I’m a Butterfly

11 Jan

I will never forget it.  It was my sophomore year in high school.  The assignment was to write.  I was pumped.  I was the girl that was willing to write all of the papers.  All of the short stories.  All of the essays.  This particular time, the teacher handed back my paper and I immediately felt my heart drop.  My fifteen year old self almost couldn’t process the words that were written in red, bold script at the top of the page.  I honestly can’t tell you exactly what they said.  They weren’t positive.  They weren’t encouraging.  No matter what the actual letters spelled out, I walked away with one thought.  I couldn’t write.  Not physically, of course.  Just that I wasn’t any good.  That I didn’t have what it took.

The thing is, writing was in my heart.  It still is.  It is part of who I am.  What I did learn though, was that no one could see the things that I had written.  When I put those parts of me onto a piece of paper, they needed to be kept hidden away and safe.  So, I wrote.  I filled notebooks and drawers.  I wrote poetry and open letters.  I wrote songs and stories.  I wrote.  And I kept every single word under lock and key.

For twenty years I have hidden away those pieces of my heart.  Then one day, not too long ago, I started a book.  The words just flowed out of me like they were meant to be on paper.  I shared them with my most trusted friend and she convinced me that they were worth reading.  And so, my first book was born.

To say that I am proud of this book would simply not be enough.  I am terrified of the vulnerability that is required to allow people this close to my soul.  I am humbled by the responses I have already seen.  But mostly, I am in love with these characters and the story that their lives created.  I truly hope you will be too.

I have thought, often, of that teacher throughout this process.  I wish she could see me now.  I would love to send her a copy of my book.  On the inside, front cover, I would write the words that it took me almost twenty years to learn.

“There is never a right time to stop dreaming of ways to open your wings and fly.”


If you are interested in ordering your own copy of my first novel, it can be found on Amazon at the following link:





So, I did a thing…..

12 Nov

So, I did a thing….

I wrote a book. Like, an actual book. And, the thing is, I think it’s pretty good. I’m pretty proud of it. I think other people might enjoy reading it.

This is where you come in. I need help! I don’t have the first clue about publishing a book; either through a publisher or independently.

If you do, I would so appreciate your insight! I really want to publish this book.

Here’s the prologue, because I want you to know I’m serious here:




     “I’m getting married.”

     Those three words sucked all of the air out of the room… and all of the hope out of my heart. I closed my eyes for a moment and forced myself to take a deep breath before looking back up into the eyes that I had been in love with since I was 17 years old.

     “Congratulations,” I said, and picked up my coffee cup, “I’m so happy for you.” I took a drink of the steaming coffee and willed the hot liquid to take my mind off of my breaking heart.

     And, somehow, I waited until I walked out of that cafe and into the safety of my car before the tears started to fall.

Choosing Happiness

8 Nov

image Happiness.

What is that? What does that mean? Is it just something lucky people stumble upon? Is it unattainable for some people? Is it this lofty goal that we should work our whole lives for while it remains just out of reach? Is it something you create out of nothing?

Actually, I believe it is something you create out of something.

I don’t believe happiness just falls out of the sky if you wish for it hard enough. (They don’t say “nothing changes if nothing changes” for no reason.) I don’t believe that it is unattainable at all. I do believe it should be a goal…. but if it doesn’t seem to be within your reach, then maybe you need to start reaching in another direction.

I have been doing a lot of self-reflection, with the help of a couple of people I trust, about my own personal happiness in recent months. I have come to some conclusions.

1. I get to choose to let go of those things that actively make me unhappy. That don’t make me a better person. That don’t fulfill me in some way. I get to walk away from those things. Sometimes that means a career change. Sometimes it means letting go of a toxic marriage or relationship. Sometimes it means moving to a new town. Sometimes it means making healthier choices for your body. Whatever that means for you, do it. Do it today. That won’t be easy. But, I promise you, it will be worth it.

2. I get to choose to follow my dreams. Whatever those dreams may be. No one gets to tell you that your dreams are too big or too far away or that they will be too much work. You set goals and you reach them. Even if it takes a million tiny steps to reach the mountaintop. So, save the money and buy your dream house. Backpack through Europe. Climb that corporate ladder. Quit your job and find a rewarding opportunity to work from home. Run a marathon. Write the book. Sing the song. Whatever it is that you dream about… that you say, “I would only do that if…..” No more ‘if”! Whatever that means for you, do it. Do it today. Looking down from the top of the mountain, will totally be worth it.

3. I get to choose to feel good about myself. I’m not a supermodel. I’m not a size 4. I’m not the richest or the most accomplished. I’m not even close to any of those things. But, you know what? None of that actually matters. I am constantly working toward becoming the best possible version of myself. I am working on making myself healthier. I am striving to create an amazing life. I am choosing to “Be better everyday.” I am learning to own and love who I am, after so many years of trying to figure her out. So, whoever you are, own it. Love it. Do it today. It won’t be easy. (I literally say positive things to myself in the mirror everyday.) But, it is more worth it each and every day.

4. I get to choose to tell the voice in my head, or the one that comes from someone else, to “shut up!” You know the one. Mine tells me I’m not worthy of being happy. She tells me that I’m letting people down. She tells me that everyone else’s happiness is more important than my own. She makes me doubt myself. She makes me feel guilty. She makes me feel inadequate. And, unfortunately, she gains her power through the words and opinions of other people. Other people who have made me feel unworthy. Other people who have made me less important. Other people who have doubted me. Other people who have blamed me. But she’s wrong, and so are they. So, whatever that awful voice in your head, or someone else’s is saying, ignore it. Choose to listen to the voice that is telling you that you are worth it. That you are beautiful. That you are important. (The One I hear reminds me whose and who I am.) Do it today. Learning to love yourself will definitely be worth it.

5. I get to choose my happiness. I get to Choose. My. Happiness. (I thought that one was worth repeating.) Choosing my happiness doesn’t make me selfish. Choosing my happiness doesn’t make me a bad mom. Choosing my happiness doesn’t make me less in any way. In fact, being happy means that there is more of me to give. I have seen my positive relationships grow stronger since deciding to choose my happiness. It actually makes me a better mom. I am more present and a much better role model for my children since deciding to choose my happiness. And, it makes me more. More free. More giving. More dedicated. More.

Choosing my happiness doesn’t mean that I’m done. I’m not done being sad. I’m not done being angry. I’m not done being frustrated or overwhelmed. I’m not done crying over that one thing I can’t have, yet. But, it does mean that I know there is sunlight even during those storms. Because I choose to shine.

If you feel stuck. If you aren’t happy. If you know that there has to be more out there somewhere for you. Then, choose to be happy. Figure out what that means for you. Let go of things or people that are dragging you down. Follow your dreams. Find ways to build your confidence. Listen for those positive voices. Choose your happiness. You are worth it!

How to Destroy a Strong Woman

2 Oct

20180609_181059A strong woman.

She has a past.  There are people and circumstances in that past that have beat her down.  She was forged from fire and ash.  From decisions she regrets, moments out of her control, and a person she has vowed to never be again.  She created herself during years of doubt, self-loathing, insecurity, fear, and shame. She poured out tears and sweat and blood and countless prayers to become someone that she could be proud of.  She flies with her own wings. But those wings were painstakingly created with every single ounce of strength she could find. She is strong. She made herself that way.

How do you destroy a strong woman?

You build her up.  Just to tear her down.  You find pretty words to tell her.  Then tell her she’ll never be good enough.  You make sure she hears everything she wants to.  And everything she doesn’t. You never let her have any peace and never let her know where she really stands.

You make promises.  Big ones. Small ones.  You make her believe you.  Maybe you even believe yourself.  I hope you do. But you let her down.  Time and time again. You don’t hold up your end of the bargain.  You aren’t someone she can count on.

You take care of nothing.  The only thing you are able to really care about is yourself.  But you don’t even take care of your own needs. She does.  And you let her. You let her take care of everything. Of everyone.  Every time. The only option she has is to be strong. Her strength becomes her weakness because you don’t know that she has moments where she needs someone else to hold her up.  You don’t carry any of the burden, not even your own. There isn’t anyone else to share the weight of life. Even when she’s not ok.

How do you destroy a strong woman?

You take all of that confidence that she fought to build.  You take it away. You make her believe every ugly thing everyone has ever said about her.  Then, you blame it on everyone else. You blame it on her. You make her question her strength.  You make her question everything.

You destroy her dreams.  You take away her chance at happiness.  You make her cry. You make her angry. But, she is loyal.  She is a fighter. So, she fights. She fights for years. Nothing changes.  You continue trying to destroy her. You leave her no choice but to give up. To give up on the hope that she could ever really be happy.  To give up on herself. To give up on you. To give up on love. The hardest part for her to come to terms with will be that she let you.

How do you destroy a strong woman?

It may take time, but she will remember how strong she is.  She will remember how much stronger she is without you. She will remember all of the work she put into creating those wings.  She will remember how to fly. And she will.

She will put the work in to herself and her own life again.  She will set new goals, and she will reach them. She will fly to new heights.  She will add new colors to her wings. She will believe in life and love again.  She will become someone better.  Someone stronger. That’s all she knows how to do.

So, how do you destroy a strong woman?

You don’t.

Sweet Pea

16 Sep

Sweet Pea.

That’s what she called me my whole life. She would occasionally call me by my name, usually it was if I was in trouble for saying something naughty, but most of the time it was Sweet Pea. I have no idea where it came from or how she chose it. I just know it was mine. That’s one of the saddest things…. that I’ll never be known by that name again.

I could tell you what her obituary said….. Born in 1942. Worked several jobs over many years. Had a large family. When we got together to write that obituary, I almost couldn’t stand it. It broke my heart to take all of the things that she was and put them into that limited space. Because she was so much more.

She was Lucky Charms and cinnamon rolls. My brother and I frequently spent the night with her when we were small, and we would either go to this little restaurant for these giant cinnamon rolls or we would eat Lucky Charms on tv trays and watch Saturday morning cartoons. Either way, it seemed just as special. As I got older, she and I still enjoyed going out to breakfast, at another little restaurant we found; this time for giant omelettes. I miss those Saturday mornings.

She was bird books and flowers. I remember visiting her when she still worked. There were bird feeders lined up just outside of the huge window right in front of her desk. She had this collection of bird books that she would take out and tell me about the birds she had seen. I never liked birds. But I was always fascinated by those books and the fact that she loved them enough to want to know more about them. And her flowers…… they were something she cultivated for years and took great pride in. She had several that had been her mother’s and I was fortunate enough to have shared in those over the years. Some of those flowers now bloom outside my house and I would love to pass some on to my own daughter many years from now. And, it seems funny, but I miss those birds.

She was Christmas cookies and craft fairs. Every year, as the Christmas season approached, there were two things you could count on. She would start baking Christmas cookies and she always wanted to go to the Christmas Gift and Hobby show. It was only in the last several years, as it became more physically difficult for her, that my kids and I would pile into her tiny home and spend one or two days over Christmas Break making cookies with her. She would fix us lunch (which I always tried to convince her defeated the purpose of us trying to help take some of the load off of her) and we would bake all day. She made dozens of cookies. And she would put them all in different baggies to give out at Christmas. I loved making those cookies with her…. and I loved eating them when they were finished! And every year we went to the Gift and Hobby show. We rarely bought anything, but we walked and looked at everything and just spent the afternoon together. I know Christmas isn’t here yet….. but I am certainly going to miss these days with her.

She was funny and crazy. I used to wink at her and tell her she was a crazy old lady, pretty frequently. She was sometimes grouchy, and lacked a filter in many situations. I spent many conversations telling her that she couldn’t say whatever it was she had just said out loud…. and then just laughing because she had said it anyway. To be honest, she could hurt your feelings if you weren’t careful. I don’t think she would ever intentionally do that. I know, actually, because she would call me to apologize for something she had said that she thought might have upset you. (of course, it was never actually that thing that had…) She would call me multiple times a day. Sometimes she just wanted to chat. Sometimes she wanted to tell me something she had called to tell me just a few days ago. Sometimes she wanted to tell me to do something that anyone with any sense would do…. Like close my windows because it had started raining or to make sure I put my leftovers in the refrigerator. I’m not even joking. I can’t count the number of phone calls with that information, or something comparable, over the years. Sometimes, I would get so exasperated with her that she made me want to scream. Sometimes, I honestly wouldn’t answer the phone because it was the 7th time she had called that day. I would always call her back though. I knew she just needed someone to need her. Man, I miss those phone calls and that crazy old lady.

She was special birthday songs. She was the best potato salad I’ve ever had. She was at every event any of my children or I ever participated in. She was stories about the past. She was homemade noodles. She was little gifts just because. She signed every card she ever gave me “Love and Prayers.” And those were two things I could always count on from her.

I miss her like crazy. But, I know that she is so much happier. She finally made it home. My youngest son frequently tells me that she’s dancing in Heaven. I love thinking of her like that now. A smile on her face like I have never seen before, laughter in her voice, arms outstretched in freedom, just spinning and dancing….. and waiting for me.

Living Out Loud

4 Sep

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a dream… something just for you, and life got in the way.  You had great intentions of doing something that made you happy and you just couldn’t follow through because of……. Everything.

I know you feel me.

That’s what this blog has been for me.  If this is showing up in your in-box and you find yourself thinking, “Where in the world did this come from?”  you are not alone. It has been almost three years since I opened this blog. Three years since I took the time to do this thing that I absolutely love doing.  Three years.

I’m reading this AMAZING book (more on that later) and one of the chapters I just finished was about doing the thing.  You know, THAT thing. The one you constantly talk yourself out of, the one you don’t take the time for because you’re doing everything else, the one that is just for you.

This is that thing.

So, I’m doing it.  I’m writing again. I’m writing because I love it.  I love it like I love Thin Mints. I’m writing because I need to.  I need to create something in this crazy world. I’m writing because I have something to say.  Even if I only get to say it to the one person that I know will religiously read every single word I write.  (Hey, girl!) I’m writing because I do truly believe that I have something to give this world. I am extremely passionate about changing the world for women.  Cliche? Maybe. Can I actually change the world? Who knows? But I am damn sure going to try. Our daughters deserve it.

So, today, I’m going to leave you with this challenge.  Do. The. Thing. Is there something that you want so badly to do but can’t find the time?  Do it. Is there something you are dying to do but are afraid of failure? Do it. Is there some goal you have always wanted to reach, but someone convinced you that you don’t have what it takes?  Do it. Whatever it is, whatever that looks like for you… do it. I believe in you.

Let’s live our lives out loud.

Getting Me Back

18 Jan

When someone asks me to describe myself, I always say the same thing.  “I am a wife, a mom, and a teacher.”  And that’s true.  I am all of those things.  Those are the most important things that I am.  The most important things that I do.  But a challenge from a friend has got me thinking.  Who am I?  Who is Sara?  The woman that exists outside of my husband, my children, and my job.  Does she even exist anymore?  Do I exist?  The sad truth is….. not really.

Before I was married and had my sweet boys (and a new little girl on the way!!!), I was a dreamer.  I was a writer.  I was a poet.  I would take afternoons to walk by the river or through the park with a cup of coffee and my aimless thoughts.  I read books.  I loved to travel.  And it’s not realistic that I can do all of those things again.  Not all at once.  I still believe that my most important things about me are that I am a wife and a mom.  I still believe that my greatest responsibility, and my greatest joy, is taking care of the people God has given to me.  But I need to take some time to find myself again.  I need to get me back.

I still have dreams.  They have shifted and changed to include my growing family, but they are still attainable.  I will become a writer again.  Maybe not as often as I once was, but I will put words on paper.  I will think and feel and be, and I will write it down.  I will take walks.  Sometimes with a stroller and kids in tow, sometimes with just myself and my favorite beverage.  I will read a book.  It will probably take me longer than it once did.  But I will read one.  And then I will read another.  We make a point to travel as a family.  Taking vacations are very important to us.  We love to give our children experiences and memories and are willing to sacrifice other things so that we can do that.  I would also like to take a trip or two with just my husband and I.  Trips where I can take the time to lay on the beach or stare at a mountain or walk through the woods by myself.  Time that no one needs anything from me and it’s just me and the whole world.  (Of course, knowing me, I will miss my children terribly and will be on the phone three times a day checking on them and talking to them.)

So, I’m off.  On a journey to find myself.  To figure out how I’ve changed or remained the same.  To know that there is still a person in there, aside from Mommy.  Because, as much as it breaks my heart, one of these days my children will be gone.  They won’t need me anymore and they won’t fill every minute of my day.  I need to find myself….. for myself.  But also for them.  I need them to see how important it is that they remain individuals once they have families.  I need them to see that they can take care of everyone else, and take care of themselves too.  So, I’m doing it.  I’m getting me back.

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