Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vacation time!

I realize it seems like I've taken an eternal vacation from the blog. But the fact is, I've been super busy with real life lately! Libby is back in full swing at school, she is cheering and swimming right now, and amongst work and my love life, I'm also going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University for the third (!!!) time. (You would think I'd have it down pat by now. But I love his philosophy and am now going through it with my boyfriend, which, so far, has been a great experience for us and has likely prompted some conversation that we otherwise wouldn't have had.)

But right now, here I sit...vacationing at the beach - toes in the sand, sun beating hard on my blindingly white skin, with Libby sitting on the brink of the crashing waves, running her fingers repeatedly through the sand. And life. Is. Good!

Vacationing can be a challenge for the single parent. Whether it's lack of time or limited finances, it can be hard to make it happen. But I'd like to challenge you if you are a single parent (and even if you aren't) to make a yearly vacation a priority. It doesn't have to be a luxurious, all inclusive, week long resort vacation...even a night or two in a local hotel (or even at a friend or family member's house!) will do.

And here's why I think it's so important:

1. Rest and relaxation. This is probably the most obvious reason but it should not be overlooked! It's good for our souls to get away from the busy-ness of our everyday realities.

2. The memories. I grew up vacationing with my own parents and I can tell you that those are some of our most treasured family memories. In fact, just today my mom and I were laughing about a time that my brother and I were playing in the ocean and my dad took off from his lounge chair at a full run (which never happens!), yelling for us to get out. He had seen fins sticking out of the water and was certain a whole school of sharks was headed our way! Turned out to be a school of manta rays! :)

3. Enrichment. Maybe I'm stretching it here, but think about great is it for your child (and even yourself!) to get out of the comfort zone of home and meet new people, try new foods, and have new experiences? There's a lot to be learned! The novelty makes it exciting and perhaps even more memorable.

That's all I can come up with for now. (Hey, my brain is on vacation here too!). Why else are vacations important to you?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Picky pays off...

I'm 31.  When I turned 30 (and 31), it was kinda scary.  I was officially in my 30s and still a single parent.  I wasn't getting any younger.  I wanted more kids.  But I wanted to do it right this time...not out of order like I did when I had my daughter.

The crazy thing is, I was essentially single from the time I had my daughter, back in 2005, until just this year.  You can do the math...or, if you're like me and are terrible at math, I'll help you out...I've basically gone 7 years without seriously dating anyone.  Anyone.

Weird?  Maybe.  Depends on how you look at it.  It's not like I never went out on dates...I've had plenty of first dates over the years.  But that's the problem.  They were mostly only first dates...a handful of second dates, and a select few third dates.  There were even a couple guys that I dated for about a month before calling it quits.  But something about that one month mark was very tell-tale for me. 

A little over 4 months ago, things changed.  I (re)met someone...someone that I had grown up with but never even really given a second thought to.  I hung out with his step-sister back in high school and my younger brother hung out with his step-brother.  But never in a million years would I have imagined that he could possibly be the one for me.

And it still surprises me sometimes.  He plays in a rock/metal band; I like all types of music but prefer country and my least favorite is metal.  He has tattoos; I have none.  He is divorced; I've never been married.  He never went to a 4 year college; I went to college for 7 years and am looking to possibly go back for more sometime soon.  In many ways, when you look at the two of us as a couple, you might truly believe that opposites attract. 

But for me, it's more than that.  I know that the real reason I've not seriously dated anyone for the last 7 years is because I've been holding out.  I've been hanging out, waiting for just the right guy to come along...the one that meets all my qualifications.  And now that I've found him, as impatient as I was sometimes along the journey, he was SO worth the wait!  It's funny because in the past, I've always wanted a little "room to breathe" when I was dating and even thought that I'd find my true love in a long distance relationship because in my eyes, that seemed the best kind of relationship to have - one where we could have plenty of our own space and yet fully enjoy one another's company when we were together.  But now I'm dating a guy that lives two minutes from my house and I can't see him often enough!  And I think that's the way it's supposed to be...

I'll be keeping you posted on where things go from here, but as for now, all I can say is that being picky really has paid off for me!
I'm sharing this story over at my friend Anne's blog, where she's hosting a carnival on the Perspectives of Life and Love tomorrow, August 10th.  Please check it out and if you have your own journey in life and love to share, feel free to join us!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Balancing Act


One of the biggest battles as a single parent is  finding the right balance between life and kids.  While the two kinda go hand-in-hand, it's still important to have a life outside of your children, whether you're a single parent or not. 

Work.  For some parents, working is optional.  If it is for you, great!  But the reality is, for most single parents, we are working out of necessity.  We have to keep food on the table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs...and if we have a little leftover money for some fun, it's like a bonus!  The thing is, regardless of your job, it's so important that you are able to step away from it from time-to-time.  I've heard stories of single parents that have to work 90 hours a week just to make ends meet and if this is you, finding a way to get away from work probably seems next-to-impossible.  The thing we have to remember is, in the grand scheme of things, work is (probably) always going to be there but our children aren't.  During my own daughter's formative years, I made the (tough) decision to live on a little less and spend a little more time at home, working only 3-4 days a week instead of 5.  But even if you can't cut back on the amount of hours or days that you work, you can make a commitment to focus on your children and spend some quality time with them at home.  Build the bonds and the memories that will last for their lifetime.

Housework.  Then there's also the work that we come home the house, laundry, washing dishes, etc, etc.  I think one of the greatest things you can do is get your children involved!  Just this week I heard on the radio that 1 in 4 children today do nothing to help around the house...but not at our house!  My own daughter, Libby, has had a "chore list" since she was 3.  Of course, it's not like I had her scrubbing the toilets that she had just gotten the hang of using.  We started small - things like picking up toys and feeding our pet cat (which has since run away, but she is now in charge of feeding our dog).  Every year or so I try to reassess her capabilities and her responsibilities in the home.  For instance, when she was 4 years old, Libby also had the job of matching socks when I did laundry.  It was a good, simple learning task for her at the time.  But last year, I started having her fold the can't really go wrong with folding socks.  It was a great way to get her to help around the house.  Not only does sharing the housework with your child take some of the load off yourself, but it also teaches them responsibility and builds character. 

Kids.  Sometimes it can be tough to figure out how to spend some quality time with our kiddos, especially when the budget is tight.  But one of the best things any parent can do for their child is to make sure that you eat meals together as a family.  At our house, I try to make it a priority for us to share our mealtime.  And if dinner is going to be pretty simple to put together, I'll even let my daughter help, which she absolutely loves!  Other things that we do together include her swim meets (I try to be at every one to show my support for her...after all, I'm her #1 fan!), "movie nights" (where we either rent a movie or watch one from our personal collection), reading together, and just going to local parks and hanging out.  Sometimes I wish I could do more things with her that cost money like amusement parks, zoos, indoor playgrounds, etc...Not that we never do those things but for us they are kinda few and far between.  But what I have to remind myself (and maybe some of you need this reminder too) is that taking time out of our busy single parent lives may be tricky but it's well worth it when our children realize just how much we value our time together.

Other relationships.  As much as I love to spend time with my daughter, I also realize that there's a value in spending time away from her too.  When I go on trips or spend some time hanging out with some of my girlfriends or go on a date with my awesome boyfriend :), I revitalize myself.  It keeps me sane!  I don't necessarily enjoy having to pay for a baby-sitter but I know that we need that time apart (aside from the time spent working).  I treasure that special time that Libby and I spend doing something special together (like our "bucket list") but we both need some time apart.  Besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?  :)

Anything else I'm leaving out that's hanging in the balance?  How do you handle everything on your plate?  Please may help the rest of us out!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

And the winner is...

Ashlee Moore (Madysmom)!  Yay!  Congrats, Ashlee!  E-mail me ( or message me on facebook with your address and I'll be sending the book your way.  I hope you like it as much as I did!  :)

And thanks to everyone that entered the contest!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom's Day 2012 (& a give-away!)

To all of the parents out there, happy mother's day!  Here in Kentucky, it's been a gloomy day but there's sunshine in my heart knowing that I have a loving mother to celebrate with, as well as a beautiful little girl who makes me smile each and every day.  Whether you're single or married, happy mother's day to all of you!  I know that as single parents, sometimes we have to take on the dual role of mother and father so to all of you single dads out there, I hope you have a blessed mother's day too!

Me, Libby, and my Mom enjoying some beach time last summer at Myrtle Beach, SC.

Growing up, we always did something special for my mom on mother's day - took her out to lunch, bought her flowers, and of course showered her with gifts.  But as a single parent, today sometimes just feels like a Hallmark holiday, doesn't it?  If you have young children, it's so easy to feel overlooked if you don't have a spouse on days like today.  But know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you on your own single parent journey, especially today.

That's exactly why I'm so excited to have my very first give-away this week!  In honor of Mother's Day, I'm going to be giving away a copy of Angela Thomas' book, My Single Mom Life.  I mentioned the book briefly in a post back in February, when I was attempting to participate in the online book club,  Booking It (something else I've failed to stick with in my new relationship - oops!).  I don't want to give away too much about the book because I'm planning to do a full review of it in the coming weeks.  But I will say this much about friend Anne over at recently hosted a link party entitled The Book That Changed My Life Carnival and I meant to participate but the date slipped by before I even realized it...and if I had participated, I would have written about this book!  Thomas has an amazing way with words and she somehow managed to put onto the pages of her book many of the thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and struggles I've had on my own single parent journey.  You don't have to be a mom to enter this give-away and you don't have to be single - this book would be a great read for anyone that wants to empathize more with single parents and it would make a great gift if you have any single parent friends.   Although the book is geared towards mothers, I think dads might appreciate it too.

To enter the give-away, just leave a comment below.  If you make a comment and you also follow my blog, you will automatically be entered twice.  For a third entry, just mention this blog on Facebook or on your own blog and leave another comment telling me you did so (if you don't leave a comment about it, I won't know you did it!).  Entries will be accepted until midnight this Wednesday, May 16th and the winner will be chosen at random (using on Thursday, May 17th.  So be sure and check back for the winner! 

And may the odds be ever in your favor!  :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

image via photobucket

If you haven't noticed (which given my whopping 8 followers, is very likely!), I have to confess - I've been a little MIA lately.  My last post was over a month and a half ago!  So in case you're wondering why (and even if you're not!), let me tell you...

I have happily entered into the world of "seriously dating."  :) 

Over the last seven years, I've been on dates...many dates...lots of first dates, some second dates, and a handful of third dates.  But most of the time by date #3 I've decided that for one reason or another things are going nowhere fast - some are pretty entertaining, some are jaw-dropping, and sometimes it was just plain, old I'm-not-feeling-this-so-let's-not-waste-each-other's-time. End of story.

This time things are different.  He makes me happy, I'm pretty sure I make him happy, and we decided over a month ago to call things "serious."  It's exciting and new and, to be completely honest, maybe even a little scary...this is uncharted territory for me!  And maybe sometime soon I'll post more about that...

In the meantime, my apologies for getting wrapped up in my new relationship.  But I'm loving life right now!  I know some of you are reading this and thinking, "Seriously?!  I so don't want to read about this because it's never going to happen for me and I'm so sick of hearing about everyone else's perfect life."  I know some of you are thinking this because I've been in your shoes before and I totally get it.  I hated hearing about all these super cute couples and everyone's picture-perfect life when I was struggling to be the sole parent for my daughter.  So please forgive me.  I will try to keep my relationship talk to a minimum, although I'm going to have to mention it from time to time.  But also know that no matter where this new relationship leads, I will always have a passion for single parents because that's the life I've known for so long now.  Someone recently asked me when they heard about the new beau, "What about the single mom program you help with at church?  What will happen with that?"  Well, it's gonna keep on going and I'm gonna keep on helping!

Even though my head may be in the clouds, I will try my darndest to get back on track and begin regularly posting again...I've missed the blogging world!

So welcome back, my dear readers, and I hope you'll welcome me back with open arms!

To celebrate my return and in honor of all my fellow amazing single mothers, I'm going to do my first give away this coming stay tuned!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Everyone loves a good party - Our St. Patricks Day Bday Bash

The old adage, "Everyone loves a good party," certainly applies to us!  Throwing a party involves a lot of work (both pre- and post-), but once it's been deemed a success, it's all worth it!
Today I celebrated my baby girl's 7th (!!!) birthday.  So naturally, we had to have a party.  Having only broken into the realm of "friend" parties over the last several years, the locale was a decision that Libby had to mull over for months in advance.  There is the skating rink, the cupcake shop, the gymnastics facility, the indoor pool...or our house!  And that was exactly what she had in mind! 

We chose to have the party on St. Patrick's Day...mostly so that Libby's best friend from out-of-town could be there...but coincidentally it worked out that she was turning the "lucky number 7." 

Our fabulously cute invitations were designed by a local church friend with a flair for party
decor, who just happens to have her own blog ( AND
an Etsy shop where you can order your own personalized party printables! 
Thank you, Deanna, for your amazing work!

I found this cute welcome sign at our local Big Lots and couldn't pass it up! 
What a great way to greet guests as they approached our home!

Our party spread: I bought a fun, patterned tablecloth on clearance to use as a backdrop (so my own green walls wouldn't clash with the fun kelly and lime greens used in the party decor!) and had my friend over at Mirabelle Creations create a personalized, printable banner.  I made special requests for the colors and design on our cake, which was made at a great cupcake shop in town.  The plates, napkins, and cutlery came from Target.  Via Pinterest, I found a super fun (and super easy) idea to use an empty can covered in wrapping paper, ribbon, stickers, etc to display the utensils...I had the best intentions to make it a little more elaborate (and to make more than one!) but when it came down to crunch time, with a mere 15 minutes til party time, I just threw a shamrock sticker on the pink-wrapped can and decided it would have to do!  More on the candy jars/party favors below...

At the suggestion of my friend, Michelle, we decided on a candy buffet as a party activity AND party favors!  We found some candy and treats to coordinate with our pink/green and St. Patricks Day theme - striped marshmallow "sticks" from the Dollar Tree, Mike and Ike candies, Jelly Belly jelly beans, M&Ms, mint (green wrapper) and caramel (gold wrapper) Hershey Kisses, Lucky Charms cereal, Gummy-Os, and lollipops (which we adorned with little St. Patricks themed animal stickers since Libby had requested donations to a local animal shelter in lieu of gifts at her party).  Each of the candies was displayed in a jar (some borrowed, some purchased - found at WalMart), which was labeled using a free template I found online, and the children were each given a green bag (from Hobby Lobby) to fill.  To keep the parents at bay after already having fed their children cake and ice cream, we sealed the bags with party-themed tags as soon as they were filled. 
The bag tags (also from Mirabelle Creations) read, 
"Thank you for making my day so lucky.  Love, Libby"

 In the aftermath of the party, you would have thought a tornado had torn through our house.  I suppose all the screams of joy and running rampant was worth it to the 12 children that came because everyone seemed to have a good time!  (Surely the mess they've left behind is proof of that!)

My birthday girl, holding up her 7 fingers,
just before enjoying some birthday cinnamon rolls this morning! 
(Because at our house, when it's your birthday, we celebrate ALL day long!!!)

Thanks to Pinterest, my new love of the blogging world, and Mirabelle Creations, our party turned out great!  I hope you enjoyed the pictures (albeit, they are not the best quality) and maybe you can come away with a few good ideas to use at your next party.  Because everyone loves a good party...and every child deserves a good party!  How do you celebrate birthdays with your kiddos?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Confessions of a Single Mom

Does anyone else ever feel like this woman?
image via google images
Parenting in and of itself presents so many single parenting can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming.  Each of us has our own style, our own set of rules, our own way of doing things.    Here are a few personal confessions of things that I do (or don't do) that may be a little against the grain...

1.  I sometimes use our TV as a baby-sitter.  If you have a television, which I'm sure most of you do, don't tell me you don't do this!  Don't get me's not like I actually leave the house with my daughter parked in front of the TV.  But if I need some time to get some things done - whether it's cleaning the house, paying bills, or completing a craft project - sometimes the best way is for me to turn the tube on.  And since I've always been a solo parent, this started when my daughter first showed an interest in television.  Although it was almost seven years ago, I distinctly remember when she first watched the Teletubbies and was glued to the screen.  I was in physical therapy school at the time and there were projects, papers, group work that had to get done.  As a single parent, you do what you've gotta do!  (I also want to mention here, in my defense, that she is only allowed to watch television on the weekends.  Absolutely no TV on school nights at our house!  Unless you're the parent and the kiddo is in bed...)

2.  I actually like to have some time away from my daughter.  Please don't be appalled by this! 
Hopefully if you're a parent, you can relate.  Sometimes I feel like single parents are expected to be super parents...doing all work with no play.  And sometimes I fall into that rut myself.  Because I don't have a significant other to leave my daughter home with when I feel like I need a girls night or want to go on a trip, it takes a little more planning.  I realize that some married women have a hard time getting a night out too but it's different when you actually have to pick up the phone and call in a sitter or a grandparent.  Not to mention the fact that baby-sitters require payment!  (I have yet to find anyone to swap baby-sitting with but that's definitely an idea to look into if you're a single parent too...)  Needless to say, I savor these moments.  Whether it's a weekend away or a few hours at the mall, having some "me time" rejuvenates me and helps me to be the best single mom I can be!

3.  My house is not clean.  I'm working really hard on this one...using daily chore lists and trying to keep up with the laundry more frequently.  But if something has to go, cleaning house is usually it!  I love to go places and do things with my daughter, we love to travel and go on trips, and I try to stay actively involved in both her school and team functions and our church.  Amongst our harried life, keeping an immaculate house is at the bottom of my priority totem pole.  I try to put on a good show by doing some quick tidying before company (which sometimes just means grabbing things and piling them in our spare bedroom or storage room!), but for anyone that just drops by on a whim - let's hope they don't pass judgement!

4.  I don't let my child participate in every single activity she's interested in.  While I realize that there sometimes appears to be a rat-race to see whose child is the next biggest athlete/star/genius, I've made the choice that my daughter will not be vying for the title.  I want her to have a well-rounded education and to develop interests and talents but what I don't want is to become her personal taxi...driving from soccer practice to piano lessons to gymnastics and Brownies. our house, it's one weekly activity/sport per season.  With the weight of other obligations, I can't handle anything more.  If I tried, it might just push me and her over the edge!  And to think, I only have one child! 

Single or not, what are your own parenting confessions?  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's fat Tuesday...

Happy Mardi Gras, ya'll!

Growing up, Mardi Gras really had no meaning to me...I remember celebrating Fat Tuesday in my high school French class.  I heard of the crazy partying in New Orleans and the beads that people had to "earn."  But it wasn't really until my college years that I really learned the meaning behind the celebratory day.  And I learned about Ash Wednesday.  And Lent.

I was raised in a good ol' Southern Baptist Church and I'd never even heard of Lent!  But when I opted to attend Bellarmine University, a private Catholic university that sits on the hills of the Highlands neighborhood in Louisville, KY, one of the many things I would come to learn about would be the tradition of Lent.  Between my high school sweetheart, who was raised Catholic, and some of my newfound friends, I became educated in the Lenten tradition that first spring that I spent at Bellarmine.  And, although I had no plans to convert to Catholicism, the Lenten tradition made sense to me - God made the ultimate sacrifice by sending Jesus to die for me and my sins; I make a miniscule sacrifice over a short period of 40 days to remind me of the sacrifice that God made for me.  Plain and simple, yet powerful.  And thus began my appreciation for and participation in Lent.

This year, in the most simplest of terms, I tried to give my daughter an explanation of the "Fat Tuesday" celebrations and the meaning of Lent.  I asked her if she wanted to give up something.  And (bless her 6 year old heart!), she has chosen to give up our candy bowl, which she has affectionately renamed "the sugar bowl."  :)  A great sacrifice for a young child that eagerly looks forward to delving into some leftover Valentine/Christmas/Halloween/any-other-holiday-you-can-think-of candy every night after dinner.  So begins another tradition in our household...

As for me...I've thought long and hard about what I'm going to do this season.  I would like to say I'm giving up soda but I rarely drink soda anyway.  I could say I'm going to give up sweets/desserts but I rarely eat those too...and besides, we have several family birthdays that are coming up!  So here is what I've come up with...
  1. Techno-free Tuesdays.  A friend of mine mentioned that she knows a family that gives technology up each year during Lent.  Phew!  That's a long time to go without e-mail, iPhone, television, Facebook, texting, Pinterest, etc, etc, etc.  Just giving those things up one day a week is going to be challenging!  Especially going without the cell phone!  But it wouldn't be a sacrifice if it was going to be easy...I'll still keep my cell on me in case of emergencies but I am planning to make a concerted effort NOT to use it.
  2. Thankful Thursdays.  I recently read an article about John Kralik's journey through a year of giving thanks and the tremendous impact that the simple act of writing thank-you notes had upon his life, and the lives of others.  While I have yet to read Kralik's book, 365 Thank Yous, (it's on my to-read list!) his story was inspiring.  I don't always do the greatest job letting people know how much I appreciate them...this is going to be my opportunity.  (And, truth be told, maybe I'll write my "Thursday thank you notes" on Tuesday...since I won't have any technology to distract me on those days!)
Are you celebrating Lent?  If so, will you be doing any fasting or sacrificing?  I'd love to hear!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Booking It in February

I don't know about you, but I love to read.  And, as I mentioned in a recent post, I'm trying to make a concerted effort to make more time for the things I love to do.  So...less TV, more reading...and, oh, how I've forgotten just how much I really LOVE to read! 

I'm going to be Booking It in 2012 and as I'm doing so, I'll be sharing my current reads once a month.  I feel like I read a wide variety of books so please don't expect to see loads of books on single parenting...these are just books that I happen to be reading...and my thoughts and opinions on them.  You can feel free to take it or leave it but here goes...

 The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People
I happened to be visiting my previous home-church in Louisville when they began a sermon series on this book.  And while I don't get to frequent that church very often since it's now an hour and a half away, I decided to join them and read along.  They will be covering one chapter each week so even with my crazy hectic life, I figure I can keep up with that pace!  The book is the Bible written based on NIV scriptures in a chronological format that reads much like a novel.  It's definitely a compelling way to hear one of the greatest stories of all time!

One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler
One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler
This book was actually the suggested book for January's edition of Booking It I'm a bit delayed in sharing my thoughts on it.  But I've opted to take a leisurely approach with this one...since author Tsh Oxenreider shares 52 ways to simplify life, I'm taking 52 weeks (or 1 year) to read through the book.  It makes it much more manageable for me to focus on one task each week.  And so far, so good...definitely some helpful pointers here!  And I think we all know that if anyone needs some help with simplifying life, it's us single parents!

The Hunger Games
When I started this one, it was SO hard to put down!  It's the first in The Hunger Games trilogy and I'm determined to finish the book before the movie hits theatres in March.  If you haven't started reading it and you enjoy a good fiction, I strongly recommend it!
My Single Mom Life: Stories and Practical Lessons for Your Journey 
 My Single Mom Life: True Stories and Practical Lessons for Your Journey
I LOVE this book!  I'm still not quite finished with it (shocking I'm sure, considering I've already listed 3 other books I'm reading!) but I really enjoy Angela Thomas' writing's like she's right there telling you her story in person.  She has an uncanny ability to make you laugh and cry and there are so many stories that she shares about her own journey that I can relate to!  Thomas is a Christian author and speaker and happens to have been a single mom not so long ago.  When I'm finished with this one, I plan on posting a full review to share more with you!
And lastly,
the February recommendation for Booking It, (which I have actually finished!)
The Money $aving Mom's Budget
Crystal Paine, who blogs at, shares her pointers on frugal living in 9 easy-to-read chapters.  While many of her principles are very basic, I found it to be a good refresher course.  I'm a huge proponent (and graduate) of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, but recently re-discovered my credit card and had a bit of a relapse.  So reading this book was really impeccable timing for me!  And thankfully, I didn't get too out of control with the credit card and will be paying it off this week (and promptly hiding it from myself to prevent future relapses!).  Yay!  Anyhow, even if you already have a good handle on your budget, Paine also offers some tips on goal setting and, maybe my favorite section, "embracing today" (which resonates with one of my previous posts).  But, if you cringe at the sound of the word budget or are truly living paycheck-to-paycheck and wondering how you're going to pay the next bill, this book is a great place to start!
So that's what I'm reading right now.  I'm curious to hear from any good books lately?  Do you have any more that I need to add to my "to read" list? 
 *This post is linked to*

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Searching for "The One"

Well, that lovely day is upon us...the one holiday that most of my single friends dread...

Single Awareness Day.  Also known as...Valentine's day. 

Last week I posted about loneliness.  But now I'm moving right on to the one thing (if you're at all like me), you pray will someday help to curb your lonely feelings - a relationship.  Before you can have a relationship, I think it's so important to first consider what you are looking for in a person.  If you go into a relationship blindly, it's like shopping without your shopping list - you bring home all kinds of things but find that when you put them all together there's nothing you can make. 

A friend of mine once suggested that I make a list of all of the qualities I'm looking for in my "Mr. Right".  She suggested that I refer to it each time I date someone.  I know it may sound silly know what?  I thought it was pretty genius!  So I made my list on a small index card and tucked it away in my Bible.  Because I don't know about the rest of you, but when I marry someone, I want them to be the real deal.  So if they don't qualify...well...they don't even make it past the interview, so to speak.  Maybe this is why I'm so particular about the guys that I date.  Maybe this is why so many guys that I have dated in the years since I've become a mother haven't made it past 1-2 dates.  Regardless, I am sticking to my guns on this one!

Image via StockArch.

Here are my qualifications for "The One":
  • Funny/Good sense of humor.  If he can't make me laugh (which if you know me, this is not necessarily a hard task!), he need not apply.
  • Loves God.  I want someone that can walk the walk and talk the talk.  I want to share church with someone.  And, most importantly, I want a relationship that can be built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.
  • Loves people.  I want someone that is thoughtful and cares...not just about me and my daughter, but about the world around them.  Whether it means striking up a conversation with a stranger or volunteering some time to a worthy cause, I want to date someone that wants to make a difference.
  • Honest.  No lies.  No cheating.  Period.
  • Motivated/driven.  He has to know what he wants in life and be willing to go out and get it.
  • Prays.  You may have heard the saying, "The family that prays together stays together."  I kinda believe it.
  • Family oriented.  We live in a fast-paced world where technology dominates not only our jobs, but also our personal lives.  It's so much easier to bring work home when you never get away from it between e-mail, cell phones, Internet, etc.  But my guy knows when to get away from work and focus on his family.
  • Passionate about life.  I don't want to live just any ordinary life.  I want to have fun, try new things, go places, and live life in the moment!  Hopefully I can find someone that can keep up!
As Valentine's day approaches, rather than wallowing in your sorrows of the single-parent life, get out and have some fun with your child(ren) that you're so blessed to have! 

And when you get home, think about the kind of person you're looking for and make your own list, tucking it away somewhere safe, for later reference. 

What are your qualifications for "The One"?  I'd love to hear them!

Happy V-day/Single Awareness Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When loneliness calls...

"Since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell
Down at the end of lonely street at heartbreak hotel
I get so lonely baby
I get so lonely, I get so lonely I could die"

"Hey there, lonely girl"

"But only the lonely
Know why I cry
Only the lonely"

"Ah ----- look at all the lonely people
Ah ----- look at all the lonely people"

"I've done alright up to now
It's the light of day that shows me how
But when the night falls, loneliness calls"

image via PhotoBucket

Musicians have such an uncanny ability to bring music to the feelings that so many of us experience.  Among those feelings...loneliness.

It almost seems uncomfortable for me to even say anything about loneliness because in writing this, I'm essentially admitting that, yes, I feel lonely.

Just the name of this blog references the loneliness that I feel like so many of us, as single parents, feel - the bouts of pain that we experience along our journey of solo parenting.  Because even in a world where single parenthood abounds, we can still feel "singled" out. 

The irony is that I've found that some people think we can't be lonely.  I've heard (more than once), "I know you're single but at least you have a child."  Unless you're walking in the shoes of a single parent, I'm not sure that you can really grasp this...but having a child is not the same as having a spouse.  A spouse is an adult companion.  And if you have children, a spouse typically shares responsibilities and participates in decision-making.  But us?  Well...we do it all.

For me, the sting of loneliness has lessened over the years.  But I still get struck by it from time to time.  Sometimes it even feels like I'm drowning in it.  It mostly strikes me at night, when my daughter has been tucked in.  I typically have the TV on for background noise in the living room as she's falling asleep; despite the noise of the TV, loneliness can still echo in my heart. 

I'm certainly no expert, but in case you're wondering, here's what I do to ease the loneliness:

"Make new friends, but keep the old"  (Sorry, couldn't help but throw another song lyric out there!)  I'm a pretty outgoing person.  For me, this one is simple.  Other people might have to try a little harder here.  But it's vital to have a good network of friends.  People that you can call when you feel lonely.  People that you can talk to about the loneliness.  People that know you so well, they know you're feeling down-and-out before you even speak of it.  People you can get together with and have some "grown-up" time (which I strongly believe we all need to keep our sanity!). 

Cry.  Ugghhh...I kinda hate this one.  But sometimes we all need to do it.  And so...I do.  Not often, but sometimes the tears just have to flow.  And when they do, sometimes I feel better afterwards.  I just need a minor pity party every now and then.  That's all.

Laugh.  Watch a funny movie.  Even better, watch a funny kid-friendly movie with your little one.  I find laughter coming much easier when my daughter is in stitches next to me!  Just the sound of a child's laughter is music to anybody's ears! 

Talk to other single parents.  Share your worries, your advice, your stories.  Vent.  And make plans to get-together sometime so you can combat the loneliness bug together!  If you don't know any other single parents, make it a mission to find some!  Not in a creepy, stalker sorta way...I don't recommend stopping just anyone with a child in tow that appears even remotely single.  But keep your eyes and ears open, because believe me - we are everywhere!  You could even check to see if your community has any sort of single parenting groups.  I found a wonderful peace when I went through a program at my church in Louisville called DayBreak: Encouragement for Single Moms.  And now, it's a program that I've had the privilege of helping to form in my smaller community.

Do something you love.  I love to organize and to craft.  Since my daughter was born, I rarely make time to do these things anymore.  In fact, if you saw my house, you certainly wouldn't guess that I enjoy organizing!  But I'm learning to make more time for these little things that make me happy.

Any other suggestions?  What do you do to fight the loneliness? 

And just for kicks, can anyone name all the songs that I've quoted?  :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Carpe Kairos"

Last week, a friend of mine shared an article with me via a link on Facebook...As soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to share it with you!  It's about the joys of parenting and how sometimes, even though everyone around us tells us to savor every sweet second, it's tough.  More than tough.  Hands down. hardest. job. ever.  It's a startling truth that people just don't talk about.  It doesn't make you a bad parent to admit that parenting is a treacherous journey.  The author of this article articulates the ups and downs much better than I can, for sure!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Click here to read the article: Don't Carpe Diem 

*If you are not a parent yet and are reading this, please don't be alarmed!  Parenting is also the BEST job on the planet and there's nothing quite like it!  :) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Bucket List

It's time for me to give my 2 cents about New Years resolutions...I realize I'm a bit belated, considering it's already January 11th, but, if you're like us, we're just now adjusting to being back in the swing of things.  While I like routine in my life, it sure stinks when you've gotten out of the habit of it!

Typically I make New Years resolutions, as does nearly half of the American adult population.  And typically I don't follow through with them.  Apparently neither do over half of the people that make resolutions.  (Statistics found at  So this called for a change in my approach. 

This year, rather than resolutions I have decided to make a bucket list...with input from the most important little person in my life - my 6 year old daughter!  I don't want to downplay the importance of goal setting, but this was something fun that we could create together and it will help me to carve out some more "mommy and me" time over the course of the next year.  As a solo parent, finding the time to truly just enjoy being with your child is very challenging - there's always a house to clean, meals to cook, errands to run...If you're a fellow single parent, you know what I mean!  So with no further adieu, here is our 2012 bucket list, with 12 things to do together over the next 12 months:

  1. Go hiking.  I've never taken Libby on a hike (tisk, tisk!) and she has no idea what she's missing!  I want her to learn to have a love for nature!
  2. Help Libby make an entire meal.  Libby is an aspiring chef.  :)  For Christmas she asked for (and got!) a baking set for kids and, as a bonus, she also got a kid friendly cookbook.  She's already made pancakes but she can't wait to try to make an entire dinner, just like Mommy does! 
  3. Go horseback riding.  While we never had horses growing up, I was still able to enjoy them through visits to a family member's horse farm in Versailles, KY...and I loved riding!  I even took riding lessons briefly as a child.  Libby needs to experience this!
  4. Take Kloe to PetSmart.  Yes, Kloe is our dog.  And yes, I realize that to other people, bringing the dog along to PetSmart is just part of may be the norm.  But for us, going to PetSmart means a 30-40 minute car ride one-way and the dog has never accompanied us.  2012 is the year, Kloe!  (Can you guess who came up with this one?)  :)
  5. Camp in backyard.  I've never been much of a camper.  Our family didn't camp together...unless you count the time that we stayed with my grandparents in an RV for a couple nights.  I feel like camping is something that most families do because it's "dad's thing".  But I don't want Libby to miss out just because we don't have a man in our house.  So I'm going to suck it up and brave the wilderness...or at least our backyard!
  6. Volunteer together.  Not sure what this will be but I have some ideas...just have to wait and see what God has in store for us!
  7. Fly a kite.  OK, I have a confession...are you ready?  I have never, ever, not even once taught Libby how to fly a kite.  I know, I know...I'm definitely out of the running for parent-of-the-year now.  All I can say is that life happens, we get busy, and I haven't always necessarily done the things with her that I've wanted to do...hence, a bucket list.
  8. Paint at CAC.  The CAC is our local Community Arts Center and they have a really neat program called Starry Nights Studio.  On select dates, you can pay a fee for group instruction and art supplies to paint a replica of various works of art.  There are only select dates when children are welcome.  (When it's adults-only, you are also permitted to BYOBeverage of choice.)  Several other cities have similar programs, such as Sips n Strokes in Louisville.
  9. Go ice skating.  Libby cried when I mentioned this...mostly because she has tried roller skating and was not very successful.  Practice makes perfect, I assured her.  This is yet another experience I think every child should have.
  10. Deliver balloons to hospital patients.  This may seem obscure but last year we were challenged by our church to get out and demonstrate love to our community.  Libby and I delivered balloons.  The looks on their faces, both the young and the old, were priceless.  So we've gotta do this again!  (If you decide to try this, remember to use Mylar balloons!)
  11. Plant flowers.  I wanted to plant a tree.  Libby wanted to plant flowers.  You can see who won that argument!  I have to admit, I'm now looking forward to it.  Last year I planted our first vegetable garden and this year I guess I'll also have some flowers to tend to.
  12. Go to drive-in movie.  I've said every year for at least the last 3 years, "This is the summer I'm going to take Libby to the drive-in.  Really.  We're going to do it this year."  Yet, it never happened.  THIS is the year! 
So before 2012 kicks the bucket, we've got plenty of fun to be had!  What does this year have in store for you and your family?