It’s not as bad as it seems!

Published August 20, 2014 by countstars1

Sometimes, you just need your own quiet reminder that it’s really NOT as bad as it seems.  Today mine was the illustration proudly hanging on the fridge that I have decided to title, ‘The Whistle’.  That’s right.  It really ISN’T as bad as it seems.  My youngest princess did not proudly draw a boy with the correct anatomy and flaunt it to her friends the day after she was caught in the bathroom with a boy classmate last year.  It’s just Mike Wazowski’s whistle (“oops, I forgot to draw the string around his neck, Mommy”)!

I am absolutely the worst at remembering it really isn’t as bad as it seems.  Ya, stuff gets bad.  But it could always be worse.  Breathe, and go live.  Love to you all!




Today’s Plus 1’s

Published March 10, 2014 by countstars1


+1 – sunshine
+1 – first outdoor spring run; while horribly painful and embarrassing I still think it hurt so good!
+1 – yoga; well, if you can call it that after your first outdoor run in over a year
+1 – breakfast for dinner; no explanation needed
+1 – vacuuming your entire downstairs with an old-school dirt devil; not so much a plus one as it is a plus 10…more sore muscles…
+1 – hearing one daughter say to the other “sissy, will you just come snuggle and rest with me in my bed?”

It took a long time to post something worthy, and even as I reread my list of things to be thankful for today I find myself wondering who would give a care? But I do, and I finally know why. I haven’t been able to post a Plus 1 because I have been consumed with waiting on others to give me the Plus 1’s. It took half a nervous breakdown for my DH to get me to see that they are all around ME and within ME and only I can see them for what they are. And I realized that all those Plus 1’s are just going to waste. No one else can enjoy MY Plus 1’s. I’m tired of wasting my Plus 1’s because I put my energy into fixing the Minus 1’s and searching elsewhere for the Plus 1’s. Once again, with help from the most genuine man I know, I remembered to listen. Just really listen – to myself this time. So here’s to waking up again to more sunshine and enjoying our own Plus 1’s!

Lunchbox Letters #12

Published November 25, 2013 by countstars1



Dear Girls,

Emily, are you aware that you are a 5 year old that figured out how to multiply all on your own?  Are you aware that you have a very strong desire to, let’s say, lead?  Are you aware that you have the softest skin on your arms?  That you don’t swallow when you’re lying?  Lyla, are you aware that you have made up your own language, through song and spoken words, and you actually remember them from day to day?  And you’re 4.  Are you aware that you are the only girl in this house with a normal pinkie toenail?  Did you realize that you use humor as a crutch?  It’s ok.  All of it.  It’s who you are.  In fact…

I may have more than one personality.  I may be paranoid.  Heck, I may have a diagnose-able disorder.  I’m anxiety ridden, I sometimes vomit verbal nonsense, I could even have a touch of just plain bitchiness.  I’m also a mother, a teacher, a wife, a proud Miley Cyrus fan, an exercise enthusiast, a closet girly-girl, a Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie freak, and I swear I have a bit of a sixth sense (legitimately).  Yep, I’m a complex individual. 😉  So are you.

I also spend hours upon hours psycho-analyzing everything I say and do.  And everything everyone else says and does.  AND I psycho-analyze what others may think about what I say or do.  It’s really exhausting, and a full time job.

I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I bare my soul for anyone and everyone to see.  I am a very sweet and giving person, and I feel misunderstood most of the time.  I’m also bull-headed, full of pride, and extremely unable to take a compliment.  I am aware.  I am fully aware.

Aware – having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

By the way – I LOVE that the word ‘perception’ is used in the definition.

So what do you do once you’re aware?  I don’t write this or any other blog to tell you how to live or that you’re doing it wrong.  I guess I’ve been doing this in hopes that you’ll just be aware.  Own your present feelings.  Own the good ones, the bad ones.  Own your present actions, no matter how great or how disgusting.  And move on with something that works for you.

Most of the lessons I’ve tried to present to you girls via this blog have revolved around living a loving life, living a judgment free life, and truly listening to those around you.  It took me months trying to come up with other good ideas for me to realize that these lessons in fact are for ME, and you will learn them THROUGH me, NOT by reading this blog one day.  I hope you can grow up living the examples I’ve tried to set, and I hope it’s ultimately because you are aware of who you are, what you stand for, what is going on around you, and how all those things play into each other.  How DO they play into each other, you ask?

~Girls, this part is for anyone else that may be reading.~

Let’s take Facebook as an example. Or any other social media, but FB to be sure.  Ever avoid FB because you know you just can’t take another scroll down’ November Thankful Status Lane’?  Avoid FB  because you know your feed will be full of nothing but pictures of people doing life better than you?  Ever have a great moment in your house with your own family and feel your hand involuntarily reach for your phone so you could post your pride all over FB – ASAP, or get a really cool gift or good deal that you just HAD to share with everyone?  Ever get in a kick-ass workout that would make BeachBody blush and then share it on FB…just in case you might inspire someone else (and then incessantly check it all day to tally up all the ‘likes’)?  No…just me?  Well, at least I’m aware! J

Good or bad, annoying or refreshing, Facebook and other social media reflect our Collective Conscience, which is just a fancy way of saying it reflects what is going on in the world and with the people in it as a whole.  Collectively (and individually) we have waves of good, bad, annoying, refreshing, sad, happy, peace, unrest, etc.  We all feel these things.  We all have a basic emotional need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  Social media is addicting to those of us on it because it’s an easy way to access something bigger than ourselves and to feel included…or to exclude yourself from it sometimes, too.

~Back to ya, girls.~

Anyhow, all this to say – maybe working on being judgment free, living life with love, and really listening to others doesn’t have to be a lot of work as long as you’re aware.  Be aware of your own vicious cycles.  Be aware of what really works for you in the tough times and the good times.  Be aware of those around you.  Just be aware.  You don’t have to necessarily DO anything.   Shifting your energy to just being aware.  Being present.  It may just be the catalyst you need to get through the holiday season, or past a bump in the road, or around a sticky situation.  Shoot, it may even be the catalyst that opens new doors to new friends, new hobbies, new interests, new approaches to those sticky situations…might even open your eyes to pain and suffering you didn’t know existed around you.  Trust me, it’s there in all it’s glory 100% of the time!

I really want to pick a month and dub it Awareness Awareness Month, but I think they’ve all been taken!  Until next time…


Simply, Your Mother

Lunch Box Letters #11

Published October 3, 2013 by countstars1


Dear Girls,

I’ve been on hiatus for a few weeks now from blogging.  I thought I was waiting for inspiration to hit me, but I was waiting on the wrong thing to hit me.  Actually, nothing hit me at all.  But an old grade-school friend that has recently re-entered my life as a new adult friend was hit…with the reality that your phone hitting the car window is NOT how you get what you want! 🙂 And welcome, my inspiration!  In all honesty girls, I’m pretty disappointed in myself for waiting for ‘inspiration to hit me’ rather than going out and seeking the inspiration myself.  I heard someone somewhere sometime say that you can’t ask for or pray for patience, or guidance, or forgiveness, or whatever it is you’re asking for.  Instead, they said you have to ask for opportunities to find patience, or guidance, or forgiveness, or whatever it is you’re asking for.  God, or the universe, or the ‘thing’ you are asking from couldn’t possibly just give you those things.  They are intangible.  The only way it CAN be given would be through an experience or an opportunity in your everyday life.  You just have to open yourself to the world, to…it.  Look.  Listen.  Be an active participant in your life and go after what it is you’re so desperately asking for.  There really is no other way to get it.  Lyla, you’re the one that just asked me to play, ‘Creature’.  For those people that may not be familiar with that song title, it’s because you’re used to hearing, “Preacher” (if you’re a OneRepublic fan like we are).  Anyhow, in that song he sings, ‘…God only helps those that learn to help themselves…’  I get ya.  I hear ya.  I’m pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down! Are you girls?

Love Always,

Your Realist Momma

As for you, new/old friend, NO JUDGEMENT!  🙂 haha.  I shared with you how the hole ended up in my bathroom door.  And no, I did NOT get what I wanted, either! 😉 I got inspiration from you telling me that story, because it made me think of how I was feeling and what I really was wanting when my heel met that bathroom door.  I knew right then I had to change my approach in the situation I was dealing with.  1.  What I was doing and had just done clearly wasn’t getting the job done.  2.  I knew I was acting like a crazed woman!  And 3.  Patience wasn’t something that could be wrapped with a bow and handed to me on a flipping silver platter!  I had to figure out how to be patient on my own.  And whadya know?  Our family was thrown full force into the most tumultuous time, and there truly was no other choice but to be patient as an illness and difficult recovery unfolded around us.  Just saying…I could have reacted with fear and fled from the situation, completely abandoning my own family.  Or I could have exercised the most patience I could possibly muster while being completely helpless and in no control of the situation (ya, the harder, more painful of the two options).  Of course I was going to choose the latter.  Abandoning my family as my only other option was clearly the universe/God giving me the opportunity to learn the patience needed to make it through life.  And trust me, that WAS served up with a (symbolic) ribbon on a silver platter.  I know now that I was given that opportunity to learn patience in my life not only to help my family through, but also  so that I can be what I need to be for the very special group of kiddo’s I was blessed with this year!

Now…to be patient with the two of you after a long day at school with 23 of the same aged kids…  I hope there are a lot of ribbons and platters laying around!

Today’s Plus Ones

Published September 6, 2013 by countstars1

Meet Monster Man, Banana Man, ‘Muh-tato’ Man, and Peach Man!

+1= my youngest daughter’s (aka Peach Man’s) imagination and creativity. She single-handedly gave each of her family members a new nickname…and a new complex when she drew our family portrait (see above)

+1= TLC Children’s Place for fostering such quirkiness and individuality and creativity in young minds!

+1= Monster Man’s (aka my oldest’s) ability to sit in the back of the car as quiet as can be and then reveal to us the 2 page spread of math facts she mastered…on her own! I thought she was picking her nose, honestly!

+ 1= dairy ( see below)

+1= gluten (“”)

+ 1= Muh-tato Man’s (aka Daddy’s, or my DH’s) dairy/gluten free diet. Ok, so maybe not typically a plus one. Lets be honest, for ME, it’s a negative one! But today it’s a plus. Because it lead us to the OG!

+1= The OG (Olive Garden) where dairy and gluten flow like/with wine! Muh-tato man let Banana Man choose dinner out tonight since his diet has directly effected the consumption of her two favorite things – dairy and gluten! I could have chosen something a little more high class, like Mama Carrolla’s, but with Monster Man and Peach Man in tow, the OG just made sense.

+1= The OG, again. Banana Man (aka yours truly) felt bad that Muh-tato Man wasn’t going to have much to choose from except salad and ice cubes, so when the waitress pulled out a gluten free menu, I wanted to give her the biggest Banana Man hug I could muster!

+1= family. Period. How quickly these plus ones remind me of exactly what is important to add up and what’s not!


Officially, my family!

Lunch Box Letters #10

Published August 30, 2013 by countstars1

Dear Girls,

I have been drafting and drafting letters to you about this message for weeks and just couldn’t get it to sound right.  I have to just get it out.  I feel it’s one of the most important Lunch Box Letters I could write to you, but I don’t have anything cute or witty to say about it.  Shocked?  I know, me too! 🙂

Anyhow, I’ve been toying with this idea of ‘truth’ and how it applies to every single individual on this planet differently.  Truth is actually quite a tricky and deceptive word, because it’s all relative.  Which clashes with the definition of truth itself.  Maybe that’s why I’ve struggled.  Maybe ‘truth’ isn’t the right word; rather, reality.  Still, everything is relative.  The message I want for you girls to receive is just that.  Truth and reality are relative.  But I feel like you can’t really receive that message or do anything with it until you’ve lived life a bit more.  I feel like this message comes with the cost of living; with the stages of development that continue through adulthood.  Yep, we can continue to develop.  Things don’t stop just because we turned 21 or got married or got a career started or x, y, and z happened.  Humans continue to develop on so many levels their entire lives, even after physical growth stops.

So while you’re living and growing and learning and developing, I’ll just share the stories that inspired this Lunch Box Letter.  Maybe they will make sense:

*It’s opening day of the school year, and all SMCSC Staff are gathered in the HS Auditorium.  The Superintendent (yes, Emily, my bosses boss) stands up to give opening statements.  Most staff members at any corporation would inwardly moan, outwardly shift in their seats, and then pretend to listen for the next few minutes.  I get excited for these same few minutes, because for the 4 years I’ve been there on opening day, the Superintendent has spoken words that truly inspired me.  The first two years, the words inspired me to do the exact opposite of what he suggested.  🙂  The last two years have inspired me more positively.  Last year we were told that all of our students are like blueberries and to sum it up – we can’t control what we’re given but are expected to make the best blueberry pies out of each and every one of them (even the bruised and battered ones).  The message was much more powerful than that, but you get the point.

This year the message was about an elderly man throwing sea stars back into the ocean one by every sad, almost dead one.  Someone asked the gentleman why he would bother (the entire beach was covered with hundreds of dried up and dying sea stars).  They asked, ‘What does it matter?’.  The old man just looked at the sea star in his hand and replied, ‘It matters to this one’ as he gently tossed it back.  Maybe that story didn’t inspire others like it did me, but it was exactly what I needed to hear.  And it’s exactly what I need to remind myself of every day when I feel the frustrations of giving the SAME directions over and over.  When I feel the aggravation of doing the same mundane tasks over and over.  When I feel the annoyance of playing the SAME Taylor Swift song over and over on the way home.  When I feel the boredom of attending something I didn’t really feel like going to, and so on.  The fact is, it matters to someone.  Big or small, old or young, something matters to someone somewhere all the time.  Large scale, like the sea stars or small-scale like someone cutting another student in line.  It matters to someone.  It’s important to someone.  IT IS THEIR TRUTH!  IT IS THEIR REALITY!  Honestly, what would happen if we just continued to look past the dried up sea stars all the time?  Just because it didn’t really matter to US or because a few dying sea stars don’t really effect US?

*I saw a story on FB recently that only solidified this message, and I knew I had to finally just write this post for you girls.  The story was about a young twenty-something that walks to work every day past a sea of homeless people.  One caught his attention often, because he always had paper, writing utensils, and books.  The young man could tell this homeless man was smart and wanted to one day get out of his desperate situation.  So he decided he would offer then man two things:  1 – money for a ticket out-of-town or food or whatever, or 2 – software coding training (that’s what this gentleman did for a living and felt he could give this guy some job skills that he could use to better himself rather than a temporary money fix).  The homeless gentleman took option 2 and the rest is history in the making.  Now, there has been a lot of criticism for the young man not directly offering him food or shelter.  But I can look beyond that and see the bigger picture.  The bigger message.  That young man looked into that sea of homeless people and new that he could do something that mattered, even if it was just for ONE of the dying sea stars.  So, people can go ahead and criticize him for a number of things, but I know that what he did was not only good, but necessary for that one homeless man, and it was an extremely powerful statement for the rest of the working and privileged world!

Girls, I hope you always have the capacity to care enough about the ‘dying sea stars’ in the world.  I hope the world cares enough about you when you’re the ‘dying sea star’.  You know Mommy and Daddy will always throw you back out into the ocean! 🙂  Couldn’t we all say the same?  Or make it a point to try?  Who wants some blueberry pie (see, Mommy knows what you got out of this message as 4 and 5 year olds)! 🙂


Your Mommy , whose Faith still remains (and forever will) in Humanity!

Lunch Box Letters #9 (+1)

Published August 23, 2013 by countstars1

treat day


Dear Girls,

Let me just tell you about the power of positive thinking, the power of counting your stars, adding up your plus ones.  Do you know what it equals?  It equals love.  It equals acceptance.  It equals understanding.  It equals the catalyst that could change a single second that could transform an attitude that could fix the day that could bleed into the next month that could mend a marriage that could help a neighbor that could better the community that could change this world!  How?  Just do it.  Be it.  Feel it.  Know it.  Listen to it.  Live it.  Don’t fight it…positive thinking, counting stars, and plus ones!  While I don’t want to burden your young, sweet hearts with the aching in this world around us that got me so down this week, I want to leave you with a post script with ‘just a few’ of the plus ones that kept your Mommy out of that dark hole we recently got out of.

I love you little booty shakers,

Your Thankful Mommy


+1 = a special lady at work who happens to enjoy this blog and sees the value in reminding me of my plus ones when I can’t count them myself ( Jenni)

+1 = a great Kindergarten teacher right next door that ‘knows what it’s like’ and has offered any assistance she could possibly give up to me (another special lady named Jennifer)

+1 = a brand new teacher who took time out of HER crazy stressful day just to offer a hug (Molly, I can’t even begin to tell you how well you are doing)

+1 = your teacher, Emily, for not being afraid to discipline a friend and co-teacher’s daughter…I knew she would be a vital part in your growth and maturity this year (Amanda, we love you)

+1 = You, Emily, for being willing to share your lunch (and break the rules) so that your best friend could have food when hers spilled on the floor (friends that share food share germs, too, right Jenny?)

+1 = a new friend and co-worker that has opened her heart to my school babies and to me as we try to navigate this interesting classroom together (Ashley, really, you are a God-send)

+1 = ALL the new and old assistants that are greatly underappreciated, especially during the first few weeks of school

+1 = a principal that can look past the sad, stressed, and worried face and offer up the right words… “The Power of Positive Thinking!”

+1 = an assistant principal that can see past the actual tangible and measurable obstacles teachers face and remember to ask the PERSON that is teaching the children how THEY are doing…and really listen when they explode with the truthful answer!

+1 = your daddy, Scott, for daily check-in texts, special treats, morning routine help, and most importantly for the work he has put into himself so that he can put work into our family

+1 = your Meano and Nana for always knowing when to ask if we need help, giving it AND THEN SOME, and checking back in when everyone else has moved on

+1 = neighbors and friends that openly share ideas and offer help for dietary food obstacles, birthday ideas, parenting advice, homework help,  etc….you never know the burden you are taking off of someone just by asking…

+1 = the TLC Staff for making it a point to chase after Nana one night at pick-up just to say that you, Lyla, had a GREAT day!

+1 = students that look at me with unfiltered sincerity, raise their hand, and simply say, “I love you, Mrs. Holbert!”

+1 = a surprise treat on my desk when I arrived at work on a day that I woke up not knowing if I could actually show my face there again

+1 = the friends that know me well enough and have listened to me well enough to know that a Mellow Yellow and a Reese’s was all I needed to face the day’s challenges

+1 = honesty, even when the truth stings.  Because when you listen, really listen to the truth, good will ALWAYS come.

+1 = second chances.  No matter who or what it’s for.

+1 = one of my BFF took a HUGE leap and began to take a long hard look at her health and what she can do to make her life one of quality.  I LOVE YOU, girl!

+1 = the ability to stand up, dust yourself off, and take another stab at it

I CANNOT SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH TO THE STAFF AND FAMILY AT MRE…not just for being tons and tons of my plus ones, but because we are ALL a lot of plus ones to a lot of kids and families and each other, even when we have no idea that’s what we’re doing.

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