No is not a bad word.

I’ve been quiet in the blog world. Mainly because I haven’t had much to say. Shocker I know. Several clients have mentioned recently they missed my blogs, so I dug deep.

I meet all kinds of people in my industry. One pretty common denominator has been we are all tired. Run ragged. Exhausted. Feeling like there’s nothing left to give. How did we get here? It’s because we are too afraid to say no anymore. Too afraid we will damage our children. Too afraid we will be passed up for a job opportunity. Too afraid we won’t be liked. We are crumbling quickly.

Telling our children no is important to their development. This isn’t a world that we get everything we want. I don’t know about you, but I’m told no often in life. Telling them yes to every whim is going to set them up for failure and disappointment. So really you’re doing them a favor by saying no. My kids adapted well. Now they just ask Dad. Haha seriously though, they have stopped asking as often and accept no quite easily.

Taking all of the responsibility at work and being a yes man will only pile up. “If you won’t, we will find someone that will” is a common threat. What if you said no anyway? The thing is, we are becoming slaves to our jobs. We give our all 40+ hours a week and come home spent. I know when I started my business, I never said no. I was so afraid if I couldn’t get someone in they’d go somewhere else. That I’d never build. I was pouring my heart and soul into my business and missing out on my children. I had to find balance. I started saying no. I found that most understood and were willing to wait. Some didn’t and that’s ok. I still built my business and grow daily.

It doesn’t matter what you do for people, saying yes and building a friendship on yes isn’t going to make them loyal to you. It makes them loyal to their need of you. Use no and set boundaries. It’s ok to not be liked by everyone. You will never be able to please everyone. THAT IS OK. You do what you can do, do your best, and rest easy at night in the fact that you’ve done all you can do. I’ve had many “friends” that were only around if I was giving. Sometimes I have nothing left to give. They all ditched me. It was heartbreaking at the time. Then I realized that I didn’t need that in my life. God did me a favor by removing those people. They sucked the life out of me. Now I set boundaries. I say no. I do what I can do.

Saying no is hard. Once you start setting boundaries for yourself, you will be amazed at the peace you create in your life. Take care of you, and start by not accepting less than you deserve. Life is so very precious and it ends so suddenly. Don’t waste your precious hours being a slave to anyone or any thing!

Psalm 146:14

He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat.

In love,

Mama H


Things I would tell the young me…

1) You will not know it until much later in life, but you are worth so much more than you give yourself credit for.

2) Date all the boys. Have fun and don’t settle down. You will not be an old maid if you’re not married by age 22.

3) Date all the boys, but don’t love them all. Don’t give yourself to the ones that don’t deserve you. Most of them you meet won’t deserve you.

4) See the world. Life gets so much harder when you have children and settle down…travel as much as you can before you put down roots somewhere.

5) You will not believe how much you change from age 20-30. Don’t get married until you’re 30. It works for some, but it won’t for you.

6) Read more. Learn as much as humanely possible about everything! Don’t settle on just one subject. The world is full of wonder and you can find it in a book.

7) Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. You most certainly can. The deciding factor is how badly you want it.

8) Love yourself in your own skin. The self loathing and hatred is exhausting…stop it now.

9) Your parents aren’t always right.

10) Be responsible with money. Learn it if you don’t know how.

11) Pay your debts in a timely manner.

12) Keep extra toilet paper in the bathroom always. Use a roll replace a roll.

13) Quit seeking the approval of others.

14) Show compassion and empathy. There isn’t enough of it in this world.

15) Marry the nerd.

16) Don’t ever be in a position that you can’t support yourself.

17) No is not a bad word and doesn’t need an explanation. No.

18) Get close to God. He loves you perfectly and unconditionally. He will never steer you wrong.

19) Buy the outfit.

20) Be friends with everyone.

21) Share your story.

22) Your struggles are your testimony. Your testimony will bring someone to their knees. Remember that when you are in darkness.

23) Things that seem earth shattering today, likely will not be next week. Breathe.

24) Remember what it’s like to be young. Don’t lose all of the innocence of childhood.

25) Spend time with old people. They will teach you much!

26) Keep your circle full of people that are goal oriented and motivated. Don’t let negativity in your circle.

27). Little boys are disgusting. Prepare yourself bc God has a sense of humor and you will live with several.

27) It’s going to be ok.

What would you tell your younger self? I’d love to read your notes!

This morning I woke up to tragedy. My alarm went off at 615. I picked it up to hit snooze when a message caught my eye. All I could see was “please pray” and I thought what the heck kinda chain mail is she sending me in the middle of the night?! I was awake enough to read it at that point. I clicked the link and the rest of the message read “this was my son involved in the train vs car accident. Please pray!” My heart sank as I wrote her back. I clicked on the link that was attached to see a car mangled beyond repair being towed off. I cried for her. What a tragic event. As I scrolled down to read the comments, I was blown away at lack of compassion. Out of 88 comments, 86 of them were saying what and idiot it was for trying to out run the train, people don’t pay attention to crossing arms, everyone in a hurry blah blah blah.

Wow. Why have we become a country so quick to judge? What if he was at a place in his life that he wanted to end it? What if he wasn’t trying to outrun the train? What if he didn’t survive this? Thankfully there was a witness and she states she didn’t see the lights or remember the crossing arms coming down, and honestly thought it must be the tracks behind them because none of the warnings were there. She looked up to see his car be slammed. But instead of reading THAT comment, everyone hastily wrote their sorry ass opinion of what a dumb mistake this was.

I get it. Earlier this week, I saw a truck smashed in from rear ending a car and I immediately thought they were obviously texting and driving. A split second later I looked down to adjust my air and glanced up in time to miss my own rear ending fate. God got all up in my business. Let me know real quick that a simple blink of an eye will change your fate. I decided at that moment to stop thinking the worst or assuming I know what’s what bc I definitely don’t.

Because everyone is so quick to judge anymore, we have become a society that is full of anxiety and worried to death about what someone else will think. Our entire lives are lived like we are in reality tv. And we kind of are. Heaven forbid something happens and you wind up a YouTube sensation. I am on my best behavior at all times bc I’m terrified to wind up the butt of youtubes jokes.

I used to be that person. No one wanted to share their lives with me bc they were worried I’d judge them. That was a punch in the gut when I was told that news. It was an awful feeling because I genuinely care for people. So God knocked me right off my pedestal. He showed me real quick by putting me in the exact same situations I was quick to judge. First of all, you can’t give advice on things you haven’t lived through. You don’t know what you’d really do in a situation until you’re face to face with it. Second of all, I failed miserably and didn’t follow any of my advice when faced with my own issues.

Let’s lay off the judgment button guys. Your opinion doesn’t help anyone get through their tough times if it isn’t out of true love. Thank God Rafael survived and isn’t a vegetable. It’s mind blowing to me that he is even conscious today. From what I’m hearing, he’s ok…banged up and in a lot of pain. Let’s pour out some love for him and everyone else. There’s too much negativity in the world, don’t be a contributor!

If you would like to help, please consider donating. He has a long road ahead of him and won’t be working for a while.

I love you all!

Mama H

Living happily ever after. Or are we?!

Being a divorced mom married to a divorced dad has been an adventure that is not for the faint of heart. It has taught me many things. We are just winging it really, but continuously have issues arise. I’d like to share my point of view.

Moms. Being a mom is the almost the toughest job on the planet. Being a working mom is even harder. When you add in being a single working mom, it’s nearly impossible. But we do what we have to do to get by. What I don’t understand is how moms refuse to share the responsibility. Now I am a mom with an ex husband. I would love nothing more than for him to step up. Spend time with his kids. It is very rare that I tell him no if he wants them. You see, these kids wouldn’t be here without him. I no more “own these kids” than he does. They’re not just mine. Yet most moms view the children as “mine” and going to dads is equivalent to going to spend the night with a friend. I’m begging for my ex husband to get these kids once in a while, yet begging the ex wife for more time with the other kid. It shouldn’t be this way. It should really be equal. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that it’s a fight on either side. It’s insane. Back off a little moms. Give the guy a little room to breathe so he can have a fair chance at being a dad.

Dads. Guys you need to do some thinking. Your ex wife is robbing you blind in child support. You never get to see your kids. She’s just a controlling bitch all the time. Right? Well think about this. Your ex has to house those children you created. She likely has to work to survive. She has bills to pay too and undoubtedly they pertain to YOUR children. Child support helps cover that. The food your kids eat. The roof over their head. That shouldn’t fall on her shoulders alone. It surely doesn’t cover the middle of the night vomit all over the bed. The seemingly endless doctors visits. The clothes that they constantly need because they grow so fast. It doesn’t cover lost time at work because someone got sick at school. It doesn’t cover consoling heartbroken children. And not that moms should be paid to do that, but moms are breaking their backs to raise these kids while you get every other weekend. She’s controlling because she’s trying to raise good humans that succeed in this crap world. Seeing them every other weekend hardly constitutes a say in their schedule. But you deserve a say! Have you considered doing things semi close to her way to keep the schedule on track? I know I’ve only asked my kids go to bed earlier on school nights and they get a shower. Neither of which happen. I’m the bad guy.

If we could be mature enough to set our differences aside and focus on parenting children like mature adults, our kids would go so much further in this world. We have the opportunity to teach them such great lessons in this divorced blended life, yet we don’t. They could learn patience, acceptance, how to deal with change, how to deal with chaos, love, and compromise. All are valuable lessons. But most of us are too hard headed and focused on what’s in it for ourselves to be able to move forward. I encourage you to step back and see what you could bend on to make the lives of our kids better. I’m sure you won’t regret it, and neither would they!

In love,

Mama H

But I’m scared.

Fear. Fear is a terrible feeling. Heart pounding, high anxiety mind racing body paralyzingly fear. It’s nauseating to think about. There are so many kinds of fear, so it’s inevitable you’ll feel it at one point or another in your lifetime. The strongest and bravest do. My dealings with fear have been countless. A few of my encounters may encourage you to be brave, or they’ll tell you stay still because Amber is a lunatic. Either way maybe it’ll help.

From 2005-2010, I was pretty happy in my career. I was scheduling and getting insurance approvals for plastic surgeons. I felt part of something big and important. I was helping to change lives. At the time, my hairdresser kept encouraging me to join her in the hair industry. I thought she was crazy. After all, I had a real job. At the end of 2010, I did not like the person I became. My job was literally draining every ounce of me and being a mom when I got home was the last thing I wanted to do. My aunt and husband pushed and pushed for me to jump ship. I’d never not held a job since I was 15. How could I become completely dependent on my husband?! But I jumped. January 2011, I started cosmetology school. It was the best decision I’d ever made in my life. But SCARY. A whole new level of scary. I was leaving a steady job to start a new career that was full of uncertainties.

I finished hair school and knew I had chosen the right field for me. Or maybe it chose me? Either way, I was determined to make it work. I worked a second job while building my clientele. I found myself becoming too busy at the shop to hold them both, so one had to go. I chose the call center of course. Another paralyzingly fear. I was going to be strictly self employed. There was no guarantees I’d survive. I prayed hard. God, if I jump please let me at least cover my booth rent. Don’t let me fail my best friend and miss booth rent. He provided just as he promised and my fear was for nothing.

Three years ago, I asked my husband to leave. I had no idea how I’d make it, but I knew I couldn’t stay together. He said no. My fear let me cave to him. Fear of not being able to support myself and three children. Fear of raising them alone. Fear. So I let him fill me full of promises to be better. Five short months later we were right back to being the old crappy married couple. Fear would not rule. He left as I stood my ground.

Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant. Fear. I’d just gotten strong enough to attempt raising three. I couldn’t be paralyzed with this. There was nothing to do but move forward. And I did. We all did. We became a big family. Fear struck again and again as my life continuously flipped upside down at every corner. I married his father despite my fears of being miserable in marriage. I supported this entire family on just my income despite my fear of falling on my face as a hairdresser. Most weeks, I’m the primary breadwinner.

Here’s what I’ve learned about facing your fears…God pushes you to move outside of your comfort zone because a) He has something much greater for you in store, and b) He is confirming your trust in Him. If God is pushing you to move and you’re staying still, you’re not fully trusting in His plan for you. For me, the scarier the situation seems, the more blessed I am when I actually face my fears. Also, I’ve been able to see exactly how strong I am. I didn’t need anyone to get me through. I was relying on the crutch of a dead end job to pay my bills because it was a sure thing. I was relying on a dead end husband to support us because I didn’t have faith in myself or God.

God has never let me fall flat on my face. Even when my ex husband and I lost everything. If you are facing a hard decision and have faith, I encourage you to rest on Him. Lay it at His feet and ask Him to be your light in the darkness. You won’t regret it. My life has completely turned around and I’m in a place I never ever imagined I’d be.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not for I am with you.

In love,

Mama H

Reaction changing, mind growing.

I am a person who FREAKS OUT. Like downward spiraling end of the world my life is over kind of freaking out. I'm finding this is pretty common in my group of friends. Fortunately, my husband knows when I'm panicking and he starts hovering and consoling like one of those thunder shirts for dogs. It's nice. Ha! Anyway, I'm trying to take my husbands advice. There are also a lot of great tools and tips on Pinterest for calming yourself down from a panic attack.

Yesterday I sat in my car bawling my eyes out. Too many people came at me wanting money, I'm overwhelmed about this class I'm taking, we always seem to have baby mama drama, and my babysitters fell through for tonight. So I sat and cried because what the hell else is there to do when the world is crashing down on you?! What's funny is, just last week I told my husband I'm proud of us and starting to feel secure about where we are in life. Then bam. Everything is doomed and we will never make it. (In my head anyway). So how do you see the light?! Once I finally pulled myself up out of the car I was able to think clearly. A) I can only give what I can give. B) this class is not even something to get worked up over. C) it's ok for someone to not like me…even if it's a baby mama. I know I'm doing all the right things and I can sleep easy at night knowing that I'm doing what is best for my family. D) the sitter thing was worked out in no time. So in hindsight, my meltdown helped the situation in no way at all. Had I just sat and thought rationally I could've worked it all out right then and a meltdown would've been avoided completely.

Changing your reaction to things is really something you have to practice and work at. It's probably something that is never truly perfected. We have a fight or flight sense naturally coursing through us. It's activated during turmoil. Mines more of a fight or breakdown into an emotional puddle of dramatic despair, but hey we all have our thing. The point is, when someone is in an accident we act first. Call 911, make sure everyone is ok, deal with what you're able to deal with and wait for help. You owe yourself the same courtesy. When things are hard, look around you. What's real? What's exaggerated in your head? What can you actually fix? What is completely out of your control? If it's out of your control, is freaking out going to help the situation?

Changing your thinking gives you power. It's definitely work, but worth it. I hope you all have a blessed day. ❤️

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Mama H

Learning, listening, growing…

Back from 2007-2013ish I ate a lot of fast food. Lunch and dinner. If I was running on time (that was rare) I'd also grab breakfast. I was on the go CONSTANTLY and fast food was just quicker. I was so sluggish. My tongue was blistered and raw from the sodium. At the time I assumed I had mouth cancer bc I also smoked. And boy was I down on myself. I couldn't look myself in the eye when I saw my reflection in the mirror. I referred to myself as fat ass, disgusting, a whale. I was really taking great care of myself right?

When I finally had enough of being miserable, I knew to kick the weight I had to drop the fast food. What I didn't know was that I was addicted to it at that point. I loved the feeling of being so full I could pass out. I felt like I needed to feel that way to actually be done eating. I was also part of the "clean plate club". My plate had to be empty before leaving the table. I found it impossible to get up from the table if I left anything behind. It was a mental thing. Like locking the door 10 times kind of deal. When I began my journey, I realized just how many habits I picked up as a child and how they got me to where I was. What was even more alarming, was the fact I was putting those same habits onto my kids.

What I learned was these were all HABITS. I had to retrain my brain. It was ok to leave food behind. You don't have to be so full that you can't breathe to not be hungry anymore. So how do you retrain your brain? Well I soaked up as much knowledge as I could. I learned about low carb, no carb, calories, sugars. The list was endless. There are so many books out there and it was overwhelming to say the least. I tried a few of them here and there and failed miserably every time. I found myself feeling deprived, hungry, and very cranky. So I started with little things first. My first habit was to change my route to work. If it wasn't easy to swing into McDonald's for a biscuit, then I wouldn't. I packed my lunches. I changed my grocery shopping technique. I wrote lists and menus. I worked at it.

The hardest habit for me to break was the needing to feel full. I still struggle with it once in a while. One tip I picked up from the dietician recently, was to eat slow and as soon as you don't feel hungry anymore, stop eating. She said hunger is a growling stomach and empty feeling. So as soon as that goes away, get up from the table. That's helped tremendously! Also, use small plates. Trick your mind into thinking you're getting a huge plate of food, but you're actually getting in the proper serving size. Eating at restaurants has trained our brains to think we need more food. In reality, you don't need more than a happy meal size portion. Make a rule that if you're still hungry when your plate is empty, you're only allowed seconds of veggies. But remember it's ok not to clean your plate if you don't feel hunger anymore.

Start to read labels and understand what you're putting into your body. If food is ready to eat after a quick microwave, it's likely so full of sodium that it could fill up a fish tank. Sodium retains water which makes you weigh more. Not to mention it's horrible for the heart. For food to sit on a shelf or in a freezer, it has to be preserved some how. Otherwise it'd rot. To do that, you need sodium and/or sugar. So you think you're doing right by eating a nasty ol lean cuisine, but it has a ton of sodium. Counteracts your efforts. I didn't understand this for a long time. I was eating the heck out of lean cuisine and really frustrated bc nothing was happening.

Journal. Journal your heart out. Write your foods down on one side and the opposite side, write about your day. For the first week, don't change your eating habits but write down every single thing you put in your mouth and the calorie content. This will give you an idea of what you're doing as well as start you in the habit of writing. When you write about your day, pay attention to the feelings you experienced and what you were eating in the ups and downs of the day. You may find that food and feelings link together and you will need to learn to break that habit as well. Writing helps you actually see what's happening. Not to mention, it's reallllly hard to write that you ate a 400 calorie Reese cup. That's admitting to yourself that you are in the wrong. No one likes to be wrong. By that I mean we often say "I'm doing everything I can to lose weight and it just won't happen". Then bam, there's the 400 calorie Reese cup every day and you're not actually doing all you can.

Stop being on a diet. When you say "no thanks I'm on a diet" to someone, their response is usually a sad "oh" like poor you. It's not that they're a jerk, but being on a diet sucks and people feel sorry for you. Which in turn triggers the feeling of depravation. Which can set you back. Far. So you need to convince you're brain you're living a healthy lifestyle. Be excited about it. "Oh, no thanks for the cookies" is plenty enough of a response. No need to explain anything else. And if you do feel the need to explain yourself, try "Oh no thank you. I'm in a healthy eating competition and I'm so close to winning this week!" Turns the whole thing around!

Be kind to yourself. You simply cannot be ugly to yourself all day and expect your body to perform well in return. Weigh ONE time at the beginning of your journey to get a baseline. Then get rid of your scale completely. Weighing multiple times a day or week is detrimental to your success. It was for me. If I weighed in and lost weight I'd relax and not be so focused. If I didn't lose weight or worse, gained, I'd binge out of control in a frenzy of self loathing and pity. Ditch the scale. You're not on a diet anyway and you're focusing on getting healthy. Focusing on weight changes the whole thing. Instead take pictures. Lots of them. Compare them because you will see more change there than anywhere. Also watch your clothes. They'll start getting loose before you know it.

Exercise. Do something simple just to get moving. Start off with promising yourself a 20 min walk each evening just to clear your head and have some downtime. You will find that it helps relieve depression, makes you feel accomplished, makes making healthy choices easier. You're working and you don't want to ruin it by eating crap food. Before you know it, you'll crave more than 20 mins. Exercise doesn't have to be horrible. You shouldn't dread it. I loathe the treadmill. It makes me sick to think about getting on it. But I do love dancing! So I found a YouTube channel that's like Zumba. I dance in my living room for free. I also like to walk the kids and dog. It tires them out and gives me more quiet time! So make time for yourself bc it benefits you tremendously.

Don't deprive yourself. Eating a Reese cup is not the end of the world. I don't know if I made it obvious or not, but I LOVE Reese cups. Especially the big cups. Damn they're good. So every once in a while I indulge. And I don't allow myself to feel guilty. Obviously I can't eat them every day (though I definitely could), but food isn't an enemy. That's giving it too much power. Consume the thing you love once a week. But make sure you're doing all the right stuff along with it. Definitely don't feel guilty about it!

Get in your water. I love Diet Coke. Not bc I think it'll make me thin, but I love the flavor. So if I'm going to have a Diet Coke, I don't allow myself to drink it until I've had all my water for the day. Many things happen when you drink your water. Your skin, hair, and nails all look better. You eventually learn the difference between thirst and hunger. You will find that you don't crave the bad stuff as often! It's just good for you. And you want to be good to yourself, right?

Surround yourself with people that are goal oriented and supportive. Ditch the negativity. Follow inspiring and uplifting people/groups on Facebook. When your inner circle changes, you'll be amazed at how successful you can become in all things. Your mind starts to think differently and you start behaving differently. You stop accepting anything that makes you feel less than.

Recently a good friend of mine asked me if weight loss was really this mental. It absolutely is. Every single tip I posted was about tricking your brain and creating new habits. Otherwise it'd be easy and everyone would be healthy! I'm still learning and growing from this journey. I'm 4 years into it and it's still hard some days. Mainly bc I'm insanely stubborn. (Don't tell my husband I actually admit to this). I've found that doing this the slow was has been best for me. Learning about my thoughts and feelings rather than hide from them, have helped me create long term habits. Think of this new journey as a long Sunday drive. No finish line, just striving for health and happiness.

3 John 1:2
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all my go well with you, even a your soul is getting along well.

In love,
Mama H