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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

For the Boys...


By: Samantha S. Daviss

 

It’s official, I have decided to not bring any of my nice decorative pieces out of hiding until my last one is off to college. I may not be able to see my collectibles, due to deteriorating eye sight by that age; but at least everything will be intact.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my boys for the world; and as I have always said I don’t think I could handle having a little girl. But must they destroy everything that gets in their way? This past weekend within a 24-hour period they managed to rip the lid off my stainless steel trash can, and put a huge scratch down to the metal in the back of my car. I’ve learned to accept it…I try to stay calm, but seriously?? Can I have nothing nice out to view and enjoy? Oh well, the joys of being a mother of boys (and their friends).

Even though they are rough and tumble on the outside, they are all still just little boys at heart, and they all have a special place in their hearts for their mommy and daddy. And I feel that sometimes in today’s day and age of rush, rush rush, go, go, go…we forget to sit down and just talk to our boys; give them a hug, or let them know that no matter what is bothering them they are free to cry, open up, or just lean on our shoulders. Stereotypically, boys feel they should keep everything bottled up inside; but that is doing nothing but harming them.

I had the best conversation with my oldest son last night driving home from Dallas, and sometimes that’s all it takes, is an hour of alone time, and they are like a massive dam, once one drop of water breaks through, the communication dam is broken and they just start spilling all their thoughts and feelings like a flood.

I’ve modified and enhanced a list of things all boys should hear from their mothers, but mainly their fathers (step fathers, uncles, grandfathers…whoever their male role model is in life)…it’s important they know some of these things. These boys are our next generation of men; and what we expect out of them as men, husbands, fathers, and grown sons. This list may help them understand how to navigate through life, or it may be a way for you as a parent to start a much needed conversation with your son:

1.       Go for a woman that you perceive to be “out of your league.” You may be pleasantly surprised.

2.       Never make love with anyone that doesn’t want it as much as you.

3.       Never throw the first punch, unless they are an immediate threat.

4.       Sex is a personally decision, it should be between two consenting people; not the men’s locker room.

5.       Never make your first date to the movies…be creative.

6.       Learn to wet shave & shave with the grain on your first go-around.

7.       Nothing looks more “badass” than a well-tailored suit.

8.       Always look a person in the eye when speaking to them.

9.       Always be the first to extend your hand for a proper hand shake, and stand up when doing so.

10.   Every hat should serve a purpose.

11.   Buy a plunger before you need a plunger.

12.   Brush your teeth before you put on your tie—BUT never wear a clip on tie.

13.   A small amount of your paycheck should go into your savings…every month.

14.   Call your parents every week—no matter how old you are.

15.   Always…compliment her shoes and/or her handbag. She put a lot of effort into her ensemble…take notice and say something. She did it for you!!!

16.   Never leave a pint [of beer] unfinished.

17.   Fake confidence, it will come…but don’t be arrogant. There IS a difference.

18.   Be aware of your body language.

19.   Speak to her as you would want to be spoken to.

20.   The only reason to ever point a gun at another human is if you intend to shoot them.

21.   Never lend something you can’t afford to lose.

22.   Reach for her hand more than she reaches for yours—it’s not a competition.

23.   Ask more than you answer. Everyone enjoys talking about themselves.

24.   Surprise her every once in a while.

25.   Buy high quality tools—you’ll only buy them once.

26.   Keep a change of clothes at the office.

27.   Manliness is not only being able to take care of yourself, but others as well.

28.   Go with the decision that will make for a good story.

29.   Nice guys don’t finish last…boring guys do.

30.   Never cheat…if you want to end it, end it! Be a man---better yet be a classy man! Karma baby, Karma!

31.   No matter their job or status in life, everyone deserves your respect.

32.   The most important thing you can learn is personal responsibility; bad things happen, it’s your job to overcome them.

33.   Never stop learning

34.   Always go out in public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life—even if you already have met her, dress like it…she’ll feel valued.

35.   Don’t change yourself just to make someone happy, unless that someone is you!! (this goes for the girls too)

36.   If you’re the smartest person in the room...you’re in the wrong room.

37.   Women find confidence sexy as (well you know…); but you must recognize the difference between confidence and arrogance. Arrogance is the biggest turn off for women…just FYI!

38.   Do whatever you want to do in life, but be the best at it.

39.   No one is on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at the office…Enjoy your life!

40.   Find the love of your life…she’s out there. Hang on to her, and tell her every day she is in fact the love of your life. Remember, waking up to her is your greatest accomplishment.

 

My boys are my whole world (including my husband). They are my everything. They are my future. I am raising them to be the kind of young men that any girl would be proud to take home to her parents. I know I have succeeded as a mother if my boys find the love of their lives, are happy in their careers, and raise good, kind caring children themselves.

 

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Take Time to Breathe


By: Samantha S. Daviss

 

We are all in such a rush these days that time is passing us by and I don’t even think we realize it. This year our family decided to stay home for Spring Break and have a “stay-cation”. I had such feelings of guilt not taking our kids somewhere, because we love to take every opportunity to expose them to the world, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us this year.

But after the week got started, I had this inner peace come over me that I haven’t felt in a long, long time. It was a feeling of solace and comfort. For the first time in a long time we were all home together, with nothing on the calendar, no agenda, and no certain plans. We could be lazy all day around the house, or go out and find an activity to do. It was wonderful. My husband was home the entire week, and the oldest didn’t have a million plans with friends, and the middle dude wasn’t stacked up with activities.

We had the best week together. We laughed, we played, we had friends over, and we just spent much needed down time together as a family. When you are caught up in the rat race of life you don’t realize how much you need it and your kids need to just be home, and be quiet without any plans, activities or “Hurry up, let’s go, we’re late!” being yelled at them from the garage.

It warmed my heart to see my boys outside playing together, laughing, wrestling, and just being boys. I think kids sometimes forget how to be kids these days. They have so many activities, video games, and other distractions that keep them from just being kids. My husband and I are huge outdoor people, we actually get cabin fever if we stay in our house too long during the day; and it has definitely rubbed off on our boys. The minute we pull in our garage, they all fly out of the car, grab their respective scooter or bike and hit the concrete.

I remember growing up and we were out the door the minute Woody Woodpecker and our bowl of cereal was finished; and we wouldn’t come home until the street lights popped on, or we could hear our moms yelling for us. We used our imaginations all day long, we rode bikes, we played under the streets in the culverts that the creeks ran through, we played hide and seek, we built forts; you name it we did it.

We didn’t sit around inside and play video games, we didn’t text on the phone (mainly because cell phones didn’t exist), we got up and rode our bike to our friend’s house if we wanted to see them, and our mothers didn’t call us every five minutes to see if we were okay, bcause they couldn’t reach us. During the summer my mom would drop me off at the pool and I would swim for hours, play some tennis, and she would come get me when the pool was closing. All my friends were out there, and so we just swam until we were exhausted.

I feel bad for this younger generation sometimes, they are in so many leagues, and on travelling teams that sometimes I can see it in their eyes that they just want to be at home, be a kid, and take some time off from their hectic schedules. It’s good though that kids are in activities, it keeps them out of trouble, and I know childhood obesity is on the rise, so I guess it is better that they are in these activities. But sometimes I feel that just being a kid and staying busy outside and burning off their calories that way is what they want and need to be doing.

I suppose I am just a sentimental sap; I am trying to change with the times and be flexible, but in my mind a kid will always be just a kid, and they need that time with their faithful furry sidekick Sparky, that helps them solve crimes, and put the bad guys in jail in the fort you just built together in the backyard, not only for bonding with their pets, but using their imaginations.

I guess you could say I am stuck in the 70s and 80s—but in my defense it was a much simpler time. A time when families were families, and kids were kids, and dogs were sidekicks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Inside or outside the house…we work


By: Samantha S. Daviss

 

You would think by the year 2014, we could all wrap our brains around the fact that some women stay at home, and some women work. No one is a better or worse mother because of it.

I can personally speak from both sides of the fence on this particular topic. After college I was in the corporate world for a while until my first child was born; when my oldest was little, I was a stay-at-home mother with him, until he went to school. Then I unfortunately encountered a bump in my personal life, a divorce, which in a backwards sort of way “forced” me back into the work force.

Once I re-entered the work arena, I realized how much I had missed it. It was hard for me to admit it out loud, I felt like such a horrible person, saying that I loved to work. I love using my “adult brain”, but I adore spending every single spare minute with my babies. Holding them, teaching them, and caring for them. But I’ll be honest, it took me into my 30s until I felt comfortable enough saying that out loud, and admitting it to myself; that I do in fact love to work.

I am one of those people that is constantly doing something, creating something new; if I don’t have nine projects going at once…I am bored. But once my other two little ones came along, I internally struggled with the battle—to work or not to work.

Luckily, I was fortunate in two areas, when it came time to make my decision…I found the most wonderful lady to care for my babies while I went to work; she is family to us. And so are her kids…we have all grown so close that she is literally an extension to our family. We love them all so very much. And my other fortune was that I left the career I had to start working and training under my dad. So for now our deal is that I work three days a week until everyone is in school, and then I will go to five days; plus I get to pick my oldest up from school every single day. I am truly blessed to have such a great situation.

But nonetheless, even as ideal as my situation is; it was still a struggle for me. I stayed home with my oldest, so am I jipping my little ones from my attention, my love, and my devotion to them? I don’t think so. I feel like I am a better mom because of it. Because once I was able to admit that I loved to work outside the home; I am better able to focus my attention on my little ones, when I am with them. It sounds kind of funny, but I have the best of both worlds, I get to use my “mommy brain” and my “adult brain”, so I feel like a normal person.

I made a promise to myself (post-divorce) that I would never not be able to support myself or my family ever again; no matter what may happen. Who knows, my husband could get injured and I would need to step up and support our family, but I wasn’t able to do that during my divorce; so I promised myself that I had been given a gift of a wonderful college education, and I would never let myself be that vulnerable again.

But with that said, I was also once a full-time stay at home mommy. And let me just say that is the toughest job you will ever encounter; college degree or no college degree. You are on the clock from sun up to sun down. You are the caregiver 24/7—you are the nurse, the teacher, the doctor, the boo boo fixer, the housekeeper, and the chef. Plus you still have to maintain enough energy to be happy when your spouse returns home, and remain upbeat for your child, so they know they are loved and being raised in a positive environment; not a grumpy, tired, exhausted environment.

But I think the struggle that still remains today is…if you are a stay-at-home mom; what do you do all day? And to that I answer…what don’t we do all day?

And to those who question the mothering skills or devotion to their children of mothers who work…to that I say…I think working mothers are more in tune with their kids and want to devour the time they have with them, because they are away from them a good portion of the day.

So until you have walked the walk, don’t talk the talk. It is a struggle that sadly women must battle daily. They either need to work or want to work; or they need to stay home or want to stay home. Either way it is their prerogative. As long as they are good mothers, good wives, and devoted to their families; I don’t see why it matters what they do in their personal time.

I also don’t understand why it is the year 2014, and there are some women out there that are CEOs of major corporations; female jet fighter pilots; engineers; surgeons; I can go on and on…my point being, girls can do anything boys can do. So why in the year 2014 are we still being questioned for what we do with our lives, when it involves our children?

Trust me, as females, we are the best ones to put the guilt on ourselves (we don’t need any outside help from society to do that for us)…should we work and help contribute to our household income? Or should we stay at home and raise the kids? It is a burden that we carry around with ourselves every single day. My question is, why in 2014, are the men not asking themselves the same questions?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Maybe the Vows we Should be saying??


By: Samantha S Daviss

 

I am all for tradition and saying traditional wedding vows. Marriage to me is a sacred covenant that I think some people enter into too lightly. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not belittling or making light of the traditional wedding vows that are said in front of God, family, friends, and everyone. In fact my husband and I had the traditional wedding vows at our wedding, in addition to vows we wrote ourselves.

 

So please understand that I do classify all wedding vows, traditional or not, into the same category…BINDING.

 

But if you aren’t willing to stay with that person “until death do you part”, or “for richer or for poorer”, “in sickness and in health”…and if you aren’t willing to stay faithful to that person for the rest of your life then A) stop reading this & B) you shouldn’t have gotten married.

 

Marriage is a commitment, a promise, a lifetime of sharing yourself with another person. It is not a temporary act that you enter into lightly, and when the tough gets going…you bail. No that’s not marriage, that’s dating, or dating around, for lack of a better term. If you don’t already love that person enough to stay with them when they lose their job, or get sick or you all hit a rough patch; then maybe that person or marriage isn’t for you.

 

So with the basics of matrimonial promises aside, there are a few additional vows I feel we should let our betrothed know in advance. And these are the same things we should continue to tell them on a daily or weekly basis, just to let them know we love them for who they are, the person they have become, and the person they want to become.

 

You have to be a fool if you think that bright eyed little co-ed you took to your fraternity formal isn’t going to change into a mature and nurturing woman once she enters the work force and becomes a mother. Hopefully she will change for the better, but you must understand that we all grow and change. That is what life experiences are all about…growth and change, and you as a spouse need to understand and accept those changes, and hopefully you all will grow together.

 

These promises, I feel, will add to, or increase your marital bliss:

 

1)      I love and adore you for the person you are today, and the person you wish to become, and hope to become in the future;

2)      I will promise to always treat you with autonomy, and realize that you are still you; I know our lives will become intertwined, but you are still an individual;

3)      I promise to never talk disrespectfully to you, you are the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with; I will always keep you on a pedestal, but still recognize that we all have our faults;

4)      I promise to understand and honor your deepest thoughts, wishes, dreams, and aspirations; and be supportive of you to obtain those goals;

5)      I want to meet your needs and desires, not out of obligation, but because your happiness is my happiness;

6)      I may not always agree with your thoughts or visions, but I promise to keep an open mind and an open ear to hear your side;

7)      I will never abandon you in your hour of need, and only be there for you in your moments of achievement; I promise to be there for both misfortune and triumph;

8)      I will be willing to understand your likes and dislikes, still remembering you are an individual; but somehow managing to make them a part of my life as well;

9)      I hope to keep our lives together full of excitement, passion, and fun;

10)  I always want you to know that waking up next to you every morning is my greatest accomplishment;

11)  I assure you that no matter what life tosses our way, we will endure, fight, and overcome any tribulation as a team;

12)  I promise to put your feelings before my thoughts, after all compassion trumps logic, any day;

13)  I promise we will never go to bed angry, we will stay up and work it through; and I will tell you every day exactly what you mean to me.

 

Marriage is challenging, marriage is work, and marriage takes effort. But if you put as much time into your marriage as you do yourself, then you are set for life. This is a choice you made, not a job, not a chore, an obligation…a choice. You chose to be with this one individual for the rest of your time on this earth. So let them know what they mean to you every single day you take a breath. Because I promise…one day, you could wake up and it’s gone in an instant.

 

Cherish your partner, because at the end of the day, they are who you tell your deepest darkest secrets to, they are the one that is there when the house is empty and quiet, and they are the one that is there for you when you need them the most.

 

 

What we shouldn’t give up for Lent


By: Samantha S. Daviss

 

As we all know Lent began yesterday. We hopefully got all of our playing and “sins” out on Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”)…you were able to cut up, let loose and get all of our urges out of our system to maintain our purity throughout the Lent season. Even though Lent is more heavily connected to the Catholic religion, it seems that everyone, not matter their religion, is trying to sacrifice something during the season of Lent; either to better themselves, to break a habit, or just to see if they can give something up for that duration.

Whatever the reason, good for you. Sacrifice is never a bad thing, in fact it is a very selfless act. But I have decided maybe we should look at Lent a little differently this year. Instead of giving something (or somethings) up this year; let’s try going about this another direction. Let’s see what we need to not give up.

Let me explain…we are always saying “I am going to give up chocolate for Lent” (well, first I must applaud you…because chocolate and French Fries are my Achilles Heel)…but instead of giving chocolate up; for Lent this season, let’s maintain the strength not to give into our weaknesses and desires. Which leads me to my entire point of this article, stop giving into our weaknesses, and learn to stay strong, learn to always be a better person.

Make all your weaknesses a daily reminder of the negative person you are trying to avoid becoming; and make them aides-mémoires of the person you want to be. Another example, if you have the urge to speak with a sharp tone or in a degrading manner; use this season to train (or re-train) yourself of how you should actually speak to others.

Another example is honesty; instead of trying to stop yourself from telling a little “white lie” so you don’t hurt someone’s feelings, or just don’t want to create a situation; try using this season of Lent as your time of honesty. Process your words and thoughts before you tell the truth, but nonetheless, be honest and truthful. In the end you will be so much more thankful, not only to yourself, but to the situation as well. You won’t have to keep compounding lie on top of lie to cover your original lie. Just be candid from the get-go.

Gossip…now that seems to be everyone’s Achilles Heel, whether we want to admit to it or not. But as I have grown older, I have learned that I don’t say anything about anyone that I couldn’t say to that person’s face. So this season, instead of trying to break the habit of spreading gossip or talking about others; let’s use this time to talk about others…yep I said it…talk about anyone and everyone! But let’s praise them. Instead of saying negative, let’s just be crazy and out of the blue say nothing but positive about people. I know it sounds crazy, but let’s each try to make this world a little more positive place to live…who knows it may just catch on.

So instead of talking about someone’s weaknesses, or downfalls…let’s lift them up in praise and talk about their strengths and the positive attributes that they bring to our world and lives.

Here’s another task you can do during Lent. Instead of running from the unknown, face it front on. We all use Lent as our time to refrain and avoid…let’s use it as our time to confront and face new challenges. For example, if there was always a hobby you wanted to start, then start it. Or if there is that one person you don’t know very well, but have always heard your friends talk about; instead of partaking in the gossip, go introduce yourself to that person, and make your own conclusions about them, instead of “following the crowd”. Who knows, that person could be your next new best friend. Or if there was an activity you have always wanted to try or were scared to do; then make yourself do it.

I always tell me kids, don’t worry about what other peoples’ actions are; it’s our reactions that we need to be concerned about. And that is what I want you all to do during this season of Lent. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and take this time to try something new, instead of partaking in the negative, go full force into the positive; and face your fears head on, stop running and go forward.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Simpler Times



By: Samantha S. Daviss


As I sit here surrounded by my plethora of anti-aging wrinkle creams, my year books, and tons of memories. I am preparing myself and my old classmates for our high school reunion…dare I say…our 20th! It’s not really my age that is bothering me, because I don’t feel near as old as the number says I am on my driver’s license; I think what is bothering me is it doesn’t feel like it has been two decades since I walked the halls of the old Blue and Gold—filled with Tiger Pride.

At the ripe old age of 18, I couldn’t even fathom where my life would take me. I couldn’t imagine not walking the halls of Corsicana High School, not seeing the faces I saw every single day, smiling, laughing, and stressing over exams and projects that we had forgotten about.

The days when that cute boy walking down the hall would throw that simple cool smile your way, and your stomach would flip and your cheeks would emulate the color of a tomato. Or the pressure of keeping your grades up to remain in the top 10%, or even top 5%, of your class to ensure that all the avenues you might want to pursue after graduation, were open to you.

Or the times when you thought your world was ending, when that boy you thought was the ideal boy, completely shattered your world by talking to another girl in the hallway before 3rd period; or losing the hard fight you fought running for student council to an upper classman.

Oh how those trials and tribulations changed our lives forever and molded us into the adults we are today. Whether or not we knew it then, we were learning  about life as we walked those hallways, threw our books into our lockers, and faced the daunting world of being a teenager with all of our insecurities and flaws…but we did it with gumption and pride. Unfortunately we weren’t bright enough, or our brains weren’t developed enough to always make the “best” decisions, but thankfully we all pretty much came out unscathed.

If we had known then what we know now, we would all be such different people. So maybe the course we were set out to follow is in fact the one we were intended to conquer. Because I know that the insecure, tall, gangly teenager that I once was…was not strong enough to overcome some of the horrific obstacles that have been thrown in my path of life. But those hurdles made me the resilient, independent woman I am today. If my high school self had known what was “to come” along my path of life, I am pretty sure I would have curled up in a ball and never climbed out of my locker.

But that is the beauty of the unknown…you must face life one step at a time and overcome any glitches that may come your way with strength, persistence, and poise. The stresses and pressures we thought we endured in high school were nothing compared to life’s issues and problems today; but I don’t belittle the problems we all encountered in high school, just because they happened during a simpler time in our lives, doesn’t make them any less imperative. Because they, too, were learning experiences that we all overcame and struggled through, making us better, stronger, more empathetic people.

So as I reflect on who we all were in high school together, I remember the fun days of all piling into each other’s cars and heading out to the lake on a hot summer day; or meeting up with one another at the “Shell station” for our typical Friday night fun. And of course who can forget Texas’ 5th season…that being football season.

You knew everyone, who lived within the county lines, would be sitting in the stadium hoping their Tigers would bring home another victory. The crowd was filled with mothers hoping their babies wouldn’t get hurt out on the field, some were cheer moms there to encourage their daughters on the sidelines, some were other students (like myself) that played other sports rooting for my friends and classmates, and some were just there for the Friday Night Lights.

So as we all get older and carry heavier burdens and navigate through the complications of life, we have to remember, that in every stage of life things get more complicated and unfortunately more stressful; but it’s always good to reflect and remember the simpler times of our lives, no matter the age we were. Those problems are no less significant than the once we have as aging adults, they just procure a different perspective through our eyes as we travel through life.

Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and remember the simpler times; its endearing to remember that all those people you grew up with, those that know you better than anyone, those that knew you in mother’s morning out all the way to graduation, through all the good hair styles and the bad ones…will be your friends for life, no matter how many years it has been since you all last spoke or saw one another…they are your high school classmates.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Good Bye Old Friend


By: Samantha S Daviss

 

There are very few things we can count on in our lives.

1)      You will always pay taxes;

2)      The sun will always rise in the east and set in the west;

3)      And your pet will love you unconditionally, no matter what…

The love of a devoted pet is like no other. No matter what mood you are in, how bad of a day you had at the office, how far behind on bills you may be, or how stressed you are about not meeting your deadlines…none of that matters to your pet. When you walk in the back door, they are sitting there patiently waiting for your smiling face, warm hand to graze the top of their head, and just a little love and attention from you to let them know you still love them.

I have never been a cat person, mainly because I am highly allergic to them; but my heart runs deep for the good love of a puppy or a dog. There is just something about their innocent faces and wagging tails that melts my heart. Now if you have never had the connection to a pet or really cared for animals that much, then this will make absolutely no sense to you, and may seem a little odd.

But this past weekend our family lost one of its members. We had to make one of the toughest decisions we will ever have to make as a family together, and that was to let our oldest dog go to a better place, away from pain and exhaustion, to rest in peace.

Floyd was our 13 year old Golden Retriever. He was a great dog, but a dog that definitely beat to his own drum. He was one of those dogs that would go on an adventure, wander around, and come home when he was darn good and ready. He knew how to watch for cars when he crossed the road; he would return to houses that he had once lived in before, due to a move or a life change; and he was my husband’s co-pilot on numerous occasions (literally, his co-pilot).

Floyd was my husband’s dog that he brought in to our relationship and marriage, so Floyd has essentially been in my life for over seven years now, and was of course my dog too, and our boys’ dog. He brought a lot of love, laughter, and kisses to our household, and completed our furry trio of dogs that would ride around town in the back of our big black truck.

He loved to feel the wind in his face, no matter if it was at 30 mile per hour or 70 miles per hour. He would shoot his head around the cab of our truck and the wind would blow his eyeballs back into his head, but he loved the wind in his face.

Floyd would do what I called his “walk abouts”…we would all go somewhere as a family, and old Floyd would just take off in his own direction. The only person that he would respond to or come back to the sound of his voice would be my husband’s. But that is to be expected. They were bachelors together for years, they were golfing buddies, Floyd even went into some places of business around town…he was a local celebrity and everyone knew who Floyd was. He was probably the largest Golden Retriever I had ever seen in my life, standing almost an entire shoulder higher than our other Golden, and at one point weighing in at 137 pounds.

But regardless of who knew Floyd, where he went, or how many adventures he went on…at the end of the day, he was still our Floyd. The big furry mass our boys would lay against in the sunshine in our front yard, the slobbering pooch that hung his head in the wind, and the  big pile of love that would have done anything for his family.

He will never be forgotten…and his wagging tail, happy spirit, and sense of adventure will live on in all of our hearts forever. We’ll miss you big guy…tell Memom “Hi” for us.