Fleeting Moment


Just for that one fleeting moment, my eyes catch yours, my heart pauses, memories flood my mind, and a tear rolls down my cheek…where did the time go?  6 lbs. and 8 oz. has turned into over 4 foot tall and 80 pounds with a quick wit and still no chance of passing the night without finding her way to my bed…either by invitation or the 2 a.m. sneak attack.  My heart has grown, it has learned to let little things go…the 4th time the Dr. Pepper gets knocked over during lunch, the 5th time she’s told you about something on television, the 13th time she’s asked if it’s okay if she pretends to be Princess Peach, or the mornings she feels the need to come out to the car and “push” me down the driveway.  Annoying?  YES!  Time consuming?  YES!  Frustrating?  YES!  Priceless… Never going to happen once she reaches a certain age… Hilarious??  YES!  YES!  YES!  It’s in those moments that you have to take a deep breath, and as you slowly exhale, you release the word…ccchhhhheeerrriiissshhh.  It’s at that time when you remember…I prayed for you.  It’s at that time you have to remind yourself…this too shall pass…and fast!  And at that point, it’s when you look in your beautiful daughter’s eyes and remember she is a gift from our Father above.  She is the product of you and your husband’s love for one another.  She is my reason for being, my reason for always being broke, my reason for getting up in the morning…she is my reason.  And at that very moment, I realize I miss her before she is even gone.



What shocks you about Americans? I tackled athletes’ salaries, red carpet expenses, and sexual predators…what are your worries? what do you wish could change?


As I pump my $3.43 a gallon in gas, listening to my favorite radio station only to hear a song with sexually explicit lyrics begin to blare, hear a redneck fling the “F” word around at the pump next to me while his woman trudges into the store scuffling along in her pajama pants and house shoes, and see a 10 year old ride by on his bike while talking on his cell phone, I can’t help but wonder…what in the world has happened to America?  Where/when did we start going backwards?  Or have we ever really been going forwards?

I think our founding fathers were on track way back when, but when in the world did our morals, pride, common sense, sense of responsibility, and any other positive character trait you can think of just fly right out the window?

Backwards Example #1:

Athletes are paid millions and millions…

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Backwards America


As I pump my $3.43 a gallon in gas, listening to my favorite radio station only to hear a song with sexually explicit lyrics begin to blare, hear a redneck fling the “F” word around at the pump next to me while his woman trudges into the store scuffling along in her pajama pants and house shoes, and see a 10 year old ride by on his bike while talking on his cell phone, I can’t help but wonder…what in the world has happened to America?  Where/when did we start going backwards?  Or have we ever really been going forwards?

I think our founding fathers were on track way back when, but when in the world did our morals, pride, common sense, sense of responsibility, and any other positive character trait you can think of just fly right out the window?

Backwards Example #1:

Athletes are paid millions and millions of dollars to…that’s right…PLAY!  Play?  Play what?  A game with a ball?  Seriously?  How much you ask?  How about Tiger Woods, #1, $75 million…hit a little white ball with a club off a tee!!!  What?  Or, LeBron James, #3 , $44.5 million…slam a ball in a hoop, dribble between his legs, and all right out of high school!  You kidding me?  WOW!  Yep, that’s talent!

I’m not arguing that some of these guys are amazing on the court, or field, or course, but why are their talents any different than those of us “regular” people?  I think I have some amazing talents.   I can make a mean hair bow, but I’m lucky if I bank $5.  And no, people aren’t going to pay $500 for a ticket to sit on my couch and watch me twirl the hot glue gun around my finger.  Or my mom, a retired teacher, who’s talent of enthralling students with the English language was uncanny, and she was lucky to bring home $30,000 for the entire year.  And no, people aren’t going to pay $700 to watch my mom figure out ways to teach her children or watch her make the red ink pen dance across the pages.  So why is bouncing a ball, throwing or catching a ball, or hitting a ball considered such an amazing talent in this country?

Bottom line:  We have decided what is talent in this country.  We have decided that it makes sense to pay to watch these people play.  We have bought the shoes endorsed by Bryant and worn the jerseys with Brees written across the back.  We the people…  We have decided that the most important talent in this country revolves around sports, clubs, balls, gyms, fields, etc.  We the people have paid to put our kids on a field so they can be yelled at by some “wanna-be, has-been” high school athlete/coach all for the bragging rights around the coffee pot Monday morning…  Yeah, well my son is on the traveling team for West Monroe…yeah, well my daughter scored all the goals at Saturday’s soccer game.  I played sports and loved every minute of it, but my parents made sure I understood that the main talent of mine was using the brain.  Okay, that’s a whole other blog… back to the point…I don’t visit professional sports venues.  I VERY seldom watch a professional game on television…I’d rather see the college kids play for the reasons these games were invented…challenge, fun, team building, comradery.  The reason I played and want my child to play…FUN, CHALLENGE, TEAM…  You couldn’t pry $500 from my hands to sit in crowded stands, surrounded by drunk people screaming at the players as if they could hear, “What are you thinking?” only to have beer spilled on me, be yelled at for wearing the wrong teams’ colors, pay $20 for a hamburger, stand in line for the bathroom, when all I had to do was stay at home, sit around in my comfy pjs, eat chips and dip, drink a diet coke, and yell at the television for close to nothing at people who are playing games for close to…MILLIONS AND MILLIONS!

And why, America?  Is it fun?  I guess.  Again, I’d rather watch the college kids play.  My heart just isn’t in it for professional sports.  So the dude can throw…Worth millions?  Not at all!!!  He can hit a hole in one!  YEAH…worth millions?  Not at all?  He kicked the game winning field goal…good for him…worth millions?  NOT AT ALL!!!

The teacher who taught my child to read and write…worth millions?  YEP!  The nurse who gives me infusions once a month…worth millions?  YEP!!!  The policeman who saved the child from being harmed…worth millions?  EVERY LAST PENNY!!!  The firefighter who saved the family from the burning building…worth millions?  EVERY LAST PENNY!!!  The military man fighting for our freedom over seas…worth millions?  EVERY LAST DIME!!!  The people who run “Ray of Hope” with the hope of helping people and children eat, have clothes to wear, toys to play with, and try to lead them to our Lord…worth millions?  NO DOUBT!!!

That’s okay…you just keep catching, hitting, throwing, or kicking that ball to score points for a game that won’t matter 6 months down the line…you’re worth it…JUST NOT QUITE MILLIONS!!!

Challenge:  America, stop paying out the wazoo to watch these people throw, hit, catch, run…

Challenge:  Athletes, take a few million and invest it into our future.  Find a school that barely has enough funding for paper, chalk, computers, etc.  Build a home for a family or buy groceries for a family once a month for a year!

Challenge:  America, find other talents to invest in…the teacher who makes my child want to learn math, the rescue worker who wants to save a child from the freezing water, the social worker who cares enough to find a new home for an abused child…NOW THAT’S TALENT, AMERICA!!!!

Backwards Example #2:

Award shows…and coming down the red carpet is…a face full of Botox…only $400 + for the forehead…and don’t forget the lines around the nose…a few more $100…ohhhh, and look at that…she’s wearing a $15,000 Vera Wang…and the jewels are who?  and they cost?  $22,000!!!  Wow…those shoes are who?  $5,000…

And the losers still walk away with a “goody” bag that is worth more than $200,000.


Yes, I am in awe of their talents, just like the athletes.  Not everyone can say, “You can’t handle the truth” or “Hello Clarice” and deserve a golden statue for the mantle.  They have to learn lines, lose weight, gain weight, learn a fight scene, fly to Hawaii, get up at 5 to catch the sun just right, or kiss some hunk of a man.  Some of those things can be hard, but why must we see you flaunt how much money you made from doing these things?  Yeah, I pay to see a movie.  And like the athletes, should some of these people get paid millions for their talent?  Probably not!  And like athletic events, are movies fun to watch?  Absolutely!  But how can you be okay with paying thousands of dollars for a dress that you will never be caught dead wearing EVER again??  How can you be okay with taking home a basket worth over $200,000.  Why not donate the $15,000 for the Vera Wang special to a homeless shelter, or take a few kids shopping at JCPenny for some blue jeans and a jacket?  I know, instead of being worried about what you look like going down the red carpet, why don’t you help someone get a new house with carpet.

Challenge:  Actors and actresses of Hollywood, act your hearts out, but make the red carpet event a blue jean and t-shirt event.  Drop off a pair of jeans or a toy as you walk down the red carpet.  So, who are you wearing tonight?  Oh, these?  Blue jeans by Old Navy…flip flops too!  And this $200,000+ bag is filled with goodies for the homeless shelter.

Backwards Example #3:

My mom and dad have always said a country that does not protect its women and children is doomed.

How many times in this country have sex offenders been released only to become a repeat offender?  Or in most recent events, Sandusky at Penn State.  How many people saw him in the act and didn’t say a single word.

PEOPLE!!!!  You’re willing to protect a football program over an innocent child!!!  SICK!!!

So let me get this straight…someone can molest a child or rape a woman, get sentenced to prison, and after a few years, maybe get released because they’ve been good!  A recent statistic indicated that 1 in 19 sex offenders are repeat offenders once released.  In 1994, 4300 child molesters were released from prisons in 15 states.  Of those 4300, 5.3% were arrested again within 3 years for another sex crime!  So our country is okay with these statistics?  I don’t care if these people made their beds everyday, played nicely during outside time, or dusted their cells on a daily basis.  You’ve taken away the innocence and trust of a child.  You have instilled fear in a woman and taken her self respect.

AMERICA…who cares about these offenders’ basic rights?  They don’t deserve any!!!  They’ve taken away more from these children and women than basic rights…things that can never be replaced! Castration sounds good to me!!!  AMERICA…protect our children and women!!!

CHALLENGE:  Somebody who makes laws concerning punishment for these disgusting people…DO SOMETHING!!!!  Get some guts!  Lock them up and throw away the key!!  I can’t stand the thought of an innocent child being mistreated!  I can’t stand the thought of a woman being taken advantage of!!  Somebody, get some guts!  Don’t worry about stepping on toes and hurting someone’s feelings!

Going backwards?  Definitely!  So many other examples to show how our country is slip sliding away.  I didn’t even begin to discuss how our taxpayer dollars are being used…Try a treadmill for a shrimp?  Check it out.  That’ll make you want to vomit too!

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time or energy to tackle everything that I find wrong with my America!  I’m not a Debbie Downer.  I’m the positive person who tries to make people laugh, but sadly, I can’t fix these things.  And the people who could possibly fix some things are the ones who do get millions of dollars, but they tend to be a little more consumed with themselves!  I’m just thankful that I live in America where freedom of speech is mine.  I’m thankful I live in America for many reasons, but I’m not proud of how many things in this country are going.  All I can do is work to make changes in my small town USA and pray.

God PLEASE shed your grace on thee.

The Good Ole Days


Let me preface this soapbox by saying…I work in a financial aid office, and my views of the world have become a little…well…jaded.  I have seen  it all, and the more I see, the sadder I get!

What happened to the good ole days?  The days when people worked hard for what they had and did things to help a neighbor.  What happened to the good ole days when a couple sitting in a restaurant was completely focused on each other instead of sitting in quiet while each typed on his or her phone?  What happened to kids playing games that didn’t require batteries or electricity, but instead imagination, dice, cards, colors, and paper?  What happened to people taking pride in themselves?  Knowing how to speak English correctly…She came inside versus she come inside…or we haven’t ate those yet…eaten…EATEN…EATEN!!!!  What happened to teaching kids how to think in school versus teaching to a state mandated test?  When did it become okay to use inappropriate language on cable, or have a kids’ show with a song…Smells like a turd!  Really?  When did our country stop protecting our children and women?  Why is it okay to let a rapist or child molester back on the street?  When did it become okay for guys to wear their pants down around their knees and let their underwear show?  When did girls think it was okay to let their thongs show above their blue jeans?  Who thought it was a good idea for people to gauge their ears, holes as big as silver dollars?  Were these people not told that they won’t get big girl or big boy jobs with lobes down to their shoulders?  Or tatoos covering their bodies…literally…from head to toe?  You realize you will get old and the girl tatooed on your arm will one day sag and possibly disappear beneath all the wrinkles, and the lobes with huge holes will cause problems in the nursing homes when you try to reach down to turn the wheels on your wheelchair!  When did you think yelling, “Shut up!  Quit yo cryin’ boy!” at your child in the middle of a store would help groom him into a nice, young man?  When did people think it was okay to take advantage of the systems our government put in place to help those at a disadvantage?  So let me get this straight, you’re going to only make enough money so you can qualify for food stamps, have more kids so you can get more food stamps, get daycare assistance, claim head of household on your taxes even though you’re married, claim a niece and nephew, heck, a neighbor’s child, so you can get that $5,000+ earned income credit, then receive $2775 a semester in Pell grant, borrow the max loans that you never intend to pay back and receive over $5000 in a refund per semester, all while living in subsidized housing, sending your kids to school to receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch, and being taken care of by, once again, taxpayer dollars at any facility that takes Medicaid…Noooo, really, just sit…the middle class has this!  I’ll throw my 70/30 ground beef into my cart at Wal-Mart while you grab all the ribs, lamb, steaks, and chicken you can possibly fit into your cart!  Don’t believe me?  Check out your local Wal-Mart the first Monday of the month!  Our generations since the depression era will never know what it means…The Good Ole Days.  They didn’t have a pot to pee in, but they didn’t complain.  They didn’t wait for a government handout.  The didn’t feel entitled to anything.  They planted vegetables in the side yard to make ends meet.  They didn’t fret when the cable went out for the evening…no TV!  It was okay to play good ole games like charades, cards, or badmitton with each other.  It was a terrible thing to go into the library without socks on, and getting pregnant out of wedlock was a huge NO NO and something to be ashamed of.  Nobody had Pell grant to pay his/her way to college and complain when the refund check was only $4000 instead of $5000.  That was the time in America when people were excited to vote, and would never be caught dead with holy jeans, purple hair, or earlobes down to their elbows.  Americans had pride in themselves.  They worked hard to make ends meet, to raise their families and not depend on others, and were more than happy to loan a cup of sugar to a neighbor in need.  Teaching meant focusing on children and giving them the knowledge needed to survive and excel in today’s world, not quickly glancing at a page a day to make sure they were ready for a test that means nothing!  Going on vacation meant listening to the music Mom and Dad liked to listen to and playing silly games on the way to the destination…no battery operated games, cell phones, or computers.  A conversation was face to face, not text message to text message.  I am proud to be an American, but I’m ashamed at what many people in this country have become.  Okay with just being okay…average…never striving to improve any area of his or her life.  Not understanding the importance of a good education and what a good education looks like.  Why it isn’t okay with going out in public in pajama pants, scuffling along in house shoes, and saying inappropriate words in front of my child.  America…once the prominent country in education, science, technology, and good ole ways in life and work and love.  I would love to live in those good ole days.  I strive to make good ole days for my daughter.  Technology is here, so I guess we’ll embrace it!  Fads come and go, so I guess we’ll go with it…to an extent!  Education is not the best, so I guess I’ll have to do extra activities at home to make her think above the knowledge level.  We still speak English in America, or at least some of us do, so I guess I’ll still stress I came inside, or we haven’t eaten.  The 3Ds and Wii are here, so I guess we’ll play but still make time for board games and coloring.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m all for helping those who need help…food stamps, housing, Pell grant, etc.  But at some point, the lying and cheating has got to stop.  You have to want to better yourself.  And being on these programs for years is not bettering yourself!  You can do better when you know better…Thank you Oprah.  She is an example of how you can do better when you want to.  It’s all in what you want to do.

Amendment to All I Really Need to Know


So after I wrote All I Really Need to Know, I realized I left out perhaps the most important person on the list from whom I’ve learned…MOM!  Mom gave me the foundation of, well, me.  She reinforced the lessons taught in kindergarten, but she had started them several years before I stepped into Miss Beverly’s beautifully decorated room.  She started the lesson on patience from the very first time I broke a piece of brick off the fireplace hearth.  The lessons on patience became a recurring song in my life, but the verses changed daily.  Whether it was the brick or throwing a book into my sister’s eye, or slamming my tennis racket on the court because of the very important missed forehand, my mom was right there to encourage patience.  She always began with “the look”, followed by a heart-wrenching speech that would bring me to tears, a big “momma” hug, and the promise to change. And Dad, let’s not forget Dad.  He taught me how to laugh and work to make others laugh.  He’s encouraged me to, like mom, always do my best and never give up.  He is my dad, and I’ve always been daddy’s little girl…basketball in the driveway, playing jokes on my mom, and eventually, walking me down the aisle.  But I guess Mom has been my go-to-girl, my very best friend…I could always and still talk to her about anything…ANYTHING!

She taught me to never give up, put myself in someone else’s shoes, and always tell the people you love that you in fact love them because in the blink of an eye, those people may be gone.  Work hard, make each day count, give, love your family, …the list goes on and on.  She always told me these things, but until this past summer, some of these characteristics didn’t sink in until, okay, you know…cherish hit me.

I now cherish each conversation with my mom.  I cherish our trips to Shreveport on a monthly basis for my infusion.  Before cherish was introduced into my vocabulary on a daily basis, I would just say, “Uh huh, Mom,” and not really HEAR her.  I see her, my dad, and my mamaw aging, and I realize all the years I missed in cherishing them.  Like my husband and daughter, I’ve loved them deeply, but I haven’t, for one, told them that and many times I haven’t shown them that.  Now I tell them frequently how much I love and cherish them.  I adore them, admire them, and appreciate them.  From this new found wisdom, if you will, I see life in a whole new light.  Bottom line, life is too short not to cherish the ones you love. 

I regret not putting Mom in my first post because she did do a little thing for me called “giving me life.”    And as she always said, I brought you into this world and I can take you out.  And I actually believed her!  She was a public school teacher for many years, but she’s been my private tutor for 35.  I am blessed to call her my best friend and for my daughter to call her Suz. 


All I Really Need to Know


Remember the poster that said, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

Really?  Then why did I go to school through 12th grade and felt the need to continue on to college…and now, I’ve decided I need more education.  Yes, I learned some fabulous lessons in kindergarten from the all-patient, kind-hearted Miss Beverly Richardson.  God love her.  She put up with me and my incessant need to chat with anything that walked, talked, and listened.  I became accustomed to seeing my name on the board everyday.  And sure to follow close behind were typically 3 checks.  Check #4…cue the music…dum, dum dum dum, duuuuuum…meant a trip to the principal’s office.  Thank goodness I never had the pleasure of a personal visit with Mr. Watson.  Thank you, Miss Beverly, and sorry I sped up the graying process!  I do know, despite the constant interruption of Stephanie Jo, she taught us many valuable lessons such as patience, kindness, sharing, no hitting, cleaning up messes, and washing your hands before eating.  And  yes, those lessons still apply to our lives today, but “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned from Being a Wife and a Mom.”

Let us start with being a wife.  My husband has taught me many things.  Over the past 18 years, he has helped me develop into a much more patient person.  That has not been an easy task.  He’s increased my knowledge when it comes to football, attempted to help me pass freshman chemistry to no avail, and even taught me to fish.  He researches and teaches me about my health problems so I can understand them in “Stephy Terms” and the list goes on and on!  I can’t imagine my life without him.  But if there is one major lesson he has taught me, or I should say we learned together this past summer, it is how to cherish.  We knew how to love.  Heck, we’ve loved each other very deeply for the past 18 years.  But loving is quite different than cherishing.  Cherishing goes deeper than love.  Cherishing is truly seeing someone.  It’s adoration, admiration, and appreciation.  Cherish…When he speaks to me, I don’t just nod, say, “Uh huh” and keep going.  I look at him and adore the man I see before me.  I admire his deep devotion to Christ and to our family.  I appreciate everything he does from taking the trash to the curb to getting Hannah ready in the morning and off to school.  I appreciate, admire and adore him.  I love him and the us we are today.  But most importantly, I absolutely beyond all I am, cherish him to the ends of the earth.  Kindergarten…pish posh.  Shannon is my new kindergarten.

Now let’s look at being a mom.  Hannah Elizabeth has taught me many things as well.  However, I didn’t realize all the valuable lessons she had taught me and continues to teach me until I learned the meaning of cherish.  Yes, when she was a baby, after quite a bit of practice, she taught me that babies are a lot of work.  Changing diapers, fixing bottles, figuring out why she’s crying, worrying over why she isn’t talking, feeling frustrated with potty training, and wondering why God thought I would be a suitable mom.  Yes, I realized that I can’t keep a plant alive, but a baby…ain’t no thang!  I could carry her on one hip, wipe throw-up off the wall, all while talking on the phone.  It became second nature.  So much so, that over the past 7 years, everything became…”Hannah, Mommy can’t play right now because I have to fold laundry.”  “Hannah, Mommy is tired.  Please stop talking.”  “Hannah…”  “Not now, Hannah.”  I allowed my second nature to become my way of life.  I was running on autopilot. Then one day this past summer, KAPOW…cherish hit me upside the head.  I have this amazing, beautiful, smart, fabulous little lady standing right in front of me.  I opened my eyes for the first time and realized that for 7 years I had allowed things such as laundry, dishes, and dust to keep me from listening to, playing with, and bottom line, cherishing my daughter.  I have loved her from the moment I saw her 9:32 a.m. on September 10th, 2004.  I fell in love with her that day, and like her daddy, I loved her deeply.  However, I never really stopped to look into her eyes when she spoke to me.  I had never really thought about what a little miracle my father in heaven had placed in my life.  Now when I look at her, I realize what an amazing little girl she is.  She loves to dance, loves to laugh, and loves to make others laugh.  She has the biggest heart, and sometimes, I’m afraid she may be a little smarter than I!  She’s 7 going on 21, but she will always be my baby.  I am so blessed to have this precious, healthy child in my midst.  She has taught me that life’s too short not to dance when I hear music.  That it is okay to spill Dr. Pepper on the floor three times in a row…that’s what carpet cleaner is for.  And it’s okay if she gets dirt in her hair or paint on her shirt…that’s what shampoo and washers are for.  Cherishing is taking these things with a grain of salt.  Cherishing her is adoring her, admiring her, and appreciating her.  I absolutely adore her sweet smile and her big vocabulary.  I admire her for trying cheerleading, soccer, and gymnastics and being strong enough to say, “These things just aren’t for me.”  I admire how she sees the good in everyone.  And I appreciate how hard she works in school.  I appreciate her loving me even though I’m not the perfect mom.  She says I am and that’s all that matters.

Cherish…All I Really Need to Know rests in that one word.  These two people have taught me to cherish, and the best thing of all, they cherish me too.

It Could Always Be Worse


Two months after my daughter was born, I awoke one morning to numb hands.  I know.  I slept on them wrong.  They’ll feel better in a few minutes.  Minutes became hours.  Hours became days, and I found myself in the waiting room of our family doctor.  Dr. Capen sent me for a a nerve conductor test.  It could be carpel tunnel.  Of course, that’s what it was.

After being prodded with needles for about an hour, feeling electric shocks shooting from my hands and fingers down my arms, I was sent home to wait…imagine that.  Wait days for a medical test?  And while I waited, I convinced myself that it was carpel tunnel.  After all, I grew up playing tennis, writing a lot, playing the piano…yep, carpel tunnel.

“Is Stephanie there?”  I heard through the other end of the telephone line.  “Yes, this is she.”

“We have your results, and Dr. Capen said the tests came back fine.  He would like you to go get an MRI.”

“O…okay…so no carpel tunnel?”

“No.  So can you go to Hancock Memorial on …”


With MRI complete and hands still in a constant state of complete numbness, I continued teaching my 8th graders, loving on my sweet Hannah banana, and going through the motions of daily life with a fear of the unknown lingering in my mind.  What could it be?

“Is Stephanie there?”

I received a phone call one evening after I had finished supervising the crowd at a middle school basketball game.  I was walking out of the building on the way to my car.

“Yes, this is she.”

“Stephanie, this is Dr. Capen.”

Wow, now that’s service.  That’s so nice for the doctor to call me personally…

“Stephanie, I think we know why your hands are numb.”

“Okay, what is it?”

“It’s MS…Multiple Sclerosis.”

“Okay.”  The thought of MS had passed through my thoughts a few times during the past few weeks.  I had known a couple of people with MS.  “Okay!”  I said.  “What do I need to do now?”  I asked with determination.  I wasn’t going to let this get me.

As soon as our conversation was over, I called my husband.  He told me to get home so we could talk.  I then called my mom.  I shared the news with her, and she and I cried and decided it was going to be okay.  Shannon and I cried and talked, and we too decided it was going to be okay.

It’s going to be okay!  I’ve never let anything get me down, and this was not going to be the one thing that brought me to my knees either.  It could always be worse, right?

From that moment, I decided I was going to own the MS.  It was not going to own me!  I started seeing a neurologist in Indianapolis and began giving myself shots three times a week.  Definitely not how I planned to spend my time as a new mom.  But what plans in life really go the way we expect?  I embraced it.  I researched it.  I talked with people who had just been diagnosed and realized that it could always be worse!  I dealt with the symptoms.  My balance was off some, I experienced numbness in my hands, nose, and feet, and I  felt extreme fatigue many days.  I continued the shots and told myself…It could always be worse.

We came upon the opportunity to move back closer to home…the sweet south!  Yes, we’ll do it!

Not long after we moved to northern Louisiana, I began to experience complete numbness in my right arm.  I could barely fix my hair, put in earrings, write my numbers on my Sudoku puzzles, or cut a steak.  I immediately began searching for a new neurologist.  She prescribed three days of a steroid infusion, and lo and behold, a couple of days later, the feeling returned.  Since I’ve been back in the south, I’ve been switched to a new drug…an infusion once a month.  I love it!  I have days of feeling off-balance, extreme fatigue, and other little tingles here and there, but all-in-all, I feel like a new person.

MS…what does it mean to me?  It means I am so blessed!  I have a healthy, beautiful, smart, and fabulously funny seven-year-old.  My husband and I are closer than we ever have been.  I have a job and now the opportunity to return to school to work on my masters.  I have made some amazing friends, and I’m close to my family in southern Arkansas.  I have learned to embrace the moment, cherish my loved ones, live each moment like it’s the last.

Some days I find myself saying…I have MS…I…HAVE…MS!  Thank you Lord for blessing me with MS.

It could always be worse.