The song that they danced to was, My Wish by Rascall Flatts. The groom is only a few years older than my son. The mom was crying and that got me going. Then I started thinking about it one day being my son and I, which led to more tears. I dream of seeing my son that happy one day, as I do my daughter. He is an adult though and I know that future is closer for him. He and I have gone through so much in nearly 19 years. I have felt happiness, joy, fear for and of him, anxiety, sadness, depressed, hope, pride, and more. Above all of that, I have and will always love my boy. He has pushed me away a lot and there were times I pulled back, but even when I did, the love remained. He is my son, always. That unconditional love won’t die. I hope in time that trust and respect builds. I know he is a good guy at heart. When someone he loves hurts, he hurts, as I do. We are both empathetic people. He will work hard to see people smile. He is creative, funny, smart, and loving. I see good things for him. He needs to work for them and I know he can. I am praying for that all the time.

On top of all of that, there are things going on with my daughter. She has been struggling and I know part of that is because of how hard things have been around here. She also has been sick, has gotten hurt pretty bad, and dealt with a lot. She struggles with pooping in the potty, wanting to learn how to read, and more. She has a temper and can be really sassy. Sometimes my two kids get along great, but other times they are at war and not typical sibling rivalry. We do our best to work through this with them. It is stressful. All of that weighs on my marriage as well as my own psyche. We are talking often and trying to work through all of that. We are making time for us the best we can and trying to balance our time between us, the kids, ourselves, friends, etc. Finding a balance is healthy, but hard to do. We keep at it though.

I own my own business. I am a photographer, day of coordinator, event planner, and officiant. It has been a long road the past five years. I have almost given up several times, especially during COVID. I lost so much money in 2020. More than that, I lost a lot of confidence. In 2020, I fell into a dark depression. At one point, I shaved my head. I got back on meds and saw a therapist briefly. I was so tired of feeling either angry or depressed. I was so tired of flipping out over stupid stuff. I knew I needed help, for the sake of my family and myself, not to mention my business, friends, and others I come in contact with. Sometimes I could hide how messed up I felt, but other times I couldn’t and no one should suffer from it. It has been a long road and I know I will continue to struggle, but I do feel a lot better than I did and I will always keep fighting for my health, well-being, family, friends, relationship with God, business, and for love. I may appear silent for months at times, but please know that’s because I am fighting demons and have forgotten I can turn to my blog as an outlet. Writing out how I feel is just one of the things I blog about. I like to discuss topics, share my photography and poetry, do the occasional review, and more. This page was created so I can share my life with all of you and meet others who are doing the same. Thank you for stopping by today!!

Many blessings I wish for you all and I hope this finds you well! If you have anything you would like to share, please know I welcome you to do so! Then go and enjoy life, be with those you love, and share a smile with someone who may need it. Practice kindness whenever you can, you may not know just how much someone else needs it. ❤

(photo credit: I took this on Saturday while photographing a wedding)

When you run a business in this day and age, one way to get noticed is to have a huge online presence. From Facebook and Instagram to Google and Yelp, ads for businesses are everywhere. I am guilty as charged, I have my name on all of those platforms. There is another way to get your name out there, write a blog and share what you offer with the blogging community. Viewers stop by from all over the world to see what people have to say about anything and everything. When they like what they see, they often share it with others. Word gets around quickly on the internet, so why not have your name out there on as many platforms as possible? If you have never written a blog before, it may seem like a scary thing to try. I’m here to tell you, it’s not so scary once you get started. It can actually be a very rewarding thing to be a part of.

I started my blog over eight years ago, for a personal reason. I was going through some tough times and it was a place to share my experiences. It led to some friendships that are still going today. A few years later, I started my photography business and given the success my site was having, I wondered what would happen if I shared my work this way as well. Thousands upon thousands have viewed my site, so I figured it was worth a try. If you’re uncertain, there are a lot of free plans out there. I would start out with one of those and they are pretty easy to set up. They walk you through it all, so that it will look how you want it to. When you’re thinking about your look, ask yourself, what do you want others to see when they come across you page? You want to leave a good first impression. Pick a look that you feel describes you, but also makes a bold statement. It helps to have an about section that gives a little background about you, your business, how you got started, and why you do what you do. Knowing about the founder, what drives you, and your products puts you a step above the rest. Make sure to put the link(s) to your website(s) on your blog and I would highly suggest to put them at the top, underneath the title of your blog. If they’re at the bottom, many overlook them. Also, make sure the link(s) work before going live with your blog. Once you have your page set up, it is time to start posting!!!

One thing I want to stress is, SHARE PICTURES! People will want details about your products, but they will also want to see the actual product as well. Words can paint a vision, but pictures will show them actually what it is you offer. Be friendly and be yourself when you post. You may not be in front of your viewers, but this is a form of talking to the people you wish to reach. You want to come across as knowledgeable and intelligent as possible. One thing that will distract some is a lot of typos, incomplete thoughts, and posts without any real content. Tags are a big part of getting your blog out to the people you are aiming your blog towards, so use them when you post. Use keywords that your targeted audience would use when they’re searching for blogs like yours. If writing isn’t a strong suit of yours, there are people out there that can help you with that. Don’t be afraid to seek out that help if you need it. Whether or not you just want some help to edit your posts or you want to perhaps hire someone to write for you and share your content, there are many talented people out there that make sure your posts turn heads and get your name out there. Either way, I hope if you haven’t already considered writing a blog for your business, that you will now.

Everyone has their own thoughts on this crazy year, including myself. We are all allowed to have those thoughts. What bothers me isn’t when people disagree with mine, but when people put others down for having a different view. From the mask to no mask debate to Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter debate, things have gotten out of hand. I don’t care if you preferred Trump or Biden. It doesn’t matter to me if you don’t share my thoughts and opinions. Feel and think how you do, that’s fine, but let others do the same in peace too. The fighting has gotten old.

I think everything has gotten way out of hand to be honest, from the fighting to all of the nightmares COVID has caused and is causing. Some think people are over hyping the whole thing and don’t think it should be a big deal, while others are really concerned about it. I know that it’s real, because many I know have gotten it and well, now my family and I had it last month. It wasn’t a joyride, especially the first week and a half or so. Everyone here had it to varying levels and that shows me it doesn’t get to everyone the same. It was the worst for me and my daughter was barely sick at all.

Do some end up hospitalized from it? Yes. Have some died from it? Yes. It is not fun to get, though most of us that have gotten it recover without any major issues. It was not fun in the least for me and I still feel like it weighs me down sometimes, but I pushed through it and so has everyone I know that had it. I think that overall we will survive this. What I hope is that when we do get through it, we won’t be so divided that we forgot we are supposed to be a country that sticks together. Watching our country fight over pretty much everything is really hard to watch and I will keep praying things get better.

In a few weeks, 2020 will be over. This year has been deemed the worst ever by many. On some level, I can understand why people say that. It has been a difficult year for so many people and not just here in the U.S., but across the globe. COVID and 2020 have taken so much from us. Personally, it has been hard to watch how my kids have suffered, our financial situation has gotten worse, my small business has been struggling, people I love have died around me, and seeing how much some have suffered through this mess. It hasn’t been a picnic of a year, I won’t deny that.

I will however say that if all we do is focus on the bad, we will lose our minds. It is hard to do some days, but I think it is important to try to find the good. Has anything positive come from this year? For me, yes, as hard as this year has been, I can admit that it hasn’t been all bad and actually, it hasn’t been the worst year ever. I have faced worse. It has definitely been one of the strangest years, but not the worst. Still, I am looking forward to 2021 and hoping it brings better things, not just for me, my family, or friends, but the world in general. We need to heal and it would help if we worked on that together.

A Mother’s Love

My kids, my everything

A friend of mine challenged me to write about the unconditional love a parent has for their child(ren). I got busy, kept meaning to get back to it, and eventually forgot. I remembered now. 😉

There are many types of love one can feel. The love I have for my mom isn’t the same as the love I feel for my kids. My love of nature is different than my love for cheese. From people to places to things, one can love a lot. The capacity a human soul has to love is unfathomable. One of the greatest I feel is the love I have for my children.

I miscarried twice, first when I was 19 and then at 21. With my health, I didn’t think I would ever have kids. Then at 23, almost 24, I had my son. I had known love in my life before then, but not a love like this. To put into words just how being pregnant with him felt and knowing I was going to soon be called momma, I don’t know that I can do it properly, but I will do my best.

Not that I wouldn’t have sacrificed a lot to see my mom, grandma, or friends happy and healthy, there were clear limits as to how much of me I would give for them. With my son, I found those limits extended and honestly, they feel limitless. I have felt there was nothing I wouldn’t give up to make sure he had everything he needed to be healthy, get a good education, know happiness, and have a good life.

I have been selfish from time to time, but overall, I have given up more for him than anyone else over the years. I watched my soul break when I gave his dad temporary primary placement years ago. His dad had a stable job and was in a better position to give our son things he needed. No one who hasn’t been in my shoes could really understand how much I was hurting.

Things went okay at first and then his dad started keeping us apart. My son wasn’t happy, I wasn’t happy. His dad wouldn’t listen. The pain I felt was immeasurable. I was on my feet within the year of signing those papers, but it didn’t matter to my son’s father. Eventually, I knew I needed to get a lawyer and fight to get my placement back. The fight took a lot out of me. I fought hard though, because my son was/is worth it.

It took 14 years in and out of court to bring my boy home. Many tears, sleepless nights, thousands of dollars, many long drives to court dates/mediation/to do pick ups and drop offs/take him to school/etc, and more were a regular part of my life for a long time. As my soul ached more and more, I contemplated giving up several times. What kept me going was my love for my son and wanting what was best for him. When I felt it was best for him to be with his dad, I stepped back and willingly had limited time with my son. It became too limited and after some time, it weighed on my son too much. I realized giving him what he needed was about far more than who made more money.

Now, he’s here full time and it is a whole new set of challenges. Over the years he spent most of his time with his dad, he grew angry at the world and started acting out by stealing, lying, destroying things when he got upset, getting in fights at school, and so on. No one would listen to him for years. He was crying for help. I kept fighting to bring him home so I could help him turn things around. In the past 18 months since he’s been here, it’s not been easy much of the time.

He continued to steal, lie, get in trouble at school, and he started causing problems for my daughter. (She is four, had her with my husband. My son’s dad also married and had two more kids. There were issues with our son and their oldest prior to him coming here full time.) There were good days and a week or two here and there, but overall, things have been really stressful. Still, I push forward and fight to help my son. I want him to succeed and be happy, more than anything.

He is doing alright right now and this time, it feels different. I think he’s finally starting to mature and make needed changes. The whole family feels it. The tension between my kids isn’t as bad, they’re bonding more. The relationship between him and my husband has been improving. My son and I are getting back to a good place. This is why I have fought hard and continue to. I want what is best for my children. I will always fight for them, for their futures. There will come a time when it is more subdued, as they’ll take care of themselves, but I’ll always be cheering them on.

The love I feel for my son and daughter don’t compare to the love I feel for anyone else. The jobs I worked, didn’t work, staying home to raise my little girl, the court battle to bring my boy home, the many loads of laundry, meals cooked, staying up late to soothe a sick little one, staying up to decorate for their birthday parties, letting their friends stay the night, the long drives, nursing wounds, listening when they’re upset, the cuddles, attending games and concerts, the lack of social life, working hard to see them smile, and more are things I’ve done and would do again to make sure they are doing well. Above all, I want them to walk out of here with the skills to lead a good life and so much love that they’ll want to share it with others. A mother’s love is never ending and while it isn’t an easy thing to be a parent, it is one of the best parts of my life.


No one, nothing
No one but me, nothing
Nothing but sounds
One ear rests upon my pillow
While the other searches
Searching for meaning
The clock ticks
Echoing in my head
Cars pass by every now and again
Sirens blaring
Proving one thing
Time doesn’t stop
Life continues on
No matter what is happening within
The world keeps on spinning
The weight of that hits
I feel dizzy
Though I’m laying down
I think I’ll just lay here awhile longer
As my thoughts consume me
I don’t hear the clock
So purposefully, my ear searches
Time can’t stop
Ah ha!
There it is once more
Tick tick tock
Goes the little clock
Visions of a white rabbit
Appear in my head
Come with me, he says
Down the hole
Let’s see where we’ll go
Spinning, spiraling down, down, down
I expected to feel pain as I landed
I did not
Instead I felt comfort
I sat up and looked about
No tables with goodies
Nothing said eat or drink me
But everything did look strange
So strange indeed
The white rabbit was gone
I was alone
Or so I thought
Strawberry haired fairies fluttered by
Singing the sweetest tune
After a spell, I felt I could drift away
Then just as suddenly as it all began
It stopped
Looking around, I searched
With my one good eye
I saw swirls of color
As I lost focus
Everything became clearer
The sound of children laughing filled my ears
I saw no one
Still, the sound remained
I stood and walked about
Trying to find the children
The more I looked
The less I found what I was looking for
I stood motionless
Shutting my eyes, I retreated within
My ears listened
But more than that, so did my soul
With the essence of a child
And soul of an old warrior
I am
Birds chirped
Their war song was clear
Not a war among great lands
It’s a war within
This is your fight song
Cooed the blue jays
Rise up!!
All at once, everything changed
I found myself back on the couch
Just listening once again
To the clock and its ever present ticking
The cars still drove on by
The sirens were gone
Light crept in
The wind blows
As things stay the same
They change
I change
Today, I rise
You will not win
Not today
No, today is mine
Let’s go.


Ever since this whole quarantine situation began, so many around me have been struggling. For many, it’s a financial thing. So many people have outright lost their jobs or have been laid off with an unknown return date. Even my husband is now facing a possible layoff situation. When you struggle just to provide the necessities for your family and there’s nothing you can do to change the situation, you find yourself freaking out. How can I feed my family?? How can I make sure that we will survive this???

For others, it’s struggling to deal with a lack of social interaction. Many thrive on being around others. Some, like me, can only handle so much isolation. Sometimes, one handles their mental health illnesses by going out and surrounding themselves among friends and family. Whether it’s going to bars to dance, sing, play pool, shoot darts, play bags, or just chat with friends, scouting out places to experience new things, going to concerts, checking out the newest movies, bowling league or just because, or often planning and hosting events for family/friends, it’s an escape from one’s own mind. Now that we are stuck at home, we can’t help but retreat into our own heads and that is a scary reality we can’t run away from.

Because of the ban on gatherings, many have had to cancel or postpone their weddings, kid’s birthday parties, baby showers, and more. After all of that time spent planning and preparing and money spent, it ends up being for naught. Flights canceled, deposits not returned, being left with a bunch of décor and such that can’t be used, and plans being canceled have left many heartbroken. Many are even unable to attend funerals for people they love and want to say goodbye to. While many of these things can be rescheduled, this means more money spent and competing with many others for venues and other vendors as many will have to reschedule at once.

There are some who still have to work and while in some ways, that is a good thing, it’s also a stressful too. They’re among others who could get them sick and if you have a weakened immune system, that is even riskier. Some who are immunocompromised are working from home, but not all. Think about the long hours too. There are professions that don’t get sent home to work or get told they’re laid off. Many are needed to make sure we don’t completely fall apart during this time.

Truckers are still on the road, as we need them to deliver goods so that our families can survive. The military still is out there looking after country.  Cops and firefighters are out protecting us from harm. The electric companies, water companies, cable companies, phone companies, etc are up and running. Grocery stores still need to stay open. Many restaurants have closed, but some are still open for delivery and take out options. The postal workers are still bringing us our mail. Medical professionals are needed to treat the sick and injured, transport those unable to get help on their own, greet the patients, do x-rays, and more. The list goes on. To keep this country running, there are a lot of people out working their tails off, subjecting themselves to countless germs.

The kids being off school has forced many to stay home from work. That goes with the first paragraph, creating financial issues. We may be getting assistance, but it’ll take time for that to go through and arrive. Now, add in you’re stuck at home with your kids, trying to home school them and many don’t have experience in this. The social interaction for your kids has ended. They can’t spend time with their friends. While it is easier for many adults to grasp the situation, many kids don’t understand and that is hard. Watching your kids struggle with this hurts. We would love to let them go play with their friends, but we can’t. Now many families are secluded with one another day in and day out, creating tension and more stress.

No matter what one’s situation is, I don’t think anyone has it easy. These points and more, we’re all struggling somehow and some are struggling on several fronts. Some are coming together to help where they can and that is great to see. It’s nice to know that some are looking out for their families, friends, and neighbors. It is also saddening to see that others have revealed their selfish and cruel natures as people are getting into fights over supplies. The need to provide for their families while we’re shut in has driven people to desperate measures. Some are simply trying to get through the week and others are hoarding enough to last for months. This whole mess has created mass hysteria. Panic buying is making it hard for others. Stores are trying to keep up with our needs, which has the truckers making more runs. I can only kind of fathom what stress this whole thing is causing others.

For me personally, I am struggling in ways I am trying to find words for. Writing has been an outlet for me since grade school. I need to put these thoughts into words which strung together, shall become sentences that hopefully convey how I feel. On one hand, my soul aches for everyone around me, especially those I am closest to that I know are struggling. I loathe that people I love are hurting. From being laid off at work to losing everything in a fire on top of everything else going on, many I love are in tough situations that I can’t fix. Anyone who knows me knows that other’s pain isn’t something I handle well within myself. Sometimes I take that pain and use it to help them, but even when I find ways to help the people I love, that pain and heartache still haunts me. Add in that I am struggling personally, I am a mess. So much pain, sorrow, grief, heartache, confusion, anger, stress…..

I run a small photography business. Due to a situation out of my control, my business account has over drafted. We don’t have the money within our personal finances to fix that. So, the longer I am without business, the worse shape my account gets in. I am so stressed right now. I had a couple that was going to sign me for their wedding, but due to the bride being laid off, they have to put planning their wedding on hold. Being me, I am dealing with conflicting emotions about it. On one hand, I feel so bad for them. My hubby and I talked about how I would handle it if I was the bride in this situation. Knowing me, I would be a wreck. I can imagine how she feels and I don’t like it one bit. I wish I could make it better for her. On the flip side, I am stressed because I needed that money to set things right with my account. I have never been in this position in all the time I have been running my business. I am, as Peg from Peg & Cat says, TOTALLY FREAKING OUT!!!

On top of that, I feel for my hubby. He is our main provider and if he gets laid off, even on a rotating schedule, it will hurt us significantly. He’s feeling the stress big time. We were already struggling, but now we’re hurting even more. He was driving Uber on the side, but now he’s stopped that so as not to be at more risk for getting sick. Part of that is, he knows if I get it, I will be in bad shape due to my weakened immune system and also because we have kids to consider. They are already stuck at home, don’t want them to get sick on top of this isolation business. Speaking of, this isolation business is not good for me at all. I am one who thrives on being able to see friends and family. I love hosting play dates, going to parks and the zoo with my daughter, making plans with friends, spending time with family, and just having the freedom to be out and about without worrying about ending up in the hospital.

I used to go out a lot when I was younger. It was one way I managed my bi-polar, though I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing until much later. I went out to escape my thoughts, to not be alone, and to fight my inner demons. The going out phase lessened over the years, especially to bars and clubs. Part of that was due to life changing and part of that was just me changing along with it. But even when you couldn’t find me out and about nearly every weekend and even on some weeknights, singing karaoke, dancing, and talking it up with friends, I still went out on occasion. When I got together with my now husband, we did go out a lot at first. Over time, that started to change. At least as far as bars went anyway, we didn’t go out much after a couple of years.

We do like to go out on date nights still, but not so frequently and when we do go out, it’s not been to bars. We go out to dinner, bowling, challenge our minds at an escape room, get some ice cream, go see a movie, check out a band we like, etc. (we haven’t been to bars in a quite awhile. I won’t say we’ll never go to one again, but it will remain a rare occurrence. It’s just not our scene anymore.) Sometimes we’ll get away for a weekend to go camping, explore a city, see family, etc. I also like to go see friends sometimes. There’s me trying to host bonfires, cookouts, game nights, and dinner parties too. All of that is now put on hold. I loathe it, deeply. Being confined is harder for me than I can properly explain.

Last night, my daughter looked me with her big brown eyes and said, “Friends come over to play???” My heart cracked and broke. I tried explaining to my three year old why that isn’t possible and she didn’t understand. That is one of the hardest parts about all of this. She doesn’t get why we can’t have people over, why we can’t go to the zoo or the park, etc. I try to make things fun for her, but it only does so much. She wants to play with her friends. Oh sweet girl, I know, I feel that way too. We may have to cancel her birthday party for next month and that hurts me more than I can say. In time, she will likely forget all of that, but I won’t. I wanted to make her day special. I hope this is over by then. If not, we will still do what we can to make it special for her. (a party of four and maybe see about creating a video chat for people to attend or ask people to record birthday messages.) I want her to enjoy turning four. We will do what we can no matter what the situation is.

I hope this is all over soon. I hope that this isolation ends up being worth it, keeping many safe and lessening the spread of it for those who do get it, so that the hospitals and clinics can keep up with this. I also hope that when it’s time to get back to normal, whatever normal even is really, that we’ll be able to recover and have an easy transition into our lives as they were before this hit.

I also hope that during this seclusion that we will find ways to get closer to our families. May we use this time to get to know one another in new ways, find out things we didn’t know and learn to appreciate one another more. Since we can’t change the situation at hand, we should make the best of it. That is much easier said than done. Personally, I am struggling with that, but I am trying and that’s all any of us can do. I will use this time to do what I don’t usually have time for, like this. I used to write a lot. That’s slowed down the last few years. Singing, writing, taking pictures just for me, scrapbooking, cooking new recipes, and much more are on my list of things to do or do more of. It seems like a good time to let my creativity blossom once more.

I am praying for the world, our nation, the state of Wisconsin, Washington County, our community here in West Bend, my family and friends, my kiddos and hubby, and even myself. I pray that we will, overall, come together and see that the best way to face and get through this is to stick together. Even when we can’t see one another in person, there are still ways to stay connected and ways to help one another out. I am working on getting care coolers together to give to truckers who are struggling with getting something to eat and have gathered things together from people in my awesome community to help my friends that lost stuff in a fire. Porch drop offs, being diligent about hygiene, etc all go a long way and make it so we can help others still. The world has shut down a lot, but we’re still finding ways to keep going. I hope you’re doing well and if not, I pray that things get better for you soon. Don’t forget to take care of you, you matter and please remember to also look after those around you however you can. Together, I am hoping we will make it through this!!



Being a parent is both the most rewarding and challenging thing I’ve ever done or may ever do, in my opinion anyway. I know many out there agree with me. Here are some of my thoughts and reasons I feel the way I do…

I love being a mom for many reasons. I learned the truest meaning of unconditional love when I looked at my now 17 year old for the first time. I never loved anyone as much as I have my own child, until I had another. I love them equally. I don’t always like them equally, let me make that clear, but my love for them both is immeasurable. Right behind that is my love for my mother, husband, and closest of friends. I love many and a great deal, but no more than I love my children.

Getting random hugs, without any ulterior motive and hearing them tell you they love you can change even the hardest of days sometimes. Spending time with them is such a joy, even when you’re just watching a movie or playing at the park. Sometimes the simplest moments are the best!! Getting handmade projects from them is such a treasure, totally brings smiles to my face. When you watch your kid make a good choice, do something for the first time on their own, or help someone else, the pride you feel is immense! The list goes on!!

Being a parent means making sacrifices, to give them what they need and sometimes simply to see them happy. Making sacrifices for our kids and others we love is something we all do throughout life. Something I’ve learned however is that there should be a limit to that.

One should never sacrifice or compromise their values, become someone they aren’t and don’t like, or forget who they are to begin with. In the end, doing these things not only hurts you, but it also hurts your kids, the ones you swore to protect. It’s not always easy to see, but sometimes giving in to our kids and their whims to see them happy, covering for them in the name of protecting them, stepping in at every turn to keep them from harm only does more damage than it does good. There needs to be limits on what we’ll do for them in order to truly give them the best childhood and greatest chance at having a good adult life as possible.

I have told my 17 year old, I won’t be the parent who supports a bully or worse. If you act out, you will be put in your place, just as I will fight to protect you when you’ve been hurt, to a point. Hurt my child and you will hear about it from me, however my children need to learn to fight their own battles and in a healthy way and if they’re the one that starts the fight or acts out, they will face the consequences. Good and bad, there are reactions to what we’ve done in life that we must all deal with and I’m working on making sure my kids know they’re not exempt from that.

There are those parents that act like their kids are never in the wrong and almost worse yet, those who see what they’ve done and find no fault in it. I feel that only enables people to feel entitled and keep acting out, making poor decisions, etc because they never have to answer for what they do.

Being an enforcer is hard, really hard actually and I personally find no joy in it, but it needs to be done sometimes. I used to be way to lax on my 17 year old, as our time together was limited and I didn’t want to be the bad guy for that brief time we shared. That was a mistake, as my kiddo needed that discipline and structure. Of course, you can go too far the other way too, being too hard on your kids and going too far.

Finding a healthy balance feels unobtainable many days, but it’s something I keep striving for. Whether it’s what we give them, allow them to do, what we allow them to get away with, how we punish them, how we reward good behavior, what’s sick enough to take them in, what we let them figure out on their own, or what we take care of for them, it’s a daily balancing act.

We want our kids to be well rounded, self sufficient, hardworking, healthy, successful, and happy, all while we’re trying to be that for ourselves. (All while our own parents had wished this for us, it’s a cycle that keeps going.) We do our best everyday and that’s all any of us can do, but it can be easy to second guess our decisions, especially when you’ve got others around you judging your parenting skills.

“That’s now how we do it in our house…” Well, good for you, you do things your way for your family and I’ll do things my way for mine. Seriously, why do we pick one another part for another’s methods??

“I would never let my kid eat that.” That’s your choice. Why worry about what I feed my kids? Is it your business? My kid is healthy and that’s what matters.

“Where is your kid’s coat??” She was wearing it and this the third time in 20 minutes that she’s taken it off, but you seem to have assumed she doesn’t own one.

Instead, we should do this more often…

“Hey, here’s your daughter’s coat. I see your hands are full, I get it, happens to me too.”

“Here, let me open the door for you.”

“Do you need help?”

Tone too! This is huge! You can say something kind with an arrogant or judgmental tone and turn it into something ugly. It takes a village to raise children and honestly, get through life. We should worry less about others doing things differently than us and focus more on being supportive of and encouraging one another. This would make for a better society. Being a parent is hard enough all on its own, we shouldn’t add to the stress.

There’s no need to harshly debate infant feeding methods, whether or not to homeschool, curfews, what shampoo you use on your kids, chore lists, consequences for our kids getting in trouble, whether or not to let your kids have juice, how to potty train, co-sleeping, etc. Calmly and kindly discussing these issues is fine, but there’s no need to be mean or rude and nor should we insert ourselves in another’s situation acting like a know it all. Your kids are yours and theirs are theirs, no one kid or situation is the exact same. If we really want to help a struggling mom or dad, fine, but there is a good way and definitely a bad way to handle things.

Right now, I’m dealing with a 17 year old that has been making a series of bad choices for years and over the last few years, it’s just been this downward spiral. It’s really hard watching your kid do stupid things, throw many chances given to make things better away, and dig their heels in, so stubborn and unwilling to do everything possible to learn and grow.

When some around you treat you like it’s all your fault, like you’re a failure, or like your kid is simply a lost cause and you should just wash your hands of it all, you find yourself feeling hopeless and depressed, also very angry and defensive as well. Now, some have been incredibly supportive and doing what they can to help and that’s something I greatly appreciate. These people are part of my village and I’m glad. I work hard to be a positive part of theirs as well. I just wish there were more among us that were like that sometimes.

I also have a daughter that turns four in April and that has its own set of challenges, but also its own greatness as well. Both of my kids bring immeasurable amounts of joy and stress to my life. Even in my toughest moments, the happy moments makes it all worth it. I look back and try to learn from the toughest moments and cherish the best ones and I look forward with hope. May my children find their wings and learn how to fly on their own, but may they also know home is also wherever I am.



Lying in a pool of sweat and poor decisions

Feeling weak and afraid

With years of addiction weighted on her

She lifts her weary head, trying to find the light


A heart once made of gold

Had turned to stone over the years

As the granite begins to crack

Sorrow and anguish pour out in a steady stream


Crying silent tears, she whispers softly

“Please, help me.”

Pain turned her towards temptation

Temptation that promised to ease her suffering


That suffering did lessen for a time

She even found herself feeling happy

But that was only an illusion

Once it faded, the pain was even worse than before


It crippled her, a little at a time

She didn’t even notice until she was so far gone

Ashamed, she withdrew from the world

Until she was all alone, feeling helpless and powerless


As her longing for change grew, a spark ignited and grew within

The darkness that surrounded her didn’t seem as confining

Within it, she found some strength to stand

A light started to shine in from the East


She turned her gaze towards it and could feel its warmth

Slowly, she moved in its direction

Talking within her own mind along the way

Hoping and praying for a new beginning


“Please help me.”

She said again, but louder this time

A sense of peace began to fill her soul

The chains fell from her like heavy weights


Wings that had been pinned down for so long emerged

Bent and unsteady still from years of damage

They fluttered with uncertainty, rather irregularly for awhile

It was going to take time for healing, but the process had begun


As she opened up about her past

Letting down her guard and letting herself begin to trust

Making amends also to those she’d hurt along the way

Her wings gained strength and her aura glowed with such radiance


One day, as she sat on a lush green patch of grass

She saw a purple butterfly nearby

Silently, she watched it flutter to and fro

Admiring its beauty and confidence


It landed on her bare feet and seemed to look at her

Staying as still as possible, she basked in this great gift

A sense of calm filled her soul as it stood upon her foot

She tilted her head ever so slightly, her dark brown hair caressed her cheek


The clouds parted and the sun shone through

The butterfly flew away towards the East

Turning her head towards the path it took

She saw a little church across the way


She stood, as she felt this strong urge to draw nearer to it

Hesitantly, she made her way inside

At the back of the sanctuary, she sat quietly

Bowing her head, she spoke silently


“I’ve made a mess of things and I blamed others for so long…

Including You, feeling abandoned

Now I see You never left me

It was me who left You…”


Tears touched her olive cheeks

Letting them fall, she apologized and asked for guidance

Though she’d begun to heal and move forward

She still had a long way to go


After awhile, she stood up to go

Drying her face with her sleeve

She looked back briefly and smiled

I’ll be back, she thought with resolve


As the sun hit her face once more

Her wings expanded and this time fluttered with more certainty

Through Him, she found strength within

Strength that gave her the courage to move forward


Her story doesn’t end here

In fact, it’s just beginning

She’s found the path towards redemption, peace, and belonging

Proving that even in the darkest hour, it wasn’t too late


She knows she’ll fall along the way

But knows who is there to catch her when she does

As the sun begins to set, emitting gorgeous hues of purple, red, and orange

Her wings lift her up and she soars off into the sky, finally able to fly.



A Monster Within


The wind howls fiercely

Lights flicker and windows rattle

Darkness looms

An eerie presence waits


As the storm rages on

The darkness grows stronger

Sorrow cripples

Shadows move within


“It’s almost time….”

Calls out a sinister voice

Evil clutches her soul

As she prepares to rise


Tired of being brought down

Fed up with being disappointed

Done with heartache

She follows the shadow down a dark path


Red colors her mind

All else before her turns to ash

Ready to claim the dark destiny that awaits

“Join me and never fall again…”


Monsters aren’t just in movies

Or in the books we read for fun

They’re lurking within

Offering to take away the pain


“Take away my sorrow and fear.”

She cries out loud to the shadow

“Rise with me and I shall….”

It extends its gentle hand and she accepts


As the darkness fills her soul, she smiles

Music fills the air and she dances

Swaying to the beat, feeling free

Unaware of the shackles on her soul


She’s handed over her light

In the hopes of escaping the pain within

And for awhile, it does dissipate

The high won’t last, but how wonderful it is


The monster within is satisfied in the moment

Darkness presented something so tempting

A hurting soul longing for something special

Found beauty within its promises


Some days, good does triumph

And then there days when it does not

As she delights in the evils caressing her skin

She lets loose a sensual sound


“Take me!” She moans

Pleasure fills every inch of her

As she climaxes, she grips him tightly

His form is very pleasing


“Surrender.” He whispers against her ear

“All of me is yours.” She smiles and licks her lips

Thrusting, their bodies move together with a magical rhythm

As she cries out in ecstasy, she climaxes again


Hours pass and then days

Her joy seemingly unending

Bliss colors everything

She’s hooked


With that look of hunger in her eyes

He knows he’s won completely

Grabbing her hips, he pulls her close

“You’re mine.” he says with certainty


As the weeks roll into months

She’s become addicted

Fully under a spell

Blissfully unaware


All is silent and dark yet

She finds herself alone

An ache comes over her

Nothing takes the pain away


She cries out for him


She’s in agony

Shaking, just begging for a fix


And like a merciful lord

He appears and injects her once more

Giving her just enough

Watching her succumb gives him joy


Body, mind, and soul belong to the darkness

Just another soul for it to devour over time

Its power grows with each victory

Be careful, you could be next.

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