Sunday, June 30, 2013

Media & Me

So the unthinkable happened on Friday morning when I woke up. I immediately grabbed my Iphone and found that I had no wifi signal. I thought that maybe I was just in a bad part of the house but I got to the desktop computer and SAME THING! Panic ensued almost immediately. No, I do not work from home, I did not have an appointment where all of the details were online...I was just freaking out because that is my "break time" each day. I am a stay at home mama these days and that means my days are full of laundry, dishes, cleaning, organizing, and baby Max care! These are all fine and dandy but we all need breaks throughout the day. My breaks are mostly things that require a wifi signal like blogging, Facebook, reading blogs, and watching my Netflix. In saying that, the way that I felt through the whole day on Friday was sort of ridiculous. These are my confessions...

I literally probably restarted the wifi a total of 25 times throughout the day hoping that a re-start would make everything better.

I suddenly viewed sitting down and reading my current book what I had to settle for today. (GASP)

I did not view the time that I put into doing crafts that day as a break but rather as more work that I did not want to do.

I almost cried when my husband got home and figured out the wifi issue and I was able to get online again and rejoin the world.

How sad right? I was so disappointed in myself after Friday and realizing that it was such a powerful influence in my life. I am still proud to say that Max's needs always come first and my breaks happen while he is sound asleep. How long will that be true though? Am I going to continue to have this problem when he is bigger and needs more of my attention and less naps? I decided that this has to come to a stop now so I am going to be fasting from ALL media one day a week starting next week. Here are the fasting guidelines and what day I am going to be fasting. It is going to be really difficult for me to do this but I also want to be closer to Jesus, closer to Max, and not dependent on something outside of Jesus that much!

-- ALL media includes Netflix, Iphone, Internet, Email, Blogs, Tablet, Games, any music that is not praise and worship

-- Time that I would be doing these things (or desire to do these things) I will either spend with Max doing something with him or in time with Jesus, since the main focus is being more centered on Christ and learning this for motherhood.

-- Media fast will start at 12:00 AM on Thursday Morning and continue until 11:59 PM Thursday night.

I will be letting everyone know through my blog how these experiences are and what God is teaching me. I am excited to get alone with Jesus...and Max of course.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Are you TOXIC?

I was browsing CNN today and came across THIS ARTICLE about Facebook. I will start by saying that I am an avid Facebook lover for the most part. I have been on the site since it first starting gaining popularity several years ago. I use the site for various things like keeping in touch with out of state friends, promoting my blog and writing, and even helping our home based business with Scensty. I thought I would break down my thoughts on the article here. Here is the gist of the article in my words. They have broken down Facebook users into 8 TOXIC categories and talked about who they "really are" after describing their Facebook personality. Here are the 8 categories they have created and a brief synopsis of that category. After that, I will talk about how I feel about these categories (as a therapist) and how I view those Facebook users on my own page.

1. The Showboat

The article describes these people as the ones who post pictures of their awesome travels and achievements. They go on to say that these people are most likely living a lie and posing to be happy when they really aren't.

2. The Oprah

This is the person, in their estimation, that posts tons of inspirational quotes and pictures, always talks about positive thinking, and always has something great to say about their day. They say that these people really do want to make your life and day better and they are just not really taking into account the real-life problems we all face. (my thoughts later)

3. The Complainer

This person is the whiner who constantly has something to complain about from normal life problems and up. They say that these people use Facebook as their refuge and passive aggressiveness can be prevalent.

4. The Cryptic

These people are the ones who write posts that are ominous and vague but want to get people to respond. The articles says these people are trying to be mysterious but really are just drama queens.

5. The Professional

This person is the one who uses their page to promote their business, increase their professional profile, etc... The article says that these people are really just professional minded and do not know how to clarify the boundary between professionalism and social life.

6. The Crusader

This person is the one who always has a cause from battered animals, donating blood, or a political stance. The article says that they are really feeling powerful and influential by posting it on Facebook but in reality, when they don't have an audience their causes fall flat.

7. The Scenester

These are the people that know all of the upcoming openings, go to every event that's happening, and always are where it's at! This articles says that these people ultimately just want you to join in and are harmless.

8. The Perennial Parent

This person is the one who views everything through a parenting lens. Every status is about their kids, every picture is of their kids, and everything they do has to do with kids. They go on to say that these people drive people crazy with their ongoing family journal.

Ok, that is the articles take on these people so I thought I would rant a little about my views on the Facebook toxic people and who they are to me. I decided while reading through this article that I would not only define my own Facebook toxic people but also go ahead and label myself as one of the above or more than one of the above to take responsibility for my own Facebook behavior. Here we go..Erica's 5 Toxic Facebook types

1. Passive Aggressive Polly

This is the person who posts things about their personal business on Facebook but does it in such a way that it doesn't name names or specifically state what a person did. For example: "Feeling like maybe I should just be alone for a while because clearly my friends and family have forgotten I exist" I feel like it would be a lot more effective to just go to the person you are unhappy/angry with and tell them what they did. It makes you look petty and immature to post it on Facebook so that they can see your emotion. Have a genuine relationship with someone, it is quite nice!

2. B*tch and Moan Myrtle

This goes along with the article's "complainer" but this one for me is so aggravating. This is the person who never says anything remotely positive and complains about some of the most amazing blessings in life like being pregnant, having children, and having a job when there are so many out there who are struggling. I do not feel like it's always a bad thing to express dissatisfaction, pain, or frustration but when every post is a complaint...I'm over it and certainly block myself from seeing your negative nonsense. I see this person as the perpetual victim and often times I feel like they have gotten themselves into most of the situations that they are complaining about. Most of them don't feel like horrible situations but simply consequences.

3. Family Drama Mama

This is the person on Facebook who constantly has family drama with their husband, children, or extended family members and they literally fight via status. It is always entertaining and it's like a bad news story. Although you are horribly disturbed, you just keep watching. To me, I love when that person gets in a huff when an outsider comments and they say something like "This is a family issue so please stay out of it!" Are you serious, you put your "family issue" in a public forum. Expect feedback!

4. Hypocrite Henry

I am one of those people who know A LOT about other people. It goes with the territory of being a therapist that people use me a little to sort through their problems or issues. That means, I know their dirt. I love when people who are going through something really hard or battle or struggle with an issue get on Facebook and act like they don't. They quote scripture at others, talk about world issues as if they have all of the answers, and don't show a bit of fruit or acceptance for other's struggles. It leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and probably one of my least favorite Facebook folks!

5. Know it all Ned

These are the first ones on my list to get deleted. These are the people who take a stand on every single status and the stand is usually very one sided and ill researched. These are also the people who put up ignorant racial posts, political posts, religious posts, etc... without a single shred of knowledge of the issues at hand. They are often foul jokes about people in authority positions, verses in scripture taken out of context, and my favorite....weighing in on something that they have never personally went through but KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT! Yuck...Delete!

Now..which toxic Facebook users from the article do I exhibit traits from...these:

The Showboat: I used to post tons of pictures of awesome places and things we did when we had more money and less responsibility. I no longer have that life because I am a stay at home mama and we are on one income. I will say this, I like my life more than I did then. It was just what was going on for me at that point. I don't genuinely have a crappy life though. My life is extremely happy and full and is in every financial bracket that I've been in (since being married to Anthony)

The Cryptic: I absolutely NEVER put my VERY personal life onto Facebook so I do use somewhat cryptic posts to ask for prayer. I try to not disclose other people's information unless they are okay with it and I don't tell a lot of things about my life on there because it's dangerous. I kept my pregnancy secret for almost 4 months due to a previous miscarriage so some of the posts during that were cryptic. I think that this is just me being discreet and remembering that I have almost 1,000 friends on there which means there are differing levels of friendship and relationship to consider.

The Professional: I do use Facebook to promote my blog and our Scentsy business. I do not post about Scentsy every day but I certainly try to do it frequently. A lot of our friends are customers so it is an easy way to share new products and promotions. Also, I promote my tutoring services on Facebook often because people use their page to find tutors and babysitters so I know that people are looking. My blogs, I make no apology. I love to write and I get NO MONEY from it. For me, it's a joy to write what I think, feel, and get opinions and feedback from others.

The Perennial Parent: This one is new to me so I'm not sure how to navigate it. I have only been a mom for 5 months but I do almost post a picture a day of Max. Some of this is due to him having several family members and us having a lot of close friends out in California who love to get updates and see pictures of Max. Also, I waited for a LONG time for this sweet boy and I'm celebrating him all the time. To people who are annoyed by his sweet little face..I say block me! I don't care! By the way, I am not annoyed by your children at all. I love seeing families being happy together!

Ok, are you Toxic? I'm curious!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


So today in the news, there was a monumental decision made. The Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages that were legalized by the states, is unconstitutional as ruled by the Supreme Court today in a 5-4 vote. This morning, I woke up to a barrage of posts on my Facebook about this issue and they went drastically one way or the other. Some folks were on the side of the Supreme Court and were very excited about having their own marriage recognized, having a loved one's marriage recognized, or just seeing further equality in our country. The other side of people were those that feel that this decision is leading the country down a sinful path and we are tolerating sin in a way we haven't before. I am sure you are all chomping at the bit to hear what Erica is going to rant about today. Maybe you'll be surprised.

I think that everyone who reads this blog already knows I am a Bible Believing, Loving Jesus continually..Christian. I also am a lover of people because my Bible tells me to be Christ-like. I am far more concerned about being like Christ than worrying about who is getting married and who isn't. I wanted to argue a further point today in the body of Christ. Anthony and I were discussing this issue over breakfast this morning and it never ceases to amaze us the people who are so one sided and completely blind to their own issues. This morning, a friend of mine on Facebook, who I know VERY well put some very judgmental and hateful things on their status. It pretty much was just a post about how spiritual and righteous they are and how very grieved they are that our country has made this decision and given permission to sin.

Without even arguing about what is sin and what isn't...let me just note that the minute you are born, you have the permission to sin. God gave us FREE WILL and we have to choose to love him by our obedience. It is not as if the federal government has to give us permission to do something. Ever wonder why our jails are full? It certainly isn't because the federal government says it is okay to kill people, steal from others, or victimize children. Those things I am completely comfortable saying ARE SIN and people do them, with or without the federal government okaying it. Those things are also illegal or punishable by law. It sounds sometimes in these kinds of posts, that people forget the difference between sin and illegal activity. IF you believe that practicing homosexuality is a you also believe it should be punishable by law? It is an interesting question to ask yourself.

I will go one step further and say that if you believe that marriage relationships between two people of the same gender are not recognized, you are punishing them by law. In the same way, maybe we should extend that same regard to all of your sins?! You think? Would you like to be stripped of your rights because you lied? Or maybe because you lusted? Or coveted your neighbors brand new Mustang (wait, is that just me?)
I smell a pharisee! This post is not to argue if homosexuality is a sin or not. It is not a post to decide whether God is okay with these marriages or not. I will not and can not speak for God. It is an issue of equality and compassion. I am called by my faith and my relationship with Christ to be compassionate, caring, loving, and accepting of others regardless of their walk. I am so glad that Christ is all of those to me and loves me EQUALLY even though I fall on my face constantly doing the same things.

Although I am no biblical scholar and certainly don't count myself among the best Christians I know, I love Jesus and I love others. I love all of you in my life. Those that practice heterosexuality, those that practice homosexuality, and those that just practice sexuality. I believe you deserve to have all of the rights that I have. More than anything, I want you to know that Jesus loves you deeply and I don't think you are getting that message if you are hearing that your rights are less than my rights! That just isn't biblical...not to me anyway. Just imagine, this was Anthony and myself not even 50 years ago. Thank God others spoke for us that didn't necessarily want to marry a difference race but believed we had the right to choose who we marry and spend our lives with.

I am done now! Please be kind on the comments. I do not tolerate bigotry in any format! Thanks


Tuesday, June 25, 2013


So I just posted a blog over at Max Factor about the current news articles pertaining to race. I will keep from writing about those things again but I do have to write about race again this morning. Last night, Anthony and I took Max and my nephew Shawn out to do a few errands. We had to go to Starbucks to pick up something, go to Wal-mart to pick up water, and then we were headed home. Starbucks is our family so it went as always, a pleasant trip. We got to Wal-mart and loaded into a cart and headed back to fill up our water jugs when a lady was coming down the aisle with 6 children. She quickly stepped out of the way and apologized for covering up the whole aisle. Anthony responded by saying, "It's okay, it looks like you have your hands full." She immediately started talking to us about any and everything...but this is what stood out.

She mentioned that all of the children were her grandchildren and they ranged in age from 6 months to 6 years and she had custody of all of them. I could begin by opening that can..but I won't. The next statement is what hung in the air very uncomfortably. She said, matter of factly, "They're mixed too!" I have no idea why this was important to share but I am pretty sure I can guess. I will note that these children were pretty clearly mixed race and I don't think we needed the information. It did not follow the discussion in any way and came completely out of center field. I wish I could say this was the first time this had happened. Rewind to a few months ago

Anthony and I had to take Max to an appointment in Louisville as a follow up. We stopped at the Waffle House by the Hospital to have breakfast as we got there early for our appointment. We found a table and a waitress quickly came over and gave us menus and asked to see our baby. We took the car seat off and she said this, "Oh my gosh, he's so cute. My daughter has a mixed baby!" (insert Erica's confused face)

Why do I need to know that?????? And it is again

We were having dinner at Denny's in Louisville while Max was in the NICU and this happened. We sat down and the waitress came over to give us menus and greet us. She asked us immediately, did you all have a baby? We answered yes and figured the bags under our NICU eyes were starting to show but she quickly explained she noticed our hospital bracelets that gave us access to the NICU.  She asked to see a picture and of course, we were just days into being parents and so excited to show off our gorgeous Maxwell. She took the phone and put it by Anthony's face and said "He looks just like his daddy!" Anthony responded by saying, "I think he looks a little like both of us. He has her mouth." The waitress immediately shook her head no and said "I know mixed babies and this one looks like you!" WHAT? You know ALL mixed babies! That's amazing.

These are just three examples but almost every time random people meet Max, they tell me about the "MIXED BABY" in their lives! Why? Are they the same person that tell you about their "Black friend?!" Please help me understand why this keeps happening. I don't care about your knowledge of Mixed children and don't imply because you know one, you know Max. UGH. I am tired!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Make new friends, but keep the old....

This morning I was laying in bed doing the best waking up I could which usually includes grabbing my iPhone and starting to scroll through the nightly Facebook business. It's not that there is much on there that is pressing and imperative that I read but it gets to me wake up enough in the first 10 minutes or so to get out of the bed and start my day. This morning was like the others, I did just that. I decided this morning to go through some old pictures I have in albums. These specific ones were from my teenage years when I started attending church. Those are some of my favorite times in life because I was new in my faith and loving Jesus was all I had on my mind. Ok, maybe loving another was on my mind too but we WILL NOT be blogging about that this morning.

As I scrolled through old pictures and enjoyed them, I came across a picture of my BEST buddy that made me literally LAUGH OUT LOUD. He always does though! In thinking this, I realized that for me I did not have to put all that away when I turned 18 and moved away. We all went our separate ways and yes we did have a hiatus but that boy is still one of my best friends. That boy married a girl that I love so much. God gave him the exact female that I could love like I love him and not detest like I did some people he dated (Hmmm...wonder which ones?!) That boy had three amazing kids who I adore and pray for daily and always want to know all about their antics. That boy has parents that I still run into and love on me like I'm their own. That boy and his lovely girl are the God-parents for my son. That boy is still one of my favorite people.

I wish I could say that our relationship has matured in all avenues but let's be serious...if you know know I'm lying if I say that. We still laugh at some form of the same things we always did. In saying that, however, it has matured in ways I never dreamed. He is one of my closest confidants who I disclose weaknesses to that only my husband knows. He is the person I go to with my most spiritual of questions, hoping for something that makes sense to me! It always does from him. He introduced me to Jesus almost exactly 18 years before I had my son Maxwell. That day set so much in motion for me. I chose a man to marry who I could laugh with like I do that boy....except that I don't find repulsive! HA!

Today, I was thinking how lucky I am to have that boy and so many other great friends in my life. I am enriched because of people I've been friends with for varying amounts of time. There is that boy going 19 years strong....and many others who I met in college at almost 15 years of friendship now. It's amazing how richly God has blessed me with friendship. Not everyone has these people and certainly not everyone has someone like THAT BOY!

Hey THAT BOY. I did not mention your name because you are easily embarrassed.  Well at least about praise and compliments you are! Thank you THAT BOY. You have enriched my life and keep doing so all these years later. For the love of all things holy though, never go back to dressing that way!

This little song came to my head this morning from girl-scouts (Yes, THAT BOY...I was a girl scout...SHUT UP)

Make New Friends
But Keep the Old
One is silver
The other's gold

You are gold friend!!!


(picture I have added to this post may or may reflect who THAT BOY really is)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Parenting is a LEARNING experience

Well it's official..I am finding my way around this parenting thing. Max turns 5 months old on June 22nd and I am finally beginning to get my life back to something that resembles what it was before. I should note, I really don't ever want it back to what it was before because being a Mom is awesome. I have learned so much in the short time we have had Max and more than that, I have smiled more than I have in my entire life. He is precious and growing and healthy and well....just a sweet little guy. We are incredibly blessed to have him and not a day goes by that we take that for granted.

I am so happy to be back on my blog as it has always been a place for me to talk things out. Lately there have been so many topics on my mind to rant about, pray about, and talk through. My blog is going to be getting an earful. I guess I should start by what it looks like for me to be a parent finally. Anthony and I went through quite a journey to get to our little Max, although there are others who certainly go through longer and more difficult journeys to have children and some of those couples still don't become parents. We are incredibly grateful to God for the blessing of our little boy. It's almost hard to remember what our lives were like before we had Max. It seems like he has always been here.

In some ways though, I am learning quite a bit about what is different about being a parent. Here are some learning experiences I have gone through in my first 5 months of being a mommy:

1. I really believed that I had done a lot of work in therapy about my family of origin. As I have mentioned in the blog more than once, I did not come from the ideal home. My Dad was not really around and my mom was less than a stellar parent most of the time. I have spoken to both of my parents about these experiences and we have done the work to talk them out and they know where I stand on how they treated me. There are still painful issues that surround my childhood but again, I know there are several people who had it worse because at the end of the day, my mom was still there and is to this day. She does the very best she can to love me and there are limited things she can do due to having some mental illness and a past of her own. I accept my parent's limitations and the pain they have inflicted both accidentally and purposefully.

In saying that, I am re-experiencing so much of that pain through raising Max and find myself hyper-vigilant in how I am raising him. I don't think this is all bad. I think that it is interesting how we, as humans, have to re-grieve a lot of things in our lives even when we feel like we are done grieving them. For me, I have always grieved, pretty deeply, that I really did not have my biological dad around when I was growing up. Again, this isn't a platform to bash my father for how he did or did not do things. He has to live with the choices he made and I forgive him and accept those choices. However, it is also hard to watch my husband be a fantastic father and think about what I missed by not having one like him. I, however, did have a fantastic grandfather who played that role for me very well. It sure did not stop me from feeling I wasn't good enough for my dad though. I am grateful to Anthony that Max will never feel like he isn't enough...Anthony thinks he is absolutely amazing and spends every free moment he has telling him that!

This part is a bit awkward for me to write but I also feel jealous that I did not have a mother like myself. I feared for so many years how I would be as a mom because my mom, although I still love her, was impatient, yelled constantly, and various other things were not quite right and have been hard for me to overcome. I am amazingly patient, never raise my voice, and pray diligently and work very hard to be the mom I have always wanted to be. I should note here, however, that Jesus plays a huge role in this and the fact that I surround myself with great parents and seek plenty of guidance from them. Also, my role has not gotten quite as difficult since my sweet pea is only 5 months old and still adorable and doesn't talk back. My mom was the mother of three girls and we fought like cats and dogs. I realize that her challenges were different from my own.

2. Another big lesson I have learned from having Max is that he is the answer to one of my biggest flaws as a human being. I have always struggled with being consistent. This goes for all sorts of areas of life. I am a perfectionist so I was the person who would start the school year out with the perfect order and organization and do every word of reading I was assigned, etc....until I burned out and then would crash! I am the sort of person who wants their house PERFECTLY clean and organized and every project takes me way longer than it takes others. This leads my house to always have at least one room that looks like a construction zone. I am the type of person that does everything to the largest degree until I absolutely fizzle out. In having Max, I am having to do things far differently. I can't strive for perfect because I don't have time to be perfect and still give Max the attention and love that he needs. This has led to me being more consistent in everything. For example, since we have been home from Louisville I have been consistent about making three homemade meals a day (as opposed to getting behind on things and caving to eating out and eating poorly), consistent in Max's schedule, consistent in my time with Jesus, etc... It is refreshing to be a person who can let things go to attend to more important things. This is a whole new life for me but one thing I am super proud of as a parent/woman.

3. There is just nothing better for me than praising and worshiping God while holding the sweet little gift he let me borrow.

Life is good. How are you all doing?!