I already know that I'm going to participate in the next blogger book swap due to this very positive experience with Mia from Chronicles of Chaos

In an effort to keep it real with people, I was sure I'd over shared with her about my current personal challenges and was even more sure that she'd written the hosts of the swap and told them that they should nix me from this and all future opportunities like this one.

There was a bit of silence and then this lovely package arrived...

It was clear that she'd considered me. To be clear, we've never met; only emailed, read one another's blogs and then packed up encouraging gifts to encourage the reader, blogger and woman within. A handwritten card, a small pack of Burt's Bees goodies, lip gloss that I just adore (EOS, anyone?) and nail polish that will be flattering with my skin tone. Most encouraging though is that she read my blog and could tell that I'm kind of all over the place on this journey to find comfort with myself and then confidence in sharing who I really am with the tiny corner of the world that I come into contact with. The book on the left is the "Immortal Life of Henrietta Locks" (homage to the "blackness" part of my blogging journey) and "The Happiness Project" (respect to the current challenges in my personal life and the fun of trying something new). I am saving both for my first of two weeks of summer vacation in late June. I can already picture it now, sitting on the back porch reading, sipping a beverage and applying and re-applying Burt's. I'm so excited.

My favorite, favorite, favorite, FAVORITE part was the handwritten note! The seemingly small things are the big ones, aren't they? Mia took the time to encourage me in this kind hearted way and I was deeply appreciative. So much so, that when I read these two books, her card will serve as my bookmark.

I hope that there will be another swap coming up really soon. I've found myself with some new reads, some girlie goodies and a blossoming blog connection. 

The forecast for summer reading, relaxation and fun looks bright.

PictureDigger's Hotline came and marked the yard.
They came, they saw, they planted!

There were 9 teens and another very helpful adult present and we got most of the work done in just under four hours. I am so pumped about what we were able to accomplish though I will admit there were doubts along the way.

Let me just first off say that gardening and yard work is not my cup of tea. 

I like parts of it and get excited about the end result and enjoy doing small spurts of work, but this would not make it into my top 1,000 jobs I'd choose to do daily. Gratefully, the kids were well fed by the breakfast that I prepared. We looked at a parable from the Bible about planting seeds, prayed for the food and the time together and for the most part, they stayed engaged and worked hard for the bulk of our time together. Sore and tired the next day, I was glad to have had all of their young muscles to help us attack this project. They killed it! Really, they did a very good job.

Here are a few things I learned along the way...
  • You need to have mixing soil for nutrients and good stuff like that.
  • You need to take measurements to the designer so that you don't purchase too many things for your project.
  • You must make sure that you call digger's hotline BEFORE you dig.
  • You must ensure that you have plenty of supplies so that everyone can be continuously working (thanks to the many neighbors who loaned us shovels, weeders and advice).
  • You really need to have two adults around when managing a group of teens on projects like this; it was especially helpful to have one who was knowledgeable about what she was doing. 
  • You must have a sense of humor. Laughing at yourself and what you don't know - this has to be okay...
  • You must stay hydrated (even if it's overcast outside).
  • You should consider playing music.
  • You need to think through the project all the way to the end. (I forgot mulch!)
  • You must know what you want it to look like in order to tell others - oh! Be sure to know how to communicate it quickly and change it as much as possible to be sure that what you want is what you get.
  • You must trust that when you turn your back to work in a different area, that the job is going to get done, as you directed.
I realize that I could not have done all of the work that the teens were able to help me do. They took down the huge pile of dirt near the newly constructed garage. I still don't know what I'll do with it, but it has potential. The amount of weeds we had to dig out and cleaning and preparation would have been daunting for me to tackle alone. They dug holes, got their hands dirty (so dirty that dirt was under the middle of our fingernails), they talked, laughed and held worms and bonded. It was time well spent on so many levels.

At one point, our elderly next door neighbor had a person helping him out with his beautiful backyard and the gentleman helping commented on how well I interacted with the teens and actually said, "It looks really nice, you all did a nice job." (I receive that!) He also told me that the back bed was probably going to be a little tight, but I'm happy to trim, trim, trim as necessary. He wasn't raining on my gardening parade.

There are a few other things that I need to do before we can call it "a goal accomplished". 
  1. Be sure to put down some sort of tarp to keep the weeds down.
  2. Mulch the beds.
  3. Plant the beautiful magnolia tree.   
  4. Water, water, water. 
I believe that these things can be done by Friday night. Prayerfully a family of six is coming by to help us complete the work. It is my hope that the weather will hold out, that we can knock all of this out in less than two or three hours before the sun goes down and that I will be blogging on Friday night about the completion of this first month's goal.

It is great to know the power of setting a goal. And honestly, learning that I could not have done this by myself, I really need to stop thinking that I need to do so much on my own. It was more enjoyable with others and with people feeling comfortable enough to weigh in and give me advice on this which I know so little about, they saved me time, money and frustration (thank you Meghan!). 

Look forward to photos of the final product and please pray for me to finish strong.

Our Marine, Chad Jerome Simon. 1972 - 2005.
This weekend serves as a marker for loss of my husband/his father in August of 2005.

Due to injuries sustained from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

We start feeling weighed down about a week before this holiday weekend arrives.

Grew so much. Looking at him made grown Marines who had been in battle with his dad cry. They had to turn away. 

Family that we don't see but once or twice a year who love us as if no time has passed.

Ice cream cones that come with a kiss and two cheerios for eyes.

Marines. Semper Fidelis.

We remember the call.

Ceremony. Short and bittersweet. Lots of hugs.

Few but big tears.

21 Gun Salute, it still makes me jump.

Visiting his grave site to remember. To take a moment to be silent and remember.

The aching and longing from my child because he wishes he knew more about his dad; wishes he had had more time with his father.

9 months of attempted rehabilitation...to no avail.

Standing tall while not feeling tall inside. Fearful of what others think of me because of decisions I've made to move our lives in a different direction (away from what they're used to or know).

Seeing people who helped us and being able to thank them for all they've done to help us through a very challenging time.

Remembering the criticism and judgment from the media.

I still own the dress that I wore to the funeral. A size 0. (Not bragging)


The bell that rings after they name each fallen Wisconsin Marine. 

Having my son hold my hand as I cry.

Me putting my arm around him when he became silent and observant of the reality of the ceremony.

Respecting the meaning of the flag and the meaning of "ultimate sacrifice" on this holiday.

Considering the sacrifice of Jesus and being even more in awe of God's perfect love for all of us.

Him picking up the empty shells from the 21 Gun Salute.

Marines committing to helping him learn about his dad as a Marine.

Going to the parade and watching some people get it; others, not so much.

Hurt in micro-moments considering how few people remember.

Grateful to be the parent of this kid. Thinking I've done a pretty good job so far.

Tired of holding back this part of my life as if it doesn't exist to make others feel comfortable.

Ready to finally put up our own American Flag. There will be a ceremony!

Asking "why us" less.

Seeing my son worn out because of the emotion that is starting to stay with him after these weekends.

The encouragement felt when you are with those who understand your loss, even if for only a few hours.

It is time to reach out and stop grieving alone.

Did I mention the hugs?

Having the Major personally check in to ensure that we are alright.

Accepting my reality. I was widowed at 33.

Wishing there was more I could do for this boy.

Knowing that God has a perfect plan.

Roselawn Cemetery. Monona, Wisconsin.

I am so thankful to have this little boy in my daily life and to be able to watch him grow. Chad, would be so proud of him. I am.

Visit Freedom Remembered for a brief history of our American hero.

It was a rush.

I will readily admit that I actually ENJOYED purchasing items for the yard. As you can see from the slide show, it was an absolutely gorgeous day and the help that we had from Shawn and Mary  (employees at Minor's) was the topper of this experience. 

Let me reiterate, if I haven't already, that I do not care for too many outdoorsy things. Sitting outside is going to be prettier but not necessarily less irritating because there are still going to be bugs outside. Camping (the concept) really still confuses me greatly.

Alas, we went out on our journey to purchase the goods for the landscaping project for this Saturday. (There is still a goal to meet folks!) We got to Minor's and it was a beautiful experience. In spite of who I've often felt I am in regards to nature and planting and gardening, I was actually enjoying the time spent with my son and the incredibly helpful, kind and courteous employees at Minor's.

It went so well that Dylan is planning to apply for a job there next year. Though, as you view his video below, you'll surely see why he's most motivated to work there. He was helpful in taking almost all of the pictures and shooting this video (below) and two others that did not make the cut. 

The goal was for him to get me in the moment, really working on and planning to "landscape the yard" and he did just that.

For the record, we bought NO statues or yard decorations. Only plants. Only bushes. Only things that needed to go into the ground. So, today we brought home 1 Japanese Burberry Plant and 1 Orange Rocket (impulse purchases), 3 Jean Davis Lavendar plants (can't wait to find out what this lady did to get a sweet smelling plant named after her), 5 Black Eyed Susans, 6 Feather Reed Grasses, 3 Angelina Stone Crop, and 5 Baby's Breath plants. All of these are PERENNIALS. This means that I don't need to do anything except plant them and clear them each spring. My kind of plants. The rest will be delivered on Thursday.

If you've been following this month's challenge, you probably know that I was hoping to pay someone to deliver and plant the other beauties I purchased today (hydrangeas, rose bushes, boxwoods, minuet weigelas and a beautiful, big Royal Star Magnolia Tree). Well, I called around to a couple of landscaping businesses (after joining Angie's List) and apparently, my little jacked up yard doesn't really rate. They are not "doing this kind of business at this time of year." So, yes. You guessed it. I need to DO IT MYSELF.

To be clear. Gigi is not a do it herself-er. Gigi is a "pick out what you like and pay someone else to do it so it's done the right time first and if it breaks, they have to come back and fix it for free (or close to free)" kind of gal. I was a bit deflated last week. I knew I'd set this goal and shared it on my blog. And, if you don't know it, I am a big fan of accountability. So, since I shared, I felt I must do all I can to make it happen. And...I really, really want to enjoy the backyard this summer with family, friends, co-workers and for the neighbors to be able to enjoy it as well. So, I had to choose to be creative. Which, I am learning I am...in certain ways. I am also learning that I am also a bit of a business woman. 

I need to have labor to get this yard completed and especially if I am going to reach my goal of getting it done by the end of the month. There are a few teens in our church who'd like to go to church camp (at $350/child). And there it is. A partnership.

The details are still being finalized; hopefully to have them come over from 8 - 12 on Saturday. I am planning to make them breakfast and provide water and music. There will be a plan and I am fairly good at delegating. I only pray that "many hands will make light work" and that the weather is great for this task.

After dropping Dylan off at soccer between rushing from Minor's to the drive-thru at McDonald's (bleh.), I realized that I was excited to do something with the goodies that I had just purchased. Tired from the day and the excursion, I chose a small area and planted the three lavender plants. Or shall I say, three Miss Jeans please!?! They are to grow to be about three feet tall and needed about 12 to 15 inches of space between them. I pulled the weeds, dug the holes and planted. As soon as I did it, I was worried they were too close, not deep enough and not straight enough. I put away all of the supplies in the garage and then went to check on them, to look at them and then take photos of them (they are up in there in the slide show). While the bunnies in our hood are very cute, I'm hoping they don't eat or care for lavender plants.

I can now admit that I am grateful that the landscaping companies I called were too busy with bigger projects to consider my yard. Now I can tend to it and grow it and enjoy it too.

Stay tuned for future progress updates. Only 11 days until the end of the month...
Me and the Holy Yoga Instructor, Friend Extraordinaire, Amy (photo credit to Shiloh, the 10 year old).
Sangria for the girlfriends.
I got beat up (figuratively) last week. Personal, work...life. They were all doggin' me. I was exhausted and a bit concerned about being able to make the drive to Madison even though it was early evening. I knew that it would be encouraging and we prayed for a safe trip.

After driving  to visit great friends in Madison, we arrived to a perfectly fitted home for my friend and her family. She described it to me a year and half ago when they were considering relocating there and I think I misheard half of what she shared because it is not my cup of tea. But. It is hers. And her kids'. And her husband's. And it was beautiful to witness and encouraging to experience.When we arrived, she put the icing on the proverbial cake by giving me a loving challenge and sangria. A good combo. 

We sat around the table in the middle of the kitchen, kids in and out, conversation halted by giggles, tears, kid conflicts, questions, the same questions rephrased to attempt to get different responses from the first time and it was a joyous occasion. Really, it was like something out of a film, but better because it was REAL.

Though they live out in the country y'all - the country (not one window covering over one single window - not even the bathroom), it was peaceful, I slept wonderfully and had some incredibly perfect moments with God.
Though the weekend is not over and so many other things happened, I was grateful to be in Madison for the weekend. Not thinking about much else than giving to and encouraging others, while being refreshed myself. With the separation from my husband and stepchildren and time to think and pray while there, it is clear that God is (and probably has been) trying to get me to focus on Him most for YEARS. It has not been deep enough, nurturing enough and that is my desire to change this. This weekend was a great watering of the seeds planted in me though. 

After staying with great friends and watching them interact with their husbands and children, I do believe that there is more that God has planned for me and those that I love. I do not know how it will look and what it will mean for all of us as far as reconciliation, but I do wholeheartedly believe that it WILL bring Him glory.

As always when I travel, I am grateful for the experiences, but am thankful to be back home.
They have three chickens that lay three eggs each day. They are not named (though she told me a funny story of a friend that named their three chickens: Jerk, Stew and Fried or something like that - hilarious!) and they are almost like members of the family. It is just NORMAL. 

I went out with her to get the eggs and we chatted like it was nothing as she brought them in and cracked them to finish making the French Toast that we were having for breakfast. 

I love this for my friend because she is so in her element. And because she invited me into it and knew that even though it is not "for me" that she could trust me to appreciate it with her. And I did. And Dylan did too. To the point where he told her so of his own volition. 
Chickens, eggs, kids running wild and free on the farm.
The view from the bedroom I got to stay in. I had a wonderful, quiet time of prayer sitting in the rocker inside of this window.
The oldest two had such a great time in each other's company. It's been awhile since they've seen one another. On their way to being a 9th grader and 6th grader (respectively) and still able to relate, laugh and be themselves. Such a comfort to me as a mom after so much time has passed.

This is a reminder to me that it isn't always the quantity of time you spend with your friends but the quality that leaves an imprint. 

Only a few hours in this kitchen had me feeling so in the very right place, at the right time, with the right people, hearing the right things for my overwhelmed heart.

PictureHoly Yoga, 5/18/2013.
The biggest reason for this road trip back to Madison (a city I lived in/near for 24 years, which I don't visit very often) was to encourage Amy in her first official "Holy Yoga" class. It was amazing! Really, REALLY, it was amazing. 

She was so in the moment and so filled with joy and peace about what she was doing that she was herself and really, really great at what she was doing. I was in awe. And grateful to see her do something that seems she was built to do. Do you have friends in that place in their life? Where they seem like they are doing exactly what God built them for? Well, I was there, front and almost center to watch her.

I was so impressed and proud and convicted. The card that I picked (top center) was in direct correlation to the challenge that she had given me the night before while were sipping sangrias. If you weren't aware, I'm going through an incredibly challenging time right now. And while I'm learning to process it and to see what it is that God wants me to see, learn, grow in and just flat out change, I believe that he is using those around me to make it plain for me. So, while Amy has been on the periphery of what is going on and a huge encourager, she listened for a few minutes in her kitchen. Tearing when my heart fell out of my chest on her table and listening and nodding and listening some more. Then finally, she challenged me to the following...

From now on, when someone says something kind about me, I will respond with, "I receive that." Yep. "I receive that." 

Now, this ain't something I'm used to saying and is not a part of my language and I was looking at her with my "Whatchutalkinbout Willis" face. It took only seconds though. Her stellar wait time, my thirst for something to lighten me and her not breaking my gaze...and I accepted the challenge. So, if you hear me negate a compliment, kind word or a form of encouragement - feel free to remind me of the challenge that I have accepted.

Anyway, I pulled the scripture Matthew 5:16 and read it over and over again throughout the Yoga class, certain that this is something that God wants me to hear and act upon. Powerful. That and I can't really feel my arms today. I was so pleased to be at this class and can already speculate as to how successful she will be as God is already moving things around to help her do great things through this for Him. 

Later that day. I went about the city, doing things by myself. Easy to do, typical but pleasant things. It's been awhile that I've been able to spend time by myself, doing this type of thing without needing to rush off and along to something else.

Nails, toes, Starbucks and LaBamba - going about the day doing these very enjoyable things gave me time to reach out to and share God's love with others. The guy doing my pedicure got to talk about his first and only child, a one-year old. In his broken English, he talked about the joy of coming home after a long day to his daughter's excitement to see him. I appreciate that he felt he could talk to me about these things. And the woman (whose name I'll likely never know) who's nails and hands were under the dryer at the same time as me. How did we ever get to talking about the unexpected death of her son at a nail shop? Again, grateful that there was something stilled enough in me to see the needs of these two people and have enough rest and desire to meet their needs. It was encouraging. 
Nails, Toes, Caramel Machiatto (I should have them put "Gigi" on all of my cups going forward) and the best steak burrito, rice and sauce that I have ever had.
So, I got to thinking about the new title of my blog (third one this year, gooooo decisiveness!!!) and wanted to explore it more with a post.

Let me first explain where the nickname "Gigi" comes from...don't laugh at me. Well, at least don't let me hear you.

I remember watching the television show, Gidget starring Sally Field when I was maybe 11 or 13, okay when I was about 15 years old and just really remembering thinking that I liked Gidget and wanted her lifestyle. Granted, her mother was deceased and she was raised by her dad, but her life just seemed so ideal and so different than mine. Don't get me wrong, I did not have a traumatic childhood (unless you count my brother nagging at me). I was blessed but our lives were just so different, me and Gidget.

It was probably one of the hallmark times in my growing, formative years when I realized that I wished that I was Gidget because I thought that her life could be mine if I were white. Mostly happy-go-lucky, eager to try new things and all of life's issues could be resolved in less than 30 minutes; what's not to like? Ultimately, she was journeying into adulthood and I so much wanted to do it with her and just like her too.

But alas (insert VERY dramatic sigh) this was not my life.

It was after college and some very challenging times in my twenties and thirties when I learned that I can live a life similar to Gidget or actually, that I am. While I do not live at the beach, surf and enjoy the warm weather of Cali, I do get myself "in and out of trouble" just like Gidget. And perhaps like her, I grow and learn from it - no two episodes/life lessons were exactly alike. I, like everyone else, am more complicated than I/and Gidget appear/ed on the surface. There are likely many things that I enjoy or am at my core that you can relate to but there are also differences that make me original, quirky, handcrafted by God and I am really beginning to like that.

So Gigi comes from sort of wanting to be like Gidget but realizing that Gigi sounds more close to my name and less far out (see me using my eyes to stare you down so that you don't tell me otherwise). So. My nickname is Gigi. Yes, I realize that it's odd that I gave myself this nickname, but at least I explained to you how it happened. Get on board please, you don't want to slow us down now do you?


The first picture shows confirmation of the seriousness of my relationship with Starbucks. Starbucks is a part of my DNA and with as much time as I've spent there and as many drinks as I've had, I think that part of my blood may pump out Caramel Macchiatos. So, I enjoy coffee. I like to drink the coffee, especially out of those red Christmas cups (who is with me?). Addicted? Maybe, but all of my friends accept this about me and know that it is an easy way "in". Get on board people!

The next photo shows me as a mom and a volunteer. This is Dylan. He will be 14 years old next month. I was widowed when his dad's humvee was hit by an IED in Iraq in 2004. This is a picture of us before the Memorial Day Parade last year. We decided not to walk in the parade with the group that focused on those they've lost but rather with the group promoting awareness for the Fisher House, Wisconsin. We stayed in two of the houses while the doctors attempted to rehab Dylan's dad - a traumatic experience. They are building one in Milwaukee (which would have been incredibly helpful for us in 2004/2005) and we want to help. As a mom to this very creative future screenwriter, I am quite busy and still learning a ton about myself. If you want to grow, the parenting gig is for YOU! I really appreciate that we have been able to volunteer TOGETHER at several events to raise awareness and funds for the Fisher House. Teaching and learning alongside my child, this is excellence to me.

In this photo, second from the right, you see that I am a friend and a disciple of Jesus Christ and this is the woman who helped me grow in both. This friend is a superstar. I won't say too much except that when someone tells her "no" or "you can not do that woman!" it is like an anthem or charge to tackle the project and make it cry that it ever considered that she would not be able to conquer it. Love her. This is a photo of us inside the top of the St. Louis Arch. I also like to travel and see new places. She and I have traveled with two other friends around Europe by way of a 12 day Mediterranean Cruise - once in a lifetime baby. This photo symbolizes a reunion that was long overdue and worth every minute of the time and effort put into getting there.

Finally, a picture of me "dropping the mic". This reminds me of a beautiful (that's the right word I think) experience with some of my sorority sisters at our Grand Convention last summer. In a conversation about Fraternity business we thought it might be best to respond by doing this. None of us did (we have got some home training), but I think we definitely felt it ought to have been attempted (before the escort out by security?). I am considered a fairly serious person but inside laugh and crack myself up at all kinds of things that I see. We are just a funny group of folks - society - ain't we? Well, if you don't agree, I can share with you why I think this is true. So, this is me in my home, with a mic that I'm about to drop. I ended up sending the photo to a few of the gurls and we still laugh about it to this day. Wishing that more days were filled with these kinds of moments. Or maybe that I only need to stop and look for them.

There are more faces of me, I hope you'll come back to visit and see them!
Life Revolves Around Them
I am trying to connect to other bloggers and this seems like a great opportunity.

I started with a focus at the start of the year that I was fairly passionate about (my blackness - wha???) and realized that I do not want to work so hard at separating out parts and pieces of myself but rather that I would like to just be...me.

So, with that said, I do want to connect with others and learn about different parts of the globe and grow in my understanding of myself and others too. You know? Travel the world from the comfort of my own living room.

Today's attempt to connect in the blog world? A Hump Day Hop! link-up.

I am so blessed to have the day that I'm having.

As the mother of a thirteen year old boy, one where I've been the constant parent for the majority of his life, he is learning what encourages me and then following through on it. No more XL sweaters, no more items from the clearance rack on his way out of the store, no oven mitts, just quality time and acts of service; my two biggest love languages

I love him, please hear me. I love him everyday, but on Mother's Day, I do not want a big fancy loud fuss. I don't want to cook or clean or do anything, I want to sit and enjoy him and do what I enjoy doing (blogging, reading, watching shows I've already seen). And so it can seem like I don't love my boy, but I really do. I tend to be hard on him and we have many conversations about his work ethic and doing things to serve and honor God - giving his best in all situations. His weaknesses are not ignored for his strengths; I push him and he doesn't always appreciate it but I continue to do it anyway. I think of myself as investing in his marriage to a godly woman who will appreciate what he has learned and become through me redirecting him to God. I want him to be peace-filled, a man of integrity and most importantly, faithful to God's plans and purpose for his life. I've told him and many mothers over the years how fortunate I am to have him but have long ago embraced that he is on loan to me because he actually belongs to God and that as a mom I only get to serve God through parenting (not my selfish desires), grow up while parenting him and then surrender him back to His maker.

Showing my love means (to me) some very matter of fact conversations about who he is, his strengths and weaknesses and sometimes even spankings (100% of the time that he lies - even at thirteen if need be) and my own preferences and dislikes and allowing him to respectfully point out hypocrisy or ask questions about the decisions that I am making for him in our home. He is not a little husband or companion to me and quite honestly, we are not even friends or pals. He is on a soccer team, goes to school and has buddies at church that can meet that need. I am his mother.

My time of influence is running out or at least the amount of influence is diminishing in comparison to what it was during his younger years, so I want to make the time I have left really count. I pray for him to be all of what God wants and since that includes a creative, engineering mind, I am working to support the development of those strengths and interests and talents for God's glory. 

He thinks that he would like to work in the film industry someday. We talk all of the time about the possibility of this and how pleased God could be with him seeking and saving the lost through his interest in films. So, when he asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day, the list included things he could do and things that would honestly encourage me. Gotta give some direction, right? As a side note, I will say that because of my blunt but loving direction to him since he was seven or eight about purchases and gifts for me, he has become very attentive to preferences of others which has turned him into a really good gift giver. He has found that it's really encouraging to him too.

So, he made the stop animation film, "The Race" (below) for me. It is a "dabrickbro99" (the name for his production company) original. 
I was beaming when I watched it. Fantastic, isn't it? For those who know me, yes, I did bring to his attention the grammatical errors; a mother and a teacher at heart, but the content?!? I was clapping at the end. We watched it four times in a row.

He also bought me a card and wrote me a poem. He took me to lunch (well, I drove, but he paid) and he was willing to take a "nice" photo with me after church this morning. 
I am constantly in prayer for this boy. I pray that the work I do and love that I attempt to show all year round is not only worthy of care and attention on Mother's Day but weaves itself into his character, his heart and into the life that he will go off and live without me in it each day.

I am thankful to be a mom. I know of so many who struggle to join this club naturally. My heart is with those friends who long to be mothers but have not yet had the experience or blessing to date. 

With all of that, I will leave you with the following poems that my shorty wrote to show his love for me on this Mother's Day. (They are shared here the way that I received them.)
Poem-ish #1.

Mom I love you,

For letting me do some of the things I love to do.

Mom I need you,

because you tell me what I need to do when I'm confused.

Mom your pretty,

even when your supersilly

Mom your just amazing,

Even when you don't think so

Poem-ish #2.

Mom your legite (legit)

2 legite 2 quit.

When your happy, Im happy

When your sad, Im sad

it is like we are bonded forever.

because when you smile

I smile (like the Justin Bieber song)

Happy Moms Day to ya

I love you mom!

And Happy Mother's Day to my own mom, who is a faithful reader of this blog and a constant supporter of me. She has taught me that mothering does not end when we leave the nest, it only changes over time. Thank you mom, I love you!
Which one is it?

I mean, really I will not buy a book that has an obnoxious, profane, inappropriate cover. I also tend to let things pass while everyone is telling me that I must read it. If it is a recommended book and I really enjoy it, I am so grateful to have had someone share about its 'inner goodness' with me, despite the cover.

99% of the time that I am purchasing a book these days, I am buying for a specific person, purpose or price. Cover will not be in the top three considerations unless I am leisurely shopping for books (What?!? People have time for this? I wish) and since I have so many unread books, the cover is not a priority for me.

I will admit that I used to shop this way. Ain't no shame in that game, but if this is the only way I chose books I would have missed out on some greats like Eat, Pray, Love, Anna Karenina and The Bible. 

Don't limit yourself to the cover - back or front - read some reviews, ask for input or just take a risk and read.

I do not have a favorite book based upon its cover. What has always stuck with me is the book's content. The cover has fallen to becoming a descriptor or an afterthought rather than a determinant of my enjoyment or appreciation of the book.