Disconnect to Connect

I know…I’ve been MIA from posting my inner thoughts since June…JUNE, PEOPLE!

I got completely wrapped up in wedding plans; working to pay for those plans and then coaching my group of cheerleaders in between all the craziness life brings.

I finally have a moment to breathe!! And then life starts back when the New Year kicks in and it’s a never ending cycle.

I did want to pause for a moment and reflect. Not necessarily on the past “year” just because it’s now 2018 but just in general. Something that stuck out to me just last night was this:

Society nowadays stays so wrapped up in social media and how you appear to others on every platform the internet provides. Myself included.

I post quite often. About cheer, hair, Casey and anything else that I think “oh I have to show everyone this!” I love to use those outlets to brag on Casey and the many things he does for me. I genuinely feel he’s the best thing I’ll ever have in my life.

But I really had to stop and ask myself:

“When’s the last time you actually told Casey face to face you love and appreciate him? Not using social media to do it, using your words and verbally telling him?”

It really was almost like a slap in the face; a huge wake up call!

I think so many people get so wrapped up in the game of “who’s doing what”, using social media platforms to keep an eye on everyone else, we forget to look at ourselves and what’s going on in our own lives.

Take the time to express how you feel to others: face to face; write a letter; make a phone call. Step back from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and really communicate with people.

Time is short-don’t waste it with your face stuck in the internet. Come up for some fresh air every once in a while!


5 Big DON’TS Every Stylist Knows

After starting my career 6 years ago, as with anything else, you learn things the hard way. And to be really honest, there are still times when I make the rookie mistakes that even the most seasoned stylist may slip up and do.

I got to thinking, after realizing I’d committed TWO of these things last week at work, I just need to share all that’s come to mind. Because here’s the truth: 

It had been a while since I’d had a vacation and my brain was fried…The struggle is real, people. Saturday was the first day of my family vacation and it was so needed. 

5 Big DON’TS Every Stylist Knows:

5) DON’T Quote Prices Over the Phone: This isn’t to try and keep your pricing a big secret. For me, I have my services priced to what I think is fair for myself as the one giving the service and also to my clients, being able to come and have their hair done without breaking the bank, and I really have no problem with anyone knowing it. HOWEVER! When you price something over the phone, you literally have no clue what you’re getting into. To the client seeking an appointment, their “natural” color could actually be 3 layers of dark brown box color they’ve done at home themselves, in attempt to cover the blonde bombshell haircolor their BFF did late one night at home on a whim. Color corrective prices are VERY different from single or even double process color pricing!

4) DON’T Rush the Color Process: Stemming from the color correction service mentioned above, don’t try and squeeze a 4 hour color appointment into a mere 2 1/2 hours. There are clients with enough hair for 7 people and you’re not going to accomplish what they want that quickly and do an efficient job! Sometimes, you need to understand yourself that a haircolor your client desires may take multiple appointments, and that’s okay. Explain it to them because 9 times out of 10, they are going to appreciate the honesty and appreciate the fact that you’re keeping their hair in good condition and not frying it trying to lift them from a natural level 2 to platinum blonde in 2 hours!

3) DON’T Forget to Charge Your Clippers: I literally do this all the time. It’s such a hard concept, I know (sarcasm overload…). But when your first customer of the day is a fade, it’s pretty important to be able to use them. So the difficulty level of remembering to put them on the charger the night before should become easier as this happens to you more and more. 

2) DON’T Book a Wax As Your First Appointment of the Day: If you’re like me and get to work 10-15 minutes before your first appointment, your wax pot won’t be ready in time. I was actually saved the other morning by the fact that my wax can is almost empty and it did heat up around the edges just enough in 5 minutes that I didn’t ruin my clients day by not being ready for her. But this isn’t always the case and could be a slight problem if you’re not prepared with your products to service your client. 

All joking aside, the most important thing to remember as a stylist:

1) DON’T Forget to Take Time Off: When you get so busy and wrapped up in work, you get burnt out and that goes for any job. It’s so important you take a vacation, even if it’s just a vacation from your phone and appointment book. Take time to rest, recharge and then come back to the thing you love: making every person who sits in your chair feel like a million bucks. 

That’s it! Remembering those 5 things will make you an instant billionaire! Just kidding…it won’t do that but it will make your day to day life a lot easier in the shop! 


The 5 Things Grooms Actually Care About

So here I am, planning a wedding. And I would like to think most brides are like me and want their groom to be involved in every single detail about the big shebang. Every. Single. One.

While Casey has been great to give me feedback when I ask him questions, I can see in his eyes the truth: the things I’m asking him about really do not matter to him. Such as, our outfits for our engagement pictures. His response?

“Babe, I don’t care. You’re the one that’s going to look at them the most, so whatever makes you happy.”

So I get to thinking, what actually matters to men? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

5. The Bridal Party: This is a given for grooms to care about who is chosen to stand up there by us on our big day. Casey’s known for a long time who he wanted to stand by him and of course it was an easy choice when the time came to ask. 

4. The Men’s Attire: This was the second thing Casey had a strong opinion on from day 1 of our engagement. He pretty much immediately knew he wanted light grey pants and white shirts for all the groomsmen and he’s let me run with the color palette since then. 

3. Budget: Being that this is my second wedding, I’m planning on paying for most everything and not expecting my parents to do anything (although, they’re amazing and already have and are planning to help more). Casey doesn’t want to see me spend so much money on things and make myself go broke for our wedding. He cares what I’m spending for my sake and I’m glad he makes me aware of where my money is going (Lord knows I need reeling in sometimes).

2. Food: Long before we even got engaged, he knew what he wanted (and absolutely DID NOT want). Anyone who knows Casey, knows he’s as simple as they come. He’s channeled that into the kind of food he wants at our wedding, which I have compromised with him and all of his daily food favorites will be served during an appetizer hour before the main course (we’re talking ramen noodles, little smokies and more). However, BBQ is 100% off the menu and the mention of it gets the response:

“If BBQ is there, I won’t be.” 

And he’s serious…..

And across the board, the most important thing to every groom is:

1. The Honeymoon: Because, well, ya know. No explanation needed!


Dear 2015…

Dear 2015,

I always have hopes at the start of every year to be productive, to be successful and to make a true effort to have the best year I can. No one intends to have struggles; to have to face demons they never imagined.

But you brought me more than I ever expected. More than I ever imagined for my life. 

You brought me struggles. You brought me late nights of tears and doubt in myself and my marriage. You brought me to my knees, crying out to God: begging Him to change my circumstances. To fix the broken parts of my life and my heart and to take hold of and mend what I had once thought was the path chosen for my life.

You brought me to a dark place. You brought me to true thoughts of ending my life; brought me to a dark room with the weapon in my hand and you had brought me to unstoppable tears because I knew the point I had gotten to in that moment wasn’t who I was deep down. 

 You see, I once loved life. I once loved myself so much, I never struggled with self esteem. I never doubted myself, never doubted who I was becoming as a grown woman. 

But 2015, you brought me to my lowest point and ultimately, you brought me to a crossroads:

To continue living a life controlled by the stuggling; the depression; the anxiety and the ugly panic attacks that goes with it; to the sleepless nights and to looking at a long life of all of these things, knowing they would never end. 

Or to change everything. To taking control of my life again. To accepting the things I couldn’t change; to calmly sitting back and watching my life fall apart and slowly pick myself back up again. 

So I took the only real option there was…

2015, aside from all the hurt and heartache you initially brought me, you brought me the best year of my life. 

You brought me freedom from the dark place I had been in. You brought the smile back I had lost within the depression I had found myself in. 

You brought me peace within my soul and you brought the sunshine after the storm. You brought the song that now fills my heart, full of joyful noise. 

You brought me the best man I’ve ever known in my life. You brought us the start of our lives together; giving us a love story I never thought I would be blessed enough to be apart of. 

You brought me everything I never knew I was missing and for that: I’m forever thankful. I can be grateful for the bad you brought me, 2015, because in turn, you brought the best chapter of my story. 

So for every single thing you brought me, 2015, thank you.


Remembering Dreams Before They’re Gone

Have you ever desperately tried to keep hold of every small detail when you immediately wake up from the best dream you’ve ever had? Because I woke up this morning from the most real, vivid, best dream I’d ever experienced. Even before I opened my eyes, I thought really hard: trying to remember every single detail before they were all faded away and forgotten, often like dreams do. 

The first detail I remembered was waking up for church, just at the last minute I possibly could before knowing I would be late. I quickly showered, fixed my hair, being surprised it fixed correctly since I just had it done. New hairstyles never fix that easily right after you get your hair done! I put on my make up and my clothes and still had 5 minutes to spare. 

I dreamed I went to church and that we had an amazing worship service. The Lord moved and it was truly evident how powerful, worthy and holy He is!

I remembered getting to go fishing that afternoon, one of my favorite things to do with Casey. I’d dreamed the wind was making him so irritated and I’d laughed more than once at the frustration he had towards the weather. But I hugged him and thought:

“The weather doesn’t matter. This moment with you is perfect.”

As the details began running together, I knew we had gone to the store, bought fish fry items and began cooking for my parents, sisters, brother-in-laws and Casey’s parents. Having everyone there together is so rare-it fueled my belief that I was only waking up from the best dream of my life.

But the more awake I became this morning, the more real it felt when I remembered walking into the living room with everyone, Casey reminding me the significance of the first place we exchanged “I Love You’s” and his question he had to ask me. I asked myself:

“Is this real? Are you really awake now?”

That’s when I felt it: the ring on my finger that proved my dream theory wrong. The ring that proved yesterday truly existed. The ring that symbolizes my life is finally starting.

The ring that Casey chose to make the biggest decision of his life: that he wanted me to be his fishing buddy for the rest of his life. 

Just Be Held. 

I am such a planner. One of my favorite times of the year is the end of summer when all the school supplies are put on the shelves at Walmart! I buy pencils, notebooks and any cute little office supply items I can get my hands on and I literally have 3 planners to keep track of my life….no shame here. 

But what happens when life doesn’t go as planned? I’m suddenly frozen: like, I don’t know how to react to unforeseen circumstances. 

*This is when freak out mode commences*

I struggle the most with financial changes, too. I know my bills, I know my income. But when a cost pops up out of no where, it throws me completely off. And it could be something so little that’s not really a financial burden but the surprise of it is what gets me all twisted up!

And Lord knows, things can’t just happen one at a time. I swear, they come in AT LEAST 3’s!

Why is it that life seems to crash down around you all at once? Things that have always worked out, suddenly don’t anymore. I’m so guilty of asking myself, and God: “Why me? Why am I suffering?”

God has told us why: sin. When sin entered in the world, it changed everything. That is why we experience trials and road bumps in this life. He also said things wouldn’t be easy for Christians: life will be hard! Jesus endured much worse than we ever will! But it will get better because we have the promise of spending eternity with Him in paradise: with zero worry, trials and struggles!

I know God puts things in your life to strengthen your trust and faith in Him. We have to recognize that He is the only way we can handle this life. I cannot do anything on my own but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

So in my times of struggle, worry and road bumps, I constantly sing this song by Casting Crowns that reminds me who is truly the One in control:


Valentine’s Day, The Cheap Way!

I seem to always be overly prepared for things, so I got my taxes done early this week……

(diving any further into that subject very well may put me into a deep depression, so lets move along)….

and my budget for my feller’s gift was now limited. Of course, we had set our limit a couple weeks back but I tend to break the rules when it comes to budgeting ($50 just doesn’t seem like nearly enough to spoil him).

I had thought long and hard about what I wanted to get Casey and I just couldn’t get creative enough to think of anything. Where does every woman go for ideas? Pinterest of course!

Except 80% of the V-Day gift ideas for men were sexualized! So, I put my own twist on something I saw, made it a PG version and I easily stayed within budget!

*The Five Senses Gift*

  1. See: I bought Casey a movie he’s seen over and over but for some reason, has never owned (and one he has been asking for every holiday for the last year): Stepbrothers!
  2. Taste: When he discovered Starbursts made the FavReds bag, he was so excited! I got him the big bag-we’ll see how long they last him…
  3. Touch: Any type of clothing was a no-no for Casey (the guy has more clothes than any female does!!). I had to get creative, trying to think of items with different textures or materials that he would use. Then it hit me: cinder block homes retain cold air (in case you were wondering). I had seen a pack of red and black plaid flannel sheets at Walmart and knew that’s what he needed!
  4. Smell: While some men truly appreciate Bath and Body Works candles (shout out to you, Dad!), Casey unfortunately isn’t one of them. On my gift hunt, I found a shampoo/body wash combo at a local store, with an amazing scent that fits Casey perfectly (Mossy Rock is the best!).
  5. Hear: I really had to think about this one. To make sure I stayed within my set budget, I decided what better way to audibly show my love for Casey than a homemade CD with every song that has developed some sort of meaning to our relationship since day 1!

Then came the packaging. Guys don’t really pay attention to detail when it comes to things of this nature, but I do (OCD is strong for me). So, I didn’t spend a lot of money on it but chose things that coordinated together, making it look presentable!

There you have it: My Valentines Day gift for my honey: on a $50 budget, gifts and packaging included!


Now Do You Understand?

About a year and a half ago, these were the questions I constantly asked myself:

“Why God? Why is this happening to me?”

“How could this possibly fit into Your perfect will for my life?”

“I just don’t understand.”

I couldn’t comprehend what had happened to me. I didn’t want to understand.

While my detailed story would be a completely different entry, I finally got my answer to my question of WHY from God.

People always say (about any and every trial in life):

“In His timing you’ll understand. One day, you will get it.”

And while usually that is the case, it’s never hit me so clearly as it did just the other day.

I’m at work this past Saturday, cutting hair and within my normal, casual conversation, I ask:

“How’s (your daughter) doing?”

“Not good…I actually need to talk to you about a divorce lawyer.”

*Insert punch in the stomach, here!*

I never would’ve expected to hear these words from this lady. She’s just one of those people who has
one of those families that, while I know no one is perfect and she’s never claimed to be, they are truly the sweetest, most kind hearted human beings I’ve ever known.

And the story that followed her initial sentence almost brought me to tears right there at my
station. I couldn’t believe the situation her daughter was now going to be filing to get herself out of!

But God quietly whispered in my ear:

“Now, do you see why? Do you understand how I used your trial for my glory?”

This woman was asking me to help them! She was coming to me to help guide her daughter through the very thing that I had to endure.

As she walked out the door, I could just feel the complete sense of understanding and the natural want to help this woman’s daughter. I couldn’t help but smile, knowing God chose me to walk the valley I did so I could hold the hand of another child of His, walk through that exact
same valley.

God is GOOD y’all!!


My Second First Blog Post….

Okay…I’m going to try this blogging thing again.  I never know what to write about; what will even interest people in the slightest, but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do.  And let’s be honest: my first go around didn’t pan out to be much, so here’s to second chances!

I feel I need a place to come to think: a home for all my crazy, scattered thoughts; to get my ideas, struggles, prayers and whatever else I have to offer into black and white.  And I ask myself:

“Why not just journal?  Why do you feel the need to ‘blog’ it?”

Answer: I’ve tried the journaling thing and I literally forget to pick up the pen and write in them; I feel like a weirdo for writing to myself; but mainly because I lose them after about a month or two.  My great-grandkids are going to find notebooks one day and be like

“So, Granny Steph was craaaaazy…”

And then I guess I have the hope that whatever God lays on my heart to share one day will touch someone, in some sort of way.  One of my Christmas presents from my parents was a new devotional and just since the beginning of the year, God has already spoken to me, so many times.  He uses the most basic things to say:

“See?  You never thought about this verse in this way and I’m using my Word to speak to you and I want you to share these things!”

1 Peter 2:9 says: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

God chose me!  Not only to be His child and spend eternity in Heaven with Him, but He chose me to share that good news with everyone I can!  That is what He put me on this earth to do!

So while many of my coming posts may not interesting at all to anyone, I know God chose me and the need to write all this out for a purpose.  We’ll just have to wait and see what that will be!