Hey. Will You Marry Me?

December 10, 2011. . . I said "Yes."

Several people have asked for the engagement story, so here it is. . .

We had planned to go Christmas shopping on Saturday (Dec 10). We were just going to go to Murfreesboro and knock out all of our shopping together aside from what we were getting for each other. His parents had come over Saturday morning to visit and have lunch, so after they left, I went home to get ready and head back to Trey's to depart for our Christmas shopping adventure.  When we got in the truck, he said we needed to get his friends Rob and Brandy (Please forgive me if I have misspelled her name!) a bottle of wine from Arrington since they always get him some wine from a vineyard close to Cookeville. At this point I was just excited I would get to go to Arrington. I figured they would have Christmas decorations up and maybe I could get a glass of wine out of the trip too!

For those who don't know, I love Arrington Vineyards. It is peaceful. It is beautiful. I am a fan of their wine too, but being there is more than just drinking glasses of wine and snacking on crackers. It is beautiful.. just beautiful. Trey and I went to Arrington a few months ago for one of our "month" anniversaries, and I had said then we would come back on our 1 year anniversary.

Back to the story...
As we were headed to Arrington, Trey and I discussed church and other life matters. It was an awesome shopping trip already and we hadn't even bought anything yet.  When we turned on Cox Rd. (about 10-12 min from Arrington) I said, "Well we could've ordered it online and had it shipped to them." Trey agreed and said, "Yeah I didn't think of that."  We kept on driving though. As we parked I commented, "Oh I bet this place is beautiful at night!" He agreed to that too, but I knew we had too much to do and couldn't hang out at Arrington Vineyards all night so I didn't say anything else about it.  It was pretty packed due to the Wine Club, so we ended up going to the downstairs tasting room. We went in and picked up a couple bottles of wine for his friends. As we were standing in line to pay for the bottles, I saw a college friend of mine - Matt Fisher! I hadn't seen Matt in quite a while, so I was rather excited to see that he was there. Matt and his wife are expecting their first child, so I was pretty excited when Matt told me to find him and his wife after we got out of line. We finally made it through the line! We walked out of the downstairs tasting room and walked back outside into the cold to the steps to the upstairs tasting room. As I reached down to unzip the "door" to go onto the deck of the upstairs tasting room, Trey said, "Hey." So I turned around to him standing there with a the most beautiful ring  and his tear filled eyes and him saying, "Will you marry me?"  I don't know if it was the shock or what, but I didn't say "Yes" for at least 2 minutes. There was a lot of crying, hugging, and kissing and "Are you serious? Oh my God!" I think I even said "Gavin knew?"  Obviously I eventually said, "Yes."

The proposal was so sweet and so perfect; however, the fact he had asked Gavin 6 days before if he could marry me makes the proposal 10x more amazing. Gavin had worked so hard to keep a secret all week!

Wow. Wow. Wow. This is really happening!! Trey and I have talked and joked about how things will be when we get married, but now all of those thoughts are a reality. I finally experienced a REAL proposal. I get to marry my best friend and the most amazing man I've ever met in a few short months. To say I am blessed is an understatement. I am beyond blessed. I really, really am. It is such an awesome feeling to finally be at this point!

Now we plan our big day! :)


On This Day...

Today we celebrated another year of Gavin Chase laughter, fun, crazy faces, and love. I couldn't help but think... "Wow. Eight years ago on this day I still had a baby boy in my belly. THAT baby boy was still in my belly."

October 2, 2003

I don't remember exactly what I did the day before Gavin was born. I just remember I had a doctor appointment at Dr. Stockton's office late in the afternoon. My mom went with me. We left the doctor's office that evening knowing that Dr. Stockton was getting ready to yet again go out of town. We would be getting a call later that evening from the hospital (or one of his nurses) to let us know if an induction would be an option.  Much later that evening, that phone call finally came. I was terrified, but after talking with the nurse, my parents and I decided I would go ahead and be induced while Dr. Stockton was still in town. On October 2, 2003... I didn't sleep at all. I was ready to meet the little boy in my belly who didn't even have a name yet.

October 3, 2003

At 7:10pm I fell in love. As soon as little Gavin (who was named 2 hours before I started pushing thanks to help from Rachel Lowe, Eccho Staples, Callie Martin, Lashonda Holt, my daddy, & probably a nurse or two) was born, I cried tears of happiness and told my mom, "He is so cute!".  He was so cute and so perfect. My prayers had been answered...I had prayed every night since I found out I was pregnant for God to please let me have a healthy baby. I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed for Him to give me the strength to be a teenage single mom.  

So here we are eight years later. Wow. I'm still praying for God to keep my baby healthy. Each night we pray for forgiveness for our shortcomings. Tonight we thanked God for bringing us together eight years ago.

Happy Almost Birthday to Gavin! I love you, little pumpkin!



"We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.

We might be oil and water, this could be a big mistake,
We might burn like gasoline and fire,
It's a chance we'll have to take."
-Thompson Square

Once again, I have mistreated and forgotten about my blog. Oh well. I'm back and better than ever...? OK. Maybe not better than ever.

Anyone who Facebook stalks me or follows me on Twitter probably knows I had to jump through hoops, fire, red tape, and other stupid things just so I could venture outside of the state of Tennessee with my little pumpkin pie, Gavin.  I didn't get to go WHERE I wanted , I didn't get to stay gone as long as I wanted, but I DID get to leave the state of Tennessee for 2 days with my sweet little fella.  We took a mini road trip to the great state of Indiana. I use the word "great" very loosely.  There is seriously NOTHING in Indiana except for corn fields, road construction, and Holiday World.  Since the first two aren't that exciting, I'm sure it is easy to figure out where Gavin and I went. HOLIDAY WORLD! We had a great time from the moment we woke up Monday morning until the moment I had to take him to his daddy yesterday afternoon.  He may not have realized the importance of this mini-vacation, but maybe one day he will. 

This was my first real road trip by myself. Granted I took a road trip to Florence a few months ago with Caity and Ashley. That wasn't a big deal. I had 2 other adults in the vehicle with me, helping me navigate the back roads of Tennessee and Alabama. THIS road trip was just me, my GPS, and my little backseat driver who snacked the whole way to Indiana and slept the whole way home.  We sang along with whatever Sirus radio station was playing the current country hits. I listened to Gavin mumble through the "fast parts" (as he calls them) of Jason Aldean's new song, "Dirt Road Anthem".  We talked about what we planned to do first when we got to Holiday World. We talked about how much fun we were having singing. He reminded me what to do if I got lost in Holiday World. ha. Yes, my 7 year-old was concerned about ME getting lost in Holiday World.

As I was driving out of Santa Claus, Indiana... I almost didn't want to leave.  I knew our short little Mommy/ Gavin trip had come to an end and it made me so sad.  Yesterday when Gav and I went over to Trey's to give him his souvenirs (since Trey was the main financial supporter of the Holiday World trip, he deserved a key chain and shot glass), Gavin was SO excited to tell Trey all about our trip. Watching Gavin's big brown eyes light up as he told about riding the roller coasters with his hands up, eating a yummy cheeseburger, and playing in the water park totally made me feel like I did something right.  Clearly I am not the MOST AWESOME parent because I can't afford to take him to Disney World every year, but I hope one day Gavin will understand WHY I wasn't able to take him to Disney World or on any other long, EXPENSIVE vacation. 

*Part II*
The boyfriend.  As cheesy and cliche as it may sound, he really is my best friend. In past relationships (even my marriage), there had always been the guy... then there was always a gal pal or two who everything, who was always my go-to person if I ever needed someone to hang out with, or  get away, etc.  Don't get me wrong. I still have my close friends, but Trey definitely takes the title as best friend. I tell him everything and we do everything together. He has been put to the test. He has dealt with my "leave me alone" mood. He held my hand and gave me a shoulder to cry on as I grieved over the loss of Chris. He made sure my birthday was the best birthday yet. He has listened to me vent, rant, and cry over my situation with Gavin and the ridiculous parenting plan I agreed to. We attend church together when my baseball schedule and his work schedule allow it.  Not once has he gotten upset with me. Not ONCE has he yelled, pointed blame, or complained. Our plans always revolve around what the other is doing. He has been amazing through everything. It is so awesome to be absolutely crazy in love with my best friend.  It really doesn't get any better than this.

A few weeks ago, Trey and I threw together a cookout for our parents so they could meet. I had this urge to make something. I decided a potato salad sounded good, so I found a recipe for a potato salad. We went to the grocery store the night before our cookout to get our list of cookout items. The day of the cookout, we worked on cleaning his house up and getting the food ready. I started making my potato salad about 2 hours before our parents were supposed to arrive. I started boiling my eggs and dicing the celery and pickles. So far so good. Then.... I tried to peel the shell off of one of the eggs. Fail. The egg broke in my hand. This may sound petty and dumb to some, but to me it was a big deal. I used to get made fun of because I didn't know how to cook certain things... or because I messed something up or didn't put enough of an ingredient in it. I never cook because I've always been told I COULDN'T cook.  I was embarrassed and sad when that egg broke in my hand. The ONE thing I wanted to fix for the cookout and I ruined it... As I tried to hold myself together and not cry, Trey came over and patted me on the back and said "It's ok. There's a few more eggs in the fridge. Just put another one in there. It will be ok."  He then helped me dice my celery, potatoes, pickles, and eventually my hard boiled eggs. I know this story may seem cheesy, but I've never had a guy do that before. Never.

This is something I have always wished I could have... and now I have it and can't imagine letting it go.

Until next time...


What Now?

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had."
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Over the last 5 and a half days, I have often asked this question... "Why?" Why my Chris? Why does my heart hurt? Why do I feel so empty? Why did he decide to drive early Saturday morning?  Why did that man feel the need to make an example of my loving, caring, free willed cousin? 

Why my Chris?  It was his time? Maybe so. Maybe he did partake in risky behavior EVERY NOW and THEN.  He had lived his life and it was his time. Contrary to what the pastor led us to believe on Tuesday, Chris IS in heaven. He will be waiting for each and every one of his loved ones when our time comes.

Why does my heart hurt? Chris was like a brother to me. From the adventures in the woods as children, birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinners, graduations, decorating Granny Doris' Christmas tree, Christmas dinners, late night trips to Krystals, teaching me to put black olives on my finger tips, evenings on the porch at Casa, rides in the black Jeep with big wheels, country cruisin', nights at Jacks that led to late nights at Starlite, finding him at the Block Party, searching for him at Bonnaroo, crying to him when someone broke my heart, receiving random phone calls at all hours of the night, getting "Where u at?" text messages at the most random times, avoiding dirty girls in Jacks, listening to him talk smack about me not being a fan of a "real football team", calling him when something was wrong with my car... the list goes on. I followed Chris around from the time I could walk until now.  He may not have always followed the rules, but he sure was a happy fella the 29 years he was here.  My heart hurts because I've lost my big brother. I've lost a part of me... but I find comfort in knowing he is still with me each and every day until we meet again.

Why did he decide to drive early Saturday morning? Who knows! I'm sure even if someone told him he shouldn't drive, he would've probably done it anyway. It has taken me almost 4 days to get over the fact that there was nothing I could've done. I can't get down on myself and wish I had called him back Friday night. Maybe if I had gone out that night, he wouldn't have lost his phone and maybe he wouldn't have felt the need to drive? I can't beat myself up with the what ifs. 

Why did that man feel the need to make an example of Chris? Before I go too far into this, let me just say... this is MY blog, which contains MY thoughts. If anyone reading this was at the funeral Tuesday and he or she feels the pastor did a fantastic job, please stop reading now.  I WILL offend you...and I DON'T care if I do.  I am part of the FAMILY who he kept referencing, and I DID NOT appreciate the bashing of my cousin.  Sure, he drank on the weekends. Was it out of control? Not compared to what it may have been in previous years. Did we need to be reminded over and over and over that Chris made a bad decision Saturday morning? No. We got the point. Thirty-five minutes after he said "Chris had a problem with alcohol and driving", that man finally shut his mouth.  Unfortunately, during his after school special lecture on drinking and driving and the numerous stabs at Chris' "lifestyle", he failed to mention how awesome Chris was. How he would do anything for anybody no matter what time it was. He always had a smile on his face and a can of dip in his pocket.  He loved his family. He loved his friends. He loved Tennessee football. He loved his job.  He always managed to make people laugh no matter the circumstances. There is no telling how many times he got me in trouble in church or at family dinners because he would make me laugh uncontrollably. He quoted movies all of the time. He was a happy fella.  He was a huge fan of Eastbound and Down. He didn't have a worry in the world.  Alcohol was NOT part of his daily life.

I left that funeral feeling like I had been cheated. Aren't funerals supposed to make the family feel comforted? Aren't you supposed to leave there feeling some sort of closure? I walked out of that funeral home feeling hurt, embarrassed, and ANGRY.   I was hurt because I felt like that was not the funeral my sweet, loving cousin deserved.  I was embarrassed because that so-called spokesman for God kept saying "the family" asked him to speak on the subject. Umm... THE FAMILY did not request for that man to bash Chris in front of his close friends and family. It is that simple.  I most defiantly did not feel any sort of closure when I left there. I felt like we should've pushed him off the stage and sent him home on the horse he rode in on.  As some know, I made Chris proud on Tuesday. I made sure that man knew how displeased I was with his "sermon" or lack thereof.

Oh well. It is over. There is nothing we can do about it now; however, I do hope that man knows how hurt and upset THE FAMILY was.

What has Chris taught me?

Life is so short. Live each day to the fullest.
Live like there is no tomorrow.
If you love someone, tell them.
Never assume you will have a second chance.

Until next time.....


My Broken Heart

"The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hand of God."

I told myself I would not blog until the end of the week. Oh well. I've caught myself several times wishing I could just write a book on Chris' wall. I have posted twice on his page, but it doesn't seem to ease my pain at all.

I laid on the couch this morning -his couch that he let me "borrow"- and cried and cried and cried. There is so much I wish I could say to him right now. I know he is listening, but it just isn't the same. I want to hear that laugh. I want to see that smile. I want to give him a hug and tell him how much I love him because I don't feel like he knew just HOW MUCH I really do love him. I want to walk onto the patio at Casa and see that big fella sitting there waiting for me. I want this empty feeling to go away. I want my big brother back. I have so much to say to him. Life will just not be the same without him. This afternoon I stood in the front door of my parents' house waiting for the rest of the family to arrive for dinner, and it just broke my heart as I realized that blue Corolla would not be rolling into the driveway. Chris would not be getting out of his car in a wrinkly shirt. He wouldn't come walking up the sidewalk this time... We are all gathering to eat dinner for him, not with him.

I guess I was in shock yesterday for most of the day. It didn't fully sink in until I got in my car last night and drove back to Shelbyville. It seemed so unreal. When I got the phone call yesterday morning, I felt as if my heart stopped right before it shattered into a million pieces. It just didn't make sense. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't cry. Chris and I were so close. Why couldn't I cry?!? I curled up into a ball and kept telling myself this isn't really happening. Chris can't be gone. This can't be happening. Not now. The tears finally came when I had to say it out loud to my boyfriend. . . "My cousin, Chris, got killed in a car wreck this morning." The tears have flowed since that moment.

I find comfort in knowing I now have 2 angels in heaven looking down on me.  Our Papa has been gone for 7 and a half years almost. I have no doubt in my mind that Papa held his hand out early yesterday morning and welcomed Chris home. . . I'm sure Papa gave him a hug.  I'm sure they are both sitting up there right now looking down on me losing my mind and talking about how overly dramatic I can be about things.

I also find comfort in knowing my tiny small town has wrapped its arms around us. I am just in awe. The outpouring of love, support, kind words, acts of kindness, etc. They all mean the world to us. My mom and I stopped at Dollar General yesterday morning and were stopped by at least 4 people who told us they were thinking about us.  Only in Lynchburg, TN can you walk into a store and have something like that happen to you. Only in a small town.

I'm trying so hard to be strong and not fall apart, but at this point I find it difficult to do so. 

I miss you so much, Chris. Life will not be the same without you... ever. I love you so much!!


Good Things Come to Those Who Wait..

As corny as it may sound... it is true. Good things do come to those who wait.

I've sat patiently waiting for Gavin to adjust to this mess he is living through. I must say, for a 7 year old, he is a strong little fella. The last 10 months have been anything BUT easy.  We've cried. He has claimed he hates me. I've wondered if I should have "tough'ed it out" a little while longer, he's demanded not to go with me without his daddy... etc.  We are finally at a point where he understands his schedule and is ok with it. Prayers have been answered, and I can now sleep at night knowing I have not totally screwed him up.

Now I have a new battle though. I won't elaborate because I know there are people out there who are waiting for me come unglued in a blog so they can print it off and mail copies to my ex husband.  It doesn't matter how many times I clean up the "friends" list on Facebook, there's always someone out there who feels like Micah needs to know every move I make.  Oddly enough, I could really care less what is on his page. I will admit, I used to log in as a mutual friend and scope out the latest news, but I no longer care. As long as Gavin isn't being harmed, it doesn't matter to me what he does. That's kind of the point of that whole divorce thing, ya know? Separate lives.

Moving along....

Yes. I'm in a relationship. Unlike past endeavors, I didn't rush into this. It wasn't a spur of the moment, omg I'm lonely & need someone kind of thing.  I've known him for several months actually.  We met through some friends a while back. We had hung out on a few occasions with a group, and I will admit, I never really thought anything of it. He was a nice guy. I don't usually go for the nice guy. There seemed to be something there though, maybe? I didn't act upon it because I'm the prissy girl who had her mind made up she knew what her type was. He didn't really fall under that type description.  After a few Mexican meals with friends, texting throughout the day, a few dumb blonde moments, burnt hot dogs, and a trip to Zanies... it was clear we liked each other and there was definatly something there. 

I was still resisting though. I was fresh off a rushed relationship gone bad. I was not ready to jump into anything. I wanted to go on awkward first dates and spill a drink or whatever. (If you don't know what I'm talking about...see my previous blog.) I did the whole *meet someone online thing*. That actually wasn't that bad until I came across that one guy who had me convinced meeting someone online isn't exactly safe OR a good idea.  I gave up on the online thing shortly after my encounter with that guy. Let's just say I learned an important lesson. Unfortunately I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

After a weekend filled with interesting VIP rules at Barefoot Bay, a zoo trip, and him listening to me vent about all of the things that make me mad... it was clear we needed to have a little chat about what we were doing.  The next day, I beat around the bush and apparently confused the heck out of him, but I finally got the point across.  I wanted to know what we were doing! What is going on here?  I asked him what his thoughts were, and he replied with, "Well its kinda like this... I think you should be my girlfriend." I'm not sure why it took me so long to respond to that message. Maybe I needed to wipe the ridiculous grin off of my face first? Or maybe I was slightly in shock that he came right out and said that? Either way... I eventually admitted that I liked his idea. 

So here we are... 4 days into this. I'm myself. I'm happy. I'm having a freakin' blast! I have cuts from walking through a briar patch and a knot on my head from where he drove the 4 wheeler under a tree limb & I didn't duck far enough.  I haven't laughed nearly this much in a long time. I find comfort in knowing I didn't rush myself into this.  I thought long and hard about this. I didn't push for it either... It just happened when I least expected it.

Until next time...


Oh Hi.

I guess I should brush off the dust on this thing, huh?

I haven't blogged in a while. I would like to blame my lack of blogging on being busy, but we all know that isn't the case. I just haven't been in the right mood I guess.

Wow. A lot has changed since my last blog... A LOT!  I came down off of cloud nine and got smacked in the face by reality. That smack in the face lead to me ending my first post-divorce relationship. As with every other relationship, I left a little bit of myself behind, took a little bit of him with me, and learned a lot about myself.  He will make a woman very happy one day. Unfortunately, we were just not at the same point in our lives and it just didn't work.

My relationship with Gavin is AMAZING now. I wish I could bottle up the feeling I have when he is with me.  He is now the most loving little boy... just like he was when he was a little tot.  This may sound cheesy, but I now refuse to go to Wal Mart unless Gavin is with me. I absolutely LOVE going to Wal Mart with him. He pushes the buggy for me and helps me shop. Grocery shopping doesn't seem like a chore when Gavin is with me. He even helps put away the groceries when we get home!  He hasn't quite figured everything out yet. I did have trouble finding my Cliff Bars on Tuesday. He had put them in the canned food cabinet. When I asked him about it, he responded with, "I couldn't reach any higher in the other cabinet."  How precious. He is on Spring Break all next week, and I cannot wait to spend three solid days with him!!!

I have learned the definition of TRUE friends.  I'm not going to elaborate on this one. I'm not a 16 year old who is trying to get my revenge.  I'm a 25 year old adult who hates conflict and confrontation; however, if the right buttons are pushed, I do not sit back and allow others to run over me. I have proven this in the last few weeks. Never trust someone who openly talks about and / or bashes others in front of you because they are probably openly talking about and / or bashing you behind your back. I learned this lesson in high school, but as an adult, I didn't realize girls (yes GIRLS) were still so evil.

I'm still trying to figure out this whole "single" thing .  Some days I feel so excited to not have to be somewhere to see someone. . . but then there is that occasional day when I just wish I had someone to talk to or look forward to seeing after a long, stressful day at work. Most of my friends have someone, and sometimes I feel like I'm crashing their party by being around.  Like I said, I have those days on OCCASION. It isn't an everyday thing. I guess it has only happened twice in the last 3 months. Yes. I was in a relationship for part of that time, but it was a long distance, "I'm busy tonight" relationship.  There was still that one piece of the puzzle missing. 

I'm in no hurry to finish my Kari puzzle.  Heck. Let's just scramble the thing and start over! Isn't that what this is all about anyway? A fresh start? I feel like I need to go on a few awkward first dates with sweaty palms. Maybe even accidentally spill my drink or something? This is only the beginning.

Until next time...




I'm wide awake. I've been awake for 20 hours straight. Yes. Do the math. I have been awake since 2am this morning. I'm not even sleepy. I honestly had the urge to run this evening after work... alone...through the neighborhoods surrounding my apartment complex. Thank God I didn't.

I like to think I did enough research about this place before I signed my name on that stupid lease, but clearly I did not. In case you haven't figured it out, I don't exactly live in the safest, most friendly area of Shelbyville. Granted there are worse areas, but there are MOST defiantly safer (err...as safe as Shelbyville can get) areas. 

My fear began several months ago when I noticed every morning when I ran this gentleman was always standing beside his mailbox.  He would always wave to me and tell me good morning. At first I saw this as "oh what a friendly little guy"!  Friendly slowly became creepy...  I started changing up my route. I wouldn't run past his house every morning, or I would run a little later or a little earlier than normal.  He was always out there by his mailbox. It almost felt like he was waiting for me or something. I would joke with the guy I was dating at the time and say "if you don't hear from me one day, please check the bushes surrounding my apartment complex. That fella will probably hide me there."  In a way I was joking but deep down it really bothered me... so I quit running in my neighborhood for a while. It was getting colder, so I felt my break from running the streets of Shelbyville was justified.

In the dead of winter, I found myself MISSING running. I missed the sore legs. I missed the feeling of being in the zone and accomplishing goals. I was pissed at myself and even more pissed at the fact I am pretty much forced to live in this apartment complex since the "nicer" complexes are income based. According to their formulas and figures... I make too much money to live in the nicer part of town. Does this make sense to anyone?? 

Moving forward.. a few weeks ago I got up the courage to run in the mornings.  At 5am it isn't quite daylight yet, so I made sure I wore my spiffy, not so sexy reflective runners' vest so the small handful of cars on the road that early could see me.  Morning #1 went great. I squeeze 1.5 miles out in 19 degree weather.  Morning #2 did not go so well. Some sorry individual felt it necessary to throw  his large Sonic cup out the passenger side window of his Dodge Ram pickup. Did I mention he threw it at ME?  I was furious. I was so pissed. I ran home and swore I would write the nastiest letter to the newspaper.

I never wrote that letter by the way...

Mornings #3-6ish I never made it out of the parking lot.  I would wake up before the sun, get dressed, stretch, go outside, and a feeling of fear and uneasiness would come over me within 2 minutes.  I didn't feel safe.



change: v. To cause to be different;  To go from one phase to another, as the moon or the seasons

change: n. A transformation or transition from one state, condition, or phase to another

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Part I.

If you fail. Try again.  If you fall down. Get up. Brush yourself off and try again.  If at first you don't succeed. Try. Try again.  Never give up? Ha.

This is me throwing in the towel.  I'm not giving up.  I've just realized it is time to change my approach. Please hold your applause.

Many moons ago when I was young and looking for direction in my education, I tried out several different majors and/ or concentrations.  Just to put it into perspective for you, when I applied to MTSU in the fall of 2002 I had every intention in the world to be an athletic trainer.  In August of 2008, I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance and Insurance.  In between, I dabbled with a major in general studies, history, business administration, and financial institution management.  Long story short... I had NO IDEA what I wanted to be when I grew up!  I would get unhappy with the curriculum or the teachers and I would change my major or concentration.  I somehow stumbled into insurance thanks to a little old man who didn't wear a belt and always had a briefcase. He carried a Styrofoam cup with him everywhere he went.  That man held my future. I changed my major to finance with a concentration in insurance.

I like to think stereotypes no longer exist. Women can do a job just as well as most men can; however, I have spent the last several years trying to prove even though I appear to be a 22 year old little girl to most, I still know (for the most part) what I am talking about.  I have made great attempts to be taken seriously. I've tried. I've failed. I've tried again... and I've failed.  I've become frustrated. I've searched deep within myself trying to figure out WHAT exactly I want. Where do I want to be in 5 years? 

I've hit a brick wall. A few weeks ago I started researching to see what I needed to do in order to obtain my Associate in Risk Management (ARM) certification.  Risk management intrigued me in college. It would be nice to have some letters after my name. Maybe if this whole insurance thing does finally bottom out, I will have something to fall back on.  I took it into my own hands to make a change. I guess we will see where this goes...?  It can't hurt anything, can it?

Part II.

Yes. I have an attitude problem.

I try to leave Jonathan out of my blogs, but today he deserves 2,896,525,971 gold stars and probably a trip to the Masters for putting up with my ridiculousness the past 3 weeks.  There is no denying I needed an attitude adjustment. Between the stresses of work, looking for a house, and being a single mommy, I somehow managed to transform into Medusa. Snakes and all.  *clapping* He for some reason felt the need to stick with Medusa during the turmoil. Yay for Jonathan!

Moving on...
I've learned a few things about myself in the last few weeks.

- Depriving myself of caffeine causes withdrawals from hell... including a headache.
- "Crazy Girl" by Eli Young Band was apparently written about my life...
- Mexican food makes me fat.

On a serious note...
- I need to learn how to handle pressure.
- Lashing out at innocent bystanders does not solve anything.
- Listen to others more. Talk less.
- Ignoring a problem doesn't make the problem go away.
- Squeezing pennies is negative fun.
- This is my life. I only have 1. Take control of it...  I should make changes if I'm unhappy.

To sum this entire blog up... I've hit a brick wall and I'm in the process of either blasting the effin thing or climbing over it (aka 'get over it').  

Until next time...


Double dose of bloggery today...

Part 1:

As I count down the days until my lease in hell is finally over, I have been playing around with my options.  After throwing ideas around about renting from a different (less creepy) apartment complex, I have decided I do not want to rent anymore. I'm ready to be a homeowner.  I'm ready for the next big step.  In preparation for my BIG move to my  new --as of right now nonexistent-- home, I have resorted to eating canned spinach, sandwiches, and frozen dinners almost daily.  Jars of peanut butter are my friend.  Great Value products grace my shopping buggy.  My every other day trips to Subway, McAlister's, Mexican restaurants, etc have ceased. 

I'm completely new to this; therefore, I am not 100% sure what I am doing. I browse realtracs.com and realtor.com almost daily. I take the long way to work sometimes just so I can scope out the for sale signs in yards.  I assume I am on the right track, but for some reason I don't feel like I am.  I seriously have no idea where to go from here. I have in mind what I'm looking for.  I don't need a huge 2-story home on 10 acres with a wrap around porch. Let's get real.  It's just going to be me most of the time. All of that space is not necessary. I want something with 2-3 bedrooms. More than 1 bathroom is a must.  Gavin and I have had numerous bathroom battles over the last 8 months, and I'm willing to bet as he gets older those battles will become more frequent. 

I'm a little scared to be doing this, but I know it has to happen.  I was scared when I started hunting for apartments in June of last year. I guess it is perfectly normal for me to be scared now, right?  I think so. I keep thinking back to the first time I looked at houses, which was several years ago before Micah and I got married. Neither one of us knew what we were doing. We would walk through houses and I would say, "Oh I like these cabinets!" or "This wallpaper is hideous!" or "This carpet is VERY white." Here I am five years later embarking on this journey alone. I have no doubt I will make similar comments as I walk through houses trying to find the one that screams my name. 

Part 2:

Forgiveness. I have been fighting an inner battle for the last 2.5 months. I have pointed blame. I have tried to justify some of my actions and words. I have finally realized I was at fault just as much as the other party. I want to be forgiven. I have read over the hurtful emails. I have pondered "What if...?".   I have not been able to put things behind me. Gavin said it best this morning when he said, "Mom, you shouldn't be so sad. That makes God sad too."   I'm so consumed with fixing myself right now.

Gavin is such a strong little boy. He is only 7 but sometimes when he speaks, I feel like I'm talking to a 27 year old. He remembers seeing me walk down the aisle in my white dress. He remembers sitting in his room watching TV and listening to his parents fight. He remembers the day I started packing my things to move out.... he knows I'm not a Donegan like him anymore.  Most importantly, he remembers and / or repeats almost anything his daddy or I say. I try so hard not to lean on him more than I should. Yes. He is the man of the house, but he is also still only 7 years old.  This morning Gavin witnessed me crying for the 300th time in the last 4 years. He tried his best to comfort me, which actually made me cry more.

I'm not even sure where I'm supposed to go from here...


Million Miles Away...

"Sharp pain in my soul, no car on the county road I can't stand to be going home, I'm so mad, I'm so alone

I made some big mistakes, but I can't take back yesterday It's just too hard to live this way, when your heart is a million miles away

I get tired and it makes me mean, but cruel words aren't what you need I know, we both agreed, but sometimes life gets down on me

Two hours on the interstate I get quiet and start to pray but it feels like I've lost my fate when we can't work it out"

2 hours. $250+. 1 slap on the wrist from my doctor.

I'm offically "normal" again? or whatever the opposite of being a complete pain in the @$$ is.  Lesson learned: Being numb to the people, situations, and events around me is a much better alternative than what I have put myself through this week. I will listen to my doctor and do as she says from now on.

Happy Friday. I started my morning off by consuming more coffee than a human should be allowed to have in an entire week. ONE ENTIRE POT OF COFFEE all to myself. I'm convinced the massive amount of caffeine flowing through my bloodstream did not help my panic attack / horrific emotional breakdown. Not taking my medicine in 2 weeks probably didn't help matters much either.

I was tired of feeling numb. I was tired of having this super "I can handle anything" attitude. Inside I was slowly breaking down. Today was inevitable. It was going to happen sooner or later. I knew I would wake up and realize I have to deal with my emotions and feelings. I can't just wake up, pop a pill, and expect life to be filled with rainbows and sunshine all of the time.

I hate talking about "what's wrong". I wish people would give me a dollar instead of ask me what's wrong. NOTHING is wrong with me. I'm fine.  Everything around me is WRONG.  I feel like I have been removed from my comfort zone and thrown into a completely unfamiliar place. I'm learning who people really are. That pretty little picture that was painted for me in the beginning of this so-called happiness has slowly revealed the ugly truth. Unfortunely, I knew this day would come. The day when I realize I have no clue where I'm going or who I am.  I felt like I had a grip on reality and had put the demons of my past where they belong; however, in reality I never really did. I just tucked them away in the back of mind in hopes they wouldn't show their faces again. Hello reality.

I've lost sleep. I've lost my appetite. That dark cloud that followed me around for so many months is back, and I am not happy about it. What can I do?  I rack my brain daily trying to figure out where I went wrong.  At what point did I stop being happy Kari and sink back into this funk? Why is this so hard for me?

What if....

... I move to a new city?
... I take a vacation for 1 to some far away beach?
... I change my phone number and start over?
... I just deactivate my Facebook account?

OR What if I just put my big girl panties on and DEAL WITH WHAT HAS BEEN HANDED TO ME? I always try to run and hide from my problems. Instead of dealing with them... I choose to hide. Instead of confonting the issue and/ or person... I ignore them. I'm not saying a light bulb has come on. I'm definitley not about to go around and confont everyone who has ever made me feel sad or icky. Let's get real. That would take all weekend!

From this point on, I will try  to get over this. I cannot make any promises other than I promise I won't start breathing fire and tearing down cities. At this point, I cannot even promise I will not fall of the face of the Earth for a few days.

hang with me here... I'm trying.

Until next time...


Feeling a little Bloggy...

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.
-- Joseph Campbell
This week has been a completely OFF week for me. I do not even know where to begin. Monday morning I managed to make it to work on time, which is highly unusual for me.  Shortly after my arrival, I nice flower delivery fella walked into the lobby with a beautiful bouquet of flowers! I secretly hoped they were for me. Maybe my daddy decided to have flowers delivered to my work this year?? The flower delivery guy said, "I'm looking for Kari Neal." As I tried to control the HUGE smile across my face, I replied with "That's me!".  He handed me the bouquet and I somehow managed to do some sort of skip/gallop/ jump move without dropping my beautiful bouquet of flowers. I read the card... "Happy Valentine's Day Sweetheart - Jonathan".  Monday was a great day!

If you know me, you know why I despise this week. February 15 & 16th have been stamped in my mind as dates to remember.  Tuesday morning, I woke up wishing there was some way I could just sleep until the 18th.  If only I could wake up and say "Oh darn, I really [insert sarcastic tone] hate I slept through that."  I have been in a rotten mood the last 3 days and I do not even know why!! Sure I hate this week.  Sure my entire life changed FOREVER during those days way back when, but WHY am I bothered by them now?

After picking a fight with someone who didn't even do anything, I realized what is wrong with me.  I'm holding onto things I shouldn't.  I'm putting that stupid wall back up because I'm scared of getting hurt.  The smallest things (actions, words, Facebook drama even) trigger some awful experience from my past, and the wheels in my brain start turning. As those wheels turn, I guess that wall slowly goes back up. I automatically assume the worst. I am afraid of revisiting that empty, hurt, lost feeling I had for so long.

I had my whole life planned out up to the time I realized I was pregnant with Gavin. Getting pregnant before finishing high school was definitely not part of my plan. Pregnancy threw quite a kink in everything, so I had to come up with a new plan. I would finish college, get married, have another baby, and live happily ever after. I guess in the mind of 17 year-old Kari, storybook lives were common and marriage would be easy. A few short weeks later, I found myself alone in the pregnancy journey and hurting emotionally.  Time for a new plan again.

I know my past has only made me stronger. I know I need to let go of the past and enjoy the present before I ruin my future. *Yes. I read that on some cheesy website.*  Sometimes it is just hard though. I know it is time to stop trying to plan my life. I can set goals, make a bucket list, and do things that make me happy. The old plan is out the door. I'm supposed to be starting a new chapter in my life. I'm the author of my own book! I had to go back and read my "Closing Chapters" Facebook note this morning just to remind myself what the big picture is here.  I have to let go of the things that happened in the past and embrace what I have now before it slips through my fingers...

This isn't one my best blogs ever, but I do feel better putting everything into words. Maybe someone will read it. Maybe someone will say, "Hey! I know that feeling!" Maybe someone will say, "Good grief she sucks at life."  Either way, I feel better now... I think.

Until next time...


Growing Up

I have realized two things today. (1) Someone should've told me just how HARD it is to change my name back to my maiden name. (2) I would be lost without my parents.

I'm so over this snow. I mean...really?? I do not recall getting out for snow this often when I was of school age! Gavin has used up all of his built in snow days. We never did that, did we? Anyway. Rain, sleet, snow, or ice did not stop me from finally getting my driver license updated with my correct name and new address. That's right. I said "correct name".  As much fun as it was to have Gavin's last name, I am much happier and content having my Daddy's last name.  After that was complete, I went to the Bedford County Clerk and gave her a lot of money for the tags, title, and registration for my Corolla. I seriously had no idea what I was doing. I gave her 10 pieces of paper in hopes at least one of them would be what she needed; however, I was missing 1 piece of paper that happened to be in Lynchburg. UGH.  So I hopped into the Corolla and made a trip to Lynchburg. In case you were wondering, the roads were clear.  I did manage to bum a sandwich off of my mom while I was in town, so I guess the trip wasn't completely terrible.

Several times today I thought to myself, "if someone had told me that changing my name would make such a mess... I never would've changed it."  I guess at the time I was blinded by what I thought was love. I obviously did not intend to get divorced, change my name, live in a tiny apartment, and eat spaghetti o's 4 times a week.  Who would dream of that?!  As stressful as the name change process has been, I can't help but think all of the stress, money, and missed hours at work are worth it. I'm Kari Neal.  I've always been Kari Neal to most of my friends and family.  Now it is official.

I don't know what I would do without my parents. I called my Daddy 5-6 times today to ask relatively dumb questions and keep him updated with my progress. In case you haven't figured it out, I am slightly over dramatic sometimes when things do not go as I plan.  My Daddy sometimes has to calm me down and remind me everything will be OK. He had to do that at least once today. I'm not sure if he realized he was doing it though.

I have stressed for the last two months about getting my paperwork and changing my license. Now that I have all of this behind me, I guess it is time to enjoy being Kari.  With that being said, I should probably clean my apartment now...

Until next time...


Best Friends know when it is time to go..

"It's the times we're so crazy,
that people think we're high.
It's the times we laugh so hard,
we can't help but cry.
It's all the inside jokes
and "remember whens".
those are all the reasons
that we're best friends!"

I cannot help but smile when I look back on this past weekend. What an amazingly fun and exciting weekend it was! I managed to snag Jonathan off of the market somehow. Gavin had an intense basketball game that went into overtime! I spent my Saturday morning/ afternoon/ evening with my parents. I watched Hannah crown the new Wee Miss Lynchburg. Eccho, Rachel, and I had a night of laughs, Big Macs, and Nickelback songs. Rachel and I managed to get 3 kids into the backseat of my Corolla on Sunday for lunch. Oh and that really important football game was going on, but I chose to play Barbies instead. ha. Oh and I'm Facebook official?! Wow. I have never been Facebook official before. ha.

Isn't it amazing how you can go weeks or months without seeing your best friends from childhood, but once you get together, it is just like old times? Eccho, Rachel, and I laughed so much about old times, growing up, and the crazy things we've gotten into over the years.  To anyone who may have seen us laughing hysterically or overheard our conversations, they probably thought we were crazy.  We have so many memories and fun times. I really wish Katie could've been there too! That would've completed the evening!

Ahh... Sometimes you just need a GIRLS night to catch up, laugh, and be completely silly.  The highlight of the evening would have to be all 3 of us crawling into Eccho's bed at 3:45 am to finally go to sleep after laughing, devouring Big Macs, and drinking Sprites.  It wasn't the most comfortable sleeping arrangement, but it reminded me of old times. It reminded me of growing up with these girls. Every year Eccho would have a sleepover for her birthday, and every year there would be girls piled everywhere sleeping. Here we are now 25 and 26 years old, laughing about boys, giggling, and being just as silly as we were 14 years ago.  It was nice. I am paying heavily for my lack of sleep this weekend though.

I'm finally at that happy place I have always wanted to be and I know I couldn't have found this happiness if it wasn't for my faith, family, and friends.  It is hard to believe 3 months ago I felt like I had no direction and everything was falling apart.  I look back now and wonder why I felt that way. In the book I am currently reading, Francis Chan talks about the stresses of the world. In one chapter he talks about people who get so upset and stressed over life.  If you trust in God and turn your troubles over to him and remember WHO is really in control, it gives you great peace.  When we allow ourselves to get stressed and worry, we are losing our focus. I read those 2 pages over and over. It is so true! There was a time in my life when I had forgotten who is really in control. I had forgotten what is really important. When I stopped trying to find my own answers and instead turned my focus to God, I felt like a new person. I'm not perfect by any means. I do still have to be reminded where my focus should be and sometimes my timing and His timing are NOT the same. Sometimes His plan and my plan are not the same.

I look forward to what the next few days, weeks, months, and hopefully years have in store for me. I am blessed beyond belief right now and am thankful each day for the people God has placed in my life... they each have their own purpose. I have an amazing boyfriend (oh how fun it is to call him that!), a supportive & loving family, a fabulous best friend who is always there for me, and a group of friends I would do anything for. 


Until next time...  


6 year-old Kari...

 "Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep... wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you're just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky he is to have you.... The one who turns to his friends and says, 'that's her.'

When I was a little girl, I watched the Disney movies about the princess trying to find her prince charming. I believe those were called fairy tales because something so perfect does not really exist, right? What real man would wander through the woods to kiss a sleeping girl who lives with 7 short, fat guys? I mean, really?!  As a little girl I did not know any different though. I just thought that is how it is supposed to be. 

When I was 6, my mom made my Halloween costume. Most little girls my age dressed up as witches, fairies, or maybe even a clown. Six-year- old Kari Elizabeth Neal wanted to be a bride. Yes. A bride. My mom made my white dress and veil.  I carried pink flowers as my bouquet.  Obviously at a young age I had dreams of getting married to a prince charming one day...or at least someone like my Daddy. I had high expectations at a young age.

On my 20th birthday I had a mini meltdown. I was 20, single, living with my parents,  and had a 20 month old little boy. Life was moving oh-so fast for me.  Some of my high school friends were already married and buying houses. I felt like I was so far behind. Looking back, I wish I could smack 20 year-old Kari. Why did I feel like my life was flashing before my eyes? Why did I feel like I needed to be ready to settle down or in other words... why did I feel like I needed to settle at all? 

One month before my 22nd birthday, I took a vow in front of God, close friends, and several family members whom I hardly ever see. My dad and I walked down the aisle of the church I had attended since I was 5 years old. Rachel and Katie stood at the alter waiting for me. Rachel was crying. My mom was crying. I was crying. I wore a white dress and carried a bouquet of pink and white flowers... just as I did when I was 6 years old. I felt like this was what I was supposed to do. This is what was best for Gavin. This was the next step. This is what growing up is all about...

Someone once said "Have no regrets in life. Everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.”  I do not regret getting married. Do I sometimes wish I hadn't? Yes. Do I hate being labeled as a divorced woman? Very much so.  I can honestly admit that I came away from my divorce as an independent, confident woman who now knows what she wants and refuses to settle for less than she deserves.  If it is in God's plan for me to have a second wedding, that wedding WILL BE the last wedding I have. I'm going to do it right the next time. I am not going to settle.

I came across the quote at the beginning of this blog several years ago. I've sometimes read the quote and thought to myself, "Ha. Yeah right!"  My theory was that all of the guys like that were either already taken, or just do not even exist. Why would someone as awesome as the individual described in that quote be single? Why would anyone let that guy go?  I now realize that guy may quite possibly exist... somewhere in the southern regions of the United States.  I'm not jumping into anything, but I am definitely starting to believe.

Until next time...


Why is there a wall here?!

"You, me, we should get together now
Cause love may never give another chance
Please don't be afraid to let me in
Cause we may never get this moment back again"

-"Something to Lose" by Corey Smith

I am at a much happier point than I was on Monday...Thank God. My situation with Gavin is slowly improving.  I have tried really hard to not get upset with him over everything since Sunday night. When he gets upset with me, I just look at him and tell him "I'm sorry you feel that way, but I do love you even if you think I don't." Divorce has to be hard on children. I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a home with both of my parents; therefore, I cannot even begin to try to understand what Gavin has been through. All I can do is just pray that one day when he is at the age where he might be considering settling down, he will choose to marry someone for the RIGHT reasons. I hope he chooses someone who is his BEST friend and can tell everything to.  I hope when she walks down the aisle on their wedding day, I can look at Gavin's face and see happiness.  I pray that they will put God first in their relationship. Until then... I plan to be the #1 lady in his life!!   I am looking forward to having a dinner date with him tonight followed by a game or two of mini cornhole. We may even throw in a kitchen dance party if we have time! Oh how I love my dance parties in the kitchen with Gavin. :) 

What's the title to this blog all about?

Well. Sometimes when I get in my funky sad, depressed moods, I try to shut people out. I tend to not want to share the details of what's going on in my head with others, so instead I try to be short and pretend nothing is really wrong.  In previous relationships/ friendships, I have let my guard down and let others into my little world. Shortly after the guard came down.... those individuals ran away as fast as they could. Over time, it has taken a lot for me to really open up to someone and let them into my little world due to my fear of getting hurt.  On Monday I was trying so hard not to let someone (put the puzzle pieces together and figure out who) know what was really wrong with me. I was slowly shutting this person out because I was afraid.  Monday night I had the phone conversation that changed everything. I laid everything on the line. I figured, "Well. I'm just gonna throw everything out there. This is me. Take it or leave it. Take  it... Great. Leave it... I've gone down this road before. I will survive." 

I chose not to blog yesterday because I focused my thoughts elsewhere. I instead sent a LONG inbox message thanking someone for proving they are worth my time... proving that nice guys do exist... and proving it is ok for me to let my wall down. 

The last two days I have been trying to fight the cold sickness that is trying to take over my body. I have taken my vitamins, drank my orange juice, drank my water, and slept at least 8 hours each night.  The sickness is winning, but I'm not through fighting!  My alarm went off at 5:50 this morning. As I stirred around trying to find my phone so I could start hitting the snooze button every five minutes, I thought to myself "Ugh. I feel worse today."  After I hit the snooze and laid in my bed a minute, "Something to Lose" by Corey Smith started playing on my phone.  I automatically had a huge smile on my face because I knew what this meant... someone was calling me!  I didn't find my phone in time to answer the call, so shortly thereafter I received a text asking me if I was awake. My response was "barely".  I decided to go back to sleep a little while longer. At 6:27 Corey Smith started singing to me again...  I love good morning phone calls so much, even when I feel like death. 

Until next time...



"It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself." --Joyce Maynard

I am currently fighting an inner battle with myself and a more noticeable battle with my 7 year old precious angel, Gavin. As a parent, you always want what is best for your child. Luckily I grew up in a home with a loving father and mother who at times I felt were too strict and had too many rules. It wasn't until I became a parent myself that I finally realized why they did the things they did.

Being a parent isn't about buying your child everything they could possibly want. It isn't about rewarding your child for good behavior with a video game.  It isn't a contest to see who can be the favorite. Unfortunately my child does not see it that way.  I can't help but blame myself for this.  When I was pregnant with Gavin, I made my mind up that I would graduate college with a bachelors degree.  From January of 2004- August 2008, I was enrolled as a full time student in college.  I worked through college as well.  The entire time I kept telling myself this would all be worth it one day because if I would be able to provide for Gavin when he got older.  Little did I know that at the age of 7 my sweet little angel who I love with my entire heart and soul would one day "hate me" for not being the fun parent. Yesterday Gavin broke my heart into a million pieces by saying things to me that a 7 year old would not normally say.  If I spoke to my mother the way Gavin spoke to me yesterday, my Daddy would have "jerked my tail up" and made me apologize to my mother.  With Gavin, I can't do that.... he is only repeating what he has overheard.  With Gavin, if I hurt his feelings or he doesn't get what he wants... he automatically requests to "go home" and starts telling me how terrible of a mother I am and how much he loves his Daddy and he can't wait until he no longer has to see me.  Coming from my sweet little baby... this rips my heart out every time.  For those of you who knew the struggles I had with my pregnancy, you probably understand why this breaks my heart so much.

Yesterday I reached a point where I had enough.  I told Gavin I loved him and if he doesn't want to spend time with me just because I won't shower him with gifts or take him everywhere he wants to go... that's fine. I tried to explain to him that "giving him things" isn't what being a parent is about.  He then tried to argue that his Daddy loves him more than me.  I looked at him with tear filled eyes, shook my head, and walked out of the room.  I shut myself in the bathroom and cried my eyes out to the point where I couldn't cry anymore. While I was in the bathroom, Gavin cried and screamed "I want my Daddy. I hate you! I don't like being here!" I pray that one day when Gavin is older he will understand.  I don't want him to know all of the details. I just want him to understand why I had to move out. I want him to understand why I always had homework. I want him to understand why I couldn't afford to take him everywhere he wanted to go. I want him to understand what a healthy relationship is.  I want him to understand what a happy marriage is.  Maybe once he understands those things... things will be different. Until then, I just have to pray. I have to rely on God for the strength I need to get through this trying time.

What else is going on with me?  Well personally I want someone to lose my cell phone number.  Funny how alcohol sometimes makes you want to text someone you shouldn't, right? I cannot even believe I am allowing this to bother me, but I just don't understand why someone would treat another human being the way I was treated.  Just when I thought I was over it and putting the pieces to my shattered heart and soul back together, I get these stupid text messages.

Needless to say, my weekend was not as fantastic as I had hoped it would be.  I did have the chance to laugh and have fun before everything fell apart.   Jonathan made the trip to Tennessee on Friday to visit and meet several of my friends. Yes...he is "that boy" I referred to in one of my previous posts. Hopefully we haven't scared him off.

Until next time...


The Little Things In Life.

I woke up this morning with this throbbing pain in my head. To some, this pain may be considered a headache, but to me it is considered the beginning of the worst day ever.  Throughout my ever-so-stressful divorce process I would get these terrible headaches/ borderline migraines. This morning when I woke up feeling like poo with a throbbing head, I was slightly confused since I'm not currently under any stress.  Thank God for Excedrin (sp??)Migraine and a HUGE coffee pot! After my first cup of coffee I began to feel much better. I'm not sure if it was the caffeine or the fact I have discovered French Vanilla liquid coffee creamer is a gift from the heavens above.  Either way, I felt much better. 

After my coffee pick-me-up, I drove to Lynchburg to meet my Daddy to sign some papers for my Corolla.  Driving to Lynchburg was absolutely breath taking this morning.  What an amazing gift from God! The snow on the hills off of Hwy 82 was just beautiful. If I could've figured out a way to drive 55mph and take a photo with my phone, I probably would've taken a million photos. IT. WAS. BEAUTIFUL. 

Probably the best part of my morning was the moment I got out of my car and saw my Daddy.  I am a total Daddy's girl and throughout the last few months I have depended/ leaned on my Daddy so much. He has made sure his little girl is taken care of and I thank God daily (sometimes twice daily) for the support I have from my parents.  We were in a slight rush since both of us had to get to work soon, but for those brief 15 minutes, I was excited to see my Daddy.  It is so hard to believe I felt the need to push my parents out of my life just a little over a year ago.  In hindsight, I almost feel ashamed for taking that time for granted. There are so many people in this world who have lost their mom, dad, or both parents and here I was pushing my own parents out of my life. How selfish of me. 

Until next time...


The Beginning of a Good Thing

"I don't know where this is going,
but it sure feels right..."

I recently discovered Steel Magnolia.  The quote at the beginning of this blog is a verse from their song "Last Night Again".  If you haven't heard it, you should definatly check it out.  That verse is by far my favorite part of the entire song.  It kinda rings true to my current situation. I have no idea where this is going, but oh my goodness it sure feels right...for once.

What. A. Weekend.  I still get that warm, fuzzy feeling when I reflect back on the weekend.  Saturday morning began with Gavin's first basketball game of the season. He was such a little man out there! He stole the ball a few times, scored four points, and even grabbed a few rebounds.  I tried so hard to control myself and not jump up and down everytime he did something, but it was just too hard. I couldn't sit down. I ended up standing most of the game and cheering for him.  I tried to keep it under control so I wouldn't be considered the annoying mom.  Gavin even agreed that I wasn't too annoying. Mission accomplished.

After the excitement of Gavin's game, I began packing my last minute items for my highly anticipated road trip to the great state of Alabama. At 2pm Caity, Ashley, and I were in the car singing Jason Aldean at the top of our lungs and laughing.  It was such a fun 2 hour drive! Once we finally arrived at our destination, I went though a moment of "oh my goodness. How am I ever going to make it through the evening?". I was a nervous wreck! I don't know what I would have done if Caity and Ashley weren't there with me!  As the night progressed, the nervousness slowly passed and I was able to take in every moment. 

Ashley made a comment on Facebook today that read : " I just LOVE you! and it's now your time to SHINE! :)"   I could not agree more.  I have been in so many unhealthy, one sided relationships where I gave everything I had and rarely got anything in return.  From crying myself to sleep and hoping I would wake up to at least a text that said "hi"  to the nights of being ignored because it isn't cool to text when you're with the guys to spending night after night wondering why it is so easy for someone to treat another human being the way I have been treated by so many people in my past.  Don't get me wrong. I am comfortable enough with myself to be completely ok with being single. I don't need a male in my life to "complete" me or make me feel important. With that being said,  I do see so many of my friends in happy relationships and I can't help but think "Hmm... I wonder what that feels like?"  So here's to a New Year. Maybe it is my time to shine? Maybe this is part of growing up? I had to go through the storm before I could experience the rainbow. Trust me. I do realize how cheesy that sounds, but I don't really know how else to explain it.

 If you haven't figured out by now... There's this boy... and well I don't know where it's going but it sure feels right.  :) 

Until next time....


Finding Inner Happiness- Pieces to the Kari Puzzle

"Being happy is something you have to learn. I often surprise myself by saying "Wow, this is it. I guess I'm happy. I got a home I love. A career that I love. I'm even feeling more and more at peace with myself." If there's something else to happiness, let me know. I'm ambitious for that, too."
- Harrison Ford

A few months ago a friend told me that before I could expect myself to be happy in a relationship, I had to first be happy with myself.  This advice not only applies to relationships with members of the male gender, but also relationships with friends and family.  It is so hard to believe that there was a point in my life where I felt the need to shut people out just because I was so unhappy with myself.  I allowed myself to become someone I did not even know.  I was unhappy with my decisions. I questioned everything I did.  I tried to fill a void with unhealthy relationships with people who did not even deserve my time.  The crazy thing is, my best friend of 17 years told me time and time again that I deserved better. I was settling for what I felt was what I needed to make myself "happy" and could not even see for myself that I was actually bringing myself down.  After tears, stress, heartbreak, and prayer after prayer after prayer... and of course leaning on great friends, I finally realized.

Moving forward from my realization,  I had to discover Kari.  I had to sit alone in my apartment and cry sad, lonely tears on Friday nights.  I had to wake up and feel completely empty and used.  I had to go to the movies alone.  I had to go out to eat by myself. I had to learn to be alone.  At my rock bottom point, I realized what was missing in my life.  I grew up in church. My parents took me to church every Sunday for the 21 years and 11 months I lived with them unless I was sick.  Somewhere between the age of 21 and 25 I put my relationship with God on the back burner. I quit attending church on a regular basis and started making excuses.  About a month ago I realized the only way I could get myself out of my funk was to "let go and let God".  I had to turn my troubles over to God. The Sunday morning after I finally realized this, I woke up, got dressed, grabbed my Bible, and went to church. I didn't know anyone at the church I chose to attend that Sunday, but by the end of the service, I had met a few friendly faces. I listened oh so closely to the message and I felt so relieved and whole after the service. It was almost like that was a piece of me that had been missing. I wanted to hear more, so I called my parents and invited them to attend the Sunday night service with me. That night, my parents drove 30 minutes to Shelbyville just to go to church with me. I am still working on my relationship with God. I know He is still working on me though.  I know He has a plan for me and I shouldn't stress or worry. 

After placing my trust with God, I was able to work on my relationship with my family and friends. A simple "good morning" text can put a smile on someone's face, so I made it a point to send "good night" or "good morning" texts to friends.  I started calling my parents more. I stopped sitting at home alone and instead went home to Lynchburg to be with my family.  Surrounding myself with positive people who love me was just what I needed.  :)

So here I am today, January 7, 2011.  I am at a happy place in my life. I wake up and cannot wait to see what amazing things the day has in store for me. I thrive on the happiness of others. If someone tells me I made them laugh or smile, it warms my heart. It makes me happy to know I made someone else happy. I still have things about myself that I need to work on. I do have weaknesses, but I know for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am happy. Words cannot even begin to explain the warmth I feel inside each morning when I wake up. 

Until next time...


2 More Days!

Sigh.  Thank goodness today has not been quite as crazy as Monday- Wednesday of this week! The week has finally calmed down and I can actually breathe... and blog! :) 

Oh my. I have so many positive things going on in my life right now! It is so hard to believe this is MY life! I am the happiest I've been in a very long time. I have the most amazing friends. I have a fantastic job. I have a supportive family. The most important thing is I'm working on "repairing" my relationship with God. :)

Yesterday my dad surprised me with the purchase of a new (to me) car! I'm the proud owner of a 2004 Toyota Corolla (almost). I am beyond excited since a new car is something I have been in the market for over the past several months.  Isn't it funny how God works sometimes?  Just last week as I was working on my budget, I thought to myself, "I am going to need a car soon, but I just don't know if now is the right time for it."  I thought long and hard about it and prayed about it and yesterday that door opened for me thanks to my  Father and of course my loving and supportive Daddy.  

Tonight my brother will be coming over for some much needed brother/ sister hang out time while we eat pizza and watch the MTSU game on ESPN.  I am beyond excited about spending time with my brother. Our lives have gone in crazy directions over the last three years, and we haven't been able to see each other as much as I wish we could.

The Road Trip. Oh the road trip. Well the hotel is booked, the plans are falling into place, and I'm so excited! Not once have I thought this is a bad idea.  Usually when I do spontaneous things I have a moment of "Wait a minute. Do I really need to do this?".  Not this time.  We will see how it goes.

Until next time...


Manic Wednesday

Let's face it. When I was younger all I could think about was, "Man I can't wait to be older so I can do whatever I want."  Now that I'm older, I can do whatever I want as long as the bills are paid, the laundry is put away, and I actually have the time.  Now that I'm older, I have this thing called a career that takes up 40-45 hours of my life each week and a little boy who is constantly involved in sports that require me to drive too fast from Mboro to Shelbyville 2-3 times a week. So basically now that I'm older, I have more responsibilities, less time, but maybe a little bit more money?  This grown up nonsense is totally overrated!  I'd give anything if I could go back and tell 16 year old Kari to take in every moment and not wish her life away.  Oh to be 16 again!!  Sigh.

This week has been absolutely crazy.  I should probably be doing something productive instead of blogging, but to be quite honest, I needed a change of scenery for a moment. The week started with me trying to catch up from the holidays at work while also attempting to book a hotel for my much anticipated and potentially life changing (err...that sounds creepy. I know.) road trip this weekend.  I will admit I felt very relieved when I printed my Expedia confirmation; however, I also suddenly felt nervous/ anxious/ excited all at the same time.  Hopefully the road trip will go well and I will be able to blog more about it later, but for now the only important detail is... I'm going on a road trip. What did Tuesday bring? Well Tuesday felt like Monday. It was hectic. Gavin had basketball practice Tuesday night, which should've been a happy time, but for some reason I still feel awkward amongst all of the basketball parents because they are all older than me and most of them know Micah. I'm now labeled as "the ex wife".  I'm sure the title will grow on me soon enough, but for now it still makes me feel icky on the inside. I'd prefer to just be known as "Gavin's mom".

So here's to a Manic Wednesday.  The week is slowing down, but at the same time I'm in such a frenzy trying to get myself prepared for this road trip! Hopefully by Saturday my nerves will be calmed. Ahhhh.

Until next time...


A Fresh Start for 2011?

New Year? New Kari? Maybe not.

Eh. This year I'm staying away from a new years resolution. I never stick to one anyway, so I might as well go ahead and save myself from the disappointment, right? I think so.  So what am I going to do in this New Year? Heck.  My divorce was final (thank God) on December 17th.  I'm finally Kari Neal again. *breathes sigh of relief as rubbing left ring finger*  Don't get me wrong. I'm not running around celebrating at all hours of the night and parading around announcing my newly discovered freedom from the bonds of marriage. I've taken time to cry, pout, be depressed...and eventually get over it. 

The first step was to realize this isn't the end of the world. So what? I'm 25 and have a 7 year old. If it is in God's plan for me to be single the rest of my life, I'm ok with that. If God's plan is to send someone into my life to sweep me off of my feet, I'm ok with that too.  I'm not going to dwell on which will actually happen. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy. 

In 2011 I'm going to continue doing what I was doing at the end of 2010. I'm going to be the happiest I've ever been. I'm going to text/ call friends and family almost daily.  I'm going to learn to embrace my time by myself and enjoy my time with Gavin.  So really there isn't going to be a new Kari in 2011.... there's just going to be a continuance of the Kari we all knew years ago... Happy Kari.