40ish Days Without Social Media

Hello there!

I have returned after a bit of a cleanse from all things social media.  It became apparent that I needed some time for reflection and a vacation from my news feed and in some ways even this blog.

Lately, this cleansing of sorts, seems to be more of a regular requirement in my life. Why?  I’m really not sure.  Maybe the amount of time that is sucked away to the consumption of useless information, or the obscene lists of notifications that flood my inbox, or the choice I make to scroll through the lives of other’s when I could be maximizing my own time. The struggle is real and it is entirely a pathetic one.

So, to feel less pathetic, I stepped away for a bit.  Forty plus days or so, without any interaction on social media (although, I did have to answer a couple of questions on the Book from an inquirer that I did indulge but just once and maybe to check on a particular service I was looking into (reviews people) but that would be the jist of it! 🙂 )

40ish Days

All of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat were avoided.  All of those devoted apps were dissolved from my device and never to be installed again for a month and a half (and some never will be).  If I didn’t remove them from my phone this would not work….I would look just out of habit!

At first, you go through a bit of withdrawal…not kidding.  You feel as if every moment that involves nothing needs something and those are the moments we go to our devices. So, in those moments I had to learn to be okay with having nothing to do or better yet find ways to fill those quiet lulls with constructive activities.

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finished my gallery wall
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keeping a workout program priority…love Fitness Blender

I truly think people just can’t be in their own thoughts anymore.  Boredom ensues fear nowadays.

What is so bad about being in our own heads…our own lives, essentially?  This is what matters, our lives, our thoughts, our goods, our bads, our empty moments, our full ones….

Not the hand-picked reel that others lay out for us to see in their storylines.  Social Media has become such a detached way of communicating for me lately.  Nothing feels organic or sincere.  I miss the days where learning about someone’s life was gained through conversation and one on one connection.

Or maybe, these are things I need to work on in myself.  This disclosure is why I have an incessant need to break away from today’s ever popular ways of connecting and find comfort in the authentic happenings that arise everyday.

I love stepping back from the mindless scroll and actually get some shit done!

And that’s what I have attempted to do….get shit done, think outside of the box, enjoy the quiet moments and savor the time I share with my family.  Without a phone attached to my hand.

It’s really nice.  You should try it!

I actually felt less anxious…believe it or not.  Today’s technology has definitely increased the anxiety people live with.  It’s really in recent years that people complain about having to deal with the annoyance that is anxiety.  In some cases, it can be crippling.

The reality is…everybody. is. anxious.  Who could blame them!

We live on autopilot, constantly moving, taking in way too much information at a supersonic pace.  We can’t just be in the moment anymore.  We are just always waiting for the next thing.

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” – Mother Teresa.png

Well, I don’t want to live like that any longer.  What this whole experiment has taught me is that I want to be in the moment.  Exhaust the beauty in the small things and all the details.  I want to live slower and relish in my relationships with people.

I wish to be more creative and allow boredom to lead me on a path to better ideas.  Being in my own thoughts is okay and one I feel compelled to engage in.

Just this past Monday I returned to Instagram…just a single post of a beautiful rose from a bouquet my husband gave me.  Just to say I had returned.

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Taking a moment to enjoy that flower means something to me.  As it should.

I don’t feel I will be engaging as frequently as I found myself doing a couple of months ago.

And as for what apps I will be re-installing onto my phone…it won’t be all of them…that is for sure.  Instagram (my main chick), Snapchat (my side chick) and Pinterest (my every now again girl 🙂 ) should suffice.  These are my faves at this point and all I really need in this world of connecting.

All other sites will be an occasional visit from my PC when it suits me….or not…

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playdates, my baby finally sitting and trying to crawl and seeing how their bond grows daily…every moment counts…
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the color is here shortly but when it appears it is beautiful…

Take care lovelies!

Christina xx

 

 

 

Have you had a recent detox from Social Media?  If so, I would love to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

 

EX Item of the Week

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Hey you!

Whenever I try a new product that I just love I want to share it.  So, to do that I will be featuring an EX Item of the Week from Endless Xpressions.

I don’t love everything but the things that I do I have to talk about because who doesn’t love a good product?!

Today is all about the Charcoal Cream Masque!  In the past, I have tried tons of hydrating, toning and firming masks but activated charcoal has become increasingly more popular for its natural benefits.  It is used to trap toxins and the all around yucky stuff from your pores, leaving your skin feeling clean and renewed.

There are the thick charcoal masks that rinse off and there are the peel off masks that can sometimes hurt your skin more than help it.

This particular mask is completely light weight.  It goes on like a cream and just sits on your face until dry, roughly 8-10 minutes and then just removed with warm water.  So easy…and a huge reason why I was attracted to it.

I am pretty low maintenance in the grand scheme of all things beauty.  I love taking care of my skin but don’t have all the time in the world to do it!  I want something that works and does it quickly.  I have used this mask for a few weeks now (just once a week is needed) and love its simplicity and the ease of its workings.  It keeps skin care simple while providing the benefits of soft and hydrated skin.

This masque is loaded with:

  • clarifying Activated Charcoal
  • extreme hydrators like Hyaluronic Acid, Organic Olive and Jojoba Oils
  • antioxidant rich Organic Rooibos
  • toning DMAE 

This is definitely a new permanent addition to my skin care regime!

 

Stay tuned for more faves!  Also check out lippies and leggings!

Learn more about EX here.

 

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Weekend Recap

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I woke up this morning with an intense pain in my arm as if I had been sleeping in the shape of a pretzel all night.  Any direction I move this thing is painful…wtf.  I got out of bed, started the coffee pot and took a peek out of the window.  Woo hoo, snow is back in Chicago!  Sarcastic emphasis on woo hoo.

Also, while I sit here writing about my affection of this particular morning, my son spits up all over my shirt and so adorably laughs afterwards.  Eh…don’t you just love Monday’s?

The weekend was a chilly one and one I was feeling a bit under the weather for.  Just didn’t feel myself.  Maybe these winter blues are just hitting me as our weather has been a bit bipolar the last couple months.  20170313_082618

With the current chill factor we kept it pretty calm the last couple of days.  I attempted to finish all the laundry in this house which quickly just became another pipe dream…because who am I kiddin…every time I see my daughter she has a different pair of pants on or socks because the girl in her, has already decided that multiple outfit changes are needed throughout the day.  And, the amount of drool coming out of my teething baby is on a whole new level leaving a change to be needed quite often…so laundry is forever an endless cycle.

The largest spider I have seen in a while decided to visit me in the bathroom as I was trying to take a shower.  I have a sad, sad, fear of these creatures and this thing looked like it came right out of a horror movie!  I mean this thing looked like it was pregnant and that it’s babies were pregnant it was so big…much larger than a half-dollar coin…I mean what has happened to the species of these creepy things…since I was a kid they have gotten larger and larger and I sware this thing was following me with its eyes.

Anyways, I definitely go into freeze mode when these creatures decide on a visit and the kicker is…my husband hates them too!  So, this usually causes a battle of who is scared most to decide on the one that has to make this thing GET GONE!  Well…I won!

Now, it can get pretty comical watching this grown man figure out the best way to rid our house of this thing without getting too close.  What would probably take someone a second took my husband close to 20 minutes…ha…first, a nice wrestle head to head with the spider using a broom.  Then, patiently waiting to see if he had met his maker only to be startled by the awakening of it.  I think he may have come back with a vengeance for my husband as I can hear the amount of force that my husband was using that broom, this time around. Finally this thing was brought to its final demise but then we argued for some minutes on the reasoning of picking it up with a paper towel and flushing it down the toilet.  My husband for some reason, thought this idea was crazy and that somehow the carcass would just disappear on its own…

I mean, if I were watching the two of us during this ordeal I would be completely entertained as this did not seem to be an easy feat but the vacuum helped to give this eight-legged freak a final resting place and I am happy to say it is no longer terrorizing my family and I…thank goodness!

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‘Just because’ flowers from the hubs

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On another note, near our home we have the yearly South Side Irish Parade and some of the neighbors always make a celebration of it…with the cold we decided against taking the kids but we were gifted some yummy treats regardless.  Delicious corned beef, cabbage, corn bread and some divine Bloody Mary’s!  Heyyyy!  I just love the neighbors! 😉

That sure was my weekend in a nut shell…let’s see what the week brings forth!

Cheers.

 

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Girls Nights Are A Must: 6 Reasons Why I Need Them

The infamous Girl’s Night Out is something of a necessity in my life.  Since, becoming a mother, life can get a bit overwhelming at times.  It can stress you out, scare you, confuse you, annoy you, and create moments of immeasurable anxiousness.  Sometimes, you just need a break!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mama status.  Even among all the chaos, the benefits far outweigh the non…but let’s be real I am only human and sometimes I need to call a time out!

One of the things I look forward to most is a night away with my girls.  Whether it’s just one girlfriend or a few, getting away for a few hours to talk, have some drinks and get a break from mom duties is everything I need to stay on point!

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So, here are some reasons I need my occasional night out with the girls:

  1. Face time.  Sometimes you just need to see your girls face to face without texting or phone calls.  Looking people in the eye is the best way to communicate on all levels.
  2. I can drop as many f-bombs that  I fn want!  Let’s face it, with motherhood comes censorship. We can’t possibly allow our children to run around being potty mouths so we watch what we say and that shit gets old.  Ha!  Sometimes the best term needed to express my feeling at the moment just can not be censored.  But a girls night out is a perfect forum to let all that shit out! 😮
  3. Opportunity to vent about all the things that drive us crazy about motherhood, (or relationships) in a healthy way.  My girls are the best listeners and to have them to express frustrations and concerns with, is truly a lifesaver.  Also, knowing I am not alone in these emotions works wonders.
  4. Time away.  Everyone needs this every so often.  You need a couple of hours on a regular basis to be with people other than your kids and your spouse.  This is just REAL talk!  We all need a break, it keeps us sane…or at least it helps me!  That’s all.
  5. Dancing.  Now, this isn’t every time but when this happens it is a blast!  Sometimes, you just want to hear loud music and dance with your girls!  This is the best way to let off steam in my opinion and it’s always a good time.
  6. Coming back home, fresh minded with new perspective and ready for what’s ahead.  In some cases, you may have a small hangover to nurse but all for the better because you had some time to get things off your chest, swear a little, laugh a little and have some quality time with your best girls.  What more could you ask for?

 

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As our lives become fuller with kids and family, we always have to make time for friends. Having people in our lives outside of the household keeps our hearts and our souls feeling fulfilled.  Sometimes, especially with motherhood, we can have moments that can be tough.  Sharing all of that with your girls helps tremendously…and all while having an amazing time!

Until next time ladies, until next time! 🙂

Cheers.

 

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Ropa Vieja

Recipe courtesy of the book Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009.

Today I wanted to share a recipe I came across in my cookbook collection, named Ropa Vieja.  This is part of my effort to utilize the references I have on hand (stated last week) and this turned out to be a very good recipe.

This is a Cuban Stew that requires braising of the meat until it can be shredded.  I braise a lot in my house so I was happy to try this out.  I used skirt steak for this instead of flank, only because it was what I had on hand.  It turned out really well.

This can be eaten with tortillas and served with some rice.

I halved this recipe to make 4 servings.  Written as such.

What You Will Need:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb Flank Steak, trimmed (I had Skirt Steak on hand)
  • 1/2 large red onion sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced pitted green olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups of beef broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Coat a Dutch oven with Olive Oil.  Heat on medium-high heat.  I seasoned the steak with salt & pepper and browned them on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side.  Remove and put to the side.

Reduce heat and add the onions and bell peppers and cook until tender.  Stir in garlic, olives and next 5 ingredients.  Cook until fragrant.  Add vinegar, loosening the brown bits at the bottom with a wooden spoon and cook 2 minutes or until some liquid has evaporated. Then add the beef broth, tomato paste and bay leaf.  Cover, reduce heat and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove steaks and shred with two forks.  Return to the pot along with the cilantro and stir.

Enjoy!

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Recommended to bring some heat to the table to add.  We like things hot in our house.  🙂

Reference the original recipe for wine pairing ideas!

Excited to see what else I can find right under my nose. 🙂

Cheers!

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Songs that got me blushin 1

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Hey there!  It’s March and Spring is around the corner!  With that comes new inspiration and for me music is HUGE in relation to that…so I thought I would bring in the new month with some songs that got me blushin at the moment… 😉

 

Gary Clark Jr. – The Healing.  This man is the ish!   This is an amazing artist and I am in love with his style and skill.  This song isn’t new but awesome nonetheless and perfect for my #Marchfeels!  If you can see this man live do yourself a favor and do it!  He opened for a band I went to see a few years back and he may have been more exciting than the main event. 😮

Marion Hill – Down.  This song just got me!  It’s got a funky vibe that I am feeling right now.

Ed Sheeran – Shape of You.  I have liked this guy from the beginning.  I think he’s a good songwriter and I can pretty much get on board with most of what he does.  Plus, this makes me want to dance a bit and I am always down for that!

Adele – Water Under the Bridge.  I mean it’s Adele…but I love this song and everything she does I find relatable and her voice is beautiful.

Jon Bellion – All Time Low.  This has a cool vibe.

James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go.  I just came across this song recently.  I am not too familiar with this artist but this song is just so pretty.  It touches me and I am for sure blushin over it.

Hope you all like!  Find yourself some inspiration this month…happy March!

Cheers!

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Mini Haul Reveal

Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised that my latest package from Endless Xpressions came in the mail.  Who doesn’t love receiving a box to open at your front door.  Even if I know what’s in it, it always puts a smile on my face! 🙂

This current haul is a small one, as I wanted so desperately to try some new items.  In January, EX merged with their sister company Hodge Podge and with that merge came so much more fun inventory to share!

I have to try everything so I can share with you guys my perspective and opinion of how things work!

Plus new goodies make me happy!  So, here we go!

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Handmade Soaps

64 different kinds (under Bath & Body > Soaps)

 

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$5.95 USD

Eucalyptus, Hemp & Tea Tree Soap.  There has been an abundance of sickies in my house, stuffy noses and congestion, so this was a MUST try.  This can create a slight vapor in the shower or bath to help with a cold or allergies.

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$5.95 USD

Chamomile Face Soap.  It’s made with 65% olive oil so I had to try it!  Olive oil is awesome for the skin and I have been known in the past to lather myself with it after having  a shower.  A little goes a long way and because my skin is pretty dry it helped to seal in some moisture.  I prefer using this oil compared to a coconut oil when it comes to my skin in particular.  So, super excited to try this soap!

Cosmetics

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$15.95 USD

5-Color Eye Shadow Palette in Mild Trance.  I am so excited to try this.  I love shadows and for everyday prefer a natural palette and this is perfect in regard to the tones I like.  The case is basic black and has a nice weight to it along with a mirror on the inside which makes it great for on the go.  Can’t wait to see what looks I can do with this one.

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$17.95 USD

One of our NEW best sellers, the Ultra Lash Fiber Mascara!  This is a ONE Step Fiber Mascara and I can’t wait to try it.  I have had a particular 2-step mascara (from a company that shall remain nameless) forever! I would put it on and an hour or two into wearing it all the little fibers were all over my cheeks and falling into my eyes, it was so annoying.  So, I never used it…it just sits in my cosmetic case for nothing.  But this should minimize the work it takes to create the look of fiber lashes by incorporating them into the formula! Super excited and I will be sure to share what I think!

Handmade/Hand Cut Bath Bombs

80 different kinds (under Bath & Body > Bath Bombs)
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 $5.00 USD

Our Bath Bombs!!!  These were from an order I got a week ago but thought I would share.  I have tried these and love them already.  So, had to get more!  They are sooo fragrant and make my skin feel so soft and silky.  The scent always lasts a long time on the skin which is nice too.  Glad to add more to my collection! 🙂

That’s it!  All of what was in my Mini-Haul!  I will be trying my goodies today and create some future posts to share with all of you.

Have a lovely day! ❤ ❤

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Insomnia…My Enemy

“O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frightened thee, 1710. That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness?”
-William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

Lately, I have been grappling with zombie like status.  I can’t fn sleep!  I am going about 4 days now and it’s arduous on so many levels.

This happens on and off.  I can go months sleeping soundly and feeling fulfilled and BOOM, I am a lady of my own nightmares…tossing and turning, replaying the same monotonous happenings of the day before.  Left feeling as if a truck ran me over three times and then just left me to live the day as if it never happened.

When this happens it’s like I get stuck in this cycle for a bit.  Like I can’t catch a break.  Something usually sets it into motion.  This time my son was having some issues sleeping quite a few days ago which set my sleepless nights into motion.  My husband gave me some time this past weekend to make up for all the missed rest and of course, I lay there staring at the ceiling almost watching myself in a dream like state until finally realizing an hour had passed with no rest being had.  It’s an endless cycle.

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I may be stressed, anxious and overcome with contemplation.  I don’t know.  But my mind is my enemy….insomnia is my enemy right now.

I wish for a peaceful sleep.  Rest with no interruption.  Quiet and calm with no thought or crowded mind.  Just serenity.

This too shall pass but meanwhile I walk the days like a zombie.  Just kind of living but a little foggy, a little slower, and a bit more passive.

On to the new week with hopes of a sound sleep.

 

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BBQ Meatloaf and stuff…

Good Morning!  It’s Friday and we are having some rain here in Chicago, accompanied by some minor thunder and lightning, which meant no sleep for me as my fur baby Sasha has anxiety attacks when this happens.  (Poor thing) She pants, shakes and paces around the room trying to get my attention.  Well, she got it! 😮

I am up and have been for a bit now, I have my coffee at the sidelines and am enjoying the silence of the morning…other than the dog breathing at my feet…

Now, I realize I have not shared a recipe the last couple of weeks because of some unexpected happenings but yesterday I was thinking about my need to better manage my time.  It is extremely easy to lose time when caring for the kiddies.  But I started this blog as a way of self-expression and a sort of outlet for some creativity.  For a minute, I was forgetting what it was for and losing my focus.  It is important I keep this completely authentic and fun so I just have to allow it to take shape organically and give myself a bit of a break.  And so, I am cutting myself some slack and carrying on…

BBQ Meatloaf

So, last night I was looking for a quick prep and just wanted to throw something in the oven and walk away.  Meatloaf is extremely easy in my opinion and I had everything on hand.  I tend to buy meat in bulk and pre-portion, then freeze and base meals off of what I have in the freezer.  This usually can last a month or longer depending…but let’s just say it’s time to stock up!

Anyhow, I grew up eating meatloaf, my husband not so much but has since become a convert.  I realize some people are not that familiar with this dish.  But I like to say it’s just like a huge yummy meatball.  Whenever my mother would prepare this I would get so excited about the sandwiches I would be able to eat with the leftovers.  Best thing ever!

 

What You Will Need:20170223_175637

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs of ground beef (this is what I had on hand but have used equal parts ground beef and pork as well)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp of Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp of dried parsley
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 3/4 cup of bread crumbs (or a palmful, this is generally how I measure lol)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of your fave barbecue sauce, divided in half (for this I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Add all ingredients to a large bowl.  Combine with hands.  Make sure not to over mix. Place mixture into a greased loaf pan and shape.  Cover pan with foil.  Bake for 1 hour.  Remove foil and top meatloaf with the remainder 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce.  Bake for additional 15 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes before removing and placing on serving plate.

Slice and enjoy! 🙂

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On another note, I have been doing my best to organize this new house of ours.  In doing so, I have come across quite the collection of cookbooks (Not to the extent I have seen in some homes but nevertheless).  I realized that in all the years that I have had these things I have probably tried a quarter of what is available to me.  So, as an experiment and an opportunity to better utilize the things I have at my disposal, my mission is to try them all, yep, all of them.  If I don’t use them they just become clutter, right?  I will share my fave every week and with links, if I can find them.  Some of these books are old!  Original recipes will still be shared too.  😉

I am excited to see how this goes….so, stay tuned!

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Have an amazing day!

 

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Mothering When Yours Is Gone

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This past week I had a visit with an old friend.  We had a conversation about the difficulty of life after losing a parent.  What it’s like to go on having experiences and major life moments with them not being there and able to share them with you.  It got me to thinking…

My mother was a beautiful lady.  She was sweet, loving and extremely strong.  In all her sweetness you could still look into her eyes and see that she has seen pain.  My mom had a tough life and always showed up with a smile on her face.  For that, I will always be her greatest admirer.

I lost her in 2014 to Alzheimer’s.  I still can’t believe that’s the thing that took her from me…from us.  Thinking back it just feels like a dream.  I didn’t have the tools to deal with it the way I wished I could have.  She was really all that I had when she got sick.  My father made the choice to stay away and unfortunately, my half siblings and I never established a close relationship with each other and in a lot of ways my mom was the glue for that.  My mother’s immediate family lives overseas which was a fact that always saddened her.  I think in some ways she would have hoped to make it back to them.  Back to England.

Nevertheless, my mother always brought me comfort.  She was my rock.  In many ways I think we were quite similar in that my mother would see me make some of her same mistakes (painfully, I’m sure) but in all of our similarities she was that person that could be my reasoning in turmoil or the one who could always tame the storm for me.

I never imagined my life without her,  not even for a second….and then she got sick.  I was a mess then.  Constantly in my head, pretending to be fine when I felt like my heart was imploding.  I  internalize things.  I don’t share my anguish or my fears as they are happening.  It’s always in retrospect.  When I have found some peace and understanding.

I had my daughter while my mom was still here but pretty lost in the disease.  When she past, my oldest was only 10 months.  The fact that I had her was the only thing keeping me in one piece.  I had too, because she needed me.

There are so many moments as a parent that we see with fresh eyes.  Amazing things that are kids provide us.  All of which, my mom wasn’t here for.  Never in a million years did I think I wouldn’t be able to share these moments with my mother.  Honestly, she is the only person I would have wanted to share these things with.  There is such a pride that comes with bringing a human into this world, shaping them, and seeing all the gifts that they pour upon you in the form of achievements, spirit and love.

There is not a day that I don’t think about my mother.  Every moment that I live through, I wonder what she would have thought of it.  What she would say.  If she would laugh or smile. I imagine seeing her hold my kids and kiss them on the cheek.  Or pretend to hear her sing them a song.  I can still close my eyes and smell her perfume.  Or remember what she felt like when I hugged her.  These things I pray I never forget.  As the time passes on, I fear I will.  I fear I won’t be able to explain all the beauty that was her to my kids.  That somehow I will miss something, the essence that was her won’t resonate.

12556066_164866543884554_2124424361_nBeing a mother without her is the most difficult thing I have ever done.  Everyday I seek her advice and knowledge.  But am left to assume what she would say, which is painful. Mothering is hard and I crave her being…always.  Through the good times and the bad.  She could always ease my worry or doubt or fear.  She could make a perfect moment even better.  But I am left to my faith that she sits with me as I write this, looking over my shoulder, calming my heart.

I am left to believe that she watches my kids when they sleep and eases their pain when they cry.  I am left to imagine her following them through life and witnessing their major triumphs and sharing all their glories.  Just a heart string away.

And I do believe mom, I do, but I still and always will miss you.  I pray I make you proud and I know we will meet again.

 

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