Friday, September 26, 2014

What College Really Taught You

By: Samantha S. Daviss

You typically walk away from every life experience learning something. Whether it be via a book, a professor, a lecture, or just a general common sense “Life lesson”; you walk away knowing something new. You may not realize it at the time, but you in fact have learned something new.

College is no different. Hopefully with that lovely, very expensive, four year degree you walked away with some academia knowledge, not just how to pop open a beer bottle with your teeth. Hopefully it was learned knowledge, from the well-paid professors that the university lured you in with to thatschool in the first place, that you can walk away with and offer a new perspective on the world in your field of expertice.

Now I say hopefully you walk away with some academic knowledge under your belt. But college also teaches you so much more than what you can learn in a classroom or a lecture hall…it teaches you the following:
1) How in fact to open a beer bottle with your teeth or your class ring (if that's your thing);
2) it is a necessity to soap the central fountain of campus in the dead of the night, without being caught by staff or faculty;
3) Ainfraction in your Greek letters is a no-no; but you have to rebel somehow, right?:
4) It may look like chicken scratch to the rest of the world, but you somehow devised your own form of short hand to survive all your long-winded professors;
5) Hangover Rule: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday…not a good idea; Thursday and Friday…still not your best idea; Saturday and Sunday…is a given. (Not that I'm condoning drinking.)
6) the ability to pull an all-nightwear on that dreaded final and still have energy to stay up for the game and after party the next night on no sleep;
7) You figure out that you can get a change of clothes, your lunch, four books, and a pair of track shoes in your backpack;
8) And with your backpack…you figured out that they are totally cool at college…especially when you are “doublestrappin’” (putting both straps on your shoulders);
9) You learn that friends are you family now;
10) And you learn that the bars right across the street(s) from campus were geniuses when they picked those locales. (Again, not condoning drinking)

College can be a lot of work, but college can also be a ton of fun. It is that time in your life when you really discover the real you and get out from the pressures of high school, and that particular mold you had been put into your entire life.

It’s the time you get to be a dork if you really are a dork; or a book worm if you really are a book worm; or funny and outgoing if you really are, instead of hiding behind who you think everyone wants you to be, or expects you to be.

College is amazing, so take that time to enjoy it, learn, and appreciate the gift you have been given with an amazing education and life experience.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Nice Warm Blanket

I don’t talk about my past very much, because well, it’s the past. But I do want to talk about my present, the gift I have been given. Saturday was my wedding anniversary, one of the happiest days of my life, because it is my new beginning, my resurrection so to speak.
I refer to my husband as my mulligan. For those of you not familiar with golf terminology, a mulligan is a “do over” — it is a second shot you get to make up for a really bad shot you had during your round.
Now it’s not in the PGA rule book, it is more of an unwritten rule or terminology used by recreational golfers; but it gives you a second chance to correct your mistake.
I don’t use this term for my husband in a negative terminology, it is actually a term of endearment. Seeing how when we were younger, we met playing on the golf course, and that is where our friendship grew many, many moons ago. But I say as truthful as I can be, he is my “do over.” I was lucky to find him; and him to find me. We are probably the most unlikely of pair, but we work magically.
As I said, I don’t talk much about my past, but I have started thinking that maybe I should. Because life isn’t all candy canes and roses; life has some serious hurdles. And some of those hurdles you feel like you can’t overcome, but you can.
I am a product, nay a victim, of divorce. And a pretty horrible one at that. It was not amicable at all. This man broke my soul for a while, he broke my heart, and he broke my faith in trust.
The reason I bring my past up on my day of celebration with my husband is to remind myself, and everyone out there, that life does go on. Mine did. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a rough bumpy road, and I don’t want to paint this fabulously rosecolored picture that I got divorced one day, and met this wonderful man the next, and got married and had two more perfect boys.
In the end, yes that is how it turned out.
But the “in between” is the part that I think most people don’t hear about, or want to hear about. But it is hard and painful, especially when a child is involved. Not only are you having to guard and protect yourself, but this innocent little creature, too; from all the heartache and damage this life-changing event has done to you both. I feel people that have gone through this need to understand that eventually there truly is light at the end of the tunnel. Whether you find love again, or you find yourself again. Either way, you are coming out stronger and all the better for it.
I’m not talking about my former life because I can’t move past it. Quite the contrary. I am talking about it to let others know that they are not the only ones out there hurting.
I am talking about it because every day I wake up now I have a smile on my face — I’m not wondering how I’m going to get out of bed today. I am talking about it because I have allowed my heart to open up again to another man; not to be sheltered and shut off from the world. And I talk about it because I am so grateful every day that God put this wonderful man in my life, who accepts me for who I am, doesn’t try to change me, and allows me to spread my wings.
But mainly, I talk about my past, because unknowingly, I was always in pain. I never knew what trust was. I was never given that opportunity to totally and completely trust a man, other than my daddy.
My husband has done that for me. I am able to be comfortable in my own skin and be good with him going on a guys’ weekend, or traveling for a living, or leaving the house for a couple hours; without this mountain of fear of distrust pouring over my soul.
My life, now, is constantly wrapped in a nice warm blanket. A blanket filled with comfort, trust, and smiles. I attribute a lot of this comfort to my husband; but I also attribute a lot of it to myself, in the fact that I took the time to really get to know me, and find a partner that enhanced my strengths rather than one that tore me down.
So to that I say thank you to the love of my life, and to those of you out there hurting, “this too shall pass”…you just have to find your warm blanket. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Small Towns

By: Samantha S. Daviss

I can say I have been lucky enough to live all over the world, well a lot of big U.S. cities, and abroad for six months. But that still counts as “all over the world”, right?

I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to live in some of the largest cities in the U.S. I truly enjoyed living there at the time, but now that I am back home, in Texas, and small town Texas to boot, I now know I am where I belong. I think if I hadn’t lived in those big cities, I would have always wondered what I was missing. But I was fortunate enough to live there in my 20s and early 30s, back when I had patience.

Now I go to the city and I absolutely lose my mind. I really don’t think at this point in my life I would survive the traffic, the anger, and the chaos of the big city as a mom and a little more seasoned woman. That is one thing I have learned about myself, is that I do like wide open spaces, quiet, and solitude. When I was younger I used to think being alone meant no one liked me, or something was wrong with me; but now I crave silence and alone time.

My husband and I are building (hopefully what will be) our forever house. And it is in a spot, that when I open the car door, I hear…absolutely nothing. And it makes my heart sing. Now I know the horns, the hustle and bustle, and the excitement of the big city makes some people’s hearts sing, and that is wonderful. I share their admiration for where they live, but I know I am not that person.

Does that make me less exciting? Does that make me less cultured? Or less adventuresome? I don’t think so. As they say, “To each their own.”

There are so many reason I personally enjoy the small town life, but the main reasons are simplicity and comfort.

The comfort in knowing you can walk in almost any place and see or know a familiar face. I love the comfort of knowing your kids are (hopefully) safe in school, because they are taught and cared for by people you have known a lifetime. And with that comes the fact that those educators know they can pick up the phone and report in about your child to you, good or bad.
But living in a small town filled with comfort means you can be planning your 20th high school reunion and know you can pick up the phone and ask any classmate for help, or talk to them about the planning aspects, even if you haven’t seen each other in over a decade.

But the part of small town life I love the most is the simplicity of it all. I enjoy driving past all the old century-marked buildings filled with new life and new businesses; and the next second I can be on the out skirts of town driving past heads of cattle grazing in the sunlight.

I adore the fact that one day I actually pulled out of my office parking lot and passed a man riding a horse down one of the busiest roads of my town, and not one person was flustered by this fact. And I worship the fact that I attended a very lovely baby shower not too long ago, with my mother as my date, at a very lovely home on the edge of town; but, as we climbed back in my car to leave, she had to pull a piece of hay out from between her toes in her open-toed shoes.

You can’t find that kind of excitement in the busy hustle of the metroplex, now can you?

I say if the shoe fits, slide that boot right on and start tromping through the fields of the simple small town life.

Living in a small town doesn’t make you simple, in fact I have found my life to be busier and more hectic here with more access to more activities and outdoor adventures that we constantly partake in; but it does help you appreciate the quiet times you have in between the busy times.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Spontaneity…it’s a dying art the older we get

By: Samantha S. Daviss

Probably one of the most spontaneous things I have done as a mother, well actually as an adult, took place this past weekend and early part of the week; my husband and I looked at each other on Friday afternoon, and said “Let’s drive to Colorado for a few days with the boys and beat this Texas August summer heat.”

And we did just that. I had everyone packed, the car packed, and the house shut down within an hour. I was so excited. I don’t know what excited me more, the fact that we were going to spend a few days in the cool mountain breeze of the Rocky Mountains; or the fact that for the first time in a really long time I was doing something completely for myself, my family, and totally off the cuff.

I am typically not a huge control freak, but I do have order and organization in our household; you kind of have to when you’re raising three boys under one roof. But this time I was so excited. Someone in my past life once told me that I wasn’t spontaneous anymore, and for some reason that has really stuck with me. But of course I am not as spontaneous as I used to be in my teens and 20s; basically pre-motherhood, pre-major responsibilities. It is pretty difficult to pack up an entire house when you have little kids.

You have to basically pack everything, except the kitchen sink. There’s the diapers, the trillion changes of clothes, the toys, the books, anything and everything you might need for little kids for a quick weekend getaway turns into a nightmare. So yes, the answer is yes, does are impulsiveness lessen the older we get? Yes, of course it does, because you have other people in your life you have to think about and consider before you make a move. So to that person in my past, I say they lost their consideration for others for the fact that if they thought my spontaneity as a mother withering was a bad thing, it absolutely is not; because my baby (now babies) came (come) before any decision I could ever make.

But this last minute decision to load everyone in the car and head to the mountains was probably one of the best family decisions my husband and I have made in a long, long time. The fact that the kids weren’t expecting it, has brought a ton of invaluable “Thank You’s” for every adventure we have been on, mainly for the fact that they weren’t expecting or anticipating any of them. And the second reason is that it has reconnected us, as we enter into another crazy and hectic school year. Our oldest will be in the 7th grade, and our two little ones will be starting in a mother’s morning out program two days a week. So we are making huge strides and changes in our family life; and the chaos once again ensues this week as we gear up for another school year. This summer has been one of extreme speed; I have never had a summer pass by as quickly as this one has.

So the fact that we made the rule of no electronics, no devices, no games…has been glorious. It has really brought us back together again as our tight little unified family. I so cherish these moments that we create together as a family; these will be memories we treasure for so many years to come. I hope that one day, my boys will wake up and tell their wives of this memory. The memory that their mom and dad loaded the car one afternoon and drove them to Colorado on a whim.

As I sit here with the cool mountain breeze blowing across my face, gazing up the mountainside at the flickering Aspen trees, and luscious green evergreens gazing down on me while I write this, I am so grateful that I haven’t let that young spur-of-the-moment girl flame out. I love the fact that I was willing and excited to pack up my family and head out of town just because, no rhyme, no reason; the only reason was to spend time with my family. Of course we all grow and change and mature, but you always have to keep that young impulsive spark burning just a little bit deep down inside. Never forget who you once were, just pile some more good stuff on top of the old; and make the old a newer and more improved you.

Check out some of the fun we had while here:

Breckenridge Summer Activities

 Keystone Summer & Winter Fun

Carlsbad Caverns

Ski Tip Lodge

Tears of Time

By: Samantha S. Daviss

I am an emotional person. But I consider it a good thing. I have been called dramatic, but I finally asked those who said that about me, and all they told me was that I carry every emotion in the book on my sleeve and can show a different one in the blink of an eye. And this is a fact that I can absolutely not deny. I have a very open heart…I laugh hard, I live hard, I love even harder. When you are in my graces, you are there forever and embedded very deeply into my heart, my soul, and my every thought.

So I take my dramatic description as a compliment. But I like to call it emotional, because to me dramatic has such a negative connotation. I laugh out of humor, I laugh out of nervousness, I laugh out of anxiety; but I can also cry out of anger, pain, loss, trepidation, fear, and happiness.

I’m that person who cries in my car when I hear the Toby Keith song Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue. That song makes me cry because of the anger I feel for the families and friends of the loved ones lost in the Twin Towers, Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon attacks on September 11, 2001; I cry out of pride for being an American and standing up for what we believe in and fight for; I cry because America is the strongest country and I am proud to call it my own; and I cry for the pain those families must have felt.

But these last couple weeks have been weeks filled with all sorts of emotions. I cried for myself last week out of fear. I was in an exam preparation course for an extremely difficult exam I must master in order to advance my career; therefore, I cried out of pure exhaustion, fear of failure, and confusion.

I cried (without him knowing of course) for my oldest son who started a new school this year, started junior high, and was the new kid on the block. I had so many emotions all day long on his first day of school. I cried in concern that us moving him to a new school was a huge mistake, I cried in fear that he wouldn’t fit in and make any new friends, and I cried because it seems is was only a week ago that I was holding that baby boy so tightly in my arms, and watching him as he took his first breath and struggled to open his eyes as a newborn, but he is now a kind, handsome boy growing into a thoughtful young man. I can’t believe where the time has gone. I can’t believe that in only six extremely short and fast years I will be packing up his car and sending him off to college. But all my fears and concerns vanished when he climbed in the car after that first day of school with a smile plastered across his face that couldn’t be described unless through a photograph.

I know the world turns and one day turns into the next, all plants, animals and humans must co-exist and the progress of life is moving forward. But sometimes that movement is just too fast.

And the final tears I shed were over the relinquishment of total infancy in our house. My two youngest boys started pre-kindergarten this year. Granted it is just a mothers’ morning out program two days a week; however, it is another milestone in my evolution as a mother. They were tears of termination, the fact that I have no tiny babies left in my home. I know I don’t want any more babies, but the fact that they are all growing up so quickly still leaves a sting and the tiniest little hole in my heart.

They were tears of termination on my babies always being home and remaining tiny toddlers, and also tears of commencement into the next phase or stage of our lives. Although the tears that rolled down my face were more for the conclusion of my boys being babies, it is also exciting to think that they are growing up, and will hopefully be wonderful young mean.

So through all my tears of despondency and trepidation, all at once; my heart was still filled with the enthusiasm of the unknown and “what is yet to come.” I am very excited and anxious to see what the future holds for my three little men. I hope to guide them down the path they were meant to explore, while trying not to leave too many victims in their wake of life.

Change is good, progression is great…but it’s okay to give yourself a little time to cry and adjust to all the changes life throws your way.