Cold calf noses and missing you…

From as early as I can remember, I was on your heels. I would beg you to wake me up so I could go milk cows with you. It was magical. You were the right hand of God in my eyes. A tall, weathered man , with gentle hands and overalls. You always sucked in air between gritted teeth and a furrowed brow before commenting on anything. Lord knows I asked you plenty of questions. I know this because Wesley is my mini me and he wears me out with the why’s and how’s.

We would walk to the barn and I would carry the milking pail. You taught me to first go in through the feedroom and throw some feed into the bin where the heifer would be stocked. There was this cool little trap door that was right above the feed bin and it made the BEST hiding and seek spot. Then you would holler out “suuuuu cow! Sooie! Sooie!” The old girl would walk right in and we would put her calf up in the stall.

I still remember the first time I was successful in milking a cow. You let me sit on your right knee and placed your hand over mine and the milk hit the pail in two jets. Rhythmically as you altered right hand, left hand, right hand. We made butter from that pail and you made me a big milkshake once the milk was ready. It was so worth it.

When I got older, you taught me to mark the calender for when a new calf was due to be born. I watched that day come and go as the heifer was preparing to labor. The calf was too big and you just knew…so you webt to help. Me and grandma watched as you sat on the ground and repositioned the calf in the birth canal. You didn’t have much education but you knew how to turn a calf for it to slip on out and you showed me how to check for the position of the baby and make sure momma was progressing.

You taught me to love. You taught me that , even though I was a girl, I was a farm girl. I just got it.

You also taught me to say goodbye.

You taught me that ultimately , even though we love them, cows have a purpose…they are either beef or dairy so you have to live with that. God made them for a reason. Love them and give them a good life ……then let them fulfill their purpose.

This year you left. I was not ready. You knew the boys were getting a moo cow of their own. You told me to get a Jersey because they were just gentle animals. I told you the day before you died that i needed help with them. I needed someone to teach the boys what you taught be but then you left.

We brought two pretty heifer calves home Saturday. They are both out of a Jersey bull. One has a jersey mom and one a Holstein mom. They are fine animals. You would like them. The boys have your ways. Connor went up to them like he had fed a cow every day of his life. I guess you we’re holding his hand.

Wesley says that you would like them. I think you helped me pick them out because they sure are pretty.

Tonight, I put the boys to bed and fed them alone. Usually Wesley helps but he crashed early. It was so quiet. I heard an owl but nothing else. I fed both girls and just loved on them. I felt you there with me which propelled me to write this letter.

I hope you are proud of our choices in calves. The boys are going to make you so proud. Wesley misses his “big Papaw” and God only knows how much I miss you.

I know you, mom, David’s dad , grandma and grandma Mary are going on and on about how big the boys are and how cute the calves are. Their noses are so cold, wet and cute.

I miss you.

You were suppose to be here for this.

I’m pretty lucky to have the angels I have.


Thankful for the bad

I am a believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason- every mishap, every stumble, every devastation.

As our earthly clock ticks, we encounter events that ultimately lead us to the end. How we reach and embrace those events can change out lives in tiny or drastic ways either for the bad or the good….

I grew up in a Christian home surrounded by the promise of eternal life-Filled with the promise of God’s love and peace. When you grow up believing in a loving and forgiving God, it is hard to grasp when bad things happen….but the thing is ….there’s a reason .

If I had not been married to a complete jerk who, at one point, tried to kill me….who made me leave school because he believed women shouldn’t be smarter than men….then I would have never taken my EMT basic class. If I had never taken my EMT class I wouldn’t be applying to PA school this year or teaching classes at Gaston College.

Now I have my Bachelors in EMS as a paramedic. Most days are fun and rewarding but some are rough. Some make you yell at God and as WHY???

The thing is, we might not know why he lets children die or newly weds become widows….but that will be determined in their path. The reason we run those calls though, they make us better . They sharpen our skills abd make us learn so we can be better for the next patient. We loose one so we can win ten.

Today I’m thankful for that.

I am thankful for every tear I have cried because it means I survived.

I am a wife, a mom, a medic.

God’s plans are huge and they might not be the same as mine but I know they will be wonderful.

So step back and look at the puzzle that is your life. Ask what if. What if the bad hadn’t happened? Would you have the same job, house, wife, husband, kids? What has changed due to tragedy. Embrace it because you can’t change it.

There is always a reason.


Eat . Bray. Love

Christmas Magic…

So the man in the big red suit who drives a big sleigh pulled by reindeer through the sky MIGHT not be real…but Christmas magic is.

To me, Christmas Magic is that butterfly feeling in your gut you get the first day that Hobby Lobby lays out their Christmas spread or the day you start seeing all of the husband’s, standing on ladders, stringing up lights while their wives supervise from below. It’s easy to get drawn away from the pure joy of the season and get caught up in shopping and wrapping gifts. We spend SO much money on gifts every year . People panic because they can’t buy their child the “IT” toy for the year that cost who knows how much money. They save all year and put things on lay away just to be paying off the price tag for the next six months . It’s madness. It is insanity. I challenge you to ask- where is the magic in that?

The very reason we give presents, or even the reason we have a Christmas, is because God gave us the PERFECT gift all those years ago in the form of his child, Jesus. This child was not wrapped in gold, but rather swaddling clothes/rags. He was in a barn not a upscale hotel. Wise men brought him oils of every kind but the shepherds brought lowly sheep.

Think of the magic in the air that night. Think of the magic as they saw that star and started their journey. I can Just imagine their excitement as they knew they were getting ready to see the gift that they had been waiting for !

This is the kind of excitement we need to embrace. We need to find a way to instill in our kids an excitement and thankfulness for whatever they receive. Then maybe the magic will return. What would happen if we gave our children a way to be together like board games, movies, family trips etc… Instead of video games and PlayStations.

In my home, we are trying to get back to Christmas Magic. I refuse to raise children who are entitled and spoiled and separated from reality by being in front of a screen all of the time.

Pretty much everyone knows what the boys are getting for Christmas-a two month old Jersey heifer calf 😬. This is a gift that will get them outside and working hard. They will bottle feed her then wean her . They will help take care of her and one day ….raise her calf. As a family- we are going to Arizona to visit family. THAT is magic. The boys meeting their great grandparents will be MAGIC.

Yes…there will still be some toys but they will not be in excess. If you are a family member you can look forward to something handmade by the boys and something crafty from me.

I challenge you.

I challenge you to step back and enjoy.

I challenge you to look at the tree and relish decorating it.

I challenge you to buy matching Pjs and binge watch Christmas movies on a pallet in front of the fire

I challenge you to be PRESENT and to not just buy presents.

I challenge you to put your phone down. Leave it in a basket and talk to your family. Play a board game with your kids. LOVE.

I challenge you to help someone. Spread the magic. Give a present to the homeless. Take toys to a Foster child. Foster or adopt a shelter pet.

Spread Christmas Magic.


Eat *Bray*Love

Mommy, why won’t God share?

I learned about loss early. My mom died one month before my 8th birthday from a brain aneurysm. I was told that God needed more nurses in heaven to take care of all of the babies. I kind of got it, I guess. She was a woman of God who made sure I knew that heaven was an amazing place. She also made sure I knew that my baby brother was up there waiting to meet me one day. Then she died…

I was playing at the barn when my Dad told me to come on because we had to go talk to preacher Lowry about Mom…I giggled in excited glee because with my childhood faith I told him that it’s ok, I prayed and God is going to make her all better .

As I got older it was so hard to trust God. I mean, why would he take a 31 year old labor nurse with a 7 year old daughter? She missed my prom, my wedding and the birth of my boys. God I needed her! I’ve sat at her grave and cried as I’ve went through horrible peaks and valleys that I just needed her.

Her best friends-women she went to nursing school with- attended my births. I talk to her friends and colleagues routinely. I am in touch with the organization that handled her organ donation….

….then I realize …. she is still here….God hasn’t forgotten me…he still lets my mom hold my hand….but I’m 29 years old. It took a while to not be angry.

Now I have two boys. Connor doesn’t know any better but Wesley does. He is so tender hearted and smart and observant. My Papaw was his favorite person and his name sake. I knew before he was born that he would be stubborn like his grandfather.

Papaw taught me so much. He taught me the joy of the farm and the love for animals-as well as their functionality. His stories would go on forever and he hugged the best. The day before he died, we went to his bedside and I told him about the calf we were getting and how he had to teach Wesley because I don’t know what to do and he laughed at me and squeezed my hand. It was the last time he was awake and I will always remember that laugh. He hugged the boys and kissed them .

Then God took him home and now Wesley asks to go to papaws house and papaw isn’t there and it’s just not right. He has cried the last two nights because Papaw is in heaven and he wants to go there.

We also lost our german Shepherd in June. She got very sick and we had to put her down

Wesley petted her as she went to sleep.

Tonight we went on the porch and felt the wind which is Papaw wrapping his arms around us. The rain drops had to be Justice playing in a sprinkler on God’s front yard because she LOVED water. We ran out in the rain and felt the cold drizzle and the bitter wind. We shouted “Love yous” into the sky.

We laid down to sleep and started our prayers….

“God, why are you not sharing papaw and Justice with me?”

My heart has shattered in a million pieces tonight. His innocence and tender heart are broken and he just loves. He loves everyone and everything and Lord knows he loved his papaw and his dog.

So Tonight….I am typing this as tears fall on my phone. It’s so much easier when we can brush the pain under a rug. Tonight I wish God did have visiting hours….

One day though…one day….Im going to prop my feet up on a porch swing with papaw and grandma and momma. All of my dogs and horses and cats and critters will play in the pasture and I can tell them how much I missed them while we were apart.

One day.


Ghost among us

“I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot! Medic help me!” He yelled at me with drying tears in the place where dark brown eyes use to sparkle. He clutched my hand …” They came out of the water….it was an ambush…I couldn’t see them but my legs have bullets in them.”

This wasn’t on a battlefield….it was early morning near a neighborhood park and the sheriff deputy had called us. He is only 32 years old. Marine. Purple heart. Homeless. Tormented by demons that none of us can see. I held his hand and said “it’s ok Marine, I’ve got you. Let’s get you safe.”

I grew up, not in a military home but in a military family. All branches serving WWII to Korea to Vietnam to Desert Storm to Iraq. So many friends, my age, have left pieces of their soul on the desert floor.

All of my family and friends came home. Or did they? I’ve been with friends as they’ve had panic attacks and flashbacks. I’ve seen them want to talk then change the subject. They are home. Physically. Mentally they will always be on the front lines.

There are homecoming parties, signs “welcome home soldier!” Written in glitter and bright colors, YouTube videos showing families getting surprised by their loved one on leave. Look through history books and you will see pictures of guys coming home being greeted by family…..

Then….then the demons become too much…family can’t handle it and they end up on the streets. They drink alcohol to forget and take drugs to numb the pain. They escape….or try to.

They loose the ability to go to the doctor because they feel the VA doesn’t have time because the VA has so many patients. They stop taking their meds. They regress to the battlefield while on their neighborhood streets. I hold their hand. I try to calm them down. Sometimes they are so far away and in the heat of enemy fire that I can only help them by sedating them. I help for the moment. Who is going to help tomorrow?

Those homeless people you see on the street corner…they probably are drunks and drug addicts…BUT at one time, they were 18, healthy, strong and signing papers to enlist… they were the best of the best. They had family and a home and someone to write them and care for them. The battle didn’t stop. You can’t take the war home so they keep fighting.

Tip your hat, buy them a water, a scarf, a pair of socks. Consider them. Imagine them. Love them….because they didn’t know you but loved you enough to risk their life to give you the luxury of freedom.

They are ghosts of themselves.

At one time they were Angels.

Thank a veteran.

Eat*Bray*Love ❤

My cat smells like lemon soap…I smell like goat poop….

I usually get mixed reactions when I tell people about my life. Most people: ” oh my gosh I want to come pet your animals! They are so sweet and cute”….Close second “you have hoooowww many animals??? That’s too expensive and eeeeww the poop and the ssssmmmmeeelllll”…cue eye roll.

Thing is…all of the above are true. Most days the animals do get stinky and annoying and boy do they get expensive when they decide to get sick BUT they are super cute and the best medicine when you’ve had a bad day.

Next remark is how do you do it all… I don’t ! Let me walk you through my day…

Today I worked a half day at GEMS to pick up more hours. I woke up at 4 and hit the snooze until 5…after all the kids had been up and down all night and I could afford to snooze today because I was out of a station 10 min from my house.

0500 comes….

Cue panic….

Jump up, attempt to look presentable, maybe some halfhearted makeup and a shake of the uniform to get the wrinkles out and I was out the door. Barn kitten jumps in my truck…I almost leave with him…sit him on porch….get in truck…dang it how did he get back in truck! ….sit back on porch….he beats me AGAIN….forget it…he is going inside…open door-get the side eye from David for handing him a cute purring kitten…oh well….

Finally get in my truck and head out. Forget my wallet….and my badge…head back in…its 0535…I feel like it should be 0800 by now….

I eventually get to work and have a great morning with very few calls. I call David at 0800 to see if he has turned Pappy and George the goat out (different story different day)…

He moans and says kids are still asleep…Im pretty confident he works voodoo because they don’t sleep past 0700 when I’m home…totally not fair…

By the time I get home I have received 10 emails about Christmas soap orders (if you want soap order now j/s)

We feed kids lunch, I took a shower and then sat down to get Connor to take a nap….

After David went to work at 1400 I loaded kids up to make a soap delivery…then my kid requests to go to hobby lobby…my TODDLER knows what hobby lobby is….this is where my paycheck goes….so we trot on down to hobby lobby to buy some stuff for candle making. (Craft fair coming up plus soap orders 😳)

Then I get home and George the goat has firmly planted himself on the porch refusing to go to his barn for the night! I think I will start comparing toddlers to goats because he threw a tantrum worth of a prize! I hiked up my pants and drug/pushed/carried a 90 pound goat down the hill, through the mud and finally into his barn…

I walk back to the truck to see Wesley , sans pants, standing in the seat of my truck arching his peepee through my window to make mud on the ground………Connor finds this awesome and hilarious…I need to invest in truck carpet cleaner…

Next comes Pappy…I clean a stall and uneventfully put him away…at least something goes as planned…

Once inside we start a batch of soap, then start dinner and baths and bedtimes…

Wesley is crying because star trek doesn’t come on until eight and it’s currently 6.

The cat that jumped in my truck this morning must have snuck in and has somehow climbed through the bowl that I mixed my soap in and is COVERED in lemon soap…plus side is he smells amazing…down side…my arms look like I fought a weed eater…

So end of day….I have a sobbing nerdy 3 year old mad because his circa 1970 tv show isn’t coming on and I just want a hot shower because I smell like I’ve been wrestling a newly weathered billy goat who still smell of hormonal pee…

So yes…animal stink…they are annoying…..they argue….stomp…headbutt…eat continuously….beg for attention….

Wait…I forgot if I was talking about the animals or the toddlers….

Needless the animals and the kids and the husband are all pretty cool…and stinky…and awesome…and aggravating and loving at the end of the day….

So tell me why you don’t have a farm ??












Under attack

There’s nothing quite as reassuring as knowing your body is trying to kill itself. When you’ve always been slightly ditzy but then realizing your cells are just as dumb…I mean you would assume at least your hardwiring should work right?

I’m coming up on my 29th birthday Saturday and I think my brain is confused..maybe I have Alzheimer’s? ….like maybe I’m one of those people who is content in thinking the nursing home is really my home?? And I’m actually like 99 instead of 29??? Gah I feel like it.

I’m not complaining- My goal in speaking out is to bring reality to everything. Maybe it’s to sort this out in my brain and make myself feel less insane or maybe it’s to make my readers learn to look beyond the cover and have empathy for everyone they  meet despite their age.

Right now it is 3am 😳 y’all I have taken phenergan, flexeril, AND Benadryl in the last like 10 hours…

WHY am I not comatose????

Any average person would be unconscious as if they had had a night on the town- but NOPE my body doesnt think it needs sleep because who sleeps during battle ??

So the super cool thing about in ring autoimmune is you get to take medicines to FIX YOU but they strip you of any immune system.

Doc :” now don’t be around anyone that even looks sick…wear masks in public spaces….avoid children if possible”


Me: All due respect but I’m a paramedic…Im a mom of toddler boys…this is impossible

Soooo what happens when I work on the truck four days in a row….then,move hay for Pappy….I get some crazy ridiculous sinus/upper respiratory infection… Then I get a giant shot in my hip socket to calm down the raging trocanteric bursitis that’s going …ugh it has been a day.

And I have to teach at the college today….

Everyone has some physical battle. We are never 100%healthy, even if we look like it. I have friends and mentors who are currently battling cancer…some for the first time…some for  multiple times. Some friends have depression-we all battle this at least once- especially if we have a disease to go along with it- or maybe you just had a baby and your hormones are battier than all get out. I get it and I get you. If you ever need a listening ear -I don’t care if I know you or not, I’m here and I get it. These last three years have shown me what being sick means. I have a pharmacy in my kitchen….injections every 2 weeks…at least two doctor appointments every week…but Im alive and fighting this nonsense so I refuse to complain. But I do have days. I have days where I am a sobbing manic mess ready to just give up but then I get over it and try again.


Whatever your battle is…you are allowed to hit rock bottom…multiple times….but after that …..shake it  off and get back on your horse (or donkey 😜) and ride it out.