There's more to me than "Mommy"…but not by much!

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Meet Me Blog Party February 11, 2011

Ok, I’m game.  A friend of mine hosted her own “Meet Me Blog Party” after getting the idea from a friend of hers so I suppose a trend is beginning here…or maybe I’m riding the end of this wave.  🙂  At any rate, I’m here now so here goes…

Welcome to the Meet Me Blog Party! This is a way for others to get to know me and a way for me to get to view other people’s blogs as well. All you do is tell a little about yourself by posting a few pics for a bio then copy and paste the Q & A part to your blog and fill in your own answers. Come back here and post your link to my page in the comments section so others can view your blog as well 🙂

Bio:
My name is Stephanie and I live in Lake Park, Georgia, with my wonderful husband, Justin, and our three kids (two boys ages 5 & 4 and our “baby” girl who’ll be 3 next month).  Justin and I have been married for 7 1/2 years and I like to joke that instead of the 7 year “itch”, we are experiencing the 7 year “stitch”.  I feel closer to him now than I ever have before and hopefully as the years pass by it will only get sweeter.  I am blessed to be a homemaker and love that I’m able to experience my kids’ “firsts” firsthand and spend so much time with them.  It gets overwhelming sometimes but I wouldn’t trade it for a nine to five.  The memories are priceless!
Q & A:

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a stay-at-home mom (insert your profession here)?
This is a tough question because I have so many interests and would love to do so many different things.  I graduated with a vocal music degree and a family relations minor.  I’ve worked as a nanny, a “temp”, a teacher’s aide, and an administrative assistant for a construction company.  I’ve also had the pleasure of living the life of a campus minister’s wife and later a youth minister’s wife (same husband, of course 😉 ).  So, who knows what I’d be doing if I weren’t a stay-at-home mom.  I love to write and have ambitions of publishing atleast one book whether it be in print or online.  I’ve also considered going back to school to get a degree in marriage and family therapy.  Families and family systems have always fascinated me.  And naturally, like every other soul who can carry a tune (and some who can’t), I’d love to make an album and become the next “big thing”.  Of all those many options and dreams, though, I’m truly living my biggest dream.  I’ve always wanted to be a mom.  I think I was born for this role…even though I’m definitely not the “poster child” of the perfect mom.  Hmm…that’s kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it? 🙂
Q: What are your hobbies?
Well, I shared several already.  I love to sing, dance, and write.  I love reading and photography.  (Maybe someday I can take a photography class and truly be inspired.)  I love blogging and hanging out with friends.  I absolutely LOVE to play!  Roller coasters equal fun! (Just one example.)  I love to travel and experience new things.  While I have NO desire to ever sky dive (why would anyone want to jump from a perfectly good airplane?!), I still consider myself adventurous.  Although, the extent of my adventures these days tends to include whether to do something crazy like use strawberry jelly instead of grape on a peanut butter sandwich. 😉
Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: That’s easy.  A mom.  But here’s the extended answer: As a small kid I wanted to be a teacher.  Then I wanted to sing.  When I started college, my goal was to do voice overs for animated pictures.  Very specific, I know.  Small market, I know.  Truly, I’m living my dream.
Q: What are your guilty pleasures?
A: Facebook is totally a guilty pleasure or anything chocolate.  Just about any dessert, really.  My weakness is my sweet tooth.
Q: What is your biggest fear?!
A: Without question, my biggest fear is losing a child.  I think I could endure most anything else but I’m not sure I could survive that.  I certainly don’t want to find out.
Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?
A: We don’t take many vacations but when we do, I like to go to places we’ve never been before (see foreign countries, eat local cuisine) and places we (or one of us) have been before (Disney World, certain beaches).  I’d love to go on a cruise someday.  Lately, it wouldn’t really matter much where we went as long as we’re together, having fun, and I don’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning, or laundry. 🙂
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: “The best gift you can give your kids is to love their mother.”  The flip-side of that as a mother is “The best gift you can give your kids is to respect their father.”  Also, “this too, shall pass.”
Q: What do you value most in others?
A:  Honesty, integrity, and humility.  Do their actions reflect their language?  Do they do the right thing even when it costs them something?  Most importantly, is it obvious that they love the LORD?
Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?
A: Well, I have so many wonderful personality traits so how can I choose just one? (That’s sarcasm in case you missed it. 🙂 )  Hmm…for my eldest I’d probably choose my “go with the flow” attitude (aka. flexibility).  I’m not much for schedules or routines and he’s pretty uptight.  For my youngest son I’d choose self-control (his latest thing is what we call “fit-pitchin'”) and for our “baby girl” I’d pass on patience.  When she wants something, she wants it right then!  Generally speaking though, I want them to have confidence and a strong self-esteem.  That only comes from a relationship with the LORD and finding your identity in Him, realizing His great love for you.  That’s what I want to pass on to my kids…that knowledge.
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?
A:  My brother, Matt, who died by suicide in 2009 and my nephews (his sons) Aydan, Ashton, and Adler.  I’d ask Matt what heaven is like, ask him what really happened the day he died, and tell him how sorry I am for anything I ever did or didn’t do that hurt him.  I’d hug my nephews like there’s no tomorrow and tell them how dearly loved they are and how they were their Daddy’s greatest pride and joy, his number one priority.  Then we’d all cut up and laugh as we shared stories from our childhood and listened to the “3 A’s” share what has been happening in their lives since we last saw them.  I hope I do get the opportunity to see my nephews again someday real soon.  They are so precious and priceless to me.  I miss them so much.
Now tell us something random about yourself:
  • I sang with Aretha Franklin when I was in high school as part of the “World Scholar Athlete Games” and with Nicole C. Mullen after college at a function in Nashville.
  • My husband convinced me to let him and his groomsmen walk in to The A-Team theme song during our wedding.
  • I got pregnant exactly one year after getting married and from that point on was either pregnant, nursing, or both for over 5 1/2 years!
  • I worked as a middle school teacher’s aide for 2 years and was known by the kids as “the pregnant lady”.
So, there you have it.  Now it’s your turn.  Send me an invite to your blog party by just posting your URL in the comments section.  Thanks for participating and happy blogging! 🙂
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Our Beautiful Family May 18, 2010

My cousin is tying the knot this weekend.  Weddings have a tendency of bringing me back to my own day as a bride.  Since Matt’s death that day has become bittersweet.  Other than my children’s birthdays, it was the happiest day of my life.  All of my family and closest friends were there.  Justin was as charming as ever; and my little brother was giving me away.  I remember feeling like my heart was going to explode…like it couldn’t contain all the love welling inside me.

Our wedding was anything but traditional.  We probably broke every etiquette rule in the book.  A late wedding without a formal reception?  Groom and groomsmen waltzing in to the sound of the A-Team theme song?  So, naturally we didn’t play the typical Wedding March when I walked down the aisle.  Instead, we chose “How Beautiful”.  I remember how nervous I was.  I could tell that Matt was nervous too but bursting with pride.  I tried to tell him what he was supposed to say when the minister asked, “Who gives this woman to this man to be joined in holy matrimony?” and in typical Matt fashion he cut me off and replied, “I got it, sis.  I already know what I’m gonna say.”  You can imagine how nervous that made me.  What is he going to say in front of all these witnesses?  In front of my soon-to-be in-laws?  As we strolled down the aisle, my mind wondered all over the place but focused mostly on my groom.  I nearly forgot about the “surprise” response my brother would soon make.  His answer:  “Her family and me, her little overprotective brother.”  (No doubt meant as a warning to Justin.)  That was Matt.  The protector.  He was the same way with my mom, my sister and all our girl cousins.  Nobody better mess with us or he’d be in their face…respectfully, but still in their face.

On Mother’s Day, we sang that now so special and precious song during church.  I didn’t realize it immediately but after the first line or two, it hit me like a wave crashing against the rocks.  I couldn’t stop the tears.  Just trying to write about it is putting a lump in my throat and water in my eyes.  I don’t think it was coincidence that we happened to sing “How Beautiful” on that day.  After all, Mother’s Day often leads us to focus more on family.  Marriages are the foundation of family.  And once again we were reminded that Matt was now a missing part of that family.  I like to think that God was listening to our hearts that day and sent us a glimpse of heaven and a tender touch of hope.  After all, Matt’s not really dead.  He’s just asleep, but always alive within us…because we’re all a part of God’s beautiful family.

Thank you, Lord, for your amazing sacrifice and unfailing love.  Thank you for the hope of a brighter tomorrow and the promise of a time when all tears, pain, and sorrow will end forevermore.  Thank you for the promise of an eternity spent with You and for calling us Your own, for calling us family.  May Your kingdom come quickly, O Lord.  Amen.