List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could

This is question number 4 on my list of 30 things my kids should know about me.

What 10 things would I tell my 16 year old self.  Oh my.   I wish I could visit her.  Deep down I think she was sweet, but she was flirting much too often with rebellion, sowing wild oats, trying desperately to figure out her place in the world in which she lived and using way too much hairspray.


I would sit her down if I could and somehow I would snap her out of her “I know all” attitude, and the idea that grown ups were dopes and I would tell her a thing or two.  1.  Starting off I’d tell her that doing bad things doesn’t make you look cool.  That smoking cigarettes, drinking, drugs, going to parties, breaking curfew, sneaking out, and hooking up with boys is not the way to make friends.  People don’t think good of you, and if they do, they’re not the people to be hanging around with.  Instead, it actually tarnishes you, steals from you, and makes you not like yourself either.  The people you are associating with now, you won’t be associating with in 10, 20 years, so stop trying to impress them.  Instead find a hobby.  Pick up a camera and capture the world and people around you, write a story—you have a beautiful imagination, do a good deed for your grandmother without her having to ask you.  That is what is cool.

2.  Then I’d let her know that she doesn’t know a thimbleful of what she thinks she does.  And the idea of needing to be pretty is from the world, which just so happens to have it all wrong.  But that the word of God says beauty fades and charm is deceiving but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised, the Bible also says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.  So love the Lord, and gain wisdom for it is not  fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.   No, your beauty should come from within you — the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.  Work on that instead.  How awesome would it be instead of having “you’re so pretty, to a gorgeous girl, stay cool” written in your yearbook, what if instead it said, “you have a beautiful spirit, I appreciate your gentle soul”.

3.  Along with the world having it all wrong about how we look on the outside, don’t let society pressure you into the status quo.  In a couple of years, you’ll be reading the Lifestyle section of the local paper, and you’ll notice that your classmates will all be getting married, or so it will seem.  Then they will start families, and you’ll read the birth announcements.  You’ll feel jealousy.  You’ll feel disappointment.  And it doesn’t come from inside you, but only because you think that’s what the world expects from you:  to get married and have children.  But you are not in a competition with anyone.  This isn’t a race to see who can get married and have babies fastest.  Go at your own pace.  Don’t feel pressure to do what every other girl you’re age is doing.  Because, you know what?  A lot of those marriages won’t last, and so settle down about that and discover who you are and what you love to do, not who you need to be with.

4.  And while you’re out looking for a life mate, stay away from the bad boys.  I know you have a tendency to be attracted to them, but it’s merely physical.  Remember beauty fades, and charm is deceiving.  See those nerdy, geeky guys?  The ones you’ve rejected?  The ones you think aren’t “cool”?  Well, Angel baby they have their heads screwed on straight.  Find yourself a Jesus follower too.  Someone who will love you and be devoted to you in the way that Jesus loves you.  The long hair and tattoos may appeal to you now, but don’t be a fool for the long run.  Look past the outward appearance and look to the heart.  This will save you much heartbreak.

5.  You haven’t been many places away from your hometown and your daddy’s hometown.  But know this….there is a great big world out there.  Yes, it’s good to be close to family, but go explore the world while you’re young and able.  There are people to meet, cultures to experience, food to try, places to see.  Go do it.  Don’t think you need to be tied down to your hometown.  You can rise above your circumstances.  You can do all things with Christ.

6.  But while you’re out there seeing the world, don’t forget to appreciate the people in your life.  Spend time with your parents.  This time will pass quickly, and they really are remarkable people you’ll learn someday.  Write down your grandmother’s stories.  Write down your parents’ stories.  Write down your own stories.  I know you think you are young and you won’t forget, but you will.  Have your picture made with you parents and your grandmothers, your brothers and your sister.  Get to know them.  They are the ones who love you the most.  They are the ones who will help you when you need it.  They are who will support you in your dreams.  Tell them you love them, and it wouldn’t hurt to tell them thanks as well.

7.  Quit mooching and learn to do things for yourself.  You know, like your laundry!  And make your own bed!  Fix your own breakfast, stuff like that.  You aren’t a princess and you’re going to need to know how to do that kind of stuff very soon.  Quit taking advantage of other’s kindness.  Learn how to clean house.  Learn how to cook good food.  Spend some time in the kitchen, cook for others, make your grandmother’s bed instead of the other way around.  Ask people to show you things, learn from them, then you will have confidence in your abilities.   Learn from your elders and treat them right.  They know much more than you.

8.  Right now, Angel, you are young, you are pretty, you are resilient, and flexible, but you won’t always be young forever.  It will happen….your body will age.  Your knees will hurt, your joints will ache, your hair will gray, you’re going to get a real severe wrinkle right between your eyes from frowning so often.  So take care of your body while you still can and smile!  You only get one body, and it needs to last.  Treat it right.  Only put good things into it.  Give it rest, but work it hard so it doesn’t grow lazy.  Find a balance, strive to be healthy.

9.  It’s always good to have a nest egg.  Save money.  But don’t be greedy.  Again, find a balance.  No, that’s the world talking.  On second thought, be more generous.  You’re too stingy as it is.  If you see someone in need, help them.  You’ll reap what you sow.  It’s better to give than receive.  You’ll probably never be rich in wealth, but you’ll have what you need.  And it’s just money anyway.

10.  There will be hard times in your life.  At the time, you will think they are terrible times.  But you will look back on them years down the road, and they won’t seem so hard anymore.  Time passes quickly sister, so do good in the world.  Don’t be self-centered.  Don’t always think of yourself, how you can get ahead, how situations are going to affect you.   It’s hard not to, but truth is, it’s not about you.  The world doesn’t revolve around you.  Look around, see others, see their hardships, see their pain,  love them and I mean really love them…. with actions, not merely words.  Put others before yourself.  You won’t be a door mat if you do, you’ll be Christ-like and by doing so, you’ll not only bring Glory to God, but you’ll bring others to God through your actions.  For these three remain, faith,hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.

It’s a sweet life you live, Angel.  You have great rewards ahead of you, just you wait and see.  Enjoy it.  It’s much too short not to.

Am I worthy of a ‘hello, nice to meet you?’

I’m ranting.

Not just because I’m mad, but because I’m sad too.  Anger and tears.  That’s what happens to me.  First I get angry, and then I cry and then I get angrier that I’m crying, and then I cry harder, which makes me more angry.  Aaarrrggghhhh!

I have such a high tolerance too.  I rarely get mad, so I have to sort this out in my mind.  Why am I so mad?  Or am I really hurt?  Yes that’s it, I’m hurt. If my friend were sitting on my bed with me right now she would remind me that anger is a peacock emotion.  In other words, anger shows itself while a different emotion is being hidden.  One of those hidden emotions is hurt.

I have just been treated so rudely by someone in the educational field, a professional I dare call him, and I’ll use that term loosely.  Blatant, out and out, rudeness.  Offensive.  Treated as if I were nothing.  A nobody.  My niece’s teacher would not look up from his computer to simply say hello when my niece wanted me to meet him.  As I introduced myself, I got a hmmmm hmmmm in response, right along with a “I’ve got a conference at 3:30”.     He didn’t stand, he didn’t say hello, he didn’t extend his hand, he didn’t even look me in the eye.

I am an outsider here.  I am reminded of it all too often.  My self worth and self confidence is at an all time low for whatever reason, and for someone to not acknowledge that I exist, that I am standing in the same room, that I am a human being with a beating heart, well quite honestly, he waylaid me.  I have been drop-kicked in the gut.

Am I unworthy to be spoken to.  No, that’s ridiculous.  I feel so silly to allow someone to make me feel this low.  Yet, I do.

This is a feeling I don’t think I have ever experienced before IN MY LIFE.  A feeling of complete unworth. And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Which causes me to question, have I ever treated someone else like this? Even unconsciously?  I hope not.  I hope I have never made anyone, be it a parent at school, a relative, a clerk at the convenience store, a classmate from high school, or a beggar on the corner feel as if they were nothing, as if they didn’t matter, as if they were unimportant.  But the truth is, I have.  I’m sure I have.  Even though I can’t recall it, they remember it.  How could someone forget.  It hurts too deeply.

So, what will I do?  Will I fire off a scathing email to him like I want, and then visit his principal and tattle on him, like I want?

No I won’t.

Will I tell my husband through my tears what happened  and beg him to go beat him up, like I want?

No I won’t.

Will I find out where he lives and throw a roll of toilet paper through his tree branches and then egg his car?

Maybe I will do that.

No, I won’t.

Instead I’ll remind myself of who I actually am.  I’ll thank my God that He has made me HIS CHILD, that I am a daughter of THE ALMIGHTY KING, that I am HIGHLY FAVORED, that God DELIGHTS  in me, that He SINGS over me, that I am LOVED so very much that God himself would robe himself in flesh, remain sinless, yet die a gruesome death for me.  FOR ME.  I am WORTH that much to Him.  Unworthy to be spoken to by a teacher, maybe I am, but to God I am SOMEBODY.  Because of that, I will lift my head, I will wipe my tears, and I will remember that everyone (including that teacher) is worthy of a smile, a kind word, a simple hello.  I will strive to be a better person who treats everyone I meet with dignity and respect, regardless of how busy I am, what kind of day I’m having, or whether I had my coffee that morning.  What a humbling experience I’ve had today, and what a reminder and a lesson I have learned.

If I have ever made you feel bad about yourself, please forgive me.  Please know it was not intentional.  Please know I did not intend to hurt you.

Sending you my cyber hug,






Today, I’m remembering my dad. I hope that’s alright with you.
It’s been 2 years, probably about this time exactly, that he died.
I miss him. A lot. Some days it hurts, and other days are just days like every other one before.
There’s a lot of good in this world, we shouldn’t dwell in sadness, so I’m reposting this blog from a couple of years ago. It makes me smile. Hope you do too.

Angel Wheeler

Today, I’m remembering my dad. I hope that’s alright with you.
It’s been 2 years, probably about this time exactly, that he died.
I miss him. A lot. Some days it hurts, and other days are just days like every other one  that has come before.
There’s a lot of good in this world, we shouldn’t dwell in sadness, so on a sad day,  I’m reposting this blog from a couple of years ago. It makes me smile. Hope you do too.

This is a repost.  It’s about my dad.  It’s bits and pieces from his emails, all compiled into one.

Ignore the punctuation and spelling, because he does too.

Even though you may not have known him, he was good at his job, so listen to him.

About Exercise:

“i’m really enjoying it, although i’m sooo tired by the end of the week. hope i can stay focused and…

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A day in the backyard with 5 chickens and two dogs

Today the weather is agreeable.  The skies are a cobalt blue with an occasional fluffy cumulus cloud in the distance.  The wind is slight. It’s still chilly enough to need a coat, but when you find a good place to sit in the sun, your insides begin to warm and your heart smiles.


As does your mouth.  Me and little britches went outside to enjoy it for a while.   The chickens were making an awful ruckus earlier in the day and I thought we’d better scout for eggs in case they’re laying willy nilly as they are prone to do.

In case you’re new here, my backyard is home to  5 wonderful chickens, two dogs and an occasional visit by me and my girl, EK.


That’s Drew, wanting his belly rubbed.  It’s a dog’s life.



The dogs are sweet, albeit a bit rambunctious.  And EK is a bit leery of their wagging tails, licking tongues, and overall ambitious nature.

Our girl dog, Grace, is a heeler/shepherd.  A tad on the hyper side, a herder of all chickens,  and may I add that she also is in heat.  It’s important to the story, trust me.

She loves Emma.  She just doesn’t understand her boundaries.


She wants to love on her but outweighs her by about 25 pounds.


Emma is always glad to see the dogs, as long as she’s in someone’s arms, safe and protected.  I set her on the ground and told those dogs NO, and allowed the morning to progress.  Drew is content chewing on a stick but  Grace wants to see EK up close and personal and Emma was happy to see her.


Right until Grace rolled over on her back begging for a belly rub, bumped Emma and made her fall down.  I of course, did my parental duty and ran right over to brush away the tears and scold the dog, but not before I snapped a picture or two.  Not to worry, she was unscathed.



Time passed.  A chicken wandered over, Grace followed.


Emma fretted, but was relieved when Grace herded the chicken along and ignored the need for a belly rub.


It’s okay, Emma.  It’s ok.

Later, a new dog entered our backyard through a bad spot in the fence.  A small black, high jumping dog.

We had gone inside but spotted him through the window.  Was he after the chickens?

Nope.  Just Grace.

We (as in J-Dub)  ran him off twice, then we (as in J-Dub) fixed the bad spot in the fence.

Who knows.  In a few months, the backyard may be home to five wonderful chickens, two dogs, and a passel of puppies.


All wanting their bellies rubbed.

Authors note:  I started this post when EK was asleep, then she woke up and sat in my lap here at the computer.  I showed her the pictures and she said “Emma”  “bock, bock” “Drew” and when she saw Grace she said, “NO, NO, NO”.    And then “night night”.  She’s so precious.


When our little girl was born, she had to go to the NICU.  We had had a very difficult labor, not like all labor and deliveries aren’t difficult, but if my memory serves me correctly, it was no walk in the park.  They ended up taking me for a C-section.  They were concerned about the amount of meconium (first fetal poop often caused by distress) in the amniotic fluid and if she were to aspirate it into her lungs, it could cause serious problems.

I remember lying there on the surgery table and feeling such an awesome bond to my anesthesiologist who sat at my head.  He talked to me and answered my questions about what was going on.   Of course J-Dub was there and a team of doctors and nurses working together like a well oiled machine.  I asked the anesthesiologist, “Have they started cutting yet?”  And he replied, “You’re wide open.”   There was a bunch of tugging and violent pulling, and then there was Emma Kate.  I remember Jason repeating over and over, “She’s fine.  She’s fine.  She’s fine.”


And I heard her cry.  Then they showed her to me, and she was fine.   I remember asking the nurse if I could see my placenta, because I wanted to see my baby’s life source for the past 41 weeks.  She held up a pink hospital basin with a lot of green tissue in it.  She told me it was so green because of the meconium.

The next thing I remember I was lying on a bed in a room with a lady sitting across from me.  Not even a hospital room, but more like a staff work room.  There were lockers against one wall, and hospital people would come through and exit a door across the way.  The round woman sat against the lockers on a rolling chair, her big arms resting on her stomach.

“What are you doing?”  I asked her when I was awakening from my fog.
“Watching you,” she answered. ”
“To make sure you wake up and recover,” she said.
“What a boring job you have.”  I told her.
“Sometimes,” she agreed.

We sat there, she staring at me while I drifted in and out of sleep.

Then Jason came in, squatted by my head and told me they were taking Emma Kate to the NICU because she was having trouble breathing, and a doctor followed him in the room rolling her in her little isolette.  She was lying in there, swaddled in a blanket, with a little cap on her head, and I could hear her grunting with each breath.  He explained that they originally thought everything was okay, but then she began grunting, and they wanted to give her some oxygen and get her breathing regularly.  She was then rolled away from her mama, away from the very person she needed to be nearest.  I had only gotten to touch her once and wouldn’t be able to touch her again for several hours.

We had to wait nearly 24 hours before we could hold her.  And then nearly 48 hours before she could breast feed.   When we finally nursed, I wrote on my facebook wall that she was like “a hog at the trough”.  She looked like a bird in the nest getting a worm from her mama, her mouth rooting around searching desperately for the milk that would sustain her.  The nurse on duty remarked, “She’s going to be a breast baby, I can tell it.  Look how big she opens her mouth.”

Breast baby is a more professional way of saying titty baby, which is what she was and still is.  We didn’t have the breast feeding problems many other mothers have: not being able to latch on, not producing enough, the pain, the tenderness.  In fact,  my biggest problem was that I was a milk machine.  Abundant milk supply.  When my body finally told my “bottles” how much they needed to produce, it got much easier.

I believe as strongly in the benefits of breast milk as I believe in the Holy Trinity.  Powerful stuff.  I wanted Emma to have breast milk, but I didn’t know how long I would actually last nursing EK.  I knew it was in her best interest, even if it was a pain for me.  I thought I would try it for about 3 months, then 3 months turned  to 6 and 6 turned into 9, the more time passed the easier it became, and today at 12.5 months we are still breastfeeding.  There have been so many times in the past year I have felt tied down and trapped.  I couldn’t leave her for more than 3 hours at a time.   There were times when everyone ate supper except me because I was nursing the baby in the next room.  There was the loss of sleep, the 7 weeks of pumping during my lunch break and conference time  when I returned to work, then afterwards the refusal to take a bottle, so back to not being able to leave her for more than 3 hours.  It has been a huge sacrifice, HUGE, but I’m glad that I endured.

Now the weaning process begins.  She has a terrible sleep/nurse association thinking she needs to nurse in order to sleep, waking up several times a night.  It just finally became too much for me.  I know that I am way behind, but I just night weaned her 4 days ago.    She is waking less and less and actually slept 9 hours the other night, straight through with no wakings. This is huge for us!!!   I was up at 4:00 a.m.  twiddling my thumbs, but at least everyone else got a good nights sleep.  I should have night weaned her months ago, but was just too concerned that she might actually be hungry or was usually too tired to attempt to wean.

So now she’s sleeping more, eating more solid foods and relying on breast milk less and less.  The past year my sleep deprived, breast engorged, nursing bra-clad self has longed for this moment.  Getting my freedom back.  Getting my hormones back.  Getting my bra size back (maybe not a good thing).   And now that it’s here,  yes you guessed it, I’m a little sad.   My little  baby is growing up.  As trying as breast feeding is, it is also a precious time of bonding, cuddling, gazing into your baby’s face.  And now this season is ending for us.  The next season stands in waiting, peeking from behind the curtain, watching for its cue to enter stage right.  Even though I know I shouldn’t, I will complain about that season too.  I will long for it to end, whatever it be.  Somedays I will wish it away, wish her on to the next season.

Then a day will come when it is gone too, and I will sit with my memories.

For in the end, that is all we really have.


Sara Lee, my first love

I just so happen to be one of the unfortunate souls who’ve been cursed with a sweet tooth.  Mine doesn’t hide in the back with the molars, but actually lives up front and center and it makes sure that it gets noticed when a hankering comes along, which is just about every day around four o’clock.  And sometimes at 2:00, and it’s been known to complain at 8:30 in the morning and then give me fits about every 2 hours afterwards.

I’ve kicked the sugar habit in the past before and really, I’ll agree, that the first 2 or 3 days are the worst but if you can make it past that, it does get easier.  I need to kick the sugar habit again, but it is hard when Sebastian the Sweet Tooth bellows and moans and groans like he does.  He’s like a spoiled child in the grocery store kicking and squalling until you give in on the candy aisle.  He needs quieting and that comes in the form of any sort of sweet in the house.  I happen to be married to a fellow sweet tooth harborer, and you can bet there’s usually a cookie or a brownie, a cake or a scone lying around to curb the fit.  When I’m in dire straits to hush Sebastian the Sweet Tooth, I pop open the Semi-sweet chocolate chips and have a small handful.  Sometimes two.  And sometimes with a spoon of peanut butter.

But the worst temptation of all for Sebastian the Sweet Tooth is Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake.  It’s actually not allowed in the house unless there’s a special occasion or a weak moment, usually the latter.   It doesn’t last; the pound cake not the weak moment.  And I mean it won’t last 2 days.  Even if it’s the family size all butter pound cake.  Family Size means just enough for me and Sebastian.  I like it cold, not frozen or room temperature and I find myself with a butter knife in hand, eating it by the slice repetitively.  My sweet husband will buy it for me every now and then as a profession of his love because obviously he doesn’t mind loving a curvy woman.  He knows the way to my heart.

This past week J-Dub went grocery shopping.  Unpacking the white plastic sacks, he reached his hand in one and with a coy little smile he said, “I got you something.”  I was hoping I was right when I guessed.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake.   I waited until the next morning around 8:30 when Sebastian the Sweet Tooth awoke grouchily.  I noticed on opening the package that the lid stuck to the cake more than usual and pulled off quite a bit of the top layer.   I sat down with my cup of coffee, because there aint much better than coffee and cake wouldn’t you agree, I sliced the end piece, took a bite, and made a dreadful face.

It was awful!  So I took another bite.  I had to.  Perhaps my taste buds had gone awry over night.  It was sticky, and instead of a firm texture it had more of an angel food cake texture, sort of spongy, and a terribly salty aftertaste.  Well, I finished the piece, thinking surely it was just me, but I didn’t enjoy it.

So at lunch, Sebastian the Sweet Tooth and I attempted another piece since that crusty end piece really is never all that good.  But we got the same results.  Awful.  I checked the date on the package and it had like a year left, you know all those preservatives.  Upon further inspection, I noticed something I had never noticed, and you can bet I had looked at the cover of that pound cake plenty in my time.  But right there it said “now more moist”.  What?????  That could only mean one thing.  My taste buds are fine and dandy and instead the recipe to my beloved All Butter pound cake had been altered.

Now I’ve been upset before in my life.  When I get upset, the first thing I want to do is react in some way that is unbecoming to myself with screams and stomps and plenty of embarrassment and regret following.  So more often than not, I allow logic to win and I start talking to that street fighter in my head.  I talk him out of any reactions that are bubbling in my belly, expanding with force and trying to push themselves to the top of my throat and out of my mouth.

But this?  This was too much.  They’d gone and messed up my Sara Lee Pound cake.  I couldn’t just let it go.

So I emailed them and asked them if they had indeed changed the recipe and kindly told them that I prefer the old cake better and to please change it back.  I received an email from them in about 24 hours, explaining that yes they did change the “formula” because people complained about it being to dry, but they received an overwhelming amount of new complaints with the new “formula” and were returning to the original.  My heart leapt.

Today I received a coupon from Sara Lee for a free product up to $6.99 in value.  That amount  will more than cover a family size *ORIGINAL* pound cake for sure.

Sara Lee,  Sebastian and I thank you!!!!


Just the beginning

She’s barely one.

And I’m pretty sure I’m in over my head.

When she’s sleeping, I’ve got it made.  Piece of cake.


But when she’s awake, she’s really trying to run the show around here.  Already.   At the end of some days, I need a 3 day vacation.  But alas, this is a 24/7 job I’ve signed up for.  Just hand me another coffee please.

She stiffens her legs, arches her back, and throws back her head when I try to put her in her high chair.     Then once I’ve wrestled her in,  in order to have the advantage on me, she throws all her food off her tray.  Is this typical one year old behavior?  Is she just not hungry?  Is she a brat?

I wonder what I’m supposed to do.  Should I break her spirit?  Force her to do everything that I, the all-knowing mother, think necessary?  Because really.  I’m kind of new at this too.


We fight tooth and nail.  She usually wins right and left.

She is nineteen pounds of sheer determination.


If she had her ‘druthers, she would walk around with a naked hiney, a dirty face, eating goldfish crackers and watching Elmo all day.  And then I’d be raising a wretch.

But whose to say I’m not.


Mama knows best.  Well, about some things anyway, for instance children shouldn’t pee on the floor and occasionally they should eat a fruit.

I might not know much, but at least I know that.


I’m hoping she’s receiving some vitamins and nutrients from the dirt she eats, because she’s rather fond of that too.


She is a busy girl.  And this is her childhood.  The only one she’ll ever have.  The one she’ll look back on with either fondness or dismay.  The one that will shape her. The Nurture to help balance her Nature.   It’s kind of a big deal when you think of it.


She’s exploring, discovering, and learning.   As all children should be allowed to do. Within reason, of course.


While she’s busy growing up, I am  busy watching, worrying, and trying to find the fine line between interfering or giving her the space she needs to become the independent little girl that she is becoming.

And  trying desperately not to raise a wretch.