anonymous letters, family

The Next Chapter Is In Motion

Motion: fast motion, slow motion or no motion. Which one is it?

Right now, I would say we are stalled. Where do I go? Who will help me? What am I entitled to get? Why do things cost so much? Why do I have to pay for that? How can I get a job paying 40k/year with no training, experience or advanced degree?

I almost think high school needs a “Welcome to Adulthood” class as a required step for graduation. No sugar coating things. Make them live as an adult for 60 days. See how many pass that class! Much better choice than a baby class because if you can’t be an adult, you certainly shouldn’t have a baby anytime soon.

Welcome to adulthood. Welcome, my friend. Welcome to the world of bills, bosses, crappy work hours, and so much more. It’s called adulting!

Yes, adulting is the coveted thing smart ass teens long for. Their freedom. Their ability to make their own rules. Their ability to do or not do.

They forget when you cut the cord, nobody does your laundry. Nobody pays for your car insurance. Nobody pays for that cell phone you are on 24/7. Nobody pays for your haircuts, clothes or toiletries. Why do kids today think adulting is the thing to do right now?

Kids these days don’t think about savings accounts for a rainy day. They don’t think about what happens if they can’t pay their rent. They just think somebody will help them. A form of entitlement, I guess.

This isn’t just something I see from just my parenting lens. I see it with others. Maybe not all, but a lot of kids in the middle-class suburbs where my kids have been raised. Very different from my upbringing.

To get started, I must go back a short bit. To sum up the past 9-12 months of my life could only be categorized as an insane yet thrilling roller coaster ride with many twists, turns, ups, downs, loop-de-loops and all the insane tummy drops that go along with the above!

But during it all, I remained calm on most days. I relied on my friends and family for moral support and I endured a lot of sweat in the gym to keep me grounded. All of which got me to today with a big smile on my face. I may even drop 10 pounds from reducing my stress now that this big day is here. I’ll call this the turning point.

As I sigh on one chapter coming to an end, I grin with a new one beginning. I hold my head up high and cheer loud and proud for my middle child who graduates high school. Not the straight-A student but a hard worker with a heart of gold. He battled to get to this point, but he did it and I couldn’t be more proud of him!

As he enters adulthood with that diploma in hand, he will be ready to tackle his life adventures with confidence knowing he graduated. Wherever he travels, whomever he falls in love with, whatever trouble he gets in, or whatever career path he chooses, his momma will still be there for him through thick and thin.

It’s time to cut the cord! My role changes now. I am a supporter from this point forward. I am no longer a life guide, decision maker, and prime financial supporter. Turning into an adult comes with responsibilities and growth. His decisions may frustrate me at times but they’re his decisions to make. The big 18. The legal adult. Legal adults get bills, accountability and headaches.

He can choose to drink, smoke, get a tattoo or worse. He gets to choose and learn from mistakes as well as celebrate accomplishments. It’s his road/path/journey.

It’s funny when your know-it-all teens realize that soap, haircuts, gas and other things are expenses just like rent, food, clothing, vehicles, etc. The real world hits quickly. When you finish up school, it’s time to get a job and be a contributing adult. How quickly one learns that adulting sucks on most days!

It’s time to let child #2 soar to his new heights. My job is done for now. May he take the strength and wisdom I taught him over the years and springboard into his own level of happiness.

Dream big kiddo. Seize the day. You deserve the very best and I know the best is still ahead for you. Embrace life and all the experiences in front of you.

Choose your friends wisely and think before you make you make decisions with long-term consequences.

xoxo,
Your Mom

awareness, perspective

My Reflection

When I look into the mirror, I see me. I see my strengths, I see my weaknesses and I see the stress I carry from my short life in ways others may not see, even if I’m right in front of them.

What does my reflection show to world? The face of good of health and nourishment, a smile that can light up a room, and eyes that are as blue as the ocean. Some may even say I am cute.

Cute only gets one so far as you age. Cute doesn’t define or shape who I am on the inside. I have a chronic medical condition. I even have a pacemaker-type device in my chest. I have dealt with this medical challenge and it’s rippling effect my entire life.  My life hasn’t been easy. My implant surgery was major and I almost had brain surgery a few years ago. Despite all odds, I have worked hard and persevered in most areas of my life. I have accomplished more than doctors ever thought I could. But nobody knows that I struggle each day.

Only my close friends, family and medical team are my inner circle and know me inside. I don’t even have many close friends because most people shy away from those who are different. Not because I am scary, rather due to lack of
knowledge and willingness to face the unknown. 

I like to keep my condition private to avoid judgment from others. This has been my choice thus far in life. This choice has come with consequences. I have had to miss out on events over the years and lost close friends because I couldn’t do all the things they could do or wanted to do. Social acceptance can be hard as you grow up and missing out on some milestones in my youth days has hindered my development. I can only imagine what challenges will arise in adulthood when you are like me.

As I age, expectations are placed on me that mirror those of others my age to do this or achieve that or even perform a certain way. Basically putting me into a box. A box of what my life should be like for somebody my age. The problem is I don’t fit in that box or any box for that matter.

No box needed! I am special. I am special like a fine jewel, not special as in incapable, stupid, or even retarded. I sometimes have to think differently or take a longer path to complete something due to my medical challenges. Unfortunately, the high-paced hustle of today’s world doesn’t adapt well to people like me.

I’m simple. I don’t really like to use the internet. I barely text. I’d rather talk to another human face to face. I don’t like voicemail either. My communication skills are one of my strongest attributes yet it’s almost a lost skill in today’s technology world.

Getting a job is almost 100% online now. I am a number. If I don’t type well, I fall into the dumb category. If I don’t have a resume full of fancy graphics, I fall short on the tech-savvy qualifier. This list could go on and on about the negatives of being me and being different.

Thankfully, I have been taught not to dwell on the negative but it’s getting harder and harder. I’m emotionally spent every time I need explain the why I’m different or why things take me longer or why I can’t do something even if I look like the person next to me!

My insides are different. I’m wired for me and I just wish the world accepted me for who I am. I can dream that one day people will understand me and appreciate my value because I have value. Sometimes you just have to look beyond the surface to see my loyalty, my trust, my kind soul and my incredible work ethic.

Where do I fit in the world today and where will my future take me? Why does being different have to be so complicated? Why do I have to explain to ignorant people how hard my life already is without adding the stress of their ignorance to my plate?

If only people saw my insides in the mirror instead of my outside. Would they see the time bomb ticking in my head? Would they see a hamster wheel running 24/7? My insides are a mystery to me in a way but would my insides help people tolerate my differences? Should I have to broadcast my life to the world to get acceptance?

In my short time on earth I have learned a lot about people. Some are kindhearted but the vast majority fall into the ‘other’ category that normally puts their own needs and wants ahead of others.

I hope my open letter hits home with somebody on the internet. I hope that one person chooses to be kind today, tomorrow and the next day. This world needs more kindness and hope. More positive messages to overshadow the negative that can weigh a person down.

My life is changing in many ways. I can’t see far ahead because I keep hitting road blocks. I restart over and over but how many times can one restart before they give up?

I want to restart. I hope I can restart now and prepare myself to restart again because all I can see ahead is restarts. I am different in a world of predesigned boxes. Mine apparently has the reject stamp on the box and I’m desperate to reconfigure my box to adapt to my special qualities.

Mental toughness is a battle everyday to some. It gets harder and harder to adapt when roadblocks are tossed at you in abundance. 

One day you may find me floating by on the highway in my not-so-fancy RV or home on wheels. Out to adventure and see the world my way. If I can’t fit in a box I’m going to have to define my alternate path. From what I hear, the road less traveled can be a fun one, since most stay in the box that was designed for them by another. 

Thank you for reading a glimpse of my life. And it’s such a small glimpse it’s like a small hair. Maybe I will share another story or hair of my life again soon. Until then, I will seize the day and tackle all the adversity that comes my way. To please the world as it sits today, I will have one foot in my predesigned box and one foot outside while I figure out my life. I may or may not be flipping the bird to others around me who are ignorant to my differences. 

This story is honest and heartfelt. It is written as a tribute to all those who need a little hope when life gets hard and keeps you in that dark place. Get up, get going and prove others wrong.

hustle, perspective

The Chase Begins With You!

When you are an influencer who shares, you’ll always have people following you. Whether they say it out loud or not, they are watching. Some will imitate you, some will sit in judgment of what they know so little about. Some will want to be you or with you, in your circle. Some will admire, emulate, and learn. Some just won’t get it.

This happens daily to many but most won’t talk about it. Haters are always around. Kindness is also in front of you. Some choose by default. Others choose because they are uncertain about themselves. No matter where one fits on the spectrum, one just needs to focus on themselves. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Laugh. Smile. Be genuine when you can. Those who fake it normally show their ugliness in one way or another. Be proud of who you are and what you bring to this world. Just you.

When you engage with your audience, your circle, your friends, your network, your acquaintances, sometimes you’ll be teaching, explaining. Sometimes just laughing, engaging. But within all that noise and engagement, you also have to have someone to chase.

Find someone better than you, in whatever field you are striving in. Business, fitness, social media, even close relationships or friendships. Who do you admire? Who has better skills? Who can you strive to be like?

Don’t mistake a chase for a competition. It’s just the chase. Chase the better version of you not another. You can only compete with yourself in this scenario. In a 50-yard dash you can race to win, but in life you need to focus on developing you and the world only gets one you. It’s up to you to define what you look like today, tomorrow and the next day. The physical you is just one piece of the puzzle.

It could be lunges or toes-to-bar at the gym. It could be the way a person writes or talks to their clients. It could be how a person styles their outfit or cooks in the kitchen. Find that person and chase them. Let them urge you on to a better version of yourself.

You may not even have to tell them. In some cases, it may not even be someone you know that well. In great cases, they might serve as a partner or mentor for you. But, you could also watch from afar and learn and strive that way.

If you are a shining light, you impact others just by being you and pushing forward on your path. Look in the mirror and find your light. Share the light with the world and see what happens.

I dare you to be different. Stand out. You have just one life to live, make it one to remember.

#1095Days #choosedaily #2chx

balance, dare to be different

The Sky Is My Limit

This week was some what of a chill week for me. A little bit of a flexy schedule. Some time for adventuring. A little less work and a lot more play.

This week had no “had to’s.” No business meetings. No trips to Disney. No packed restaurants on spring break. No trips to the office each day. Just a little staycation time in my local area.

I could have done the traveling and I could have enjoyed the beach but instead I opted for my spring break my way. For example, today I am relaxing on the couch with my dog watching the sun shine in my window. Just a girl, her dog, and her mighty blog.

Oh, the power of my words. My wisdom. My stories. My way. While I recharged my AAA-sized life batteries, I let the sky be my limit. The endless sky. It has no boundaries or confinement.

I went on a fabulous hike with some lady friends and my daughter. 5-6 miles of beauty and waterfalls. Birds chirping, girls giggling, a picnic lunch, great chit-chats and no technology. No cell service. Just taking away that one device allows you to appreciate other things. The smiles around you, the friendships you have, and so much more. It was a great day of nothing much then ended with some yummy ice cream from a local dairy farm. Talk about a creamy treat.

A spontaneous few days at the lake made for some good memories, too. Tied up boats with some friends and enjoyed some cocktails, cold water dips and exploration of the movie set for Ozark. I loved channeling my Inner Ruthy badass. Unexpected adventures are always the best. Add in a little jet ski fun with my mini me to make hump day a good one this week.

There was also a concert, a fancy dinner date, workout time and a glorious birthday bash included in the week. Nothing fancy just some good old fun with family and friends.

Many memories made this week but the big milestone this week was what I learned. I learned to sit back and enjoy the day’s sparkle. When you allow yourself time to reset you can accomplish far more than you think you can, personally and professionally.

This week I completed my first double unders at CrossFit. I had been working on the skill here and there but just didn’t commit to attaining it everyday. Somehow I made it work this week. If that wasn’t enough, I nailed my first toes to bar. This was a skill I was feverishly working on for a competition next week. It was a daunting task. It truly took an army of friends and coaches to get me to the finish line but ultimately I put in the work. I’m still climbing in progress but I hit a major milestone.

The above fitness achievements tie into my life in a big way. I am consistent, deliberate, and disciplined in my daily routines and my work ethic. The sky is my playground and my physical and mental strength let me tackle any turbulence that life tosses my way. And trust me I have obstacles daily!

I choose to aim high for what I want and only I stay in my own way of success. Sometimes it’s mental, other times it’s physical boundaries in in front of me. Whatever the barriers, if I have the will I will find my way. If ever I worry, I just look to the sky and know that possibilities are limitless if I set the sky as my boundary.

My way is my story. It’s not anyone else’s story. It’s only me who can put in the work. It’s only me who can define success. Others may think they guide or sway me on my journey but I choose who is part of my story or life journey and when I let them in or not.

My story is by invite only. If you’re in it, you are true to yourself and to me. If you are on the outside of my story there is most definitely a reason. Trust is earned not given to most.

Who is in your story? Is your story true to who you show to the world daily?

I am me. I am happy with who I am. I set the sky as my limit. Boundless energy to some, overly confident to others.

My motto is and and always will be: Dream big. Create. Repeat. Always strive to live without limits and seize infinite opportunities.

dare to be different

Spreading Our Story – We Need Your Votes!

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We’ve entered the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest!

Check out our entry here at 2 Chicks and a Pen. 

It has been a year of growth for us.  We’ve expanded our audience and the ways we tell our stories.  Check out our new video to see how we’ve evolved.

Big things are on the horizon for the 2 Chicks. What’s next? Our #1095Days project is taking shape.  The first book is due out in early 2020.

Please vote for 2 Chicks and a Pen – with your support, we can reach further and inspire more!

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author moments

Well, Poop.

Behind these 2 Chicks is a funny poop story.

Well, sort of.  Poop has been one of those running topics (ahem) that never fails to start a spirited discussion between the Chicks.  For example, Chick 2 will think the nasty poop discussion has ended, and the next day Chick 1 starts a new story with poop as a main event or character. Poop stories always find a new beginning.

When we were writing our first book, The End, Chick 1 wanted to put a poop page in the book.  And not just any regular poop, no! It had to be a BIG old dinosaur poop!  Chick 2, a self-proclaimed “Fahn Suh-thun Lay-dee” would NEV-AH pah-take in a discussion of somethin’ soooo….well, so vahl.  (Translation: she wasn’t a fan of talking about poop, much less putting it in a book! Southern ladies do not discuss such things.) *Fans self.*

If you’ve read our book, you know (and spoiler alert if you haven’t), Chick 1 won this debate. Dinosaur poop made the cut for The End. The illustration is awesome (as you can see above!)  Kids LOVE it.  LOVE IT!  And at our author events, Chick 1 always has to read that part! (Chick 2 still gets a little embarrassed and flushed – ha! – when that page appears.) Coincidentally, that is Chick 1’s favorite page, so it all works out in the end.

Still, poop happens.  Everybody poops.  Poop appeared again in Book 3, where our readers get to be the authors.  Recently, we donated some books to a local classroom.  We got an amazing response, especially to the poop page.  You can take a peek so see what the kids did.  The teacher was caught off guard at first, but how can you resist seeing kids so tickled to imagine and write?!

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Poop still rears (?!) its smelly head throughout the 2 Chicks’ lives. Did you poop today? Did you read the poop book on the back of John’s toilet the other night? Do you ever struggle to poop? Did you see my poop emoji shirt? Why, oh why, do we have to write about poop? Well it’s just a topic that is interesting that provokes conversation.  It stimulates the mind in a strange way but doesn’t seem to get old because everyone poops. And if one is struggling to poop on a regular basis it’s still a conversation piece. From gag-gift books in their circle of friends, to making models from brownie batter bars, it’s just a part of life.

Let’s all embrace poop. Encouraging kids to talk about, giggle about, and read and write about it is just another way the Chicks are a bit different than most.

author moments

Literacy Night with the 2 Chicks!

It was a dark and stormy night….really!

Seriously though, last week was amazing! 2 Chicks headlined a literacy night at a local elementary school. It was well attended despite the hurricane weather fast approaching. The set up was cozy; kids gathered with blankets and snacks on the floor. We couldn’t have been happier to meet these readers. Sharing our books and our story as authors is the heart of what we do!

We had a diverse audience, which we love, as we get to hear what our readers think about our work. What more honest critic (and fan) is there than a child?

Some of the kids were interested in the illustrations and why we chose what we did. Others were fascinated with the book-within-a-book concept from our third book. Still others wanted to know what it means to be an author and how we got our start. Many enjoyed hearing about the beginning, middle, and end of the process of making a book. Of course, the 2 CHX love the opportunity to share all of our ideas in hopes of inspiring future writers and illustrators. We encouraged them to carry notebooks with them and keep paper by their beds. You never know when ideas will strike!

Chick 1, KT, had a particularly moving experience where she met a young boy who likes to write comics with his friend. His friend likes to illustrate their ideas. WOW that is amazing! A partnership of creativity much like the the 2 Chicks have! A relationship to cherish. Their conversations expanded as the evening continued and his curiosity climbed. KT seized the opportunity to inspire and share artwork and works in progress, a true behind the scenes look for this aspiring writer. They then exchanged contact information at the child’s request to form a pen pal relationship and the young man offered future book reviews. What an amazing opportunity for both the child and the author. A connection made and more inspiration to follow….maybe even some pen pal updates. Our cup is overflowing with pure joy when we have events like this.

For Chick 2, Beth, it was an opportunity to connect with former students of her own. Chick 2 used to teach future teachers at the University of Georgia all about reading, writing, and children’s books. Three of her former college students are now teachers at this elementary school! Seeing these educators, now colleagues, encourage young people to enjoy reading, writing, and sharing their ideas was a full circle moment.

Thanks so much to our local friends for inviting us! We are looking forward to reaching more readers this way in the coming months and years. If you’d like us to visit, let us know!

Our message: Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep smiling. Keep doodling. Keep dreaming. You can be whatever you aspire to be.