Embracing the Shelley-ness

Posted by Shelley on Jul 17, 2017 in Uncensored Shelley

I’m turning 45 next week.  Found this blog post that I never posted dated June 12, 2012.  I wonder if it will post today’s date or 5 years ago?

on the brink of 40, it is time to embrace all things Shelley. here are a few things that come to mind:

1) being okay with being quiet.  today canon realized it was quiet, he said, “wait, something’s not right here, it’s too quiet…” and I responded, “I know! isn’t it great!” not sure if this started with me being an only child for 7 years or if it’s the fact that since I’ve had kids I gave up my right to be myself and have been trying to reclaim it for 13 years. it’s one of two.

2) being a gypsy or joining the circus. even though Mom said she’d sell me to gypsies I sort of wish she would’ve. after seeing the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and such I realize that part of me is a gypsy. moving quite a bit, changing schools, changing friends… I think I miss that. but that was so long ago. I digress.

3) being Southern. very much so. I understand what it means when someone asks “who are your people?” and realize my answer is of utmost importance. I know my manners precede my reputation and the fact that I say “yes ma’am” and “no sir” will right many wrongs. the southern-ness part of me deserves a post all in itself. some of that is lost in the culture now-a-days. I’m at fault with that to a degree – but when I think about it I realize being gracious, being sincere (even when you say, “bless your heart”), frying up REALLY good chicken (need to learn this, like, soon), knowing that you ALWAYS sit down to smoke a cigarette (never have smoked a day in my whole life but I know enough to know a real southern lady ALWAYS sits down to this), understanding that china patterns and silverware choices say a lot about southern woman… these are distinctions that set me apart from the rest of the women in United States. just like I wouldn’t understand what the women in the OC are really about, no one could possibly understand all this unless they were born and bred here.

4) being forgetful. number four is something I can’t remember right now.

5) being a little persistent. This used to have to do with making money, now this has everything to do with my kids. i.e.: repeating myself over and over to my children in hopes they will become socially graceful. sitting down at lunch recently with my 2 children made me realize just how southern I really am. all of a sudden it mattered more to me what they were about to do than if I had gluten on my plate. use your manners. PLEASE. nothing has left me more worried than the lack of my children using good southern manners. NAPKIN – in your lap. SILVERWARE – work outside to inside. DON’T SPILL YOUR (sweet) TEA. CHEW WITH YOUR MOUTH CLOSED (by far my biggest pet peeve, nothing says poor upbringing than smacking your way through a meal, or smacking your gum, but I digress…)

6) being appreciative. Hand-written thank you notes. Lord help me if this is a hoop to jump through on my way to heaven. b/c not just myself but my two off-spring will suffer these consequences. when I got married the only conversation I had with my mother for 6 weeks afterwards was, “did you write your thank you notes?” and God forbid I said no. The wrath of the mother-of-the bride was alive in well in 1995. so, just to be clear, if you are reading this please know I probably owe you a hand-written thank you note. I will get around to this. just be patient.

7) being persistent. see? refer to number 5. persistence is a virtue right? also, not talking with your mouth full is a virtue all in itself. DO NOT TALK WITH YOUR MOUTH FULL. I mean, were you raised by wolves? or cavemen? do not do this. I could not do this growing up or I would not be here right now. don’t do it. ever.

8) being in love. I love romance. I love poetry. I love the man becoming the hero. luckily, I married one :) A hero, and a poet.

9) being good with wine.  Wine is good. Tequila is better.

10) achieving a goal. I hate it when I don’t hit one. I am very achievement oriented. goal-oriented? I think it is more of an achievement thing b/c it has to do with completing a task. which is whole ‘nother thing. as I’ve gotten older, I will distinctly not begin a task if I don’t think I can finish. this began when I became a mother. please understand that the accomplishment with my children has super-ceded anything I would’ve done for myself. so, achieving with them will ALWAYS be accomplished. it may or may not be successful but it will be a done deal. eventually I will bring this back around to myself, my goals and accomplishments but for right now it’s all about them. and that’s all I have to say about that. (bold font and italics added in 2017.)

11) being among the animals.  cats and dogs. lizards or gerbils. it’s all the same. except cats are WAY more expensive. for a number of reasons.

12) I like to read. short, reader’s digest sized stories.

13) I LOVE history. I really do. should’ve majored in history. digressing…..

14) I love flower gardens. when I close my eyes and see my Eden it is full of flowers. not so much people. but flowers.

15) Favorite quote: in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” btw, she was schizophrenic in real-life. lawsy mercy.

16) I love a calendar. I love to write on it or these days, type and sync. maybe it’s an accomplishment thing (see number 10) but whatever the case, I have written in calendars for years and keep them as momentos.

2017 footnote:  this blog is like a calendar.  I do not remember writing this entry that wasn’t published in 2012.  but here it is.  so, yes, a blog is like a calendar but more of a momento.



Posted by Shelley on Nov 15, 2011 in kids

Around this time each year we get an abundance of magazines in the mailbox, many of which are just toys (just think the old Sears or JCPenney’s WishBook) and among the stack is the American Girl catalog. Evidently the recession has not been a problem for this company. This is by far the biggest compilation we’ve ever received and we’ve been receiving these for 12 years now. Which brings me to the point of this post.

Years ago, in my effort to master this motherhood thing, I found a way to entertain the kids during this insanely busy time of year. Giving them a marker and a Christmas catalog meant they were free to circle anything and everything their little hearts desired. And when the time came, we would write these circled items on the Santa list. You know, that letter that gets sent to the North Pole, usually on December 24th.

Back to the American Girl catalog. The big, beautiful spread of the most quality dolls and accessories available to anyone with a line of credit. So over-priced but so worth it because they actually LAST. I LOVE these toys. Could not WAIT until we would get our orders (usually on December 24th) so I could open them and play with them too. So fun setting these pretties out on Christmas Eve, to be discovered the next morning, as if by magic. Not to mention the many, many American Girl and Bitty Baby Christmas gifts over the years, that my mom would pick out for our “little girl”. The Just Like Me doll will forever be a miniature version of Melodi. Bitty Baby (who made a visit to the doll hospital and came back with an new head) is an heirloom. Felicity (retired btw) and Kaya will last into the next generation as will their clothes, the tea set, the horse, the tee pee… the list could go on. You can see where I’m going with this.

The American Girl catalog contains no circles this year. In fact, she has had her picture made with Santa for years now and I’m beginning to think we are going to have to create a bargaining tool for the pic this year.

Bitty Baby becomes an American Girl who circles everything in the catalog and then becomes the young lady who will be the successful woman who can buy things for her Bitty Baby. Yes. It’s a circle.


The Not-So Grand Slam

Posted by Shelley on Aug 31, 2011 in Autoimmune Conditions, Gluten Free

I had to share this because I never thought I would have something in common with a world class tennis player.

Venus Williams and I both have Sjogren’s Syndrome; she was recently diagnosed and my heart goes out to her. I used to teach group exercise classes 5 or 6 times a week – okay, so it wasn’t professional tennis with enormou$ endor$ements. But I had 24 hours in a day and I did something for 23 of those until the summer of 2007. I went undiagnosed for a year and have to agree, the condition truly does suck the energy out of you, as Venus describes in this article.

Until you find a doctor who will work with you and help your quality of life it is a tough row to hoe. The good news is it is a manageable condition, although there is no cure. I take more medication than I would like and have drastically changed my diet and lifestyle in order to reduce inflammation. None-the-less, it helped me to see that even an incredibly physically fit person like Venus could become a fellow member of the Sjogren’s Club. I know she didn’t sign up for it and I certainly didn’t either. But we’re both in good company.


Unexplainable Grace

Posted by Shelley on Aug 24, 2011 in songs

It’s a charmed life
Innocence wild
Crayola skies for a thousand miles
It’s a good life in the happily ever after
Last page of a very last chapter
It’s the story of a charmed life

It’s a charmed life
Unexplainable grace
Stumbling, you fall right into place
It’s a childlike world and you can feel the magic
Far from the typically tragic
That’s the beauty of a charmed life

Who needs to know
When it all comes and where it all goes
Who needs to know just where
Fate will take you there

…that’s the beauty of a charmed life.

song sung by Leigh Nash, singer/songwriter and
lead vocalist for Sixpence None The Richer, whose name was inspired by CS Lewis and his book, Mere Christianity


And it’s been 6 months….

Posted by Shelley on May 27, 2011 in kids

since my last post.

As I sit here with coffee in one hand and reflections in the other I must admit I’m a little torn…only 6 more years of school for my oldest while we are just beginning the next “official”12 years for my youngest. Yes, when Melodi becomes valedictorian of her senior class Canon will be completing 6th grade and we’ll get to do this all over again! Except it will be through the eyes of my son which are incredibly different than my daughter’s.

Melodi’s transition to middle school was relatively easy – give that child a schedule and a set of rules and you’ve got an A+ student. Her definitions of success are most definitely her own. Mike says it’s because she memorized the “good marks and good grades” portion of the old phonics commercial, before she could even read or write. A poised, gifted and talented young lady, she’s all about good grades and being at the top of her class. A confident problem solver, an avid learner, with a laser beam type focus no matter what she is doing. I would suggest that these are innate traits, born into her, which blossomed through the right teachers, the right environment and her own brand of determination. Everyday it becomes clearer to me the kind of woman she will become. The one I wanted to be when I grew up.

Melodi already knew her definition of success by the time she was 6 years old. Canon’s will come later, and be in a different language. Let me try to explain.

The journey into academia has already been very different for Canon. A few weeks ago he told me he didn’t want to go to first grade. I asked him why. “Because there’s homework. No rest time. No playtime. More work!” I had to remind him that state law now demanded he go to the first grade, that if you include 4K and 2 trips down the 5K lane (due to his late August birthday), he had potentially had 3 years of kindergarten. And even if the most lax terms that was enough! He’s learning there are rules. But I’m not having to teach him how to break them. That is coming naturally – as it should. Boys don’t become men by following the rules. Boys must build a kind of confidence that challenges themselves and those around them. They must grow an appropriate sense of how and what to defend. They must develop a presence of themselves that is present even when they are not. He has already begun to define his brand of success, but it is a process. Canon puts a value on learning but a much bigger one on connecting with others, relating to them, expressing empathy and compassion that is not typical of a 6 year old. At bedtime he will say, “Let’s talk mom.” And I will say, “about what?” and his very sweet response is, “About anything! I just like this part of the day when I can talk to you!” And when I sit still and focus and give him my undivided attention all of a sudden there’s a spark of success! He may have aced something in school but at the end of the day it’s still all about establishing an emotional connection for Canon. I truly believe he will become a smart, confident man, defending what it is important to him and at the end of his grown-up work day he will be a loving and attentive husband and father, making his mark on this world. Just like his own dad! School will have everything to do with this. And at the same time it won’t.

I absolutely know one thing. They are going to be my grown adult kids much longer than they will remain my small young children. Kindergarten, middle school, high school, college… these are just stepping stones. I am going to enjoy the next 6-12 years! One thing is for sure, you don’t get ‘em back!




Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 29 and 30

Posted by Shelley on Nov 30, 2010 in Mike, Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley, kids

Thankful for the mystery of the past and how it shaped the present.

Thankful for what the future holds.

Thankful for old friends and new ones.

Thankful for it all. Every last bit if it! And how God uses it all to become His great story!


Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 26, 27 and 28

Posted by Shelley on Nov 28, 2010 in Uncensored Shelley

Before I delve into Christmas decorating I must decorate for the next official holiday.

The Southeastern Championship Football Game – THIS SATURDAY!

We are orange and blue around here. From the diplomas, to the Auburn Creed, to the paintings of Samford Hall and Toomer’s Corner – not to mention an amazing picture of the Flush, framed, signed by the artist and numbered, hung above our fireplace mantle…Mike bought my engagement ring on South College Street…in addition to my dad’s tuition towards his pharmacy degree from AU my parents paid 3 kids tuition to Auburn University…after December 6th we’ll go green and red. But until then, War Eagle ya’ll.

We’ve watched much football over the Thanksgiving holiday and I can say in all my 38 years I’ve never such. I’ve watched Auburn since I was an itty bitty girl and now, in the 21st century we are actually going to the SEC championship game. I say “we” because, it is, “we.” We’ll be there in just a few short days! Like, we have tickets. To the game. Can you tell I’m excited?!?

Auburn had the National Championship. In 1957. That, was like, in the last century.

So, this comes as a huge moment, as a life-long fan, as ONE woman who only applied to only ONE school for college (in 1989) and has ONE degree (1994) from that ONE school… well, it’s three days of thankful and I can tell you I’m thankful for much but I’m most definitely thankful for the celebration, fanfare and excitement that will be found at this ONE game.

I know…it’s football…but…I was born in Auburn/Opelika! It can’t be helped! It’s ridiculous I know. It’s an Auburn thing. It runs deep. It’s a connection to the past, the future and the present. It’s a big freakin’ deal and I’m thankful! Glory, glory to ole Auburn! A-U-B-U-R-N!!!


Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 25

Posted by Shelley on Nov 26, 2010 in Uncensored Shelley

What a great Thanksgiving day! So grateful for all the (gluten free!!!!) food and all the thoughtful hands who prepared it. So blessed to enjoy family game time (Apples to Apples) and to have lots of laughter and joy (special thanks to the Bill Dance fishing bloopers DVD, a new family tradition maybe?!?!)

The memories I have of today will be tucked into a special place in my heart. My mind will remember today, just like it remembered Thanksgiving of days gone by when I woke up this morning. And with a spirit of thankfulness I’m still remembering those good thoughts as I go to bed tonight.


Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 24

Posted by Shelley on Nov 24, 2010 in Uncensored Shelley

In no particular order: today I’m thankful for hair spray (some things will never change!), the Vince Guaraldi Trio (puts the Merry in Christmas to me!), and for friends who can just drop in anytime for a visit, even though they know I might be in the middle of CHAOS (aka – can’t have anyone over syndrome – HA!).

Here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers!


Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 22 and 23

Posted by Shelley on Nov 23, 2010 in Uncensored Shelley

Very thankful the antibiotic I got yesterday and the fact acute bronchitis is becoming a distant memory. Also very thankful for this handy-dandy iPhone device which seems to do it all, including keeping me on the right roads on a quick trip to Tuscaloosa. Thankful for the box fans we brought up from the basement since the funky hot, cold, muggy, weather has seemed to cause quite a heat wave in our house. But overall I’m grateful for today in so many, many ways. Thank you God for seeing to my every need today!

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