Friday, October 11, 2013


What I've learned these past few weeks, no matter how much you run or how often you run, it will never take away your feelings or fix your problems.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No One Quite Like a Runner

Before I started running, whenever I would see someone out running, I'd think,  I wish I could run.  Finally in 2010, I worked up enough courage to start running.  I remember the first day I stepped on a treadmill, I couldn't even run for 5 minutes.  Over the next few months running became easier for me, something I actually enjoyed doing.  My first 5k was the Council Bluffs 5K and Half Marathon, running along the route I thought, these people are encouraging me and they don't even know me.  As I neared the finish line I heard people yelling, you're almost there, keep pushing, you're doing great, again, complete strangers.  It was then I realized that there is no one quite like a runner.  They are friendly, giving high fives as you come across the finish line, handing you a water.  They are encouraging, many walk back down the route to cheer others on. They are supportive, when you feel like giving up, they tell you it's almost over and you'll feel better as soon as you cross that line.

I'm a member of an online running group and the support we offer each other is outstanding.  People from across the nation encouraging, motivating, supporting other runners, whether you started yesterday and ran for 2 minutes or you've been running for many years.

It's Gage's first year in cross country, and recently I was talking with a senior who has been running cross country for 4 years and she said the same thing about their team, there is nothing like our little group, it's like we are family, we do everything together.

I noticed yesterday at that first meet, that the high school kids stuck around and really encouraged the junior high kids, who were just starting out.  They ran around the course cheering them on, letting them know they were doing a great job.  It reminded me again, that runners are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013


I can't believe I have a Freshman!  It's really not possible is it?  I mean I'm only 28 years old :) Looking through my news feed today earlier this week,  all the pictures of my friends sending their kid off to preschool, and I remember the day I sent Dylan to his first day.  I thought he would be scared and wouldn't want me to leave him, but it was the exact opposite.  I was scared, my little boy riding the bus with all these older kids, walking to his classroom without me by his side.  As soon as he walked away, the tears started, how could my boy be growing up so fast?

It's not preschool, but look how little he was!

Fast forward to this year, first day of school was Monday and much like his first day of preschool, I dropped him off for his first day of high school, ok, ok, he had physical therapy in the morning so I had to take him to school, when he turned and walked through those high school doors the tears started, my little boy is growing up, soon he'll be driving by himself and wouldn't need me to transport him to his activities.  In the blink of an eye he'll be graduating and going off to college, living on his own.

<3 Julie

Friday, August 23, 2013

Granny My Hero

All day I've been contemplating on what to put on Facebook, in memory of Granny.  I still haven't put anything up, I've been in one of those blah moods all day.  I knew I should have dragged my tired, lazy, bigger butt out of bed at 4:45 a.m. today to go for a run.  Yesterday was a rest day.  Well a rest day as in I was at one of my best friends house selling some fabulous, hard to find jeans and guess what I met my goal for the month!  AND I still have 2 parties left for August!  Welcome back jeans season - where have you been all summer :)  Back to my point - I didn't crawl out of bed today to run and I so regret it.  I have a lot on my mind today, so it is possible that you will get the pleasure of reading two posts today.

If you follow my status updates on Facebook, you will already know that when everyone else is celebrating the start of summer and looking forward to it, I look at summer differently these last three years.  I used to be the one that counted down the days until Memorial Weekend, the official start of summer, not anymore, that all changed three years ago, and three years ago today my family lost the third member of our family that year, my Granny.

I remember when I was in grade school, and again in college, I had to write a paper on who my hero was.  It was always and still is my grandma.  She played a huge role in my life as a toddler, child, teenager and an adult.  You see, with grandma, everyone knew where they stood, everything was black and white with her.  If she had something to say she shared it, and if it hurt your feelings, well, she was entitled to her god damn opinion.  Her words, not mine.  It's true, my grandma would voice her opinion about everything, if she didn't like the latest color you dyed your hair, she would let you know and don't even get me started on how she felt about my make-up!

Our family was always so close.  Ok, I take that back, us cousins were always so close, practically grew up together.  Now my aunts and uncles, well that's a different story.  Granny was a strong woman, surviving many open heart surgeries, living through all the hell her kids put her through, the heartache they caused on occasion.  But one thing about her, no matter how pissed off her kids would get at her and practically disown her, if they showed up on her door step she would open the door for them and put it all behind.  I remember her last hospital stay, I got a call that they were taking her from Denison to St. Joe, now Creighton Hospital, in Omaha, and didn't know if she would survive.  The entire family, including all of us grandkids filled her room, many of us sitting on the floor, waiting for her team of doctors to arrive and talk to us her about what was happening.  I remember the look on her doctors face when he opened the door and saw all 15 of us in her little room, I'm sure it was quite the surprise.  But like I said, my family was always close to grandma.

I came across this yesterday and thought back to that day in the hospital:

Having only one grandparent in my life, for the majority of it, I thought the world of grandma.  She was certainly one of a kind.  She invited everyone into her home, encouraged them to call her Mom or Grandma. She'd offer you a glass of tea in a mason jar and if you refused it, she'd probably say something along the lines of Well what the hell's the matter with you.  She cussed and she enjoyed her Vodka/Squirts, you know, like any grandma did.  What?  Not all grandma's are like that?  Well who knew!

I could call her up or show up at her house anytime I needed to and she listened, she comforted me and just let me sob or carry on without interrupting me.  On a day, not much different then today, about two years after Roach had passed, I walked through her front door and she said what she always said, "Oh, Julie Anna" she took one look at me and stood up and put her arms around me and just let me talk about how incredibly confused I was and how much hatred I had in me.  And guess what, she let me go on like that for a good hour, until I had it all out of me.  Then of course she asked me if I was hungry and if so I knew where the food was.  Oh Granny......

It wasn't until her funeral that I realized someone pointed it out that I'm a lot like grandma, in so many ways. I overheard a comment about the slideshow and music that I put together, the table filled with different pictures of grandma and everyone in her life and how she was always taking pictures whenever they stopped to visit her.  So friends and family, thank granny for me being stubborn and opinionated, but also for loving and caring with all my heart.  You can also thank her for my mad cooking skills (hey sometimes I can actually cook), and my ability to make any dessert.

So in memory of my Granny, I decided I had more feelings to get out then a post on Facebook.  I know she is proud of the person I am today.  I love you Granny and miss you terribly.

<3 Julie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Old Man Wandering About

So last night, while hobbling down the street in my running gear and knee brace, a neighbor who see's me hobble by a few times a week shouts out, "boy, women will do anything to get out of doing the dishes".  I shouted back at the old man, I'm sure they'll be there when I return.  Apparently this old man hasn't read my blog, or my posts on Facebook, because if he had, he would know that I do the dishes, laundry, housework, yard work, trim hedges, change light bulbs, take out the trash, call the repair man, volunteer my time, work full time as a legal assistant during the day and sell jeans at night, all the while raising 2 boys and a dog, and maintaining my health, and I do believe that qualifies me for a run lasting 30 minutes each day.

I realize he may have just been commenting because who else in their right mind would be running in the heat and humidity AND a knee brace, but it just rubbed me wrong.  Had it been a friend or someone that I see daily, then it's a different story, too bad he didn't see me out for my run at 5:00 a.m. today, I'm sure the comment would have been something about getting out of making breakfast.


Monday, August 12, 2013

My Ability to Run

Last week I told you about getting up at 5:30 a.m. to start running, and I actually did get up and out of bed and ran at least 2 miles three times last week!  I don't know if you know this or not, but I actually used to run a few miles a week, and I mean a few.  I trained and actually completed a half marathon, it was at that time my weekly mileage was pretty high.  Running five miles a day was a walk in the park for me.  I was also in the best shape of my life.  But that was then and this is now, or at least that is what I keep telling myself.  Life got in the way of my running and there were times when I would only run a few times a month.  A few times meaning less than once a week.

Last week was frustrating to say the least, struggling to get 2 miles in during a run is basically starting over for me, it's depressing, but it's also my own fault.  I'm the one who let running be something I used to do.  I'm the one who gained a few5, okay 10 extra pounds because I would tell myself I'm too exhausted to get out and run.  So this morning when the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., after only a few hours of sleep, I reminded myself, that saying I'm too exhausted for my own health is just an excuse.  So out the door I went.  I wasn't feeling it at all, but pushing snooze 10 times until 6:30 a.m. wasn't going to get me any more sleep, so I might as well get out and run.  I put in a little over a mile and promised myself I'd get out later today and do 3.

I've realized when you have a goal or a race you are training for, running and sticking to a schedule is so much easier.  I've been looking a some virtual runs, here, and will probably sign up for a few of them, because look at all that bling!  I would really like to get registered for another half sometime in the spring, a Disney half is on my bucket list, hmmm, maybe a birthday present to myself....

<3 Julie

Monday, August 5, 2013

Butt Crack of Dawn

I'm no morning person, AT ALL!  I don't even pretend to be a morning person.  I absolutely HATE getting up and out of bed, so most mornings I am usually rushed to get ready and drive to work, usually arriving at 8:07 a.m. every single morning, 8:07.  Why not get up 7 minutes earlier and arrive to work at 8:00?  That's what I ask myself all the time.  I don't know I guess I'm just programmed to get to my destination late.

I have done a lot of research into "How to wake up earlier each day" and found some tips, here.   Do not laugh, people have actually done studies on this and many blogs tell you how to become a morning person.  Ok, who am I kidding, I laughed reading them.  Really, can someone actually become a morning person?  Some people just have it in them, alarm goes off and they jump up out of bed ready to start the day.   Others, like me, have every intention of getting out of bed and doing something in the morning, but that's the night before, by morning, none of those things seem important and I tell myself, it can wait.

Today starts another trial of working out in the mornings.  How did it go?  Well the alarm went off at 5:30, without even opening my eyes I reach over and hit snooze.  (Exactly what everyone recommends not doing.) Here we go again, let's take baby steps into getting out of bed early.  After what seemed like an hour, I grabbed my glasses and put them on so I can see what time it is, knowing I'm late, but wait, guess what, it's only 5:36!  My alarm should be going off in 2 minutes, so I wait, because you don't think I want to get out of bed before my alarm, right?!  And I wait, and wait, 5:38....maybe I shut it off instead of hitting snooze, because how many of you have your snooze set for 8 minutes?  Not me!  I have it set for 9 minutes!  Boom the alarm sounds and I am up and out the door ready to start my run.  We ran 1.80 miles this morning and it felt great.  I feel great!  Let's see how tired I feel this afternoon.

Day 1 of getting out of bed early complete!  Bring on Day 2....

<3 Julie

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Give a Heart

I've had my share of heartache in a lifetime, more than most people will EVER begin to imagine.  But my heartache is nothing compared to what my friend, Sandy, is going through right now.  Literally HEARTACHE.  I've known Sandy for many years, I've witnessed the suffering and effects of cancer first hand with her, but through it all she has stayed so positive.  

In 2002, while we were working together, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  It was then that she told me that it wasn't her first battle with cancer.  In 1983 she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and underwent radiation.  How could anyone suffer from so much?  That was my question.  Why the hell would this happen to ONE person?!  From experience (my brother died of testicular cancer), when you receive the news of cancer, you will do ANYTHING to fight it and I mean anything.  You will let doctors inject you with drugs that cause sores in your mouth, drugs that make you vomit for days on end, drugs that will put blisters on your hands and feet.  Sometimes these doctors will suggest radiation therapy. Radiation is delivered by a machine and uses high end radiation to shrink or kill cancer cells.  Each part of the body can only undertake so much radiation before it causes damage to healthy cells in the body.  These drugs and this type of therapy will also fight the beast and eventually, hopefully you will be in remission and will go on to live a happy, healthy life.  Sandy received very high doses of radiation to her chest during her first battle with cancer.  

Since her 2nd diagnosis of cancer Sandy has undergone a stem cell transplant where very high doses of chemo were given to her.  You see where I'm going with this?  cancer patients will do ANYTHING to live a healthy life, they will undergo every treatment known in the medical field and sometimes even participate in medical studies to cure this monster living inside of them.  Like so many others she is a true fighter and has been for MANY years.  But because of her strength and desire to live a healthy, happy, long life, so much damage has been done to her heart, she now has to have a heart transplant.  A HEART TRANSPLANT!  Your heart, the organ in our bodies that pumps blood, that provides love, that breaks when we are sad.  A HEART TRANSPLANT!  I can't imagine the fear, the worries, or the stress that this has caused her and Dave, but like so many others, she has again decided to fight cancer and is not giving up!  She has been on the heart transplant list for a month now.  I'm not sure what a heart transplant entails, but from following her status updates on Facebook (Sandy) I do know that she has to see many, many doctors, undergo several tests, she has to have dentures prior to her transplant and can no longer work.  This poor girl it makes me feel so helpless, so sad.  I can't imagine how she feels.  

A fund has been set up for Sandy to help cover the expense of a heart transplant.  If you can give anything, anything at all, please consider giving to Sandy.  I've posted the link for you  New Heart for Sandy.  Above all else, please say a prayer for her and Dave as they face these struggles.  These last few days have been extremely hard on her and she could use all the support.  I can't begin to imagine the emotional struggles that come along with deciding to continue to fight cancer and put yourself on a heart transplant list.  Sandy, I pray for you.  I pray for all affected by cancer.  


<3 Julie

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hiding food from your kids

We just returned from vacation and had a great time while away.  I just love getting away for a few days and now that the kids are older its so much more relaxing for me.  

I've been craving a malt for a few days now, not just any malt, but a homemade one or one from your local mom and pop ice cream place.  Tonight I finally stopped and picked up some ice cream to make myself a one and wouldn't you know, I forgot to make it! Yep, that's how bad I wanted a malt.

Now confession time: Is it terrible that I want to hide the ice cream from the boys so they don't eat it before I get my malt?  Oh come on!  Like YOU'VE never done it!  I know some of you have hidden things from your kids. There is a whole Facebook page on this stuff!  I know other parents do it, because yesterday when I stopped at the store one mom admitted to me that she was going to sit in her car and enjoy her candy bar before going home, because 1) if she ate it at home her kids would cry because she didn't bring them one and 2) it was right before dinner and apparently it's not ok to have dessert before dinner, unless you're my family, we eat dessert whenever, for breakfast, before dinner, at midnight, it's dessert, you're supposed to enjoy it!  

Now I know you hide snacks, food, or drinks from your kids, so fess up.  What are they?  

I'm off to go hide the ice cream behind the frozen fruit, they'll never move things!  

<3 Julie

Friday, July 19, 2013

Anything Can be Beautiful - As long as there is love

This week has been a week from hell, mentally that is!  I get this way right before a big event, the stress finally catches up to me and I'm just EXHAUSTED!  I'm off all next week, so work has been extremely busy as well, deadlines to meet, documents to get out, and the list goes on and on.  Ragbrai is Sunday, we've been putting the final touches on getting the beer garden ready for that, new opportunities have opened up with my Vault Denim business or possible opportunities, and you all know how my mind works, oh look at that pretty butterfly.... :)

For those of you who don't know what Rabrai is, welcome to Iowa!  Ragbrai started in 1973 with a few friends riding their bicycle across the State of Iowa, from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River.  Today,  it has become a Worldwide Attraction with more than 20,000 people riding Ragbrai.  Ragbrai is the "Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa", it is sponsored by the Des Moines Register, a news paper in publication in Des Moines, Iowa.  These riders have a route and they ride between 55-60 miles a day for 7 days, stopping in some of the towns along the way.  Sunday, they will stop in Minden, as it is the meeting town for the support vehicles.  Be prepared for many interesting pictures and stories to come next week on this.  You see Minden has a population of 600 people, so imagine 20,000 riders passing through this small country town!

I'll be spending my time down at the Community Club where we were forced happily decided to have a beer garden. The proceeds will be used for the Little League for new lights on the field.  Let me tell you those lights are in BAD shape and when I say bad, I mean real bad, falling down bad.

So today I needed a break, a break from work, a break from stress, a break from worrying if we have everything ready to go.  I took a walk a few blocks down over my lunch hour.  On my way back, this fountain caught my eye, don't get me wrong, it's not the first time I've stopped to look at it, but today, there was something about it, that said stop and take a picture of me and show me to the world.

So pretty and so peaceful, had it not been 100 degrees with high humidity, I would have stayed more than 2 minutes to enjoy it.

Go enjoy your weekend readers, because I know I will as I'm making friends with thousands of riders!

<3 Julie

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pirates Patch

I backed out of the garage this morning and immediately wished I had a patch on my eye.  Or maybe a toothpick to hold it open!  Drove 1 block and wondered how the hell I was going to make it the rest of the way to work.  Maybe I should call in.  I almost pulled over in one of those truck stop rest area's, but I'm scared of those places, yes I know, it's day light and a hundred cars pass by each day, but truck stop rest areas scare me.  I'm actually afraid of being snatched away and no one would ever know. - Seriously it's my biggest fear - that and I'm afraid of the dark - but back to my damn eye....

Why can't it be cloudy and dark out today?  Who wishes that?  This girl did today, because of my damn cornea ulcer on my left eye.  What the blankety blank is a cornea ulcer? Well, it's a scratch on the cornea which is now infected.  How does that happen?  According to my eye doctor it's from sleeping in my contacts.  Doc I've been sleeping in contacts since BEFORE I started wearing the overnight contacts.  What I think happened? On the 4th of July something hit and scratched my eye!  I remember because it hurt like a b*#%$!  And now it looks like this-

All red, gross, and half closed!  

Have you ever had to sit in a dark room, with the blinds closed, because your eye hurts so bad?  Yep, that's me today! (It actually is dark in here)


I will also be sportin' glasses for a few weeks, while the precious eye heals and NO MORE SLEEPING IN CONTACTS!  

Lesson learned.

<3 Julie

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Baseball Season is Over

Every year, when the boys are done with baseball I get this overwhelming feeling of sadness.  Why?  Because for 8 weeks baseball games consume my life, sometimes 7 days a week!  The longest stretch of baseball we had this season without a break was 12 days, count them, that's 12 days of sitting out in the heat (and sometimes rain) getting eaten alive by bugs.  12 days of running from town to town to sit in bleachers that hurt my butt so bad, I wish I would just break down and buy one of those stadium seats.  Am I too young for one of those?  But damn, it sure would be comfy to sit in for, sometimes, up to 5 hours watching baseball.  At times its so hot and sticky out, you're sitting in the bleachers, wishing you were floating in the pool, drinking a cold one, and then the wind picks up and a kid slides into home plate, only to be called out and now you're not only hot and sticky, but also covered in dust.

Dylan plays 2nd base & left field

Don't get me wrong, I love to watch the boys and their teams play ball, but by week 5, I'm so sick of concession food, driving all over Iowa, and paying $5 admission I could just scream.  But I wouldn't know what I would do without all the baseball.

Gage is a pitcher and plays short stop

I get that feeling of sadness because now what am I going to do with my evenings?  Now I'll actually have to MAKE dinner, now I'll actually have to do laundry on a consistent basis, clean my house, and maybe I'll even have time to get to the gym.

Good-bye baseball - hello summer!

<3 Julie

Monday, July 1, 2013

Annoyed by Attitude

What do you do when your kids are driving you absolutely nuts?  And I do mean getting on your very last nerve?  

I had all I could take, right in the middle of breakfast!  Yes, breakfast!  I picked up my plate and scrapped the rest of it into the garbage and said "Today will be challenging for us to get through" and I walked away.  

First the Gage was arguing with EVERYTHING Dylan said.  "No you said in the eggs not on the eggs."  "How is mom supposed to put salsa in the eggs?  With a needle?"  Boy does it really matter?  I knew what he wanted, for goodness sake!  

The last nerve was struck when we are eating breakfast and Gage is slurping his milk, I HATE THAT, and he continues to do it.  Of course, what is the big deal, no one is here.  Yes, but if you do it all the time no one is over, you will also do it when people are joining us AND I don't like it.  When it comes to kids, you have to put things into their perspective, so I used baseball.  It's just like at practice if you are jacking around and purposely overthrow to your second baseman, you will do it in a game.  Gage:  So what are you saying I've overthrown to second base before.  Me:  No, that's not what I said at all, I'm using it as an example of why I don't want you to slurp your milk out of your glass.  Gage:  Well it certainly sounds like you are saying I over throw the ball to second base. I don't know when I've thrown to second base, so how would you remember that I over threw the ball.  Me:  I'm NOT SAYING YOU OVER THREW TO SECOND BASE AT ANY TIME.  Gage:  YES YOU DID.  

I could tell this attitude was going to last for hours, so I did what any Mom would do, as soon as they finished breakfast I put them to work.  First recycling, then mowing, weed eating, pulling weeds out of flower bed and garden, sweeping out the garage, cleaning out the shed, putting doors back on my refurbished hutch project.  The fun didn't stop until they were sharing freeze pops, sitting out in the country oasis laughing with each other, it only took 5 hours for them to realize that I'd keep coming up with more chores if they kept up the back talking.  

What do you do when your kids argue with everything you say?

Shirtless Wonder

What is with people today?

Driving to run errands today over my lunch hour and I see someone who looked like this walking....

I wouldn't be writing this post if he looked more like this.....

Seriously, put a shirt on, you are in public, it's not that warm out, and not everyone wants to see your less than properly groomed abs.

A block away I see clothes and other personal belongings scattered all over the front lawn.  My first thought, maybe shirtless wonder will find his way back home.  Or did Mom do her son's laundry and left it out and a rabid animal got into it and scattered it all over.  

Seriously, what is with people today?  Or is it just me?  I'm staying in for lunch from now on.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Running So Slow a Mosquito Bit Me

As the baseball season is winding down and coming to an end (blog post later), I have more time to actually run again! 

 I started running regularly about three and a half years ago when a friend of mine said, hey we should start running.  We both started, very slowly, and I mean VERY slowly, and I've stuck with it.  Running was something I wanted to do, but didn't know where to start.  Ok I knew where to start, I just didn't want people, or other runners to see me running, well walking at a pace a little quicker than a mall walk, and laugh or think, what the hell is she doing.  Now that I consider myself a runner, or part-time runner, I know that other runners would never look at a person and think that, they look at a person who wants to run and think, I remember being in their shoes.

The other night, I set out on my first run in a few days, ok, in over a week!  It's hot, it's humid and down right gross out, and I'm maybe a half mile in and I think, why do I keep doing this to myself?  Why do I build up a nice base and then stop for weeks on end?  I hate that side ache you get, the blisters on your toes, the pain in your legs the next day.  I hate the thought that I could run 5+ miles a day and now it's challenging just getting in 3 miles.  

I'm not one to follow the rules, even when it comes to running.  For crying out loud, my first mile was over 12 minutes!  As I climb to the top of the hill, I think, maybe I should have had more water today instead of those 3 glasses of tea and super nachos before I started out on this run.  Maybe I shouldn't breathe through my mouth, because now I have to choke up this bug that flew in and straight down my throat.  Maybe I should have worn a wick-a-way shirt, because this all cotton one is really hurting my arm pits right about now.  So I stop, because as I get to the top, these guys were looking at me like I was crazy.

But I LOVE running.  I love that running clears my head.  I love the feeling I have after a run, the feeling that I just went out there and kicked some ass!  (Even if it was only for 2 miles).  

Here's more of why I love to run: 
  1. I run to leave my troubles behind.
  2. I run to move forward.
  3. I run to be alone.
  4. I run to be with others.
  5. I run to push myself to my limits.
  6. I run to test myself.
  7. I run to think about everything.
  8. I run to think about nothing.
  9. I run to listen to my heart.
  10. I run to listen to my thoughts.
  11. I run to take in the scenery.
  12. I run to listen to the quiet.
  13. I run to just get out and go.
  14. I run to buy new shoes.
  15. I run to breathe.
  16. I run to relax.
  17. I run to energize.
  18. I run to get sweaty.
  19. I run to become breathless.
  20. I run to manage my weight.
  21. I run to enjoy that dessert
  22. I run to be fit.
  23. I run to be healthy.
  24. I run to have great lungs.
  25. I run to escape.
  26. I run to feel alive.
  27. I run to post it on Facebook and annoy people.
  28. I run to motivate others to get out there and move.
  29. And most importantly I run because it's cheaper than therapy
When I got back from my run, I felt amazing!  I was in such a better mood, I didn't feel exhausted and more importantly I felt like I deserved that ice cream bar.  So like any runner would do, I sat down and enjoyed every minute of it.  

<3 Julie

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Still Coping Three Years Later

I woke up this morning and I thought, okay, today I'm not going to let it affect me.  That lasted all of 7 seconds before the tears filled my eyes.  You see three years ago today, on a day not much different from this, my brother committed suicide.  It's still one of the hardest things to talk about, I cry just mentioning it. I still ask myself all the questions I did that first day.  Why?  How?  Why would he want to leave his family?  I should have called him back sooner.  I should have asked him more questions about how he was feeling instead of always talking about how I was feeling.

Jessie Lee Meza

Suicide is something no one can explain.  No one has the answers to my questions.  I will never understand why.  But, as my then 8 year old son put it just hours after we received the news, I bet if Uncle Jessie knew how sad we would be he wouldn't have done it.  I hang on to those words because I know he is right.  I know my brother, the one person I turned to whenever I needed to talk, would never want to see me so sad.  

Did you know suicide is the 10th leading cause of death by Americans?  And that someone dies by suicide every 13.7 minutes?  I didn't either, until I lost my brother to suicide.  According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( more than 80% of us will lose someone to suicide in our lifetime. Those are all facts I remember each day I'm asked if I have any siblings.  Whenever someone asks what happened, I have trouble saying he committed suicide.

Until something hits home, usually you do not know any of the statistics.  I had to find a way to cope, a way to get through such a tragedy.  Since that day, three years ago, I continuously tell people I love them, I hug a little tighter, I listen a little closer.  I ask if they are ok, if something is bothering them, do you need to talk.  And I continuously tell people, let your loved ones know you care, because you never know who may need to hear it at that moment.

Since my brother's death, I've put together bits and pieces to help me understand why.  You see, my brother Roach died 4 years prior to Jessie's death and just 4 days prior to Jessie's death we buried a cousin, Dustin, who was more like a brother to us.  I believe in my heart, that Jessie missed them so much, that he wanted to be with them, he couldn't stand the fact that he had lost two of his best friends and would have to face the world without them.  At 29 years old, losing not one, but two people you care so much about is a very difficult thing to face and he couldn't do it, he couldn't go on living asking himself, why he survived and they didn't.

Roach H. Meza

Dustin Lee Pearce 

This morning when I woke up I thought I would be okay.  I'm doing better than last year on this day, and even better than the year before, but tears still fall down my cheeks as I recall a memory, read a text message, or hear a song.  But I'm coping better today, than I have the last three years and I will continue to be a strong woman, that I know my brother would want me to be.

Let your friends and family know how much they mean to you - you never know who needs to hear it.  <3 Julie

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Smiling Through My Eyes

When you think of love what do you think of?  How do you know what love is?  

Love is something you can't put into words.  Love is always feeling safe.  Love is that feeling you get as if seeing him for the first time all over again.  Love is easy.  Love is laughing, crying, playing, teasing.  Have you ever smiled until your cheeks hurt?  Do you get butterflies in your tummy just thinking of him?  Carrying on a conversation for hours and not noticing anyone else in the room, that is love.  Silence that is never awkward.  Staring into each other's eyes and knowing exactly what the other is thinking.  

Love is him showing up in cowboy boots and asking you to go mudding and all you can think of is, I don't care where we go, as long as I'm with you.  When a song comes on the radio and you smile because he sings it to you.  Love is knowing exactly what to say when you need to hear it most.  Love is having a relationship others are jealous of.

Love is being completely open and trusting with each other.  Love is a rare and unique relationship between two people that no one can explain, it's just that, love.

<3 Julie

Monday, June 10, 2013

Missing You

You've all seen those cute little e-cards, you know the ones that have a cute saying everyone is thinking yet no one says?  You've all seen the one that says Kids say the darnedest things, and then followed up by a cute, yet embarrassing story?

Well kids also ask the toughest questions.  I had my niece and nephew for a few days this last week.  After one busy day of baseball, I was getting ready to put them down for bed and all night I could tell something was up with my niece, she took a quick bath and didn't want to play, brushed her teeth in 3 minutes (instead of the 15 minutes it usually takes) so finally I took a moment and asked if there was anything she wanted to talk about.

She lowered her head and very quietly said, I miss my Dad so much.  Immediately my eyes filled with tears, it is such a tough subject to talk about, and especially tough with a 6 year old little girl.  The questions that followed were some of the hardest questions I have ever had to answer.  Why did my dad die?  How did my dad die?  Does everyone die?  Will you die?  Will my mom die?  Why didn't my friends dads die?  Did your dad die?  As I'm doing my best to answer her questions, in terms a 6 year old child can understand through tears and sobs of my own, my dog Charlie lays on her lap while she mindlessly twists her fingers in the fur of his ears.  He doesn't move his head, just lays on her lap letting her tug at his fur, doing his best to comfort her.  She looks down at him and says, will CharChar die?  Aunt JuJu, I'm scared to die.  Those were the words that hurt the most and brought sobs from my boys.  I wipe the tears from my eyes as I search for something comforting to say to her, knowing all ears are on me, because although they've never said it, I know my boys are scared of dying too, everyone is scared to die, everyone except those who are at the door of death and have accepted it.  I grab her hands and I tell her stories of what a wonderful brother her dad was, how he always had a smile on his face, he was always teasing us, laughing, cracking jokes, never in a million years did I know he was so sad on the inside.  I told her that I was very sad, because I missed her dad as much as she did.  I was sad for her and her little brother, and for my boys and every other little niece or nephew of my brother Jessie's, sad because they would never meet the fun loving, carefree person I knew.  I said I'm scared to die too, because I would never want to leave you or your brother or Dylan or Gage, but I know I won't die before my time because your dad is up there watching over me.  I know he is with us where ever we go, watching over and protecting us as we go through life.  I repeated the story of how when she was a little tiny girl she always said, Daddy, I want juice, in that little whiny voice.  I told stories of growing up with her dad, who became my best friend, the one person I knew I could turn to and say whatever I wanted and he would never judge, he would just listen.

You see once a child opens up to you, they just talk, they don't try and find the right words, or words that won't hurt as bad as others, they just say what is on their minds, no sugar coating it.

After an hour of telling stories and remembering the one we lost, everyone felt better, our eyes were dry, we had smiles on our faces and happy memories running through our heads.  You see, what she was so sad about was forgetting who her dad was, not being able to recall the sound of his voice, or the things they used to do before he left our lives.

Sometimes we have to take a walk down memory lane to bring back the happy thoughts.

<3 Julie

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

No Turning Back

My very first blog post!  Don't be surprised if it isn't perfect, my friends twisted my arm and told me to go after it, and so here it is, besides what blog is perfect?  And here I go, just like in life, I jump right into things, with very little introduction!  I'm Julie, single mom of 2 teenage boys, ok well not teenagers just yet, close enough, 11 & 13.  Outside of being a taxi driver, cheerleader, coach, chef, housekeeper, and personal shopper for the boys, I work full time in the legal field, I also sell designer denim and an amazing skin-care product.  In my free time, (according to my latest Facebook post I have NO time) I enjoy running, going to the gym, spending time with my family and friends, walking with my dog, Charlie, laying out in the warm sunshine, sports, both playing and watching, reading, wine, and of course what girl doesn't like shopping.  I feel like I'm on one of those dating websites, long walks on the beach, quiet romantic dinners.  Just kidding....

For the first time in my life I bought, and am actually USING, a planner!  Yes, I bought it in May, halfway through the year.  Do you know how hard it is to find a planner in May?!  I don't know if it's just because this year is extremely busy or if it has always been like this, but, I couldn't keep up with who was going where and what I was supposed to be doing.  I'm not sure how I survived my entire life without a planner.  Which leads me to my Why Blog?

I can't be the only single parent, or any parent or person for that matter, out there with a MILLION things going on and a million more things going through my head all the time.  So I wanted to blog, a place to keep all my thoughts, the things I encounter during my daily grind of work, kids, family, and life.  I've been thinking of doing this for many months now.  Most people who want to start blogging, write down all the topics they can write a blog post on, go ahead Google it, that's what I did, Step 2, Make a list of topics.  You know what I did?  I couldn't make a list of things I could blog about, but I came up with 2 pages of things people I knew could start a blog on!  You may laugh and shake your head at that one, but that's who I am!

They say your first blog post is the hardest, that is so true for me, I have spent month after month thinking, what should I write about first, every day I actually encounter something and say to my self, this would totally make a great blog post.

So bare with me as I work on my blogging abilities and creativity.  Yes I know, there are no pictures, where is your Pinterest link and why didn't you link your Facebook to this?  A work in progress readers, just like life.

<3 Julie