🧱The Echoes that Built Me 👷🏼‍♀️

Life is a beautiful, messy thing. When I was young, I thought I had life figured out. I blazed through each day, taking whatever path tickled my fancy and hoped for the best. As I became older, I realized I didn’t have a mother lovin’ clue. But through the chaos, the echoes of people, places, and events in my life molded and shaped me. 

Growing up, my grandmother poured her positive spirit into me. If I said I was going to do something—no matter how crazy it was—she believed not only could I do it, but I would excel at it. All the conversations, all the emails, all her words of wisdom and hope echo within me. Even though she’s been gone for over eight years, I hear her voice cheering me on. Through her, because of her, I learned perseverance. I learned that doors would shut, but if you keep at it, others will open.

My father’s leadership echoes within me. Who I am as a person was created through the conversations I had with him. Conversations that I will carry with me always. I learned to listen, respect others’ differences, and stand up for what is right—even if it meant standing alone.

I learned how to be a survivor because of my mom. The horrors she faced as a child and as a young woman could have destroyed her. But, instead, she chose to place one foot in front of the other. She decided to have a family and pour her love into her children instead of letting the hate she grew up in taint her. No matter what I face, because of her, I choose to be a survivor. 

Unconditional love echoes within me. The love I have for my children. Strong, steady, powerful. It is unselfish. It is humbling. It defined me and shaped me into a better person. A person that sees through a different lens. A lens of compassion, hope, understanding, and faith.

No matter how many doors closed, what obstacles I faced, or the heartache I felt, I was prepared for them because I had a strong foundation. Every echo built me into the woman I am today. For that, I am grateful.

Ms. Write Life

😱 Fear Fighters 🤺

The world is a big place. Fear of the unknown can be debilitating. It can wrap you in its dark web and kill your dreams faster than anything, or anyone, else can.

But the best things come from the moments when we’re scared.

From the moments when we’re afraid of rejection. From the moments when we’re unsure of what’s next.

Fear can cripple you, or it can feed you: it’s your choice.

Fear-wrapped dreams are not uncommon. Aspiring singers, actors, authors—all their goals are wrapped in fear. But each day, they choose to go out and conquer their fear. They decide to try again no matter how many times they’re rejected. With each rejection, there’s knowledge gained. There’s an innate desire to become better, to do better, that drives the dreamers. 

Life is about growing; it’s about learning; it’s about perseverance. 

Be better. 

Do better. 

Fall, then get back up.

Face your fears and let your worries fuel your desire to overcome your obstacles. Breakthrough the fear and become the person you’re destined to be.

Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid to reach for the impossible. Don’t be afraid of rejection. We all take chances that bear no fruit. We all run for the impossible and fail. We all face rejection in our lives. 

That’s okay.

It’s what we do afterward that matters.

❤️ Ms. Write Life 👩‍💻

🍷Alcoholism’s Collateral Damage❤️‍🩹

One bottle after the next is knocked back. Roaring laughter, wide smiles, glazed eyes. Amber liquid sloshes onto the stained carpet, blending in with urine, vomit, and feces. Feet shuffle toward the kitchen. The room tilts, a shoulder slams into the wall. Fingers claw for something. Anything. But there’s nothing. 

Nothing but darkness as everything else fades away.

The next afternoon, the scrawny man with white stubble on his chin lays splayed out on the dirt-stained floor. Someone knocks on the door. No answer. Someone knocks again. Bottles rattle as they skitter across the floor. 

The door cracks open. 

A naked father, covered in nothing but his bodily fluids, shades his red-rimmed eyes with his hand. A son, with his wife and small children walking up behind him, blocks their view.

A planned barbeque destroyed. Family bonds strained. Disappointment clouds the once bright day.  

A decade passes. A decade filled with driving a father to and from work since he can’t drive himself thanks to a DUI. A decade filled with trying to cook for a father who’d only show up drunk. A decade filled with a father asking for money. A decade filled with a father trying to light up a cigarette in his daughter’s car with his grandchild in the backseat. A decade filled with reaching out, with trying to save him, with offering help. But no one can save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.

Time goes on. A grandfather can’t spell his grandson’s name. A grandfather who doesn’t know what his granddaughter likes or dislikes. The grandchildren don’t know him, either. They call him by his given name, because he’s nothing more than a stranger.

A father who calls his grown children – not to see how they’re doing. Not to tell them he loves them. Simply because he needs something.

Alcoholism isn’t victimless. Its dark web entangles its victim as it promises nothing more than a good time. Alcoholism is a jealous mistress who doesn’t like to share. She doesn’t just destroy the poor soul who lives and breathes for the next sip of her nectar. She destroys families.

It’s easy to judge from the outside. To judge the kids for not calling their parent. To judge the kids for not visiting their parent. But when you fight to save a parent who doesn’t want to be saved, there’s collateral damage. Good, kind hearts are hurt over and over again to the point they become numb.

This is what comes with alcoholism. It’s ugly, cold, hurtful. The family members caught in the path deserve compassion and kindness, not judgement and hate.

This is reality.

Ms. Write Life

Bearded Man-Child 🧔

Green-blue eyes sparkle with mischievousness as freckled arms wrap around me, a wiry tawny beard jabs my hair, and my body stiffens. 

“Hug me,” he demands.

 I pat his arm with one hand. 

“That’s not a hug,” he scoffs. “Both hands.”

My arms hang loosely around him as he declares, “You suck at giving hugs.”

I snorted. “I’d give better hugs if you didn’t shit yourself every time you hugged me.”

That’s just a snippet of one of the conversations my eighteen-year-old son and I have. He hugs at home, leaving silent-but-deadly presents that linger like a dead carcass on the side of the road on a mid-July afternoon. He thinks it’s hilarious. I don’t. 

But to be fair – he gets it honest.

My dad’s the epitome of professionalism when he’s at work. The man is a hazard with any tools, can’t change a tire, struggles tying on a fishing lure. He can, however, leave a trail of deadly fumes in his wake. Something he enjoys doing in his own home as he passes by an unexpecting victim. 

My son learned from the expert crop duster, dropping gas like farmers drop pesticides. But when you fight your way out of the fumes, the bearded man-child has a softer side.

Professional Crop Dusters

He called me yesterday morning asking if I wanted anything to eat. I wasn’t even hungry, but I ordered a sausage biscuit. If my kid offers to pick me up something to eat, and he’s paying for it, I’m ordering something. I don’t care if I vomit afterward. He doesn’t usually buy me breakfast.

Maybe it’s because he walks across the stage this week. Maybe the spokes are turning in his brain, and he’s realizing life’s about to change. He’s no longer a toddler who can hold my hand as he stumbles through life. It’s his life. His choices. There will be mistakes. There will be failures. There will be disappointment. There will be tears. There will be storms. But in the midst of all that, he has an anchor. He has his family.

One thing I’ve tried to instill in my son is that family is forever. There will be people who walk into his life that he thinks will always be there, and they’ll eventually fade out of his life. But… he will always have a home to go to. He will always have an ear to listen to his woes. He will always have his family. When chaos ensues, we will be his anchor.

Today, I’ve been rambling around my house, straightening up, cleaning anything that catches my eye. Pictures hang on my walls. Pictures of my son as a toddler, as a child, as a teenager, as a bearded man-child. Tears prick the back of my eyelids. I scrub the granite countertop, avoiding his face smiling at me through the years.

He’ll walk across the stage tonight, grab the diploma held out to him, and he’ll slide the green-gold tassel dangling from his cap from one side to the other. I’ll paint my face, adding a dash of blush, eyeliner, mascara, knowing that I’ll not make it through the ceremony without crying.

I’ve barely avoided crying as I’ve walked around my home. The ghost of memories cling to every corner, hang from every wall.

Today… I’m a wreck. Tonight… I’ll still be a wreck.

Part of my heart, part of my hopes and dreams, part of my soul is venturing into the world. May he spread his wings and soar. May he fight for the impossible and make it possible. May he stand for what he believes in, even if it means standing alone. May he find joy, love, and peace as he branches off on his own.

More than anything, may he always find his way home.

~Tiff~

🤬Quitting Chocolate🍫

My partner in crime, my incognito redneck husband, decided to quit smoking. Great, right? Suuure, it is. Don’t let Sharon – AKA the optimism fairy – fool you. It sounds great. Fantabulous, even. But this chick isn’t holding her breath. Not this time. Sharon’s gonna have to sprinkle her optimism fairy dust on some other fool. ✨

As he’s splayed out on the recliner, peering down his phone while he lines up his next shot on some game he’s playing, he casually mentions he hasn’t smoked in three days. My mind races as I do a play-by-play of the last few days, and I can’t recall him rambling to the front porch light one up. Maybe he hasn’t smoked in a few days. But instead of encouraging him, I snorted in disbelief. 

I didn’t mean to… the sh*t just came out. Before you write me off, just stay with me for a minute. 

Several years ago, the man quit smoking and hadn’t smoked a single cigarette for two weeks, then he told me he needed to wean off of them instead of quitting cold turkey. You wanna know what happened? He weaned right back on them. He made up for the two weeks he didn’t smoke in one day. Not. Even. Kidding.

Anyway, he glances over at me, and the honest fairy 🧚‍♀️, Ruth, flutters on my shoulder, whispering in my ear, and the hard, ugly truth vomits from my mouth. Fairies are evil little b*tches. Don’t listen to them. Ever.

My sexy, patient husband listens to me as I smile sweetly at him, and I point out the cold, hard facts from the past. That’s right, gents. Us women, we remember everything… until the last breath rattles from our body. Tread lightly.

Two weeks pass, and the man still hasn’t smoked a cigarette. He hasn’t been a grumbling bear tearing through the house as the nicotine withdrawals hit him. I’m a bit shocked, and I now tell him how proud I am of his accomplishment. He mentions buying himself something as a reward, which I whole-heartedly agree to. He discusses how much money we’re saving a year, what others things we can buy or go do with the cost savings, and I’m beaming at him, nodding my head, eyes are sparkly and sh*t. Then he drops the mother luvin’ bomb on me…

Think of how much money we’d save if you gave up chocolate.

I blink once. 

Twice. 

My smile falters as I scan his face. This fool is serious. I stomped one foot like an angry toddler as I told him it’d never happen. I need chocolate. Hormones are angry, vicious monsters that need to be fed from time to time. It’s safer for everyone in our household.

He held up his hands, backed up a step, and agreed.

His life almost ended, and he knew it. Smart man.

Y’all didn’t read the title and really think I was quitting 🍫, did you? Blasphemy. It shall never happen. Ever. BFFs for life.

~Tiff~

Not Today, Glitter Tits

My eighteen-year-old is exhausting. He was once the five-year-old who asked question after question after question. We would be stuck in the mother*ckn car for TEN hours, and he would ask a question. I would answer it. Then, I would hear this: 

Why?

👀🤯

I would smile, take a deep breath, and answer his question.

Silence. 

I sigh with relief, open a book, and…

Why?

🤬 <- That’s what was going through my mind.

That cute, blonde-headed boy with blue-green eyes was exhausting. I should’ve realized it was a sign of what my future would look like. He’s the hugger who leaves a dust of shit clinging in the air, suffocating you as he walks away. He’s the person who clicks his pen the entire time you’re speaking with him. Annoying. As. F*ck.

Recently, I made the decision to get the Covid vaccination. I’ve heard all the conspiracy theories… I’m getting the devil’s mark injected into me… I’m going to die in six months… population control at its finest… Yada, yada, yada. Look, y’all, I don’t care if you choose not to get vaccinated. I follow the beat of my own drum, and I’m gonna do me. Period. Like it, or leave it. IDGAF. 

Anyway, after I tell my eldest son… the annoying gremlin… that I’m getting the Covid vaccination, this is the text I get:

I had just taken a drink, and I splattered that sh*t all over my car. F******ck.

My kid’s annoying, but he’s funny… sometimes.

After a scheduling fiasco, I was eventually stabbed in my arm. Afterward, I sat in the chair, and I somehow managed not to pass out. #score

Later that night, my annoying gremlin wants me to pick him up from my sister’s after I explicitly told him earlier in the day I had homework, and I wasn’t going to pick him up hours later. He was either going home with me, or I’d pick him up tomorrow. And… this is the text I get:

I snorted. Rolled my eyes. Not today, glitter tits. Not today.

~Tiff~

Love Chooses Me

It’s so easy to get lost in the negativity of the world that we can lose sight of what’s right in front of us. I listen to the news or scroll through social media and there’s so much anger and hatred pouring out that I wonder what life will be like for my children when they’re paving their way through life as adults. It seems like the world thrives off of division instead of unity. Every application defines us by our gender, our race, and sometimes even our socioeconomic status. All I see is an application that divides us and judges us by what box we check.

            I can’t control what’s happening in the world, but I can control what kind of person I am. There’s good people in every race, in every career field, in every city and rural community. There’s bad people as well. We have a tendency to let a few bad apples define a group as a whole, and we cast judgement on them. I refuse to choose the toxic web of hatred. I refuse to judge anyone based on what box they check on an application. You’re either a good person … or you’re not. Your wealth doesn’t make you a good person, the color of your skin does not make you a good person, your title does not make you a good person – the only thing that determines that is you and the actions you conscientiously take every single day of your life.

            As the world is in turmoil and chaos, I opened my mailbox this afternoon to find a package from my husband. It isn’t my birthday. There’s nothing significant about today at all. But, this man, sent me a gift just because. An ordinary day turned significant in mere minutes because of a simple act. An act that conveyed love and brought joy to my heart. Every single day my husband chooses me. His love chooses me. And I wonder what the world would be like if we ignored the news media, stayed off social media and just focused on doing one small act of kindness each day. We can cling to the darkness and be swallowed by it, or we can choose to be a beacon of light, keeping the darkness at bay.

            I married a man because he was a good human being who loved my child as if he were his own. If your vehicle is stuck in the snow, he’s going to stop and check on you, and pull your vehicle out. If you’re stranded on a lake in a boat with a useless motor, he is going to check on you and tow you back in. That’s just who he is. That’s why I married him.

            As we go through life, there will always be struggles and adversity. Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. Finding someone who accepts you for who you are, cheers you on no matter what and is a steady hand reaching out for you when the ground is shaking beneath you, is life changing. There’s ugliness in the world. But there’s beauty too. Today and always, I choose love over hate. I choose kindness over indifference. I hope you do as well.

~ Ms. Write Life ~

Homeschooling Gremlins

The gremlins have been at home for a week as of Friday morning. I haven’t pulled my hair out … yet. I have another three weeks with them – two weeks that will consist of them doing schoolwork. The youngest is proactive and knocks out his work first thing in the morning. The eldest gremlin, well, he gets on my last nerve. He is the procrastinator. He wants to wait until the very last second, then rush to get it all done. Me? I cannot live my life like that. I like to be ahead of the game. I like to have room to breathe. I am a planner. I have learned over the past week that homeschooling gremlins can be maddening.

There were times in my life where the thought about being a teacher crossed my mind. Then I would think of the parents I would have to deal with and that was the end of that rambling idea. I think quite a few parents give teachers hell, but at what point do we look at our own home to see if the source of the problem isn’t the teacher, but us? There have been times when I had conversations with teachers about my eldest gremlin as he made his way through the school year. There was a point in time where he was goofing off all the time in class. I didn’t blame the teacher, y’all. Here’s what I did:

  1. I found an old school desk.
  2. Bought workbooks for his grade level – math, science, reading, etc.
  3. Placed the desk at the end of the hallway, facing the wall.

When he get home, he soon learned that his spring break was consisting of schoolwork. I used this moment to teach him a life lesson. Wasting someone’s time and not respecting it when they are trying to make you better isn’t kosher. Needless to say, he stopped goofing off in class. He knew that if he wasted his teacher’s time, mom was going to eat away at his free time with more schoolwork to make up for it.

It is easy to focus on blaming everyone else, but I think it is good practice to look at all the factors, including ourselves. I know I am far from perfect, and I know my gremlins are far from perfect. We’re human, and we’re constantly learning and evolving. That’s life.

After the youngest gremlin finished his schoolwork last week, I was duped into playing a video game with him. In the course of a few minutes, I believe I was killed a hundred times. Every time I would see the enemy, I would have to look down at all of the buttons on the remote. My brain was like sludge as I tried to remember what my eleven-year-old said each one did. I would end up hitting the button to jump instead of shoot. Then … I died. I even tried to use the youngest gremlin’s guy as a shield. The jerks would come from behind, and … I still died. After only killing a handful of the enemy in thirty minutes, I plopped the remote down, ruffled my gremlin’s hair, turned and walked out with my head held high. I figured I’d stop while I was ahead. I killed a few. I thought I had done well.

Later that night, my youngest gremlin came into the living room chuckling. Merriment sparkled in his dark eyes as he said to my husband, “Mom’s really awful. She died all the time. You really suck at playing the game, mom.”

I really wanted to stick my tongue out at him, but I could see my husband’s slow smile cracking across his face out of my peripheral.

“That bad, huh?” asked my husband, smiling so hard his cheeks had to be hurting. In my mind, I flipped him off, but instead … I just sat there, ignoring them.

“Yep.”

Y’all, I really need some estrogen in this house. Lord, save me from these gremlins.

~Tiff~ #momofgremlins

Self-sufficient Gremlins

I don’t always listen to my husband … ok, I almost never listen to my husband. He can preach about something for years before I decide he might actually be onto something. I usually nod my head, grunt once or twice, and pretend to be actively listening. Hey, stop judging me. Y’all know if your man starts spouting off about car parts or something else that isn’t revving your engine, your eyes glaze over and you stop listening. That’s just how it is.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah … he was definitely onto something this week. He had been saying it for months, but I just brushed it off … until I hit my limit with my gremlins. I work full-time, and I try to keep my house somewhat in order. After watching my kids come home from school and just loaf around, then pile dishes, laundry and junk all over the place – momma was d-o-n-e. Once the dishes were washed and put away, laundry was done, I had the discussion with said gremlins. They will wash any dish they dirty. If momma cooks, they get to wash the pans. They will each have a laundry basket in their room, and they will do their own laundry.

Such a good little gremlin.

So far, it has worked beautifully. This is the best my sink has ever looked. Neither one of them thinks it will stick, but it doesn’t benefit for it not to. It definitely won’t benefit their future spouse if I revert back to the way it was. The last thing I want is for my gremlins to expect that a woman is supposed to take care of everything inside of the house. Women are in the workforce and bringing in the bacon as well, so our ‘job’ isn’t to take care of the house, bring the man a drink when his runs out, cook, clean and iron his clothes. No, sir. When part of the bills are paid for by the woman, the man should step up.

I can almost hear men fussing about the lawn and what they take care of outside. Listen, women aren’t too good to mow a lawn or spray the weeds. Especially, when their man is doing their part with the upkeep of the inside of their house. It should be a partnership.

I personally just think it’s BS when a woman is judged by what the inside of her house looks like when she is pulling in just as much or more than the man. No woman should feel guilty that she didn’t make supper after a long, hard day at work. That’s why I’m determined to have two self-sufficient gremlins.

Here’s a tip for fellow moms of gremlins. If you have a router, check into getting the app on your phone. I have a Nighthawk from Netgear, and I love the little Device Manager button that I can click into and shut off a specific device in my home.

What? You didn’t wash your plate? Good-bye internet for Desktop-XXXX. Bwah ha ha. Get some, fool. I probably shouldn’t get as much enjoyment from it as I do. I was literally popping a Dorito into my mouth as I clicked the button and watched my son’s bedroom door from my desk. It didn’t take long before he went and washed the dirty plate he left sitting on the table.

Mom -1; Adolescent Gremlin – 0

~Tiff~  #momofgremlins

The Pooter Gremlin

I know it has been a few days since I blogged. Some of you might have been wondering if I survived the onslaught of male teenagers that invaded my home over the weekend. Somehow, I managed to live through it. Watching teenage gremlins interact is perplexing at times. There’s just a big part of me that wonders about their thought processes and maybe someone else can weigh in on it because I just don’t get it. While they’re laughing like hysterical hyenas, I’m looking at them like they’re all buffoons.

There’s a stupid, little black rubber device that makes farting noises when you squeeze it. It is the dumbest thing EVER. My adolescent gremlin has been ‘borrowing’ it from one of his friends for over a week, and I loathe the stupid thing. Y’all want to know what it’s called? Take a wild guess. It’s a genius name, or so I’m told. It’s called … The Pooter. Not. Even. Kidding. Within the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of watching the movie Idiocracy, and I wonder if that’s what our future generation is actually going to look like. Here it is, The Pooter:

So, as I was giving the death stare to The Pooter my gremlin was holding, he pulled out his cell phone and showed me a video. I watched it, and I laughed. I’m so mad that I laughed, but his friend’s reaction was hilarious. Here it is for your enjoyment:

I always thought I would have a girl, but I managed to churn out gremlins instead. I’m a little bit of a girly girl. I like fixing my hair, doing my make-up, painting my nails and all that jazz. I have lovely smelling lotions in every bathroom along with perfumes and pretty little bottles of deliciously smelling soaps. As I paint my nails, I get to hear my gremlins discuss the fact that I literally just painted my nails two days ago. I want to give them the bird, but I continue painting my nails and let it roll off because I know their sense of time sucks. It had been a week since I painted my nails, and I wasn’t going to be needled by gremlins that can’t find a massive bottle of ketchup in the fridge when it is literally almost smacking them in the face when they open the stupid doors. #micdrop

This is my life. On the bright side, when I have other gremlins over, I have the pleasure of listening to them “rap”. My gremlin says he’s the producer because he’s good at editing. I always tell them to shoot for the stars and to dream big, so I will never be the one to tell them they can’t do something because the odds are against them. That it’s impossible. I believe the impossible is possible. You will hear so many noes in your life, folks, but it only takes one yes. Life is about learning from your mistakes. It’s about chasing the impossible dream. Maybe these boys never make it rapping. Maybe I never make it writing. But, when we leave this Earth and take our last breath, at least we tried.

~Tiff~  #momofgremlins

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