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Thank you so very much!

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Here’s to you all you weird and amazing people out there! Every now and again, I need to tell you how very grateful I am for the support you guys and dolls show me. Being a part of this really is such an incredible experience I am glad I get to have. I don’t always say anything, but I do read your posts as well. Thank you for sharing a piece of who you are with me and the rest of WordPress. Thank you for your stories, for your words of inspiration, for opening up to us, for just being who you are. And thank you for accepting me for who I am. Seriously, thank you so very much! I consider myself blessed to have been directed to this site and to have come across so many wonderful, talented, and compassionate people. Thank for not only your support, inspiration, and allowing me to do the same for you, but also for your friendship. I love you all! <3

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We see the supposed criteria for the perfect or right man, woman, or sometimes just mate posted often on the internet. But something was made very clear to me just a moment ago via my weird thought process that I wanted to say to all who will read this, especially to those comparing their love to others and those that are single, trying to find their special someone. Yes, we ought to be treated with love and respect, give that very same to the one we love, and yes, true love does in fact exist. However, what makes someone the right one for you is unique to you. Some want romance, others not so much. Some are spontaneous and adventurous, while others are by the book and often predictable. Some are quiet and reserved, while others are chatty and making friends wherever they go. Some are good at remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and things like when your first kiss was, while others don’t have such good memories. The list of comparisons is endless, but I learned at church on Sunday that comparing people to other people isn’t such a healthy thing. We all have strengths, things that make us a good friend, mate, and person. We all have our talents. When two people work together and fit in such a way that’s right and when the love and commitment is there for both people, then it’s right for you. It might not be what your friend, sibling, parent, or next door neighbor would pick for you or be what they’d see working for them, but it’s not about what works for everyone else. You’re unique and so what works for you might seem off to others, but it will feel right to you. Don’t compare what you have or are searching for to what others have or tell you that you should want. Only you can truly know what works and who is right for you. <3

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I had been so sick for so long and I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. Well, then after doing some research, I found out that what’s likely been going on is that I have an allergy to gluten. It made perfect sense and so I decided to try to go gluten free with my eating habits for awhile to see if that made any difference. It has worked wonders, though I have slipped a few times. Some of that was due to not knowing what to look for and some of it was due to special occasions and decided, “eh, why not?” Though, each slip was something I paid for.

Since beginning this change, I feel so much better. But, I still have so many questions. I have been asking friends and family members who deal with this for advice and for tips on what is edible and what isn’t. Well, now I am going to turn to you, my WordPress family. Two of the things I struggle with most right now is finding a good gluten free bread and also tortillas. I tried Mission gluten free tortillas and I can’t stand them. That so far is my biggest issue actually and for that, I guess I am glad.

I found a gluten free pasta that I love and also other stuff like gluten free soy sauce, pretzels, ice cream, etc. And I love that eating my fruits and veggies, as well as most of my dairy products are still possible for me. And of course knowing I can still eat meat is great, though now I have to watch what I season and marinade it with. So, if any of you has any advice, I am open to it!

I am aiming for a healthier and happier me! This is but one step towards that goal! Spring coming and becoming more active will certainly help as well. Bring on the walks to the park, kickball, summer bowling league, playing outside with my son, and just being able to get more Vitamin D, without freezing. ;) I look forward to anything you wonderful people can share with me! And if I can help any of you who might just be starting this yourself, I will do what I can! <3

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Life is often remembered by milestones such as one’s birth, baptism, big birthdays, graduations, engagements, marriages, having their own children, grandchildren, and of course one’s death. We put so much consideration into the “big” events that sometimes we forget about the “small” things.

I want to celebrate all of life’s joys, from the big to the small. Every hug, smile, laugh, song I sing, good meal, good book I read, snuggle time with my son, holding hands with the man I love, watching my pets sleep, and so much more are so important and deserve their own recognition. <3

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I am a baker, like my father before me. One might say that I’m rolling in dough. Okay, that pun was a bit corny, but at least a tad bit funny, I think. But, I am not known for my clever wit. However, I once had quite the athletic ability. I used to play baseball, football, and even could be found playing a little basketball as well. Of them, only one truly was a passion of mine. For years, I practiced, trying to perfect my game. And as I neared 18, it became apparent for all in our small town and even some recruiters that I indeed had some real talent. I could have been a famous baseball player, but just as I was about to get my turn in the big leagues, life took an unexpected turn of events.

At the height of my adolescence, I was famous in our little town in Virginia. The way I threw a baseball really seemed to have people buzzing. Maybe someone would actually make it big and be able to leave this place. Oh not that there was anything wrong with our beloved town, but many did dream of getting away and seeing the big cities. What might it be like to live somewhere with busy streets, bright lights, and imagine, a place where everyone owned a television set. It was definitely the dream that many of us shared. I loved my family, had some friends that I grew up with & considered my brothers, and well this had always been home. There was a part of me that longed to leave, but also a part of me that was afraid to do just that. Maybe it would be too much for me, maybe I wasn’t cut out for city life.

Those fears didn’t stop me from dreaming though. I kept on practicing, determined to show the recruiters what I was made of. I’d become a name that would be on many people’s lips. The nation would know who I was now and for generations to come. I would own the big house, a Ford Mustang or maybe three, and well who knows what else. Though, there was something else I wanted to do with the money I’d surely have and that is take care of my parents. They certainly did all they could to give me everything they didn’t have themselves. They also encouraged my dreams from the very beginning. Their unwavering faith in me had gotten me to where I am and I knew I’d always be indebted to them for that.

As my eighteenth birthday approached, I was anxious. Recruiters had been coming to see me since I was 16. They said I had a talent like none they’d ever seen before. I figured it was only a matter of time before I was officially approached and offered a spot on a professional team. My dad came to every single game I played, no matter the weather, no matter how he felt that day. He suffered from old war injuries and lately, he’d been having headaches every single day. After months of them, he had gone to be seen, but no one could give him any answers. My mother was trying to find a specialist who would come and see him. We didn’t have a lot of money, but she said she’d been saving the money she had earned from the side business she’d started a few years back making dresses for the ladies in town and surely, that would help. I didn’t know that it would be enough, but I did agree that he needed answers, we all did.

At long last, the day had finally arrived. The day that I went from being a boy to a man was here. And as it so happened, tonight was the state championship game. I knew that tonight I had to prove myself in a way that I never had before. Our team was nervous. We knew that all we had done was to bring us to this moment. What would happen? Would we be the victors, with our hometown cheering our names or would we hang our heads in defeat? My mother said that win or lose, she would consider us winners. She constantly told me that she was proud of me, that no matter how this turned out, I’d be a star in her eyes always. Now, that meant a lot to me, though sometimes I wanted to roll my eyes. My mother’s pride and love won’t win our games, won’t get me signed, and won’t take care of me for the rest of my life. Though, I had to remind myself that it was her belief in me, and my dad’s, that has gotten me this far. There were times I wanted to give up when I was a kid, but their faith in me was never shaken. I am glad they pushed me to keep at it. They knew it was what I wanted to do and refused to let my doubts keep me down.

As game time was upon us, our head coach was right there talking to us about strategy and heart. He had always been a big believer in passion needing to be a big part of the game, “If your heart isn’t in it, then you don’t belong here.” He’d been known for saying. All suited up, I was ready to go out to the field to warm-up. My hands were shaking in a way they had never done so before. This was the biggest game of my life and suddenly, I wasn’t so sure of myself. I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and silently prayed to God for strength and courage, not just for myself, but for the rest of our team as well. This game was so important to all of us. It was what we’d worked so hard for all year and not just this season, but the seasons that led up to it. We weren’t the strongest team in the beginning. We had to learn how to work together, how to use our talents to help one another. It wasn’t easy, especially when pride got in the way more than once. But over time, our chemistry developed and so did our friendships with one another. These guys I was about to walk onto the field with weren’t just my teammates, but also my friends & brothers.

You could see it in on all of our faces: fear was definitely there in our hearts, but something more was there as well, determination. We were not about to give up this game without a fight. We wanted this just as much as the other team, perhaps more. Though to be fair, I have no idea what went on in the minds of the other players. All I knew is that this was an important game for me and for a couple other guys who had recruiters to impress. My buddy Scott who was probably the best pinch hitter I’d ever seen and Tyler, the amazing short stop, were also being looked at tonight. The three of us had been talking about this for awhile. How great would it be if all three of us made it to the big leagues? And greater still, though the odds weren’t great, what if we got to play for the same team? I mean, you do what you have to and I ever had to face my friend on the field, I’d do it, but it would be different playing against someone you once played with for years. After reflecting on that for a moment, I switched gears so that I could focus on tonight. Warm-ups were starting for us now.

The time for the warm-ups seemed to fly by. I barely remember that time at all now. I remember walking onto the field for our last warm-ups as a team, looking at each of their faces, silently nodding, taking our stances, and then it all became a blur after that. The next thing I really remember from that night is lining up as a team, preparing for the singing of our national anthem. That night, it was being sung by Grace Benson. I had a few classes with her, but I have to admit I’d barely spoken to her. She was too sophisticated for a guy like me. I liked drinking beers we took from our dads at the lake, staying up all night, getting dirty, catching fish, and tractor pulls. Grace was always the lead of our school plays, head of the debate team, always well dressed and not a hair out of place, and definitely not one you could see chugging a beer; wine was probably more her taste, if she even drank at all.

I knew we weren’t supposed to drink, being underage and all, but it was always harmless. We never drove if we’d been drinking and we always took care of each other. When we were 10, my buddy Tyler lost his older brother because of reckless drinking & driving. His brother and a friend decided to play chicken and it went horribly wrong. Tyler’s brother died two days after the incident and the other boy was paralyzed from the waist down. That day changed a lot for the people in our hometown. I sure like having a beer or two, so do many others here, but we’re sure a lot more careful about things now. For awhile actually, many did stop drinking all together. There were talks of making it a dry town, but I think the stress of it all finally made people break down.

Beer, you know, I think I could use one right now. But, I think I will pass. Indigestion, yeah, beer doesn’t go down like it used to. Back then, it went down real easily. But the night of the game, I didn’t drink. I was determined to be at my very best, we all were. After Grace sang, we all cheered, clapped, put our hats on our heads, and prepared for the start of the game. We took our places out on the field, as we were the home team and would bat second. Okay, I told myself that night, I can do this. I will not let my team down. I looked into the crowd, saw my parents first, smiling and cheering us on. I will not let them down, I thought. And so it began, I wound up to make the first pitch….

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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It’s easy for us to admit when we trust the wrong people with our hearts, whether it be in friendships, family bonds, and most especially in romantic relationships. How easy is it though to admit when we’ve been the wrong one for someone else? Admittedly, I have been on both sides of the fence. I have both given my friendship, loyalty, and love to those who didn’t deserve it and I have been the one undeserving of theirs. In the end, I regret nothing though because I have learned something from each of them, been taught valuable lessons about my self, and even if it was only for a brief time, I also knew joy, laughter, and made good memories. My life now as it stands is wonderful. The rocky and sometimes painful path it took to get here has been absolutely worth it.

Thank you to my past for teaching me lessons, sometimes the hard way. Thank you for the struggles, pain, and even loss for giving me courage and strength. Thank you for the laughter, friendships made and even lost, for the memories and the love. Thank you for who I was so that I can be who I am now. I’m sorry for the pain I caused anyone, more than I can say. My guilt drove me initially into depression, but eventually it led me to changing and for the better.

Thank you to my present for the many blessings in my life and for continuing to teach me and help me grow. Thank you to my future for offering up such hope and promise of wondrous things to come. To all in my life now, thank you for all you do. Your support, loyalty, and love means more to me than I’ll ever be able to say. Today, I see now that I’ve chosen wisely as I have great friends and an outstanding boyfriend that is also my best friend. My sincere hope is that you feel the same way about me.  The sun is shining today and with its bright light, I look upon today with hope, a grateful heart, and love for my life and all of you that chose to be a part of it. I love you all.

A Mother’s Heart

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From the very beginning, something changes within

Feelings & emotions new & difficult to understand begin

As a tiny life begins to grow within, you begin to see

It’s not just about you anymore, it’s now mainly about that little baby

 

As your body changes & your hormones rage out of control

You still know that this life inside you is now a part of your soul

Rough nights, so little sleep, cravings, and wait that’s just the beginning

As the end draws near, your head is just spinning

 

The awaited day inches ever closer & then it finally arrives

As the pain takes over, you begin to wonder how you’ll survive

For some it’s just a few hours & for some, labor goes on for days

And then comes that moment that completely takes your breath away

 

After the doctor has done a quick look over & cleaned up your little one

Your baby is placed into your arms & now you see who has your heart won

Looking upon an angel’s face, touching their tiny hands & ever so little feet

Vowing from that moment on that you’ll protect them from all dangers they will meet

 

As they grow, each phase presents great challenges & wondrous blessings

There are moments when you want to scream, but moments too that make you sing

From the late night feedings to the terrible twos, and beyond

You also remember their first baseball game & helping them get ready for prom

 

It doesn’t matter whether your child is two or fourty-two

You know in your heart that there’s nothing you wouldn’t do

To see your son or daughter healthy, successful, & happy

The love within that you feel for them is easy for all to see

 

How truly magnificent it is that someone so small can mean so much

That teaches you the meaning of unconditional love from the very first touch

And while it’s never really easy to one day let them make their own fresh start

You know that no matter the distance, they’ll always know they’re in their mother’s heart

COURAGE TIMES THREE

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