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editors letter in every issuer
May 2 018 the Motherhood issue
I am about six years old, and my blissful moment had come to a sudden halt because I had heard a car engine start, and I feared the worst that could happen to me at that time had happened. I thought my mother was leaving without me. Leaving as in going to the store, not as in leaving me forever. Yet, for my mother to leave me at all was the most horrible thing,
MELIA FLOWERS founder / editor / publisher
and I lived in fear that it would happen. I lived my childhood pretty much that same way, with a powerful need to have my mother near me at all times. My love for her and what was surely an unhealthy dependence upon her remained with me throughout my childhood and even into my teenage years. In fact, I was in junior high before I could stay away from my mother all night without crying. To say that I was a momma’s girl was and is a vast understatement.
Those of you who have followed my editor’s letters through the years riding my bike one block from my
may have gathered that I was more of a daddy’s girl. Let me assure you,
childhood home in the small town of
I am now, nearly a decade after his “going home,” still indeed a daddy’s
Nichols, South Carolina. My head held
girl. Yet, in comparison, my attachment to my mother in no way falls short.
high, the warm summer sun beams down, kissing my cheeks and
My love and adoration for my mother has and will always be front and
turning my youthful skin a golden brown. My feet push the pedals
center in my life.
lazily. I want to ride over to find my best friend, yet I linger close to
Even now that I am 52, when it comes to my mother, that little girl who
home. “ABC, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3 . . . ,” The Jackson 5 tune that’s been
couldn’t ride her bike without an ear out to make sure her mother wasn’t
playing in my head escapes my lips. I sing louder now, “as simple
leaving her is still alive and well. Of all the countless blessings that I thank
as do, re, mi, ABC, 1, 2, 3, Baby, you and me, girl, ABC, 1, 2” . . .
God for daily, giving me the love and care of my precious mother and al-
I stop in mid-phrase. My ears stand at attention like a hound dog
lowing her to be here with me throughout my life thus far is, along with the
in a hunt. My heart pounds in my chest, taking my breath. Fear
gift of my own three children, my greatest gift.
grips me now; in an instant, I change from carefree child enjoying a
Typing this letter, I am reminded that often the apple falls not far from
summer afternoon to a child filled with fear and dread. Making
the tree. My eyes fall on a single, small scar on my left hand, and my
a wide circle in the road, I turn and head toward home, no lon-
heart skips a painful beat with the memory unearthed from that place in a
ger at the lackadaisical pace of only a moment earlier. Now, my
mother’s heart where regretful incidents are stored. This time, my own
legs pump fierce, fast circles as the frayed ravels of my cutoffs
daughter, Haley, is the victim, and I am the mother on whom the happiness
are whipping in the summer air and streamers are flying from my
of her days rests. She is about five, and I am forced to leave her. We em-
bicycle’s handlebars. The wind is blowing the tears, which stream
brace, and knowing from experience the condition of her heart upon my
down my face sideways, across my sun-kissed cheeks and into my
attempt to depart, I turn to make my exit, futilely attempting to hold back
hair. “Please, Jesus, let me get home in time,” I beg as I round the
my own tears when she calls for me, reaching out to grab my hand. Her
corner onto my street, eyes peering far ahead, hoping to find our
little fingers dig into my skin, not wanting to let go, and as she is pulled
car in the driveway.
away from me by her father, who is promising a wonderful day to be had in my absence, her fingernail cuts into my hand.
the time I return home, the wound has produced a scab; yet, as slight as it was, a scar has remained all these years. Perhaps it’s there to remind me of the deep
bond between mother and child — evidence that where there is great love, there lies the potential for great pain. Having lived on both sides of the mother/child experience, I am certain that there is no opportunity upon earth for such equal measures of
“It has also been via my love for my children that I have come to a greater understanding of my God’s love for me. ”
joy and pain as this relationship. Just as I know that, should life play out for me in its expected cycle, I will one day have to face life on this earth
mother, the depths that I would descend and the heights that I would
without my mother, I know for certain that I would live the remainder of
climb to give my children what is good for them, and I now have an
my days feeling as though I had half of a heart — with a portion here and
understanding of that on such a far greater level as a mother than I ever
a portion residing in eternity.
did before. The fact that my Father loves me with a love that is even far
With the same heaviness of heart, I recall the morning that I woke
greater than this enormous love that I feel for my children is unfathom-
up to greet the first day as the mother of my firstborn child, Joshua. As I
able. Yet, knowing that it is true helps me to know that I am loved with an
looked into the brown eyes that echoed my own and those of my father,
all-consuming love that can and will carry me through whatever trial and
I knew with an overwhelming certainty that I would never again, for as
tribulation might come my way.
long as I lived upon the face of this earth, live another day free from the
In this issue, we honor and celebrate the spirit of love and the gift
wonder and hope that this little slice of heaven was okay. This August,
of nurturing given to women by God. Whether you gave birth to a child
that baby boy, who now stands at six feet tall, will turn 30, and, true to
or you are chosen as the conduit of love and care for a child placed in
my thought on that day nearly three decades ago, I have yet to have a
your life or you are simply gifting those who need a loving spirit with
day that his health and happiness, along with that of his brother, Jacob
your “mothering” touch, know that our world needs the hope, the love,
and sister, Haley, have not been the first thoughts that greet my day and
and the direction that you provide. With this issue, we celebrate you.
the last as the day ends.
As you read this month’s MOTHERHOOD stories, perhaps you’ll
It has also been via my love for my children that I have come to a
see yourself either as a mother or a daughter. She’s editorial team and I
greater understanding of my God’s love for me. Though the Word of
sought to bring you MOTHERHOOD stories of women at various stages
God tells me that God’s love for me outweighs my own ability to love
on the MOTHERHOOD journey and of mothers who have earned the
even my children, it is because of this great abyss of love that I have for
title in various ways. We hope to remind you that giving birth does not
them — the boundless, endless love that cannot be either lessened or
a mother make; yet, it is in the sacrificial act of loving and caring for
made any greater by anything they could do or be — that I can better
another person, who is totally depending on you and receiving freely of
grasp that same truth of our Creator’s love.
all that you have to give, that a true mother is born and earns the title.
God promises us in His Holy Word that nothing can “separate us from the love of God . . . neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in
This issue is dedicated to all of you celebrating the joys of MOTHERHOOD this month, regardless of how you earned the title.
all creation . . .” (Romans 8:35-39). The same holds true for a mother’s love. There is nothing that my children can do that can make me not love them. Another scripture that comes to mind is found in Matthew 7:11, which reads, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” I understand, through the heart of a
Thanks for reading… It’s a woman thing!
Melia MAY 2018
40 88 94
CONTENTS contributing writers
She Cooks: Mitzi Clary
She Cooks: Nancy Caulder
Chick Lit with Lisa Wingate
She Wants To Know: Ashley Howle
Full Bloom Anna P. Fox
She Wants To Know: Brandi Bess
Healthy, Fit, and Fabulous: Cadie Snead
Baby...Maybe? Ashley Nance
She Wants To Know: Ashley Howle
She Wants To Know: Anna Holcombe
Age of Contentment Marti Miller Willoughby
She Wants To Know: Virginia Ipock
Motherâ€™s Day Reflection Dr. Dee Gulledge
She Wants To Know: Nicole Lawson
Purse Strings: 3 Steps to Build Credit
She Wants To Know: Tiffany Walker
She Wants To Know: Ashley Pennstrom
She Wants To Know: Ashley McDaniel
How to Get Your Bounce Back Mary Dittman
in every issue
Dr. Macy Poaps
medical contributors 114
Bouncing Back After Baby Brad Campbell, M.D. McLeod Family Medicine Center Mark Sansbury McLeod Health and Fitness Center
Cutting the Apron Strings Dr. Avie J. Rainwater, III, PH.D., AAPM BCIA | LifeCare Psychology Group
About Your Child: Children Of All Ages Need To Be Immunized Frank Moskos, M.D. McLeod Family Medicine Center
we are she
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Where memorable events find a place in
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120 Edwards Avenue u darlington u 843.496.6629 Charlie & Denise Weatherford, Proprietors PROVERBS 31:25-30
now busies herself staring wistfully at empty boxes waiting to be filled with the treasures of her past and present. Decision-making continues to be a struggle, but the figs have turned to jam rather quickly. And this points to yet another season of change - for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health - with the promise of many more words to be shared from “down on the farm.”
dr. dee gulledge
Thanatologist and Bereavement Management Specialist, is an educator and practitioner who uses the expressive arts as a method of intervention for intense emotions often associated with loss and grief. She is also a conference presenter and a seminar speaker, as well as a workshop and retreat leader. For information, visit www.artsasmedicine.com. Dr. Dee and her husband, Van, reside in the Columbia, South Carolina, area.
anna p. fox
lives in Georgetown with her husband, Brandon. In her spare time away from work, she is “truly enjoying her on-the-job training as a house wife” and “Mommy”.
mar y dittman
Recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award, is a business professor at Francis Marion University. She consults for businesses in the areas of marketing, sales and business strategy, and is active in the Florence community. She can be reached at www. MaryDittman.com. Her column is titled, “A One-derful Life.”
VP of Communication and Public Information and Public Information Officer for McLeod Health. She is active in the cultural and arts community in Florence, acting and directing at the Florence Little Theater and serving on the Florence County Museum Board and the Florence County Economic Progress Board, also serving as the President of the Florence Little Theatre Board of Directors. She considers every day a gift and is passionate about people, finding the humor in all situations, and is very serious about her personal relationship with the Lord.
ARTISTS amber hopla
founded Carolina Moments after graduating from Francis Marion University. She specializes in children, families, and weddings. Her main goal, as a photographer, is relaxation for her clients. Her view is that when clients are relaxed, their best personalities will shine through.
CarolinaMomentsPhotography.com f: Carolina Moments Photography
trac y rowell
Reflection Images is a bright, fresh and modern photography studio in Downtown Florence specializing in newborns, children, and weddings. Tracy’s passion is capturing amazing and priceless images while her husband’s passion is providing excellent customer service with an unforgettable experience.
ReflectionImages.com f: Reflection Images by Tracy Rowell
often finds herself growing artistically and emotionally each time she picks up her camera. She enjoys capturing special moments that loved-ones are sure to treasure for years to come. Viridiana resides in Hartsville with her husband Brian and their daughter Ellie.
f: Viridiana Photography
Photography has been a hobby of William’s for years. Since his move from New York City to Florence, South Carolina. He decided to turn his hobby into a career, capturing moments and creating memories for his clients to cherish for the rest of their lives. Over the last few years, he has found a passion in cinematography. Currently, he attends the Los Angeles Film School working towards his bachelor’s degree, so he can gain the technical knowledge to produce films and make his Hollywood debut.
collin m. smith
works with his wife, Aron, as a husband/wife photography team. Together, they launched the $100 Portrait Project that donates 50% of its revenue to the Childrenâ€™s Miracle Network, and it stays in the Florence area. They live in Florence with their two children.
CMSmithPortraits.com f: Collin M. Smith Portrait Photography
resides in Florence, South Carolina. As the owner of Brandon Does Portraits Photography, he believes photography is much more than just pressing a button - itâ€™s about capturing the moment with a God-given talent.
BrandonDoesPortraits.com f: Brandon D. Williams
cover artist Heatherlee Chan is a watercolor artist in Southern California. Her illustrations are inspired by her love of color, nature, and femininity. She grew up with her nose in a book and because of that she loves to tell a story with her paintbrush. www.heatherleechan.com
special mother’s day feature
Mitzi an d mom, Davilla.
MOM’S STRAWBERRY NUT CAKE My mom, Davilla Chatham, “Mimi” to her 8 grandchildren, has been a phenomenal cook my entire life. I believe it runs in the family and the proof is in the pudding! She has the most amazing cookbook full of recipes that have been handed down for over five generations! I am convinced that she never needs to look at one single recipe while she is cooking, however they are always neatly tucked away nearby for reference. Our family looks forward to any occasion where we can gather
STRAWBERRY NUT CAKE 1 Box of Duncan Hines White Cake Mix 1 Box of Strawberry Jello 1 C Wesson Oil 1 C Fresh or frozen strawberries 1/ C Milk 4 Eggs 1 C Flake coconut 1 C Pecans chopped
Mix all ingredient Bake at 350 degrees in 3 8 inch layer pans for 25 or 30 minutes ICING 1 Box Powdered Sugar 1 Stick melted butter 1/2 C Strawbrries 1/2 C Pecans chopped 1/2 C Coconut Mix and spread between layers and on top of cooled cake.
around the table and share a meal that has been prepared by Mom. All of her dishes are delicious, but one dessert in particular stands out to me during spring time, and that is her Strawberry Nut Cake. I often remember seeing this beautiful, pink cake on my great grandmother’s dessert table at her home in North Carolina. It was always on the menu each Mother’s Day. My sister and I would race to see who could get the first piece. My mother has continued this tradition to this day and it brings back the fondest memories. I love seeing my children’s eyes light up like mine did when I was their age at the sight of the infamous Strawberry Nut Cake. I look forward to passing down the recipe, along with all the special memories to my children and grandchildren. Both Mitzi Clary and her mother, Davilla Chatham reside in Florence. Mitzi is a teacher at Florence School District One. She and her husband, Trent, have three children.
McLeod is excited to share our achievements in the most recent hospital excellence and patient safety ratings by CareChex®, an innovative medical quality rating system using the most reliable quality indicators. With numerous national and state awards, McLeod is transforming the region’s healthcare.
2017 MEDICAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS Top 100 in Nation for Interventional Coronary Care Top 100 in Nation for Vascular Surgery #1 in the State for Major Cardiac Surgery
2017 PATIENT SAFETY AWARDS
Top 100 in Nation for Stroke Care Top 10% in Nation for General Surgery Top 10% in Nation for Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage Top 10% in Nation for Neurological Care Top 10% in Nation for Pneumonia Care Top 10% in Nation for Pulmonary Care Top 10% in Nation for Spinal Surgery Top 10% in Nation for Trauma Care Top 10% in State for Major Neuro-Surgery *Ratings based on data for McLeod Regional Medical Center. CareChex® is an information service of Quantros, Inc. CareChex provides clinical, financial, and patient satisfaction findings to consumers, providers, and purchasers of U.S. medical care. Unlike other publicly available quality ratings, CareChex provides a composite evaluation of all components of medical quality including process of care, outcomes of care, and patient experiences.
FLORENCE | CHERAW | CLARENDON | DILLON | DARLINGTON | LORIS | SEACOAST PROVERBS 31:25-30
How to Get Your Bounce Back In the fall, one of my students interviewed me for an assignment in another class, and he asked me if I was happy. Honestly, I wasn’t. And that bothered me I wanted to get back into my happy place. Here are 5 things that will help you get your bounce back. Before I discovered these ideas for myself, I had to go through a time of healing. During this time, I did some hiding and some soothing. Whether you are healing a physical wound, or an emotional or spiritual hurt, the concept is the same: you may have to scale back and rest. These tips will help you once you’ve had a minute to rest and heal from the most acute pain - especially the non-physical variety. 1. Meditation. It’s been all over the news for a couple of years now, but meditation is a practice that is thousands of years old. Every major religious and philosophical practice incorporates meditation. The way it was described to me is that prayer is when we talk to God; meditation is when we listen. Just five minutes per day in quiet meditation has been shown scientifically and anecdotally to improve mood, focus, and overall happiness. One of my teachers said, “If you don’t have 5 minutes to meditate, you need to meditate for 30 minutes.” There are many types of meditation, but you don’t need a “type.” Just sit with your eyes closed and breathe for five minutes and try to either clear your mind or count your breaths. It’s that simple. Put the phone away, turn off the TV, and connect to your deepest self. This is where we are able to hear the “still, small voice” of God. 2. Journaling. I have been a consistent journal-keeper for 20 years now. It helps me to be able to process my thoughts and feelings, and allows me to go back and read and see how far I’ve come. You can safely express your emotions without worrying that you are burning out your friends or family. Journaling is a highly therapeutic way to work through situations that are difficult. Some days I write less than one page; some days I write many pages in many different sittings. Getting stuff out of my head and onto paper helps me bring order to any emotional or mental clutter I am sorting through.
3. Do what you must; enjoy what you can; table the rest. One of my girlfriends lost her mother a while back, and she felt guilty that she wasn’t able to “show up fully” at work. A dedicated and conscientious worker, she felt like she was “slacking” compared to her normal full-tilt approach to her job. However, because she was already a high performer, her “slack” was still pretty good, and the truth was, nobody noticed except her! Sometimes you go through a season where you can’t do it all with 100% focus or energy because you don’t have that much to give. Do what you must. Get out of bed, feed the kids, get to work and do what NEEDS to be done. Don’t volunteer for extra. Don’t try to do all the things you normally do. Maybe it’s a long-forgotten hobby, or going for a walk, or playing with your dog, or coloring with your child. Table the rest: I made a list - a literal, written list - of things I wasn’t doing. Things that I wanted or needed to do, but was choosing not to. For example: iron napkins; reconsider social media strategy; update last will & testament; buy new Christmas tree. This way, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by random thoughts of what I “should” be doing. They were captured on paper for when I had my bounce back and I could work on them when my mojo was restored. Turns out, some of the things took care of themselves…. though, sadly, the napkins still need to be ironed. 4. Focus on what you HAVE and moving FORWARD. Granted, this is more difficult in practice than in theory. It’s so easy to get focused on what we DON’T have - especially if we see others who have what we want. The Buddha posited that suffering comes from attachment to what we want and from not being content in our present state. Suffering, he said, doesn’t come from our circumstances, but from our attachment to the way we want things to be. Less than 1,000 years later, St. Paul told us he had to “learn to be content in his present condition” (see Philippians 4:11-13). You have to make the choice to focus on what you have and where you are going. Jesus said no one who puts his (her) hand to the plow and looks backward is fit for service in God’s kingdom (see Luke 9:62). Meaning: God cannot use you in your own life or anyone else’s if you are still looking at what did or didn’t happen. Remember Lot’s wife? Salty. 5. Stop arguing with the past and the present. This one can be really tough. You will stay stuck as long as you cling to “what should have happened” or “what shouldn’t have happened.” Here’s the deal: it happened (or didn’t). Quit asking “why;” you may never know and even if you found out, the answer probably wouldn’t help you. If you can do something now, do it. If you can’t, move on. “If he had done this; if she wouldn’t have done that; if only I’d done it differently” - but he didn’t, she did, and you did what you did. If you need to clean up something, do that, but then you must make peace with what happened. I’m not suggesting you have to like it, but you have to accept it, and acceptance requires doing what you can with what you have to move forward (see point number 4). Life isn’t always wonderful. You’re going to go through difficult and painful seasons. But you can come out on the other side with something good to show for those seasons, and that’s pretty One-Derful. If you want more help or details on these points, come on over to www.One-DerfulLife.com and check out my blog.
anna p. fox
full bloom A
couple of weeks ago, we put some bulbs in the
times. Planting a row of tiny seeds, watching those seeds grow and
ground. Emma helped by “frinkeling” (3-year-old talk
eventually pop up out of the ground, catching a glimpse of new growth
for “sprinkling”) the seeds and the fertilizer. It was
from a plant you thought was gone for good—all of these seemingly
warm and sunny as she stomped around in her rubber
small victories give you a feeling of hope and offer you a reminder that
boots with the flashing lights on the heels, but I knew it wouldn’t stay that way; we are in South Carolina, after all.
God makes all things new. It’s been awhile since I’ve written an article (or anything else, really.)
Gardening has become an important outlet for me and a sweet
Out of curiosity, I looked back to my last article and saw that the same
activity to share with my little family. Abby, our yellow lab, supervises
things on my mind then are the same things on my mind now—thereby
from a spot nearby with her front legs crossed, like the perfect lady she
formulating my thoughts for this month’s submission. Perhaps this year,
is. Emma helps with small jobs we give her, as long as most of them
these thoughts have an even deeper meaning, since I’m not only see-
involve the watering can or the water hose. Brandon takes my endless
ing things I’ve just recently planted, but I’m also seeing shoots popping
building projects and ideas and makes them come to life, while I dig,
up here and there from perennials that were planted last year. It’s a
plant, and rearrange. We are becoming a nice little team. I’m incredibly
different level of excitement to see new life reappearing in the middle
thankful for the times we spend together out in the yard, and I want to
of a seemingly dead plant and to see how some plants have multiplied,
cry almost as often as Emma when the daylight begins to fade and we
promising more than the few beautiful blooms from last year. Better
have to go inside for dinner after a long afternoon of living carefree.
still is seeing growth in a barren place—a place where you thought
I’ve never disliked gardening. Several years in my childhood were
that anything you had previously planted was now completely lost. Our
spent waking up early to help Grandma pick rows and rows of beans,
winter this year was a bit harsher than years past, and I was worried that
and I can still recall being scared of the worms I’d find when shucking
I wouldn’t see some of these plants again this year.
corn. Now that I am in my thirties, I’ve found increasing satisfaction in
The symbolism continues to be so real for me. I feel places in my
acquiring plants, gathering bulbs and cuttings from various friends and
own life that once seemed barren but that are beginning to sprout new
family, and working to create beautiful spaces in our own yard. The
ideas and desires. Areas that were dormant for a season of “winter” are
exercise has provided me with a type of therapy I didn’t realize would
now awakening and are feeling alive and hopeful once again. I had not
be so beneficial and rewarding. Let’s face it—life gets really hard some-
intended for my writer’s voice to be one of those areas, but . . . LIFE.
simultaneously assuming and hoping that I’m not alone in such things. In my circle of friends, the conversation about the busyness of life is continuous;
it takes a lot of work to make sure that our busyness doesn’t take over and completely choke out some of the things that don’t come naturally to us in the midst of a day spent working full-time and being a wife and a mother. Weeds love rich soil too, you know. Even some of my prettiest flowers will slap take over my garden if I don’t give them boundaries and keep them in check. This past fall, we planted some winter crops. We haven’t really done that before. A lack of planning is probably the main reason for that because it takes time and forethought to dig up the old crops and to ready the ground for the new ones. There’s a timeline for this process as well, as there is with any planting or crop rotation. Usually we’ve missed the mark for getting the fall and winter vegetables started, but thanks once again to my Daddy, we produced some really nice cabbages, collards, mustard greens, and turnips this year. It was a completely different experience from a having a summer garden because it didn’t require nearly as much upkeep. It reminds me that seasons can change how things happen and how they look, but it doesn’t always mean that they are gone for good or that they can’t come back again. Sometimes things just need to lie dormant for a while—flowers, soil, personal gifts or talents, and feelings. It can be good to give some areas a bit of space and time to rejuvenate. I wasn’t intentionally taking a break from writing, but it has allowed the familiar joy and love that I feel for writing to find me again. As it does, I’m better prepared to weed out some other “time thieves” in my day-to-day routine that will help me find the time once again to do something that I enjoy, something that makes me a better person. As I process these thoughts onto paper now, it seems so obvious what needed to happen, but it wasn’t at all clear to me in the moment. I had allowed myself to be fooled into thinking that I was too busy and that I didn’t have any other choice but to stop writing. Really, I was just too busy to stop and figure out a better choice. Just as I do to ensure a successful garden and beautiful flower beds, I’ll need to continuously watch out for weeds and pests that are trying to steal the beauty and the fruits of my labor. At least now this is another chance for me to create some better habits that are more productive and more rewarding and to weed out old habits that have choked out some of the beauty inside myself. If I can stick with my own desires and advice, hopefully I’ll see you again in the next She!
special mother’s day feature
MAMA’S FRIED CHICKEN Wash chicken; cut into pieces; sprinkle with
We teasingly ask Mama how many chickens she fried when we were growing up
salt, and coat with flour. (When we were
and how many times she sent one of us to Thriftway Grocery in our neighborhood
little, Mama would pour flour into a brown paper bag and add the chicken. We would then shake the bag until the chicken was coated.)
to get a 2½-pound fryer cut up. We can only imagine, but, I assure you, it was a recurring theme in our home because we always asked Mama to make fried chicken. She never let us down, and it was always so good! Once, my daddy taught me how to cut up the chicken so that there would be a “pulley bone.” A contest always took place with two people breaking the bone and
Pour enough oil into an electric frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan well. Set the temperature of the pan at 350 degrees. When
the winner holding the larger piece. Mama’s famous fried chicken was always the highlight of family reunions, picnics, and, of course, tailgating at Clemson football games. Even though she was worn out from teaching all week, Mama was in the kitchen every Friday afternoon, frying
the oil has heated and is ready, put in the pieces
chicken, deviling eggs, making pimento cheese sandwiches, and baking everyone’s
of chicken. (You will know the oil is ready when
favorite Sock-It-To-Me cake to carry to Clemson the next morning. We were tail-
it sizzles as you put in the chicken.)
gating before people knew to call it that! We did this for every home game. Mama never went without a station wagon filled with us and her students. When we gather as a family now, one of our favorite things to do is talk about
Sprinkle black pepper on top of each
our childhood and all the experiences we had. Our children and grandchildren
piece and then again when you turn the
love these stories and never tire of hearing them. We cherish the memories of our
chicken. Cook 30 minutes, turning every 5
childhood and are grateful to Mama (and Daddy, too) for the full lives they gave us.
minutes. Remove and place on paper towels to drain.
My mother gave us many “holy” moments that, along with her fried chicken, we will cherish forever. Nancy Caulder, daughter of Pat Huff of Hartsville, resides in Marion. She has two childrenTrish Godbold and Elliott Godbold.
Chick Lit in every issuer
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate Melia Flowers: Lisa, thank you for agreeing to talk about motherhood and your book Before We Were Yours. Let’s begin with some thoughts on your own personal motherhood journey. You shared on your website, “I wanted girls. I got boys. I never dreamed that boys could be so wonderful. But that is another story.” Can you share briefly with me what is so wonderful about bringing up boys? Lisa Wingate: In my long-ago days before children, I once flippantly told a co-worker, “I grew up with brothers, and when I have kids, I’m only having girls. If I have a boy, I’m giving it back.” What I didn’t understand then was that heaven isn’t like Burger King. You don’t get to have it your way. The hospital doesn’t let you choose anything you want from the nursery. Even though I wasn’t so excited about buying boy clothes, I fell in love with each of my boys the moment we met. It is hard not to love little boys, after all. There is something special about them — a lingering innocence that is perhaps the by-product of lying on the floor making motor sounds for hours on end. Boys are oblivious to much of what goes on in the peripheral world. What they do hear, they seldom bother to analyze. They are busy building skyscrapers out of Lego blocks. Their thoughts come from hours of digging in sand piles and from watching spiders build intricate webs and from creating miniature superhighways on the living room carpet. For little boys, life is a daring adventure. For moms of boys, the same is true. There’s nothing like the way a little boy loves his mother. It’s the sweetest form of pure adoration, and it goes both ways. Now that my sons are grown, I wouldn’t trade them for a department store full of frilly dresses and lacy pinafores, but I am keeping the ATM card warmed up . . . just in case we have granddaughters some day.
Melia: What is the best advice your mother ever gave you? Lisa: Some of my mother’s best advice wasn’t spoken but shown. I think the advice that sticks with us the longest is often delivered that way. In today’s world, where people seem all too willing to set the rules of civility aside in everyday interactions, I am often reminded of following along on my mother’s apron strings as a little girl. (I was the youngest, so those apron strings were all mine by then, and I rather liked them.) I remember that in stores, in restaurants, in church, at school activities, and with neighbors, my mother was always polite, always courteous — both to people’s faces and behind their backs. I never once saw her behave in a way that was rude, short, inconsiderate, or cruel, no matter what sort of day she was having. She wasn’t a pushover — anything but — and she never let people mistake her kindness for weakness; yet, she handled disagreements with civility, with the discussion of ideas rather than with the demeaning of people. It’s a lesson that still wraps around me as tightly as those apron strings once did, and it’s one I hope I’ve passed along to my children, again, by example. Melia: Most often, a writer can point to a person who spoke the truth of their ability to write to them or who encouraged an existing dream. Who was that person in your life?
Lisa: A special first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, put the idea of being a real writer into my head. She found me writing a story one day at indoor recess, and she took the time to stop and read it. When she was finished, she tapped the pages on the desk to straighten them, looked at me over the top and said, “You are a wonderful writer!” That was a defining moment for me. In my mind, I was a writer. When your first grade teacher tells you that you can do something, you believe it. I was in her class for only a few months before we moved again, but during that time, she left an indelible mark on my life. It’s funny how we have defining moments in our lives, and that time in Mrs. Krackhardt’s class was one of mine. For years, I couldn’t have told you what she looked like or whether she was a young teacher or an old teacher, but I could have told you that she said I was a wonderful writer. When I left her class, she wrote on my report card, “Keep that pencil working with that wonderful imagination, Lisa!” and “I expect to open a magazine and see your name listed among the contributors.” I still have that report card, and I never forgot those words or the way her confidence in me gave me confidence. Publishing is a difficult business, but I always believed I could do it because my first grade teacher told me so. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family of great storytellers. I classify them among my writing mentors, as well. Nights gathered around the outdoor fire pit on my grandparents’ farm were a lesson in weaving together stories in a way that could hold an audience breathless until the final line. Some of those stories were funny, and some were sentimental, but the older folks in our family could hold an audience hostage with a tale about going to the grocery store or getting a haircut. Even from a very young age, I remember being not only enamored with their stories but also fascinated by their skill. Reality and fiction were seamlessly intertwined to create a weave that was flawless. They never let the truth get in the way of a good story, and it was impossible to tell which was which. Both were equally delightful. Melia: As a mother, how difficult was it for you to write Before We Were Yours, given the heartbreaking reality of what was done to the children that fell victim to the evil of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage? Lisa: Part of writing a story is reliving it through the eyes of the characters, putting yourself in another skin, and experiencing life in a different way. I felt Before We Were Yours most deeply as a mother. The true stories behind this book are both a parent’s worst nightmare and a parent’s fondest dream. As much as I love writing, parenthood is still my favorite job. It’s the one I treasure most. As I was writing, I couldn’t help imagining my own sons at two and four and eight and twelve years old, like Rill, the eldest of the siblings in the story. I remembered my boys at those ages, how innocent they were, how little they knew of the world. What if suddenly they were plucked from their lives, from everything they knew, and deposited in a seedy orphan’s home with no explanation, no one watching over them, no idea where their parents were or what would happen next? What about me, as a mother? What if my babies were taken away one day and I couldn’t protect them, and I couldn’t find them, and I perhaps didn’t even know what had happened to them at all? What if I never saw them again? The questions were heart-wrenching but also very real. Thousands of people lived this journey in and around Memphis during the decades Georgia Tann ruled over the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.
“I felt Before We Were Yours most deeply as a mother. The true stories behind this book are both a parent’s worst nightmare and a parent’s fondest dream.”
Melia: How did the idea for Before We Were Yours originate? Lisa: I was up late one night working on materials for a different story and with the TV playing in the background. A rerun of the “Investigation Discovery: Dangerous Women” segment about Georgia Tann cycled through at about two in the morning. I tuned in and immediately became fascinated with this bizarre, tragic, and startling bit of history. I was shocked by the scope of Georgia’s network, the number of lives she affected, and the tragic consequences of her cruelty and greed. What, I wondered, could motivate such a person? How could so many others — law enforcement officials, welfare workers, court workers, caretakers — be coerced into taking part in, or at least turning a blind eye to, the kidnapping and abuse of so many children? How could an estimated five hundred children have simply vanished from the care of Georgia’s Tennessee Children’s Home Society with no investigation of their whereabouts and probable deaths? How could ordinary people have failed to question Georgia’s frequent newspaper ads, offering children as “Christmas presents” and “Yours for the asking?”
Melia: How long have you been at work on this book? Did the book involve special research? Lisa: The book was research-intensive. I took in everything I could find about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis and Georgia Tann. In large part, I found bits of the story here and bits there. The Discovery Channel’s “Deadly Women” and 60 Minutes provided helpful information and visuals. Several books, including Babies For Sale by Linda Austin and The Baby Thief by Barbara Raymond, were particularly helpful in researching the adoption scandal. Harlan Hubbard’s Shantyboat Journal was a beautiful account of shantyboat life on the river. I also spent time in Memphis, researching locations, combing through the river museum, visiting the library and the university’s photo archives, and talking to people who remembered the scandal. continued....
Chick Lit in every issue
Melia: Before We Were Yours tells a story within a story. Are dual time-frame stories a challenge to write? Lisa: It’s always a challenge to balance dual time-frames and a story within a story. It falls into the category of double-the-work and double-the-risk, but also double-the-fascination and double-the-reward. There’s twice as much research, but in doubling the research, you also discover twice as many interesting historical facts, unanswered questions, and nearly forgotten bits of history. Those fascinators weave new threads into the story loom. For me, the biggest challenge was balancing the two stories, ensuring that both would be fully satisfying and that the historical story would serve a purpose in modern-day characters’ lives. Melia: You’ve mentioned that you have received letters from descendants of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (TCHS). Are you surprised at the degree of response? Lisa: Because I have been contacted by many real-life adoptees from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and also by descendants of adoptees, I’m in the process of working with a core group of adoptees to arrange a gathering of TCHS adoptees and families in conjunction with a book talk about Before We Were Yours in Memphis June 9 and 10, 2018. The speaking engagement was originally planned to benefit historic Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, which holds the final resting place of the 19 registered deaths involving the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The plot sat unmarked all these years, and recently the cemetery raised funds to erect a memorial stone to those babies and to all the others who simply disappeared—their names and resting places unknown. In addition to the book talk that weekend for the public, we’ll be bringing about a gathering specifically for the adoptees with the aim of allowing them to view the main library’s TCHS informational archives and to share notes, paperwork, and stories with one another. Some will have the opportunity to fill in holes in their stories. For others, this will merely be a chance to share their stories and to be heard. For all the adoptees I’ve brought together so far, there is a sudden sense of “not being the only one,” which, of course, they are not. A startling number of people know someone who has a family connection to TCHS and Georgia Tann’s aftermath. Anyone seeking further information about the book talk in Memphis can find details on the Appearances page of www.LisaWingate.com. Tennessee Children’s Home Society adoptees and families seeking information about the TCHS adoptees gathering are asked to email TCHSadoptees@gmail.com.
“As I was traveling the country speaking about the book, survivors began showing up– sometimes with their paperwork, but always with their stories...These are the people who lived this story.” Melia: I can only imagine how rewarding the success of Before We Were Yours has been to you, especially to know that you have touched so many of the lives of those connected to the descendants of those children. Can you share you thoughts on this? Lisa: In the months after Before We Were Yours hit shelves, the strangest thing started happening — I started receiving emails from Tennessee Children’s Home Society survivors and their children and grandchildren. As I was traveling the country speaking about the book, survivors began showing up — sometimes with their paperwork, but always with their stories. I stood in the back corners of lecture halls, on curbs, and in parking lots reading yellowed sales-pitch letters written by Georgia Tann. I leaned in, peering through dim light at dog-eared birth certificates and old photos while hearing about years-later reunions with siblings, birth mothers, fathers, cousins, uncles, and aunts. These are the people, I was reminded over and over. These are the people who lived this story. So many of them asked me if I had talked to other Tennessee Children’s Home Society children. What did the others say? What else might they know? Two particularly intrepid ladies, oddly enough named Judi and Judy (like Grandma Judy in the novel), wondered via email, Would I ever consider arranging some sort of reunion for TCHS adoptees? I thought, perhaps, but I didn’t know where or when . . . or how. When the June 2018 book talk in Memphis was added to the schedule, it seemed like a perfect opportunity, but I’ll confess, life was busy, the book was in an extended run on the New York Times Bestseller list, and I was traveling a lot. I hadn’t done anything about making TCHS reunion plans. Maybe next year, I thought. And then a nudge came via email — another letter from Judy, asking if I’d thought any more about setting up a reunion. That was the beginning of bringing together Judy, Judi, Lorraine, and Sally — four incredible women, four survivors who’ve already become fast friends. They share a history and a bond. Connecting them and learning more about their stories has been a surprising and wonderful offshoot of the novel and an incredible blessing. Plans for the gathering have fallen into place much more quickly than I would have ever thought possible, which just goes to show that, when you feel that God-given nudge to do something, you shouldn’t ignore the prodding. You should turn and walk boldly in the direction those nudges are guiding you.
Melia: How did you write 30 books in 15 years while also taking care of your family? Lisa: I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t get serious about freelance writing and selling until after I’d graduated college, married, and started a family. I wrote and sold various smaller projects between naps, diapers, and playgroups. When the boys were older, it was done during soccer practices, in carpool lines, while helping with homework, and in all sorts of other situations. People often ask me if I need quiet in order to write. With boys in the house, if I’d waited for quiet, the writing would never have happened. I learned to lose myself in a story amid the noise of life, and I loved it that way. I asked myself, “What makes a story last? What really makes a story worth telling and worth reading?” I wanted to write books that meant something, that explore the human soul. One day, I came across a notebook in which I’d written some of my grandmother’s stories of growing up in the depression era. I’d never known quite what to do with those stories, but I knew they were significant in my life. When I rediscovered the notebook, I had the idea of combining my grandmother’s real stories with a fictional family who is like and unlike my own family. That little gem of an idea became my first women’s fiction novel, Tending Roses. Now that the boys are grown and the house is quiet, I’m redefining the writing routine again. Just as in books, life is a series of scenes and sequels, beginnings and endings, and new discoveries. Melia: Are you currently working on a new book?
“Just as in books, life is a series of scenes and sequels, beginnings and endings, and new discoveries.”
Lisa: The next manuscript is complete and has already made the rounds at the publishing house, where (to the great relief of my nervous writer’s heart) it received a warm and welcoming reception. The publication date is not yet set, but the next book is another dual time-frame novel with intertwined stories from modern days and a little-known early 1900s event. It has involved a great deal of research and some meetings with an organization that has kept the memory alive of this striking moment in history. I can’t wait to share more when we get closer to the release date. Melia: I promise to bring that information to our readers (and yours) as soon as you pass it along. Happy Mother’s Day, Lisa! Thanks for taking the time to talk to She!
“There was a picture of me in grammar school, missing teeth and all, donned in my scout uniform.”
Motherhood Remembered The memories never fade, although the pictures
to me at college with a little letter of encouragement.
have yellowed a bit, since some were “Polaroid.”
“Use this idea to brighten up your dorm room. It will
(Remember that blast from the past?) Instant grat-
make you feel better on snowy days in the moun-
ification through moments in time that spewed out
tains. Love you.” Tucked inside would be a little cash
of a camera’s mouth was a wonder to us all for many
to support the spruce-up.
years. Many of those are still pasted on our family
Napkins with sayings on them are more my modern
albums, with footnotes in the handwriting of a loved
favorites, however Mom loved cross-stitched sayings
one from an age gone by, but not forgotten.
she would frame and place around the house. My
My mom’s face and voice and words of wisdom still
sis and I still have a few of these hangings in special
are clear, despite the decades since she went to be
corners of our homes. Actually, her “Rules on Being
a Guest” with imprinted tulips is displayed near my
Yep, I don’t bring it up very often, but while she
bathroom. It occasionally makes me chuckle, when I
left us too soon, she did leave behind golden nuggets
see No. 4. If you break it, ‘fess up. We won’t send you
of counsel. My mom cleverly would post those ker-
home. That used to crack up all my friends who spent
nels of discernment and advice in round about ways,
With my mom and baby sister, Rima
which has long since been one of my operative mem-
like on the ‘fridge, in the form of Dear Abby columns
Mom never wrote in her Bible, considering The
about being a lady, being chaste or being honest.
Word a sacred textbook, but she loved bookmarks
My mom was rich in character and teaching, a
Sometimes Better Homes and Gardens articles would
with sayings on them and loved the Psalms. Her fa-
legacy I hope to have embraced and pass on to my
appear, snipped from her favorite magazine, and sent
vorite sayings were:
wonderful son, daughter-in-law and grandchild.
The only way to have a friend is to be one.
ory verses. And yes, I still have the bookmark.
Sarah Malin once said,
Pretty is as pretty does.
“Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your
It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.
heart understood when I needed a friend. Your gentle
You’re either someone’s sunshine or their rainy day.
eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly.”
And once I even found a homemade bookmark, placed in her Prayer Book. There was a picture of me
How true. This year for Mother’s Day remember to
in grammar school, missing teeth and all, donned
help your children soar. Feel free to tape this to your
in my scout uniform. We made it at Camp, as I re-
‘fridge so you won’t forget.
call, with a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ message painted along the middle. It had unevenly creased the page
for Psalm 46:10. Be Still and Know that I am God…,
“The memories never fade, although the pictures have yellowed a bit, since some were “Polaroid.”
Carolina Moments Photography
in every issue
ashley howle I wish someone had told me how fast your kids grow up and how much patience would be needed. In the journey of motherhood, each day brings about a new opportunity to put patience into practice. I’m sure many mothers out there can relate to the “joy” of taking your kids along with you to buy groceries. I can’t help but laugh when I remember one grocery store trip in particular. While heading towards the register, I got distracted by one of my children, dropped a carton of eggs, then watched the eggs splatter across the ground. I was so embarrassed, but also couldn’t quit laughing. It was in that moment that I realized to not worry about what others think. Mistakes happen. You just have to brush your knees off--or in that case, eggs--and move on! Since having four children, I’ve become a lot more patient and understanding because I’ve realized just how fast time goes. I want to enjoy every moment. One day, my kids will be grown and I’ll miss all of this, even the tough days.
in every issue
Collin M. Smith Portrait Photography
brandi bess I wish that someone would have warned me about the mixed feelings I would have about watching my daughter, Kennedy, grow up and become more independent. It is almost bittersweet to watch her reach certain milestones in life. I remember on Kennedyâ€™s first day of riding the school bus, I was a nervous wreck. I escorted her onto the bus with hugs and kisses. As they drove away, I was in hot pursuit behind the bus in my car. I positioned my car beside the bus at a stop light. I began waving at Kennedy, who was sitting near the window. She then rolled her eyes and scooted away from the window, trying to ignore me. I cried and laughed all the way home.
bouncing back after baby
with dr. brad campbell and mark sansbury
Bouncing Back After Baby
Once your Physician has released you to engage in exercise, commit to three important core exercises. These three exercises will help you rebuild a strong foundation of core strength to prepare for higher intensity workouts later.
Kegel exercises: Targets Pelvic Floor Muscles Sit in a secure chair keeping your feet shoulder width-apart and your hands on your hips. Contract your pelvic muscles as you would when trying to keep yourself from urinating.
aining weight is a normal part of being pregnant. During pregnancy, most women gain an average of 25-35 lbs, and some women may gain much more than that. Studies have shown that American women
keep an average of 10 lbs of body fat after each of their pregnancies. After a couple of children, this can start to add up, and lead to increased risks of other medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Getting back in shape is an important part of getting your body and mind back together after a grueling 10 months of pregnancy. Being active has several benefits for new moms. Exercise not only helps your body get back into shape; it can help fight stress, improve your mood, boost your energy after sleepless nights, and improve your sense of well-being. You should check with your doctor before starting an exercise program, but a good way to start is by taking a daily walk. A brisk walk for 30 minutes daily can get your heart pumping, help with weight loss, and your baby can come along with you! It is also good to get out of the house and see other people, as this can relieve the stress and tension of the postpartum blues. After six weeks, you may want to start with more vigorous exercise.
Simultaneously stand up. Hold kegel and return to the chair then release. Perform 1 - 3 sets for 10 - 20 repetitions.
Floor Bridges: Targets Hamstrings and Glutes Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms by your sides.Engage core and squeeze butt to lift off the floor, pressing heels into the ground. Kegel at the top of the bridge, hold for three seconds, and slowly return to floor. Release Kegel at bottom of bridge. Perform 1 - 3 sets for 10 - 20 repetitions.
Planks: Targets Abs, Obliques, Quads and Glutes
Lie face down with legs straight and forearms touching floor. Engage abdominals and using your forearms as support lift your body so that only your forearms and toes are touching
the floor. Keeping your body in a straight line from your neck through the hips, knees and ankles hold this position for 15 - 30 seconds. Keep abdominals and glutes engaged for the duration of the plank. Lower knees to the floor to rest then repeat to complete 5 planks. Commit to performing these exercises 3 - 5 times per week.
Mark Sansbury is the Director of Fitness Services at the McLeod Health & Fitness Center. For more information about the McLeod Health & Fitness Center, call (843) 777-3000.
Personal trainers and postpartum exercise classes can help you lose the extra weight gained during pregnancy. Be sure to warm up and stretch before vigorous exercise, and take 5-10 minutes to cool down afterwards, as this will help prevent injury and muscle soreness.
Dr. Brad Campbell cares for patients at McLeod OB/GYN Associates in Florence. Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Campbell received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. He also completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical University of South Carolina. To make an appointment with Dr. Campbell, call (843) 777-7424.
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healthy, f it, and fabulous
in every issue
Healthy, Fit & Fabulous feature story
As Told To She Magazine Photographed by Brandon Williams
LOST 53 LBS
have never been a super-skinny girl, however, I never considered myself to have weight issues. In fact, I had actually lost over 30 pounds within a month’s time during my first year of college. Shortly after, I received a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. After starting on insulin, I steadily gained weight and the dreaded “freshman 15” became for me, “the freshman 30.” I was upset and fearful, yet, after being so sick, I was relieved to have a diagnosis so that I could feel better and go on with my life. Years of health issues and weight gain later, when I saw pictures of myself at my nephew’s birthday party, I was shocked that it was even me, and I felt hate for myself. I was angry that I had allowed myself to get to that point, and I was embarrassed to be the size I was and to look the way I did. I saw a girl who was unhealthy and miserable.
I knew I didnâ€™t want to be the girl that I saw in the pictures, and I knew something had to change. I did not want to have weight loss surgery, and I ne that I as going to ha e to e the one to fight for hat I anted and to find a different a enue in order to achie e it. hat I had een doing to lose weight was not working, and I realized I had to take a step back and to trust od to hel me through this time to figure out my ath for success. I truly elie e this as all art of is lan, and it as is or hich hel ed me to find the health care team I ha e today, leading me to the success I ha e seen so far. ne of my healthcare ro iders e lained to me that, hether I had surgery or lost eight on my o n, the same lifestyle changes had to e made. That thought really stuck with me. I also researched the surgery and reco ery rocess, and none of it loo ed li e a fun thing to e erience. fter my research, I realized I wanted to do all I could to lose weight on my own and to only ha e eight loss surgery if it as my only o tion to e successful. c eod ealthier ou is the ellness rogram set u for c eod em loyees and families on c eod insurance. t this time, I had een trying to eat right and to lose eight for the three months rior to starting the rogram, but I only continued to gain weight. Regardless, my appointment was made to meet with a diabetes educator. I had consulted with diabetes educators in the ast ut had not seen long term ositi e results. herefore, I as hesitant and honestly ust did not ha e my ho es u . I felt li e my health as too far gone for anyone to hel me, and I didn t thin anyone ould e er understand my situation and health story. I started to believe that being a dia etic ust meant eing unhealthy fore er al ays ha ing u and do n lood sugar le els, fre uent infections, and the de ression that came ith eing sic and feeling ill most of the time. I started the ealthier ou rogram ith my only e ercise re uirement eing minutes of daily cardio. hat is e actly ho I egan. I al ed, rode the bike, or did the elliptical every single day. I remember starting this and often feeling li e I couldn t go ast minute fi e, ut I made myself ush through to minute . s I got stronger and uilt u my endurance, I increased my or out time as ell as the intensity of each or out. fter t o months of only cardio, I anted to add in more. ersonally, I as orried about sagging skin due to weight loss, so I decided to add in strength training. I am a mem er of the c eod gym and occasionally do classes there ho e er, ith my schedule, I mostly or out at home. I found arm, leg, and core or outs on interest to do at home, and I uilt my o n routine and schedule. n onday, ednesday, and riday, I do minutes of cardio, leg or outs, core e ercises, and stretches. n uesday, hursday, and Saturday, I do minutes of cardio, arm eights, core e ercises, and stretches. n Sundays, I usually ust do minutes of cardio or sometimes a yoga class. egardless of my routine, ho e er, there are days and e en ee s that get usy, and I find other ays to ma e sure I am acti e. If I don t get in my scheduled or out, I try al ing fi e to ten minutes after each meal or going for a uic al around the loc after dinner. I often get as ed if I en oy or ing out, and at first, the ans er as a uic no. or ing out as hard and felt li e a daily tas that I a solutely dreaded ho e er, as my ody adusted, it as li e it cra ed the e ercise e ery day. It is such stress relief, and it ma es me feel li e I am doing something good for my ody. So, as time ent on, I found e ercise routines that I lo ed and en oyed, and I no loo for ard to that time each day.
hen I started ealthier ou, I as encouraged to eat three meals a day and to ha e snac s in et een. I as told not to go o er four hours ithout eating and that I needed to have protein with every meal and snack. My daily carb goal was set to 120, with 10-15 car s for snac s and car s for meals. or rea fast, I mostly do smoothies, using ree yogurt as my rotein. Sometimes I ill do scram led eggs, toast, and fruit once or twice a week. My smoothies are 27 carbs, and I normally make three at the time so they are ready to go in the morning. I try to coo enough for dinner so that I ha e lefto ers for lunch. If I don t ha e lefto ers, I ill eat a eanut utter sand ich, cheese uesadilla, or tur ey sand ich for lunch. I try to ee things as sim le as ossi le and al ays ha e healthy o tions a aila le to ee me from reaching for unhealthy snac s or sto ing at a dri e thru. or dinner, I ha e se eral meals that I lo e and rotate through each month, and I try to do a ne reci e at least once a ee or a cou le of times a month. I still eat all of the foods that I lo e and en oy, ut I ha e found healthier ays to eat the a ors I lo e or to change my ortion si e. I mostly do a meat, eggie, and some ty e of car , such as cra ca es and as aragus, ham urger stea ith green eans and potatoes, salmon and broccoli, or chicken sausage and roasted veggies, and I always, al ays ha e tacos once a ee . I loo at healthy and organic food items as medicine for my ody, so I find a ay to udget for a more e ensi e grocery ill rather than ust uying hat is on sale. I eigh or measure e erything I eat to get accurate counts for calories and car s. hen I ma e a ne reci e, e erything is measured, and ser ings are then counted out for the hole reci e in order to get the accurate car s and calories for a ser ing. It re uires effort, ut after it is done that one time, it doesn t ha e to e calculated again. his is one reason I stic to the same meals and don t go off trac too much ecause it is difficult no ing the accurate calculations for ne things, and my ody has difficulty ith change. I take vitamins at night, even though I absolutely hate taking them. To encourage ta ing itamins, I ha e a small s eet treat efore ed li e a o e mint chocolate, de ending on ho many calories car s I ha e left for the day. ealthier ou did not reuire me to count calories. I as told that if I follo ed my daily car count goals, then my calories ould fall into lace ho e er, my doctor suggested that I use the ose It a , and it has really hel ed. It hel s me ee trac of e erything, lan meals, and trac my ater inta e. y doctor and dia etes educator hel ed me set my daily calorie goal of , . I also only drin ater and four to eight ounces of diet ginger ale a day.
CONTINUED PROVERBS 31:25-30 SHEMAGAZINE.COM
MAY 2018 FEBRUARY 2018
Healthy, Fit & Fabulous feature story
healthy, f it, and fabulous
in every issue
hen I I checked back in after a week of starting Healthier You and realized I had lost four pounds, I was in complete shock. Just seeing a tiny bit of progress gave me so much hope and motivation. The Healthier You staff members were all so encouraging and uplifting. Everyone was so excited for me to have lost weight in just a week’s time, and it was motivation to keep going. I was given a daily record sheet to write down all of my blood sugar levels, the foods I have eaten, my exercise, and my water intake. It’s a lot to keep up with, but it makes me aware of what I am taking in and really helps to track my blood sugar levels to see any trends that may warrant a change in insulin dosages. When I would go for my check-in, I would first of all weigh-in, then I would sit down while my diabetes educator would go through my daily records line-by-line, telling me things that I had done well or things that I needed to improve on/do differently. She would look at portions, carb counts, blood sugar reactions to certain foods and workouts, and food combinations. I would always leave with encouragement to keep fighting and with goals on which to work for my next appointment. I have realized that I can have chronic illnesses and still be healthy. I have also realized that I do not have to feel ill all of the time and that diabetes does not have to control my life. I have been able to feel what it is like to be healthy — something I took for granted for so many years before receiving my type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I wish that every diabetic could feel how I feel just for a few minutes because that healthy feeling is truly what keeps me fighting. Feeling so good and healthy for the first time in so many years, having a clear mind, being able to think straight and concentrate, having energy — I didn’t want any of those feelings to go away. There are a few things that have helped me to stay motivated. First of all, it helped knowing that I was going in each week to weigh, to be checked concerning what I was eating, to see if I was drinking enough water, and to get my workout reviewed line-by-line by someone else. Accountability has definitely helped me. Also, I realized that this was just life and how things were. If I wanted to be healthy, then that meant I would not get to eat as much, or I would maybe even miss out on eating cake, cookies, or candy every single day. It’s just how it is. If I was ever around extra snacks or sweets, I would ask myself, “Do I want that more than I want to lose weight?” Most of the time, the answer was “no.” There were a few times that I really wanted a couple of bites of birthday cake or pie, and I built that into my meal plan so that I was still meeting my calorie and carb goals. Lastly, I think of my “why.” Why am I fighting so hard for my health and weight loss? It is because I want to feel better and to be my best for myself and for my husband, and hopefully, that will lead to us having a family one day. On the challenging side, having type 1 diabetes is exhausting and, honestly, a full-time job. It never goes away, never goes on vacation, and never stops. I am good at hiding it, but I do get tired and worn out. Healthier You really helped me turn this into a lifestyle so I don’t think much about it anymore. I just have to remember it is all a journey and a lifestyle, so it isn’t going to be perfect all of the time. There are still going to be high blood sugar levels, infections, and days that my weight fluctuates. The most rewarding part about this journey has been how I feel. The weight loss has been wonderful, but I feel absolutely amazing. I wish I could explain how healthy, stable blood sugar levels make me feel overall, giving me the ability to think clearly and to have so much energy. It is important to note that I started the Healthier You just to get my diabetes under control, but with learning to control that, I lost 53 pounds. I started this journey at 206 pounds and now weigh 153 pounds!
Healthy, Fit & Fabulous feature story
o maintain this loss, I plan to just keep doing what I am doing because it is working. It’s amazing what daily exercise and a healthy diet can do for a person mentally. I have always fought depression and always will continue to fight a level of it, but I can tell that the changes I have made over the past few months have helped me get to an overall happy place. I have learned that I am so much stronger than I ever thought possible, and I am capable of more than I ever gave myself credit. I realize most of the negative things that I felt about myself were personal, not necessarily how everyone saw me or thought about me. Weight does not determine who a person is, but looking back, I realize that, due to my weight, I wasn t as confident as I wanted to be, and I missed out on things I enjoyed because I was embarrassed or simply wasn’t able to participate. When you are struggling with weight, you can feel very alone, as I did. You are not alone in your struggle and neither should you be alone in the process of getting healthy or losing weight, or whatever your battle happens to be. I could not have gotten to where I am today without my wonderful health care team and my family and friends supporting me and cheering me on. I have the sweetest, most supportive husband, as well as my mom, my two brothers and their wives and children, and my only sister and her fianc , who have been so encouraging through this journey — not to mention all of my doctors and nurses, extended family, in-laws, and friends. I also have to include my greatest personal inspiration on this journey- my daddy. He passed away in December 2015, after a 15-year battle with a rare autoimmune disease and also a chronic lung disease. He initially got sick when he was 42, and illness completely changed his life; however, he never let illness define him. e never let it get in the way of achieving his goals. He was a very successful businessman and an even better husband to my mom, as well as a dad to me and my siblings. He always pushed me to “keep fighting” no matter what came my way. I know that he would be so proud of me for putting up a fight and for all that I have overcome in just eight short months. I just hope that by sharing my story with my successes as well as my failures, I can provide people with a
sense of encouragement and inspiration to get started or to keep going. I want people to be inspired by the fact that I am just a normal person who eats regular food, does simple workouts, and stays focused on my goals. It hasn’t taken any extreme measures for me to reach my goals. My biggest advice for others is just to start. Don’t wait until onday or tomorrow or the first of the year. Start now or with your next meal. Make little changes, and as things work and you see progress, more changes will come to help you reach your goals. The important thing is to never give up! Looking ahead, I would like to lose 10-15 more pounds, but if that doesn’t happen, I am okay with where I am because I am healthy. I truly believe that all of my success is part of God’s plan for me. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I was meant to be on this particular journey. His Hand has been in every aspect of this pathway, and I could not be where I am today without His plan and purpose for my life.
“my biggest advice for others is just to start. don’t wait until monday or tomorrow...
Cadie Raines Snead and her husband, Jameson, reside in Florence, South Carolina, with their fur-baby, Hopkins. Cadie is the Special Projects Coordinator at Raines Hospitality. Cadie invites readers to view her Facebook page and future blog called “Sweetened by Grace,” where she will continue to share her journey and offer tips and inspiration.
PROVERBS 31:25-30 30 FEBRUARY 2018
MAY 2018 SHEMAGAZINE.CO
in every issue
Reflection Images by Tracy Rowell
kenzie walker Aside from sleep deprivation, the biggest struggle for me is being apart from my newborn. After carrying a baby in your womb for 40 weeks, you develop a bond with your child that nobody else can have with him/her. You want to be there every second of everyday because you don’t want to miss anything. I believe every mom can relate to this. I am not an emotional person, but it breaks my heart to think of putting her in the crib, which is only 20 feet away. When I attempted to place her in her crib for the first time, I cried my eyes out for at least an hour. She didn’t last anymore than two minutes in her crib, even though she was perfectly fine. I was the one who wasn’t fine! I have learned that it’s okay to cry and that I’m not being a bad mother just because I don’t know what to do in every situation. The biggest blessing of motherhood is exactly that...motherhood! My baby girl is a precious gift from God. She is so loved! My husband and I experienced a lot of trouble getting pregnant, which was a heartbreaking experience for us. After months of using fertility medicine and praying, we finally got pregnant! It has been a wonderful journey, and we can’t wait to see young lady Ellison grows up to be!
Carolina Moments Photography
in every issue
anna holcombe I wish someone had told me to not to waste time worrying about the bad days you have with your children. The good days always outweigh the bad. Some of those difficult moments may even become funny memories one day. When my first born, Raylynn, was a newborn, she had just started smiling a lot. One morning, I had finished giving her a bottle. I was playing with her and then she gave me a big smile. Before I knew it, she projectile spit up all over me! I yelled for my mom because I didnâ€™t know what was wrong or what to do. Looking back now, I laugh about it because there was nothing wrong with her--it was just spit up. That just goes to show that even when youâ€™re a mother yourself, you still need your own mama too!
ววงย ยยu||วง ฦฏu|ย~
Brandon Dion Photography
My husband and I were married in 1982 at a little church in Hamer, South Carolina, called Kentyre Presbyterian Church. Before we were married, I was living in Columbia, and my husband-to-be was living in Mullins. After our wedding, we decided to move to Florence to be closer to family. We knew we wanted children, but we wanted to wait a while so we could first get adjusted to marriage. After four years of marriage, we were ready to start a family. I was so excited and nervous when I found out that I was pregnant. We had been trying for about a year before we finally got our first little precious baby. I did not have any reservations about becoming a mother. I guess I was just so happy that I did not stop to think about the big picture. I was living in the moment. Boy, our world was rocked! My first baby girl, Holly Maria Gerrald, was born on July 12, 1986. She weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces and was 21 inches long. My pregnancy started off just fine, but then, in my sixth month, I started swelling, and my blood pressure began getting high. My due date was August 3, but I was miserable due to the swelling. In my 37th week, my blood pressure was so high that my doctor put me in the hospital to keep a watch on it. Little did I know that I had toxemia. On my third day in the hospital and after seven hours of labor, Holly was born. I remember seeing her sweet little face, counting her tiny fingers and toes, and thinking, “Oh my goodness! What am I going to do with this little baby?” I was not one who was crazy about babies in my earlier years, but my mothering instincts took over, and somehow I just knew how to take care of her. I remember praying and asking God to please let me live to see my daughter grow up, since my own mother had died when I was 16 and did not get to see me grow into adulthood. She did not get to see her grandchild. Because I was a working mother, we had to find a daycare quickly for Holly. She had a hard time digesting her milk and was sick for the first few months of her life. We finally found a formula for her that she could tolerate, and she became much better. After three years, we wanted to start trying to have another baby. In five months, we found out we were pregnant once again. This pregnancy was entirely different from my first! I did not have the swelling with this pregnancy, but I did get very large. My doctor watched me carefully because of my blood pressure issues with my first pregnancy. Just as before, when I was 37 weeks along, my doctor decided that he was going to induce me. My blood pressure
“My mothering instincts took over, and somehow I just knew how to take care of her...”
was high, and he was not going to take any chances. I checked into the hospital at 6:00 a.m., and by 10:00 a.m., the baby was coming. With Holly, I had not wanted to have any drugs, but ended up getting an epidural. When Heather Thomas Gerrald arrived, she weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 21 inches long. She was one of the biggest babies born that day. Everyone at the hospital was asking me what I did to have such a healthy baby. After having such a hard time with Holly’s formula, I decided to breastfeed Heather. This was a wonderful experience, and we bonded right away. She was a beautiful, chunky baby. You would never know it today because she has grown up to be quite slender. Acontinued A
THE BRIDAL ISSUE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON WILLIAMS
earing for the first time when your child says, “Mommy, I
ly a gift from God! After your children are born, spend as much time with
love you!” is the best sound ever. Watching my girls grow
them as you can. Raise them to be respectful to themselves and to others.
into beautiful young women — inside and out — has been
Raise them to be independent — especially girls — so that, if they have
amazing. I know that if I need them, they will be there for me
to, they can take care of themselves. Bring them up in church, as this is
— no questions asked. I, of course, will always be there for
the foundation for their salvation. In the blink of an eye, your children will
them. The unconditional love we have for each other is pure joy.
be grown up and gone, so take good care of them. Rock them when they
I am most proud of how both of my daughters have grown up to be
can’t sleep, pick them up, and kiss the boo-boo’s. Always be there for them
respectful young women. They made wise choices in their teens and have
unconditionally when they need you. Most of all, however, love them to pieces!
carried these wise choices with them into adulthood. I see the love they have
Being a grandparent to Emily Grace, Dylan Grayson, Thomas Chestly,
for family and how important it is to be together when we can, because you
and Hadley Kate is one of the most rewarding gifts God has given me. Being
never know what tomorrow will bring. This brings me happiness.
a parent, you are responsible for your children 24/7. You are the one upon
Because my mother died when I was 16, I didn’t have her with me to help
whom they are completely dependent. Being a grandparent, I get to watch
out when I became a mother; however, my sister, Kathy Kyzer, was always
my girls as they parent their own children. Being available for my girls when
there for me growing up, acting as both my sister and my mother. God also
they need me and being able to watch them bring up their own children, as
sent a wonderful stepmother who was there for me, too — Tootsie Thomas. I
well as just spending time with them, is so enjoyable. I look forward to watch-
was further blessed with a terrific mother-in-law, Mary Knox Gerrald.
ing them interact with each other. I also watch them as they face challenges in
In 1990, I met a young woman named Kelly Hewitt Smith, whom I now
their lives to see how they handle any difficulties that come their way. I enjoy
consider family. Kelly and I quickly bonded, and soon we bcame close friends.
being there when they have questions about what to do when their babies
She would tell me stories of how her mother always made every holiday very
are sick or when they are planning special events with their children. I get to
special and how she made every birthday a big event. After hearing how this
be with my grandchildren, spend time with them, and then give them back to
influenced Kelly’s life, I wanted to do these things with my girls. I wanted
their parents! I never knew I could have so much love for anyone as I have for
them to have the childhood that I did not have. We went on family vacations
my grandchildren. Don’t get me wrong. I love my daughters, but loving their
together to Disney World, Universal Studios, and of course, Myrtle Beach. We
children is beyond words.
still get together and celebrate special occasions with our children and grand-
If I could talk with my mother now, I would tell her about the two wonderful
children. I am so thankful to have had all of these wonderful women in my life.
girls with whom God has blessed me — her grandchildren. I would also tell
The advice I would give to new mothers is to enjoy every moment while
her about her great-grands. How I wish she could be here to see them! I know,
you are pregnant with that little baby growing inside your body. It is tru-
12 6 may 2018 62 MAY 2018
however, that she sees them from Heaven and is watching over all of us.
proverbs 31:28 PROVERBS 31:25-30
Brandon Dion Photography
Holly Gerrald Smith
Heather Gerrald Morris We had a very wonderful upbringing. My favorite memories are of the
My fond memories of childhood are many, as I had a great childhood.
times we spent at the beach and our trips to Disney World and Universal
Some of my fondest, I would have to say, are the holidays and our family
Studios. These memories are the ones I still think of today, and I can’t help
vacations. Momma always made sure they were special.
but smile. Mom always made sure we had the best experiences, and tons of memories were made.
My mom has also taught many important things, such as how to be a mother first and friend second, how to love and be patient. She always was
Momma is a very sweet, caring, and loving person, who often puts
and still is, patient. Yet she was stern. If she said something, she meant it.
others before herself. She is such a strong and independent woman. She is
That taught me the importance of manners and treating others with respect.
my role model and best friend. Whenever we got out of line or into trouble at school, a look was all she needed to give us, and we knew it was over.
I admire my mom’s advice and who she is as a person. Any time I have a problem, I know I can always go to her as she is always just a call away.
She taught us to always keep God and our family close because that
After giving her advice she adds, “You can do what you want with it.” I love
is really all you need in this crazy world. She has always wanted the best
having her input and since her advice is always good, I take it! Her love for
for me! I was a stubborn one growing up and liked to do things my way,
the Lord always shines through in her love for others and desire to help
knowing there were always consequences; however, all of those things
made me into who I am today, thanks to her.
Now that I am a mom, I love living life again with my children, and
As a mother, I enjoy the love my children give me, and I also enjoy
being there as they experience life. I enjoy watching them grow up with
watching them grow into individuals. Thomas (3) and Hadley (9 months) are
their cousins and seeing my mom light up every time she sees them. Having
my world and my greatest blessings. Seeing mom with my children (they
my mom and my sister with me every day and having the opportunity to
call her “Gigi”) makes my heart swell. They don’t know yet how blessed
raise our children together is a blessing. They are my very best friends, and
they are to have such a sweet jewel as a grandparent.
I would not want it any other way.
Thank you, Momma, for being such a wonderful mother and for being
I pray that I can be even half the mother to my children that my mom has
the glue for our family. You have taught me so many things that I plan to
been to my sister and me. I can easily say you and Heather are my very best
pass on to my children. You always made mothering look easy and made
friends, and I would not want it any other way. Thank you, Mom, for always
sure we always had more than we ever needed.
being there for our family. You are the glue that has always kept us close, and now that I am older, I appreciate that even more.
Viridiana Langford Photography
I met my husband, Daniel Poaps, when we were both at Clemson University. We became engaged our senior year and were married on May 31, 2014, after I completed my first year of dental school. At the time that I became pregnant with Braelyn, I was in my last year of
just so excited. I then started crying, which concerned him. I said,
dental school. We weren’t really planning on becoming pregnant, so it
“Honestly, I’ve been in shock all day, and I forgot to eat. I think
was a big surprise. One day, I was sitting in class and thought to myself,
I need dinner!” Seeing that Daniel wasn’t scared made me
“I think I might be pregnant.” When I got home, I said, “Daniel, my face
confident that everything was going to be okay, and I could focus on
hasn’t broken out in a long time. I think I’m pregnant!” He said, “You’re
crazy. You don’t say you’re pregnant just because your face is breaking out.” To which I replied, “No, I think I’m pregnant!”
We had chosen not to find out her gender, which was really hard. About the time I had made it to the nine-month window, I was nearly
When I found out that I was indeed pregnant, I was in shock.
going crazy because I wanted to know — I was tired of waiting! Once
I wasn’t prepared for it because we hadn’t quite decided to make
I made it to the week of my due date, I asked my doctor when he would
that leap yet. We had been constantly thinking about it and
consider inducing me. Part of my reason for that was because Daniel
wondering if we were financially ready, but because I was still in school,
travels to Charleston for work most days. This way I knew I wouldn’t have
we thought it best to delay starting our family. We were still pondering
to cause him to be rushing on the road. I was admitted to the hospital
all of those things that you think about while wondering if you’re pre-
the night before delivery, and the next morning I was induced. Honestly,
pared, and God just dropped it in our laps. It hit me that my life was
I couldn’t have asked for an easier delivery. I had it scheduled and the
going to change forever.
baby came right on time. They induced me around 8 or 9 o’clock the
Because I had gone to the doctor on my lunch break,
morning of June 22, and by 3:35 p.m. Braelyn Ella Poaps was born.
Daniel wasn’t with me when I found out that we were going to have
When the baby was born, everybody in the room (the doctor, Daniel,
a baby. I was extremely anxious for the rest of the day, thinking about
and my mom) was saying, “Oh my gosh — look at all the hair!” The
how I was going to tell him. I wrote Daniel a little card that said,
baby had a head full of hair, and everyone was so shocked by that, but
“You’re going to be a father!” and gave it to him. He was ecstatic!
all I said when I looked down was, “Well, is it a girl or a boy?” AcontinuedA
I could tell that there wasn’t a worry or a doubt in his mind. He was
THE BRIDAL ISSUE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON WILLIAMS
Most of our friends and family thought I was going to have a boy. My dad was one of the few who thought it would be a girl. Even I thought she was going to be a “he,” so I went into the labor prepared with my boy name. When she was born, everyone asked me, “What’s her name?” I said, “Ummmm . . . I don’t know. Daniel?” Her daddy chose the name Braelyn Ella Poaps. From my experience, the labor and epidural were easier than I had imagined. Of course, you really don’t remember the pain, like everyone says. I will say there’s one thing I particularly remember, though. It is how attentive and caring my husband was. He played my favorite show on his laptop for me during the labor, and anything I thought I might want or any question that rolled off my tongue, he was running to get it or find an answer for me. (I had to tell him that they make call buttons so people like him don’t drive the nurses crazy!) One of the most special moments was when he told me how proud he was of me and how impressed he was with how I handled everything. At such a vulnerable time, that made me feel so strong. I also remember being very hungry! When my aunt and cousins got word that Braelyn was born, they went straight to Five Guys® to get me a burger. They told me the staff sang a special song reserved only for new mother orders. Braelyn and I shared our first meal together as I gulped down that burger, and she nursed for the first time. Describing how it feels to become a mother is probably one of the hardest things to put into words. You are so full of love and awe for this little person. It seems so surreal — but so perfect. It’s a huge undertaking, and I don’t know if it’s just a “woman thing,” but the fact that you know the baby is yours and that you are there for them is an amazing feeling. You’re there to guide them and to help them. This task is handed over to you, and it’s so precious and so wonderful when that little baby is all yours!
The Joys of Motherhood Because Braelyn is only 10 months old, I don’t think I’ve reached the point of seeing all of the big rewards of being a mother yet. She’s starting to say, “Momma,” but she hasn’t started walking yet. I would say the most rewarding part of motherhood for me right now is seeing her grow while feeling our relationship grow. You can just tell in her eyes that she loves us. Whenever she hugs you or lays her head on you and says, “Momma” and reaches up for you, it’s just amazing. You feel like you’re doing things right. This child loves us unconditionally. As a mom, I would say I’m most passionate about letting her know how loved she is. Even though she’s so young, I want her to sense how much I love her and how much I’ll be there for her. I’m just beginning to train her and to teach her things. One thing I constantly keep in my mind — and I’m waiting on the right moment to really take off
with it — is to instill in her that I love her and that God loves her. I know that if anything happened to me now, she wouldn’t remember me, but I hope she would know how much I loved her. It tears me up to think of something happening to me while she’s still so young and not able to remember how much I loved her, but if it did happen, there’s always that comfort of knowing that I taught her that God loves her so much that she doesn’t have to have me to survive. Knowing the joys of having Braelyn, we definitely want to have more children. Some days, Daniel says he wants to have a lot more, but other days he’s not too sure. I know he’s just kidding when he says that, but I do think he questions just how many more. We definitely want more — however and whenever the Lord chooses to bless us!
Motherhood — Sometimes a Challenge The most challenging aspect of motherhood for me is being comfortable with combining work and motherhood. Growing up, my mom stayed at home with me, and she was an awesome stay-at-home mom. I remember loving that time we had together. She was always there for me. I want that for Braelyn, but I also have a professional career, so I know I won’t really ever have that same opportunity with her. That’s definitely been a struggle for me. It’s not that I question my career choice at all, but being a stay-at-home mom is something that I wish I had the option to have if I could. The way I deal with it is that if someone offers me help, I take it! It means I can have more time with Braelyn. Because I work 10 hours a day, Monday through Thursday, I try to get the house cleaned up on Fridays and Saturdays while still trying to spend good, quality time with my family, my husband, and with Braelyn. It ends up seeming impossible for me to do all of that just in the couple of days that I don’t have to go to the office. I never in my life thought that I would have somebody come in and help me clean my house, but I needed to do that because it allowed me to feel good about the quality time I’m spending with Braelyn, and it helps me feel better about going to work. The other struggle comes from the fact that I feel that a mother’s love is so selfless. I want to give Braelyn everything she needs and everything she wants, even though I know that’s not good for her. I would sacrifice anything for her, and I would say that for the first few months of her life, I didn’t take the time to take care of myself. Eventually, towards the seven- month mark, I hadn’t even gone to get my hair cut because I had been going to work and taking care of Braelyn, spending all of my extra time with her. I realized that this wasn’t good for me or for her. I was starting to feel down on myself. Now I try to take at least a little bit of time each week to do something for myself. It doesn’t have to be anything big or anything that takes a lot of time, but it helps me feel good about myself, knowing that I take care of myself so that I can care for her. A
Viridiana Langford Photography
“Describing how it feels to become a mother is probably one of the hardest things to put into words. You are so full of love and awe for this little person. It seems so surreal — but so perfect. It’s a huge undertaking...”
THEmotherhood BRIDAL ISSUE feature
Help Along The Way I aspire to be as wonderful a mother as my mom, Sylvia Driggers, is to me. She has found the perfect blend of parenting and friendship. Growing up, I knew she would quickly put me in my place and discipline me when I was wrong, but she has always been my best friend. I go to her for advice on everything. She has been the perfect role model of a mother and a Christian woman. I just love her so much, and I owe all that I am to her, her love, and her support. She is the most selfless person I know. She would give anything for me and for Braelyn, and I cannot speak any more highly of how much she has helped me through my pregnancy and through being a mom. She kept Braelyn the first two months of her life so that I could go back to work after six weeks, which was incredibly hard for me. I don’t think I could have done it without knowing that somebody who loves Braelyn so much — just as much as I do — was taking care of her. I’ve seen how much my mother unconditionally loves me, regardless of whether I did bad things or made her upset, and I understand that more now. If I didn’t have that role model, I don’t think I would understand the full meaning of unconditional love. I think that’s where people have a more difficult time learning how to start off as a new mother. Maybe they didn’t have such a great role model. I had a wonderful mother and role model, so it wasn’t hard for me to give up things in my life. When you’re single or don’t
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON Viridiana Langford WILLIAMS Photography
I didn’t know that every mom wasn’t like mine until I got older and met so many different people. You can see the impact of their mothers on their lives. My mom taught me how to care for others by the way in which she cared for me. A mother’s selflessness can teach a child valuable lessons. I believe that’s one important lesson she taught me — not only in motherhood, but also in life. I’ve never understood why my mom worried about every single thing. She would always make me call her when I got home. Even now, when I travel from her house back to mine, she wants to know when I’ve gotten home safely. I absolutely, 100% understand that now because, as a mom, you never stop worrying about your child’s well-being. I can’t even imagine the time when I have to let my little girl go. It will be so very difficult! During college and dental school, I would get upset and worried or stressed about a test. After everything turned out okay, my mom would tell me that she stressed more than I ever did, just thinking about me stressing and worrying. I never understood that until I had Braelyn, and now I feel terrible about telling my mom about every little thing that bothered me because I know that it bothered her more than it ever bothered me. I also know that one day I will be the exact same way with Braelyn because, as a parent, you want to take that off of your child. You just don’t want them to have any stress.
have children, you can do whatever you want to do. You don’t have anything to tie you down. For me, however, that is one thing that was not hard to give up. We still go out and are involved in the community.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON WILLIAMS
Viridiana Langford Photography
The one thing I most love about dentistry is the immediate gratification it brings. I love that I can immediately see the results of my work. My patients can leave my office happy, and I get to see them happy. I don’t have to put them on a regimen of any kind and then hope they come back to me at a later time in order for me to see their smile. I am able to see it right after I finish my work with them. I particularly enjoy the aesthetics. I’ve always enjoyed painting and doing anything artistic, so I enjoy cosmetic dentistry. Even when working on a simple, everyday task, such as a filling, we have to handcraft the tooth to make it look like a tooth again. We’re modeling things all day, and I really love that because it keeps me sharp — and it is fun! As a mom, my perspective on pediatric dentistry has really changed. The reason I chose to go into general dentistry was because of the wonderful experience I had at the dentist when I was a child. That dentist’s office had a very family-oriented environment, and I wanted to be able to meet the community through my own
Becoming a dentist and a mother...at the same time! I became pregnant with Braelyn in the middle of my last year of dental
practice one day. I wanted to learn the names of my patients and the names of their children and to build a relationship with each family. From the beginning, that was how I pictured my practice.
school. I was six months pregnant with her when I took my Board exam.
I was a very compassionate person before I became a mother, but
After I graduated in May, Braelyn arrived in June. Six weeks after Braelyn
now I have so much more compassion for other people than I ever did.
was born, I started work. It was an incredibly busy summer!
I picture every one of my patients as someone else’s child. I remind
For me, motherhood and my career started at almost the same time!
myself that they are someone else’s baby. I’ve never cried at Easter as
I wanted to spend all of my time with Braelyn, and I was so sad to leave
much as I did this year. Someone read me a story about Jesus’ crucifix-
her. A part of me felt as if I shouldn’t be leaving her, but at the same
ion through the eyes of Mary, and I could not even handle it because
time, I had gone to school for eight years, and I was really ready to start
all I could think of was how I would react if someone hurt Braelyn or if
my career. God could not have planned it any better because I did not
something happened to her.
have to take off from work for my maternity leave. I was able to have my maternity leave before I started my career!
After I became a mom, I now see Braelyn every time I treat a child. It kills me inside to see a child come into the office who is hurting,
I decided I wanted to be a dentist when I was in high school. I was in
uncomfortable, or scared. I don’t want them to come to me scared, and
church listening to my dentist, Dr. Whittington of Marion, speak about a
a portion of that can be cured through preventative dentistry and by
mission trip and how he was able to help so many people who were in
teaching parents what to do. I’ve come to realize that there is a huge
pain but had no way to access dental care. At the same time, he was able
need to educate parents on oral hygiene while their children are still
to tell them about Christ and to use missions to serve the Lord. Hearing
young so that they don’t have to be scared or in pain.
his speech got me interested in dentistry. I started to shadow at dental offices, and I fell in love with the profession.
As a parent, you are typically so worried about how much your child eats or how much they use the bathroom or when they should be crawl-
I went to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) for
ing or when they should be walking that oftentimes oral hygiene gets put
dental school after receiving my bachelor’s degree from Clemson. When
to the wayside. Then, by the time I see them, it’s too late. Parents think
I graduated in May, I was eight months pregnant with Braelyn. I was so
that when children go to the dentist at the age of two, they are ahead of
big that I didn’t actually get to walk in my graduation ceremony! I did
schedule, but in reality they’re not. By being a mom, I have shifted my
attend my hooding ceremony, which was held indoors and which was
focus to that of preventative care, education, and pediatric dentistry. I try
where I received my doctor’s hood, but I was having Braxton-Hicks con-
to make the children that I see, as well as their parents, more aware of
tractions the whole time! I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle the
what they need to be doing so that they can have a better experience
heat of a Charleston summer in a thick, velvet-lined, solid black robe!
at the dentist. A
While looking at job opportunities pretty much everywhere, I heard of a really great opening in Hartsville. I had met a lot of people from that area while at Clemson, and even though I had never actually been there, I decided to go take a look. When I got there, I saw that it was such a beautiful, sweet, little town. It has a lot of industry, a lovely downtown, and plenty to do and see. I fell in love with it. With Braelyn
Macy Poaps and her husband Daniel have one daughter, Braelyn (10 months). Macy grew up in Marion, SC and attended Aynor High School. She graduated from Clemson University with a BS degree in Food Science, followed by dental school at MUSC. The family currently resides in Hartsville, SC, where Macy is a General Dentist with Prestwood Complete Dental Care.
on the way, we had to make a decision. Hartsville was it!
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON Viridiana Langford WILLIAMS Photography
Sylvia Driggers on her daughter and granddaughter Macy Lee is the younger of my two children. She has an older
and I wanted the same for my children. I know she is so proud of Macy!
brother, Brandon. We named her after both of her wonderful
I thought that when Macy received that diploma from the Medical
grandmothers, Dixie Lee Collins and Alva Mae Driggers. I had a normal
University of South Carolina, I could never be more proud of her, but
pregnancy with Macy and was induced only because of the distance
I was wrong. Seeing her as the mother she has become is so special,
I lived from the hospital. I expected her birth to take a little longer
and NOTHING could make me more proud!
because of the induction, but she arrived so quickly that my mom
I was so blessed to have such a wonderful daughter. She always
barely made it there with my son for the delivery. My mom had been
did more than was expected of her. She always put pressure on herself
battling breast cancer for 10 years at this time, and when she heard it
to make good grades. She set her own goals, and she worked hard to
was a girl, she said, “My life is complete.” She wanted me to have the
achieve them . . . and she did! Macy always enjoyed crafting, painting,
same special relationship with my daughter that she and I had shared.
and fixing things to make them pretty. I never knew how much this
My mom always instilled in me things such as “nothing worth-
could have to do with dentistry until she fixed my front tooth. She is very
while is easy,” “you can do anything you set your mind to,” “believe in
particular about outcomes, and I feel this is a big plus in her field.
yourself,” and “you have to work hard to get rewards.” I tried to pass
Macy was born in March, and my mom passed in December of the
those principles on to my children, and I hope they will pass them on
same year. I’m realizing now that this is very near Braelyn’s current age.
to theirs. Both of my children were expected to do things around the
I thank God for my life and for allowing me this time with my
house and outside in the yard. In addition to sports and their school
granddaughter. I know what a blessing it is, and I think about it
work, they both had jobs in the summer. I think this helped them to
often. She is so precious to me, and I enjoy so much our time
handle the busy lives they have today.
together! There are so many things you hear about being a
Education was also very important to my mother. She would say,
grandparent, such as “there is nothing like it,” or, “just when you think
“I don’t care your age; I will find a way to help you get any education
you could not love anyone or anything more than your children, along
you are willing to get.” She wanted us to continue to better ourselves,
comes a grandchild.” It’s really true!
I am looking forward to spending every day that I can with my grandchildren because I they grow up so fast! The saying ‘the older you get, the faster time goes by’ is an understatement. I will continue to be Macy’s number one fan, and help her in any way I can, so she can be the best mother and dentist she can. I’m so thankful I can do this, and I love it! Sylvia Driggers resides in Marion, SC and shares with She Magazine the delights of motherhood and joys of being a grandmother!
Jennifer Collins Photography
Jason and I have been together since I was 15 and he was 17. We were married in December 2008. I was still in college, and he had just graduated from Charleston Southern University. Growing up, I always wanted to be a mother. I thought I would marry a man who wanted to live in Marion forever and have two children (hopefully a boy and a girl), just like my parents. Boy, was I wrong! Now I can see many reasons why God had different plans! Then Come Babies We knew we wanted to become parents one day, but we waited a few years before trying. We were extremely excited when we first found out that I was pregnant. We didn’t really care if the baby was a boy or a girl, although I did want to have one of each eventually. It turns out that we had a boy first! Sullivan’s birthday is December 2. He is a goofball, like his daddy. He loves to make people laugh, he has a big heart, and he loves to learn about animals. During the pregnancy with Sullivan, I was thrilled about becoming a mother. I thought I had a good idea of what to do because I had been around babies a lot. Having been around babies did make a difference; I wasn’t nervous about diapers, baths, and things like that. However, I had no idea what it was like to have a helpless baby constantly depending on me for everything. I had no idea what it was like to love a child the way I love my children. I had no idea what it was like to stay up all night with a crying baby (and boy, did he cry — much more than the girls!), not being sure of what to do and sometimes crying with him. I also didn’t know how God would use that time to grow my faith in Him. As I loved and cared for Sullivan, I relied on God for my strength, and I better understood the incredible love of God. With our second pregnancy, God gave us a girl! Shelby’s birthday is September 18. The day after Shelby was born, we found out that she had Down syndrome. She spent one week in the Level 2 Nursery at Eastern Carolina Medical Center and one week in the NICU at Medical University of South Carolina due to hypoxia. Shelby is a spunky, sassy, joyful, sweet girl who loves to play basketball, to play outside, and to dance. Annie’s birthday is March 24. She is our beautiful, newest addition. She is so sweet, and I have absolutely loved spending time with her and watching
“I had no idea what it was like to love a child the way I love my children.”
Sullivan and Shelby love on her. With each pregnancy, we didn’t find out if we were having a boy or a girl until the birth.
Motherhood, Sometimes a Challenge Honestly, one of the most challenging aspects of being a mother right now is the lack of sleep that comes with having a one-month-old baby girl. One of my biggest challenges is making decisions about how to raise our children. Jason and I pray earnestly for wisdom in knowing how to raise our children to seek and to serve Jesus.
THE BRIDAL ISSUE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON WILLIAMS Jennifer Collins Photography
“God has shown me in a very real way that my children’s worth has nothing to do with what they can and cannot do. My children have incredible value because they were created by the Almighty God.”
times. She said that Sullivan always talked to him and tried to include him in what was going on. I was so proud of my son. I realized that I consider that more of a success than any academics about which she could have told me. Seeing my children love others and love the Lord brings me incredible joy. I love when I sit in my rocking chair with all of my children, and we rock, sing, read, talk, or just laugh. Their laughs make me smile no matter what kind of day I am having. I have so much fun with them! We also love to have dance parties and to play outside. Being together brings us joy!
Learning From My Own Mother: My momma has greatly influenced me as a mother. She has always set a wonderful example of loving my brother and me unconditionally, praying for us, supporting us, and sharing her concerns with us. My daddy has also influenced me. He, like my momma, loves us unconditionally, and he Shelby has faced and will continue to face many challenges because she has Down syndrome. She was on oxygen until she was six months old. She has four to five therapies every week to help her learn skills that most other children pick up easily. God has used Shelby and the struggles that she faces to grow me in many ways. We, as a family, have learned to celebrate every small accomplishment. God has shown me in a very real way that my children’s worth has nothing to do with what they can and cannot do. My children have incredible value because they were created by the Almighty God. They are loved by Him. God has also shown me, especially in the beginning of Shelby’s life, that He gives us the strength we need as we need it if we are seeking Him. This may seem odd, but another challenge I have faced is not finding my identity in motherhood. I am a mother, and that is one of the greatest blessings and callings on my life; however, that is not all of who I am. I am first, above all else, a follower of Jesus. My identity is found in Him. All of who I am (wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc.) is to bring my God glory.
The Joys of Motherhood: To me, the most rewarding aspect of being a mother is seeing my children love others and love the Lord. I believe one of my biggest responsibilities is for Jason and me to disciple our children and to raise them to know, to love, and to serve Jesus. When I see fruit of this in their lives, I am overwhelmed at God’s faithfulness. At the end of Sullivan’s year in 3K, his teacher told me that he has a big heart. When I asked her what she meant, she said that there was another little boy in the class who didn’t speak English well, and he would get left out at
encouraged us to be independent while always being there when we needed him. Both of my parents spent time with my brother and me. Together, we enjoyed sports, camping, and everyday activities. We had fun together and still do! This fostered healthy, strong relationships. Next to my husband, my momma is my best friend. She has always been a mother first, and because of how she demonstrated her love for me, she has become an incredible friend as well. My momma is always there to encourage me, to hold me accountable, and to give me advice, and I know she prays for me and my family constantly. I desire to be this to my children. I desire to be their mother, first and foremost, and for our relationship to go even deeper than that as time passes. The first quality of my momma that I hope to demonstrate to my children is prayerfulness. I know she is always praying for me. I hope my children have the same confidence in knowing that I am always praying for them. My momma is incredibly supportive. She is not only supportive in her words but also in her actions. She invested time into our relationship by doing things with me and by making sure that she spent quality time with me. I hope to demonstrate this to my children as well. My momma is real. She doesn’t try to hide her struggles or her triumphs. She allows me to learn with her and to see how God works in her life. I hope my children see this in me. I absolutely love to laugh with my momma. We are usually laughing at ourselves, but those times are always some of my favorite memories. I try to and hope to always find time to play and laugh with my children! Another person that has influenced me as a mother is April Ott. She is someone that I have looked up to for a long time. She and her late husband, Robby, allowed me to be a part of their family, and I have learned a lot from watching how they have raised their four children. April serves her family humbly and sacrificially. I hope to follow her example. A
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON WILLIAMS Jennifer Collins Photography
On Having a Child With Special Needs As I shared earlier, we found out the day after Shelby was born that she
To encourage other mothers, I would say look at all of the blessings
had Down syndrome. This was an extremely emotional time for our entire
rather than the things your child may or may not be able to do. Know
family. I didn’t know much at all about Down syndrome. I remember asking
that God has an incredible plan for the life of all of your children.
the pediatrician that gave us the diagnosis, “What do I need to do?” He
There will be times that are extremely difficult, but that is life. Pray
said to love her and to care for her just like I did with Sullivan. I thought,
earnestly for your children, and ask for wisdom as you raise them.
“Well, I can do that.” Some people have said to us that God gave us Shelby because we are special. While I know these people mean well, and I deeply appreciate their love and support, that isn’t true. There is nothing special
Being a Pastor’s Wife
about me or Jason. We just try to love our children as Christ has called
Being the wife of a minister has been a blessing in a huge way.
us to do. I was in no way prepared for her six months of being on oxygen
Though we don’t live very far away from our family, we don’t live as
or the constant therapies and doctor’s appointments. I felt completely in-
close as I always thought I would. Our church is part of our family. Many
adequate, and while I was trying to be all that Shelby needed, I also had
people with whom we have developed relationships have become
Sullivan. I needed and wanted to continue to be the mother he needed as well. Through this time, I learned to trust that God would show me how to get through and even to enjoy every season of life, sometimes day by day. I also learned that life isn’t about pursuing happiness. It’s about pursuing Jesus. In pursuing happiness, I would never have dreamed of having a child with special needs who would require so many extra therapies and appointments; however, God gave me a beautiful little girl who does have special needs. By the grace of God, she is bringing Him glory, and I have grown closer to God because of her . . . and we are very happy. More importantly, we have the joy of knowing Jesus and striving to be more like him. I wouldn’t change anything about our journey with Shelby. She is an amazing, joyful, mischievous, funny, loving daughter. I am incredibly grateful that God gave her to us. I see how He has used her to challenge me,grow me, encourage me, and bring joy to me and many others.
as close as family, and we support and love each other. I am incredibly thankful for our church family. One of the challenges that has come along with being a minister’s wife is keeping priorities in order. Though we, as a couple, have been called to ministry, we have to remember that we are called first to disciple our children. We have to be sure to make time to spend with them, teaching them and serving with them. Our children have become a part of our ministry in many ways. When we have people in our home or when we spend time with others for the purpose of ministry, our children are usually there with us. This allows them to see us doing what God has called us to do, and it gives them a chance to be an active part of it. Our children have also provided us with more ministry opportunities. We have met people we never would have met otherwise because of each of our children We have gained Godly friends through this, and we have had the opportunity to share the gospel and our testimonies with others. Being in ministry has led to some deep conversations with our oldest, Sullivan. He asks many questions about church, why his daddy is always there, and why we do some of the things we do. While the questions can be difficult to answer at times, they lead to meaningful conversations that are important for us to have.
Jason and I have made decisions together about what are priorities for our family. We try to hold each other accountable to making time for our family and not neglecting the responsibilities we have. I have found that daily time in God’s Word is what gives me peace, encouragement, and conviction when needed as a mother. Although there are some certain verses that I have tried to commit to memory, it is the time spent with God, praying and learning more about Him, that keeps me grounded and growing as a woman and a mother. One thing I have struggled with is worry. As all mothers know, there seems to always be something we can worry about with our children. Verses that remind me to give everything (including my children) over to Him are found in Philippians 4:4-9. It says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” My utmost desire and prayer as a mother is to see my children know Jesus, love Jesus, love others, and serve Jesus with their whole lives. Verses that give me encouragement in my role in their lives are Deuteronomy 11:18-20. It says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts
and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you get up. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.”
Rebecca Jordan Davis has been married to Jason Davis for nine years. Both attended Charleston Southern University. They have three children: Sullivan, Shelby, and Annie. Originally from Marion, South Carolina, the family now resides in Hanahan, South Carolina. Jason is a youth minister, and Rebecca stays at home with the children.
William Stukes Photography
Growing up, I definitely wanted to have children — and lots of them. I was not an only child, but I was the only child still in the house. All of my siblings were significantly older than I was. At that time, I wasn’t sure what type of mother I would be, but I knew that I wanted to be an amazing one. I wanted to be the mother who was at every dance recital, school activity, and any other activity in which my child was participating. I wanted to have tea parties, mother-daughter dates, and game nights. I definitely wanted to be an active, fun mother. Along Comes Baby: When I discovered I was pregnant, I was petrified, shocked,
with her all day, all by myself? Fortunately, once my mom left,
nervous, and happy — all at once. Most of all, I was excited to
I adjusted easily. I also had several people around who were
be a new mother. Although all I wanted was for the baby to be
available to assist me as needed.
healthy, I was longing to have a girl Even though this sounds silly,
Becoming a mother was a huge adjustment and was difficult at
I felt like I could identify more with a girl because I was such a girly
times. You have a fragile person that depends on you 24 hours a day
girl. While growing up, I didn’t have any sisters in the house with
and seven days a week. You have to put your needs after their needs,
whom I could bond. All of those fun and exciting things I dreamed
which can be quite difficult at times. Breastfeeding and pump-
of doing as a parent would definitely apply more for a girl. Also,
ing were unique experiences. My freezer was always packed with
girls are so much more fun to dress up!
frozen breastmilk. It was almost like liquid gold! Despite the huge
I got my wish when Madisyn was born on September 12, 2009. The pregnancy was actually a breeze. I have heard all of the horror stories about things that could happen in pregnancy, so I
adjustment of becoming a mom, I would do it over and over again
Motherhood — Sometimes a Challenge:
was slightly frightened. I believe the most frightening part of my pregnancy was making sure the baby was okay from day-to-day.
The most challenging aspect of my role as a mother is fear: fear
All of the doctors, nurses, and staff on the Labor and Delivery
of Madisyn not being happy, fear of someone hurting her feelings
floor at the hospital knew me by name because I was always call-
or breaking her heart, or fear of something happening and of me
ing them or coming up there with any issue or pain that I didn’t
not being there for her. No one would ever love and meet your
child’s needs the way you do. No one would ever understand and
My delivery story is quite funny. My mom came to South
tolerate your child the way you do. Another challenging aspect is
Carolina from Tacoma, Washington, to spend the summer with
making sure I am giving Madisyn the adequate attention and time
me and to wait on the arrival of Madisyn. It was almost time for
she needs from me.
my mom to head back for work, and there was still no baby yet. As any mother is during her last month of pregnancy, I was ready
The Joys of Motherhood:
to meet my bundle of joy. All the perks of being pregnant were quickly fading away. Most importantly, I needed my mom to be
The most rewarding aspect of being a mother is experienc-
there. I started asking about what I could do to safely induce la-
ing the love and joys you and your child share with each other.
bor because my due date had arrived. I was given advice such as
Watching your child develop into her own person over the years
raspberry leaf tea, exercise, acupuncture, spicy foods, and the list
is such a beautiful experience. It is almost hard to put into words.
goes on. I decided to try the spicy food by eating hot wings, and
it actually worked! I started having contractions about two hours later and delivered Madisyn that next morning. I remember that every time they would bring her to me in the hospital, I would have horrible itching all over my body. I actually thought I was allergic to her! I later found out it was from the epidural. I was also a bit frightened as a new mother. I remember the day my mom left to go back to Washington State. I cried and begged
“Despite the huge adjustment of becoming a mom, I would do it over and over again.”
her not to leave me alone with this baby. What was I going to do
William Stukes Photography
The most joy I have as a mother is watching Madisyn grow up into a young lady and watching her hit all of those pivotal
All About Madisyn:
milestones in life. I actually pray every night that I am there for
Madisyn has the best personality. She is bold, smart, and very
each and every milestone, even into her adulthood. It brings me
independent. One thing I love about Madisyn is that she is still a
joy to watch her learn something new and make life connections.
child, which is sometimes a difficult thing to be in today’s society.
It brings me joy seeing her happy and enjoying a carefree life.
She still believes in the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Elf on
Learning From My Own Mother:
the Shelf®, and Santa Claus. She likes to build with Legos® and to play with her Barbies™. She does love her electronics, but she still does the simple things. She is indeed a girly girl and loves all
My mom, a retired nurse, has influenced my role as a mother
things “girl” — like sparkles, glitter, pink, and makeup. I always
the most. As a child, I remember she worked a 12-hour night shift,
joke with her by telling her that she is the princess, and we are just
but she still took me to school every morning, picked me up in
the peasants. My 75-year-old dad has her spoiled. He takes her
the afternoons, made sure I was at my after-school activities, and
out on dates to Chuck E. Cheese’s® or to Chick-fil-A® and then
cooked dinner every day. I know there were plenty of times that
takes her shopping.
she was tired, but she did what she had to do because that is what a mother does.
Madisyn and I have mommy-daughter dates. She actually came up with the idea. These dates are our bonding time. Some
My mom helps me out so much with Madisyn that I could go
of our bonding activities are taking selfies together, going to the
on all day about the things I have learned from her and the things
beach, going out to eat at her favorite restaurants, playing Candy
that I am still learning from her. The thing I learned the most from
Land® or UNO™, lying in the bed and watching Netflix, going to
my mom is to be patient. She has always been patient with me
the movies, and most recently, cooking dinner together. As you
and my siblings, especially when we did things that were not so
can see, even though life can be busy for me, I still find time to do
pleasing. She still displays patience with me as an adult. I often
fun things with Madisyn.
call her unexpectedly, needing her assistance with Madisyn. She
I hope she learns from me that, as a woman, there is no limit to
is always there to help, even though I know she wants to say “no”
what you can do in life and that life is definitely what you make it.
sometimes. She may fuss a little, but she still helps when I ask.
Life can be complicated, but you have choices, and those choices
From One Mother To Another:
affect your life and everyone in it. Have fun in life, but also work hard, even when you don’t feel like it. Make your relationship with God your top priority. He may seem millions of miles away, but
My advice for future mothers is to keep track of special
He is always near. I hope Madisyn learns from me to be patient
milestones in your pregnancy and during your child’s first years.
as a parent. Being a mother is a stressful job because you are
I created a very detailed scrapbook of my pregnancy and of
responsible for yourself and another person, but you have to be
Madisyn’s first years, and she absolutely loves the book.
patient in dealing with those stressful situations. Another thing I
Whenever company comes over, she shows them the book. We
hope she learns from me is to display love at all times.
took lots of pictures of those first years, and it is fun to go back
My daughter has actually led me to dig deeper into my faith,
and look at them with her. I would tell expectant mothers to
which has enhanced my life tremendously. She has taught me to
get lots and lots of sleep and relaxation while you are pregnant
be the best me that I can be. I know that she watches my every
because when the baby comes, it’s GO time. I would tell them
move, so I have to make sure every move has a positive impact
that your life is no longer yours and that you must be mindful
on both of us. Madisyn has definitely brought new meaning to life
of the decisions you make because they do impact your child.
for me, and she has slowed me down tremendously. Before I had
Finally, I would tell new mothers to take care of themselves.
Madisyn, I used to hang out with friends and travel a lot, but now
You have to be at your personal best in order to be an effective
I am afraid to go too far from her, so I keep the frequency of my
trips to a bare minimum and usually make them short ones.
On Juggling Motherhood and Career Responsibilities:
Advice For Working Moms:
Sometimes I feel like I am all over the place! Not only do I have a lot
I would tell working moms that there will never be enough hours
of things going on, but Madisyn does, too. She has swim, dance, and
in the day. I am always saying, “If I could just get three more hours
Girl Scouts. Madisyn has a busy schedule Monday through Thursday. My
in the day, life would be grand.” Even if I did have those extra hours,
career was smooth sailing when I was only teaching, but when I decided
I probably would fill them up with something. You have to make the
to start my business and also to assist my dad in his business, it became
best use of the time that you have. A good way to manage your time is
to plan out your week, which includes making a daily schedule. Make
Madisyn and I spend the mornings chatting on the way to school.
sure you include time for yourself in that schedule. Sometimes I take
This is our alone time, and we both cherish it. When I am setting up
long showers just to have a little “me” time. Make sure that you take
for an event or having a consultation, she usually tags along unless she
care of yourself. If you are not okay, it will definitely affect your child in
has a prior engagement. In order to juggle my career and motherhood,
I have to call on other family members to assist me when needed. I also
I am always encouraged on overwhelming days by Jeremiah 29:11,
have to plan out my days and make sure I am a mother first, and then
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to
everything else falls into its respective place. It is actually a difficult task
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”
because the most important thing is that your child does not go lacking
Even though my age is catching up with me, I would love to have
in any area.
Making Time For Myself: I make time for myself by staying up later than normal at night. Sometimes I stay up until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. just to think, to catch up on a show I missed, to get some “me” time, or to just think about what I can do better to balance out my time. I also make sure I have at least one free weekend each month so I can stay home and do nothing. Madisyn and I look forward to this weekend. We get to lie around in our pajamas and watch television or anything else we feel like doing.
more children. I actually would love to have a set of twins. How great would that be! In all seriousness, though, I would love for Madisyn to have younger siblings . . . and I wouldn’t mind having a boy now! Maggie Cooper-Staley has one daughter, Madisyn Cooper, and is married to Franklin Staley. Maggie was born and raised in Mullins, South Carolina, and has four older siblings. Her parents are Robert B. Cooper, Sr. and Modestine Cooper. Currently a middle school teacher, Maggie is also a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is the technology personnel for her family’s funeral business and is the owner of Southern Divine Event Planning, LLC — a local event and wedding planning business. She is a proud member of the Omicron Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and resides in Florence, South Carolina.
Brandon Dion Photography
My husband, Lonnie, and I were married on June 12, 1987. We always knew we wanted to have children. In fact, Lon thought six would be a good number! Ultimately, we settled on four. When we first were married, I had no idea that I would also become a preacher’s wife. I will never be perfect, but I strive to please my Savior. Without faith, I could not make it from day to day. It has gotten me through all the struggles and trials we have faced together. It always will. We were so excited when we learned I was pregnant with our first child! Our baby would be the first grandchild on both sides of the family, so everyone was thrilled. Throughout my pregnancy, I simply prayed for a healthy baby; gender did not matter. Bradley arrived on May 20, 1991. The pregnancy went smoothly until around five months when we found out via ultrasound that there were anomalies. We were told that Bradley had a Dandy-Walker cyst, which could mean brain malformation, as well hydrocephalus-fluid around the brain. When Bradley was born, he did not have that particular problem, but he did have some other issues. He had colobomas of both eyes and craniosynostosis. He had bilateral hearing loss with total deafness in his left ear and very little hearing in his right ear, which was helped with a hearing aid. He had to have several major surgeries — the first of which took place when Bradley was at the age of four months. We were told that he had a mini-stroke while in utero because his skull was constricting his brain growth. Bradley still has weakness and atrophy on his right side. He later went on to develop retina detachments at the age of seven and lost vision in both of his eyes. Of course, this was a very trying time for all of us. Bradley started to develop depression, but after a few weeks and a lot of prayer, he came out of it and was stronger than ever. He has never let his blindness stop him from trying. He was taught how to read braille in grammar school and placed second in a national braille reading contest. When Bradley was around the age of 11, we found out that he had a kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). We were told that he would eventually need a kidney transplant. The doctors kept a close eye on his kidney function, and we watched as it slowly declined, which I believe was God’s way of preparing us for the journey we would have to take in the future. At 12:30 a.m. on January 23, 2015, we received a phone call telling us that a kidney match had been found for Bradley, but we had to be at the hospital by 5:30 a.m.—meaning that we had five hours to pack the car and drive 140 miles to MUSC in Charleston. Despite our efforts to arrive at the hospital as soon as possible, we soon became stranded on the I-95 when our car blew a tire and we discovered that we did not have a spare. We
“Sometimes I look back at what we went through, and I am in awe at how God worked out everything so perfectly.”
immediately began praying. Soon after, we called the Highway Patrol and were elated when we were told that a patrolman was on his way. When he arrived, we explained why we needed to get to Charleston so quickly. He then helped us move our luggage into his patrol car and told us that he would drive us to I-26, where another officer would be waiting to drive us the remainder of the way to Charleston. Thanks to the compassion and generosity of these two patrolmen, we arrived at MUSC at 5:25 a.m.—just five minutes shy of our deadline. That was one of the most trying times of our lives. We did a lot of praying, and God brought us through it all. Since the transplant, Bradley has done exceptionally well. His kidney is as close to perfect as possible. The main thing is that God was in it all, and He walked us through everything, step-by-step. Sometimes I look back at what we went through, and I am in awe at how God worked out everything so perfectly.
THE BRIDAL ISSUE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON WILLIAMS Brandon Dion Photography
Corey has won several awards at the Beta Club Conventions during his years at Mayo High School. He uses his talent to glorify God, and for that, we are thankful. I would say Corey is our adventurer. He has gone places (Europe) and done things we never would have imagined. He is now in his first year of college at Clemson and attends Deliverance Tabernacle Church of God in Easley, South Carolina, where he helps out with the music. Even though it was very hard to let him go, we trust God and His will for Corey. God gives us our children to raise and to care for, but they belong to Him. We are blessed to see Corey living out his dream and becoming an independent young man.
Mikayla, our first and only girl, arrived on June 7,
It was an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery with Mikayla. When she was born, everything checked out, and we were sent home with a healthy baby girl; however, my motherly instinct knew something was not quite right. Thus, another story began — doctor visits, tests, and more tests — only to find out that Mikayla was on the same path as her big brother Bradley. We found out that she was totally deaf in both ears. She underwent a cochlear implant on the right, which she did not tolerate and refused to wear. She had surgery on both eyes to prevent retinal detachment, but eventually she did have detachment in the right eye, leaving her blind in that eye. Her only connection with the outside world now would be her left eye, in which she is legally blind. Mikayla has never spoken a word. I have never heard her say “I love you” or “Momma.” So many times, I would lie down beside her and move her mouth and let her feel the vibration on my throat to try and teach her to say “Momma,” but this just didn’t happen. The only communication she has is through touch and hand cues that we give her. There are very few people that can handle her, and she does not leave my side very often. Mikayla has her own way of communicating with us. She sticks close by me and is totally dependent for her personal care and hygiene. She is incontinent and still wears Pull-Ups® at the age of 17. She loves to have Pictured L-R: Gavin, Bradley, Ronnie, Mikayla, and Corey.
her nails painted and will even try to do them herself if she can get to the polish! I have often said, “I wonder if she knows how much we love her?”
Because Bradley had so many health complications, my experience of becoming a first-time mom was both joyful and scary. I really couldn’t enjoy the experience in the same way as I would have if there had been no doctors and hospitals involved. I often wanted to tell the doctors and nurses to leave him alone and let me take him home and love him. Through it all, I still enjoyed the feeling of being a mom. Corey, baby boy # , arrived on September 7, 998. With Corey, there were no complications during pregnancy or delivery. He was a healthy baby boy. Corey has always had a musical talent — a gift from God. Since the age of two, Corey would sing as well as play any instrument he could get his hands on. As he grew, Corey was too bashful to sing in church until around the age of seven when his dad became the pastor of Flat Creek. His grandmother, Linda, showed him three chords on the piano, and he has not stopped playing since!
I believe the answer to that question is “yes!” She can feel our love for her, and I know she loves us back. The doctors are now saying that we are looking at a kidney transplant for Mikayla in the next few years if her renal function levels continue to decline. We are praying that her levels will stabilize and not decline, as a major surgery of this magnitude would be a whole different story for her. She would not be able to communicate and would have no idea what was going on. If this does happen, we will take it one day at a time, with God walking right beside us.
Gavin, our third precious boy, was born on October
He is our blessing — my easiest delivery with absolutely no complications. Gavin was such a happy, healthy baby. He has brought so much joy to our lives and not given us any worries. He has grown up so fast that it seems like we blinked and missed it. He is our animal lover. Gavin is our quiet and reserved homebody. Now in the eighth grade, Gavin declares his goal is to become a veterinarian. I know he can do whatever he sets his mind to do. Gavin has always been my loving, sweet baby boy. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for his life. A
THE BRIDAL ISSUE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON WILLIAMS Brandon Dion Photography
“I feel God has given each of us one body, and He expects us to take care of it. He has placed everything we need on this earth to help take care of our bodies, if we will only use what He has given us”
Robbie Howle and her husband, Lonnie (“Lon”), reside in Hartsville, South Carolina. They have four children: sons Bradley, Corey, and Gavin, and daughter Mikayla. After a 32-year career at McLeod Hospital, Robbie is now a stay-at-home mom and preacher’s wife, and she enjoys homestead living. Lon works for SCE&G and is pastor of Flat Creek Pentecostal Church in Darlington, South Carolina.
Robbie Howle and her husband, Lonnie (“Lon”) with three of their four children.
Finding ‘Me’ Time I have always been interested in homesteading. My love of gardening and living off the land was influenced by my granddaddy, Monroe. Some of my fondest memories growing up was walking behind him, step-by-step, as he checked on his garden. I learned a lot from him. He even showed me how to use a plow when I was old enough! After experiencing all the sickness and disease around me, I felt the urge to start to finding natural alternatives and eating clean. I feel God has given each of us one body, and He expects us to take care of it. He has placed everything we need on this earth to help take care of our bodies, if we will only use what He has given us. I just feel an urgency to get back to the old ways of living or at least to get as close as possible. I have a vegetable and herb garden. I have dairy goats, and we not only drink their milk, but use it to make soaps and lotions. Our chickens keep us stocked in fresh eggs. I’m planning on growing our little homestead in the future with the addition of some rabbits, pigs, and a cow. When I am outside in my garden and with animals and nature, I feel peaceful. Like motherhood, gardening is hard work, but it is very rewarding. Whether I’m sifting through the soil, picking vegetables, or simply enjoying the outdoors, my spirit feels free and closer to God. I feel as if this passion I have for homesteading makes me a better mother. It not only brings me joy, but relieves any stress that I may be feeling.
From One Mother To Another Don’t waste one single minute of motherhood. Don’t take anything for granted, even the smallest of things, like shopping with your daughter Some do not get to enjoy those things, no matter how small or trivial they may be. Savor every second of your children’s lives and relish in all of their milestones. Just simply be there for them and teach them everything you can about Jesus and His love.
I feel blessed to be able to give all of myself to my family and my church. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I pray I will continue to be able to stay at home and to be the mother I have always wanted to be.
Viridiana Langford Photography
jessica & lisa
Jessica: Rock bottom is a place I never wanted to be, but it was apparently a place I needed to be in order to turn around my life. Lying flat on my back forced me to look up to God. He allowed me to hit rock bottom, and I’m thankful He did, or else I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I was only 17 years old when I decided to try drugs for the first time. At such a young age, I had already been in and out of some emotionally abusive relationships. After having lost so many people close to me, I had to find a way to get rid of the pain. In my young mind, drugs were the answer. Almost ten years later, however, those drugs would land me in jail. During my time in jail, my mother decided to show some tough love and leave me in there. I was mad at the whole world. “How could God do this to me?” I thought, “Why couldn’t I have just gone to rehab? Why do I have to be away from my children?” Knowing I couldn’t talk to them, take care of them, or even see them made me sick to my stomach. I was particularly furious with my mother for ever having confronted me about using drugs and also for being willing to just leave me in jail. The first time my mother came to visit me, I was beyond upset with her. I told her I was going to beat myself, or even kill myself, if she didn’t get me out of jail. She left saying that she would get me out when God led her to do so. Because of my behavior from this first visit, a couple of weeks went by without my mother coming to see me at all. After her first visit, I started seeking God and praying that He would please just let me see my mom. A few days had passed when I found a She Magazine and a Bible on a table at the jail. I decided to take them with me to read. As I sat on my bed in my cell and began flipping through She Magazine, I came across an article featuring the doctor’s office where my mom was working at the time. When I turned the page, I saw a picture of my momma in the article. Tears of joy started running down my cheeks. The Lord answered my prayers by letting me see my momma in the magazine. At that moment, my attitude completely changed knowing that God was hearing my prayers. I knew He had a plan for my life and a purpose for this difficult time. I was exactly where God wanted me to be.
A couple of weeks later, I attended church with a few local ladies who would come to have Bible study in jail. I still remember the first night I went with them to worship. The Holy Spirit came over me, and I felt feelings identical to the ones I experienced at the age of 12 when I gave my heart to the Lord. As I sat at the table with the women, they joined me in singing “Victory in Jesus.” I was so overwhelmed because I knew then, and I still know now, that I wouldn’t have any victory without Him. He had put me in jail to clean me up and to make me turn back to Him. When my eyes were finally opened, I was overcome with joy and happiness like never before. Since then, I have grown to be a better Christian, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. I love the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart because He saved me and He has given me victory. Being clean is much easier than chasing a high everyday. While getting my life on the right track, I spent a lot of time with the Department of Social Services trying to have my children placed under my care again, instead of them being with someone else. I even spent time in court because some people thought that I didn’t deserve to be with my kids at all. Even though I never lost custody of them during my journey, I had to fight in order to have my children in my life again. I fought incredibly hard, and now I am blessed to have an incredible life with my children. God also blessed me with the most amazing husband. Chris and I met shortly after I got out of jail. We dated for two years and have now been married for almost four years. He is my world. Most importantly, he loves God first. That is what makes our relationship so special. It’s difficult to love anybody or anything without first loving God. Chris supports me in everything I do, and he pushes me to always go after my dreams. Acontinued A
Viridiana Langford Photography
“My mother has been one of my biggest supporters. If she had not shown me that tough love all those years ago, I might not have ever found my way back to God.”
Becoming the person I am today was not an easy task, but I’m thankful for each person God has placed along my path in order to help and to encourage me. My mother has been one of my biggest supporters. If she had not shown me that tough love all those years ago, I might not have ever found my way back to God. Growing up, my mother and I had a close relationship, but it was more of a best friend relationship rather than a mother-daughter relationship. As I got older, we began to experience lots of turmoil in our relationship even before I went to jail. For almost 10 years, I was in denial about doing drugs. I did not admit my problem. I thought it was better to hurt myself than to hurt anybody else. About three months before I went to jail, my mom confronted me about the drugs. I was so livid with her for trying to tell me how to live my life that I hit her on the side of her face with my hand. In my mind, she had no right to tell me what to do. I thought of her more as a babysitter, rather than as my mother and the grandmother to my children.
Thankfully, I don’t think like that anymore. My mother finally gets to be a grandmother, who spends time with her grandbabies. I am so grateful to say that we are closer now than we have ever been. Our relationship has healed so much in the last six years. She inspires me to chase my dreams, to stand firm on what I believe, and to always pray about everything. As evidenced by the fact that she survived open heart surgery and battled colon cancer, my mother is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She has always worked harder than anybody else I know, and my prayer is that I can be strong and courageous just like her. I am thankful for her boldness during the difficult time in my life. I thank God that He made my mom so strong. I’ve learned so many important lessons from my mother that I now carry with me on my own motherhood journey as I raise my three boys. Because of the way my mom raised me in church, I also try to make sure my children are always in church. Jesus should be your foundation when raising your children. I also strive to be sure that I am a mother to them—not their best friend. As a result of this, my relationships with my children are such a blessing. My oldest son, Cole, is a fun and very energetic 15-year-old who has a passion for fishing. We savor every moment the two of us can spend together. Cooper is my eight-yearold son, who loves to cuddle with me. C.J., who is almost three years old, is very affectionate. Since he is my baby boy, I can still sneak kisses from him! Hopefully, I can continue to teach my boys to always be the best they can be and to face any obstacles in their lives head-on. I don’t want them to try to solve their problems with the things of this world; they need to do it with Jesus by their side. I want them to always remember how hard their mom fought to get her life on the right track, to know that I’m always here supporting them, and to know that victory is found in Jesus!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;behold,all things are become new.” ~2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)~ Jessica Beasley lives Hartsville, South Carolina, with her husband Chris, and her children, Cole Sheldon (15), Cooper O’Neal (8), C.J. Beasley (2).
Viridiana Langford Photography
“To the mothers who may have a child who has a problem with an addiction or with authority: don’t hesitate to seek help. Do not let yourself deny that there is a problem.”
In the midst of our growing difficulties over the years, I continued to draw my strength from God, Bible studies, my church family, and prayer. I spent hours journaling and praying. In fact, I still go back even today and read through my journals to see how God was so faithful in keeping me going. It’s humbling to see what He has accomplished since then. I prayed so many times for healing. Today, I am able to look back and know it was all in God’s time. Philippians 4:6 has always been a great source of encouragement for me. It reminds us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” The relationship Jessica and I have now is one that I would have not thought to be possible six years ago. The changes that have occurred are amazing. Jessica has become the total opposite of what she was in every way. She is now a very faith-driven person. Her priorities are in order: God, husband, children. It thrills me to see her being a mother who is strict yet loving, a wife who is dedicated to making her husband happy, and a daughter who loves me like I never would have imagined.
Jessica went from the bottom of the pit as a drug user to a person who just recently went on her first mission trip. I think the most rewarding part of this whole journey has been the absolute peace that God has brought into my life. Now, I live each day with the knowledge that God has delivered us from a life of despair, and He has brought us into a life of peace. I love Jessica with all my heart. I can’t imagine life without her. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t thank God for allowing her to be a part of my life because I know it is only by His mercy and grace that she is still here. On a daily basis, Jessica inspires me with her faith in the Lord. She spends her time seeking God’s will and trying to inspire her children to pray and to spend time with God. Even though we both experienced heartbreaking trials, I hope Jessica will always remember the way in which unsurpassing peace soon followed. My prayer is that she knows, no matter how rough the journey is, the end result is worth every minute. I also pray that she will always remember that I loved her and her family with all my heart. I want her to learn from my strength when times were tough and to remember that we should always complete what we start. In regards to raising her own children, my advice for Jessica is to stand firm in what you believe, to follow through, to love them, and to let them grow up. To the mothers who may have a child who has a problem with an addiction or with authority: don’t hesitate to seek help. Do not let yourself deny that there is a problem. Always remember it is best to get everything out in the open, even though it may be painful. These situations will likely get worse before they get better, but have faith. Please don’t give up.
Lisa Adams Biggs recently returned to Hartsville, South Carolina, to reside with her husband, Fletcher. She has one daughter, Jessica Beasley, and three grandsons, Cole, Cooper, and C.J. Lisa works at Windham Gynecology in Florence, South Carolina, and has been a Licensed Practical Nurse for the last 37 years. In 2014, she returned to school and became a Licensed Aesthetician.
. . .( (
- and more!
Before After PROVERBS 31:25-30
- . .
with Avie J. Rainwater, III, PH.D., ABPP, AAPM, BCIA
Cutting the Apron Strings
I find it interesting that you say you
our children. As such, we will al-
don’t want to be controlling, but that you
ways have opportunity to speak
still feel responsible. If taking responsi-
into their lives. That, however, is
bility for something that isn’t really your
vastly different from being over-
ly involved in or controlling their lives.
then I don’t know what it would be
I’m a huge believer in what is known as
natural consequences. A person always
we call it? Oh! I know: Controlling!
learns best when he enjoys (or suffers) the
I would strongly recommend you read
The Control Freak by Dr. Les Parrott. It’s a great resource for learning about how we
We have to let our children make their
can be controlling even when that isn’t
own mistakes and learn the associat-
our conscious intention. It’s just anoth-
ed lessons. If we let them learn life’s les-
er domain where we, as parents, have to
sons early on, they will usually be small.
learn to let our children go. We’ve raised
If we protect them from consequences,
them to be good citizens and it is our
then they are apt to suffer greater hard-
job to ultimately launch them into being
ships as they are forced to learn the lessons
able to have successful lives on their own.
when the stakes are much greater. The bot-
As a child grows up, our role as chang-
tom line is that it’s a firm law of behavior
es from being fully responsible for them
that, when we have to pay for our mistakes,
to helping them know how to become
we learn the lesson quickly and soundly.
self-reliant (being accountable for their
Now, out of the other side of my
own actions). From start to finish, it is a full
mouth, there is the reality of when a
swing of the pendulum so that our com-
child hits the age of 18, he/she either
plete responsibility becomes our having
needs to be in college (receiving what-
no parental liability. This transition must
ever help Mom and Dad have agreed to
be methodical and gradual and consis-
give them…and Mom and Dad holding to
tent over time, so that when they become
that agreement and not bailing them out
young adults they are quite truly on their
if they overspend the budget) or work-
own. True, if you see your child (remem-
ing. If children are allowed (no, it isn’t a
ber, regardless of age they are always your
“given”) to live at home after the age of
children) making a life-changing mistake
18 when they are working, then they need
you have the right and the obligation to
ble for my children. I am glad that they need me
to (1) be paying rent, and (2) be abiding
speak up. Once you speak up – and only
by whatever rules have been established as
speaking up without being asked only in
would be created for any tenant. For ex-
dire situations – your responsibility is over.
ample, it’s not okay to come dragging in
What they do even at that point is on them.
noisily at 2:00 AM and disturbing the whole
With time, our role shifts to being simply
house. Yes, they might still be living in their
advisory. And, like any advisor, we should
growing-up room, but it is your house.
chime in only when our opinion is asked.
late teens and early twenties. I can assure you I am not the kind of mom who tries to control her grown children’s lives or even wants to. However, I will admit that I am
having trouble knowing how and when to totally cut the apron strings and stop feeling responsistill, but I don’t want to be one of “those” mothers who is still mothering past the point of what is healthy. How do you know when even a little is too much? Please give me some guidelines. ~Holding on to the apron strings.
I am a mother of five (yes, 5) children in their
outcomes of his actions and decisions.
On the one hand, they are always
baby...maybe? “How long have y’all been married?” “Almost four years.” “Oh! Have y’all thought about having kids?” I cannot tell you how many times my husband, Chris, and I
on an entirely different meaning after you’re married, and you and
have had this conversation with complete strangers, close friends,
your husband are trying to find answers as to why you haven’t
and even family members. As soon as we returned from our
been able to have children yet. Your world then comes screeching
honeymoon, countless people felt the need to tell us that having
to a halt when you find out that your husband also has hormonal
children should be the very next item on our married agenda. We
imbalances which can cause infertility. Since the day I was
have since learned that the frequency of these discussions seems
diagnosed with PCOS, I had tried to prepare myself for the guilt
to increase exponentially for every year of our marriage that pass-
that would come from within my own heart for being the cause of
es without a pregnancy announcement. Unfortunately, we are also
infertility in my marriage. Chris, since learning of my PCOS and of
learning the pain and the heartache that can come from these dis-
the issues it can cause, had prepared himself to help relieve me
cussions. Every time someone asks us if we have children or when
of that guilt and to assure me that my diagnosis would not affect
we plan to have children, our hearts sink. Every time we are told that
the way he felt about me. We never once imagined that our roles
we better hurry up and have children because neither of us is getting
would be reversed — that my levels would eventually stabilize and
any younger, we feel like we have been kicked in the gut. Why? It is
that he would be the one struggling with hormonal imbalance, that
not because we don’t want to start our family. In fact, the opposite is
he would be the one feeling guilty and that I would need to be the
true. We both desire to be parents, but it’s proving to be difficult for
one encouraging his heart.
us to achieve that goal because we struggle with infertility.
God knows exactly what He is doing by throwing this “curveball”
When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with polycystic
at me and Chris. What seems to us like a game changer is all part
ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is basically an imbalance of the
of His game plan. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “ ‘For my thoughts are not
reproductive hormones in a woman’s body that can cause weight
your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.
gain, acne, excessive hair growth, irregular cycles, and infertility. It’s one thing to be told as a teenager that, due to your medical con-
‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’
dition, you might have difficulty starting a family one day. It takes
I am so incredibly guilty of all too often thinking the exact opposite of
and energy into planning for our future family if we are not making the
this verse — that I know better than God, that I know how my life needs to
time now to ensure that we are establishing a firm foundation on which to
go, and that I know what I need when I need it. I could not be more wrong.
build that future family? Neither Chris nor I want our children to live in a
Who am I to tell the Lord when (or if) Chris and I should have children?
home that is built upon anything less than the Lord and His Word.
Who am I to ask, “Why us, Lord?” to the very One who created us by the
I have realized that the Lord is using this time of waiting during our
power of His hand and who gives us the very air we breathe? Who am I
struggle with infertility to mold me into a woman capable of demonstrat-
to question God’s goodness to us or to think for a single minute that He
ing those Godly attributes to our children one day, and I have certainly
must not love us or else He would have blessed us with children by now?
been given no greater example of this than in my own mother.
According to a recent study by the Centers For Disease Control and
My momma is the truest example of a Godly mother that I have ever
Prevention (CDC), one in eight couples struggles with infertility. Most
known. Ask anyone who has met her, and they will wholeheartedly agree.
people assume that it is always the wife’s fault. That, however, is not true.
She is meek and humble, but she is also incredibly strong and courageous.
In nearly one-third of all infertility cases, the problem lies with the man. Of
Even in the midst of battling a myriad of serious health issues, she does not
course, in some cases, like ours, it is a combination of medical issues with
complain and is always concerned with putting the needs of others before
the husband and the wife. The battle of infertility is far from easy, and in
her own. She will go out of her way to do anything at all for those whom she
comparison to so many others who have been down this road, our journey
loves. In fact, my momma and my daddy have both clearly demonstrated
is only just beginning. We don’t know what our future holds, but we know
the self-sacrificial love of Christ to me and my two sisters our whole lives.
Who holds our future and are resting in the knowledge
Growing up in a household with two parents who
that He works all things together for His glory and for
love the Lord, who love each other, and who love
our good — even when we don’t understand how. It’s not up to us to understand the Lord’s plan. We’re simply called to trust Him. In spite of these truths, I have my fair share of doubts, fears, and worries. That doesn’t make me a bad person or make me less of a Christian. It just means that I’m human. I cannot see the entire picture like God can. Anyone else facing infertility (or any other painful situation) is going to deal with the same
“Taking for granted the time that we have right now while it’s just the two of us would be a huge mistake.”
their children is by far one of the biggest blessings of my life. It’s rare for a family to be as close and as loving as mine is, and I thank the Lord every single day that I never once doubted if my parents loved me or if they loved the Lord. Although they have their fair share of struggles, they always remain faithful to the Lord and the call of ministry He has placed on their lives. My sisters and I are all grown now, but that does not
thing — times of feeling like what you know the Lord
stop our parents from continuing to set a Godly
has promised to do doesn’t quite align with the pain
example for us of how children should be raised
and the hurt that you feel in your heart. Sometimes it’s much easier to have
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. “Nurturing” is a continual pro-
a “pity party” than it is to try and reconcile what I know to be true in my
cess. It does not stop when a child grows up and leaves home, and my
head with what I feel in my heart. Moments like these are when the four
momma is the greatest “nurturer” I know. No matter what problem I have
little words at the end of Romans 8:28 come into play: “. . . according to
or what situation I face, she is always there to encourage my heart, to pray
His purpose.” Too often, I ignore those words and concentrate on Ashley’s
with and for me, and to point me to the Lord. Is she perfect? No. None of
purpose instead. I have been convicted many, many times of failing to
us are, but she’s about as close to the perfect mother as anyone here on
keep the Lord’s purpose as my priority, and He has ways of reminding me
this earth could be.
that His plan for my life is better than anything I could imagine for myself.
One of my deepest and most sincere prayers is that, if the Lord does
The Lord has also recently been teaching me that I can’t remain
give Chris and me children one day, I will reflect the love of God to them in
so focused on what may or may not happen in the future that I neglect
the way that my momma has to me. I have a long way to go in becoming
what is happening right now in the present. I cannot allow myself to
even a little bit like her, but I can honestly thank the Lord for this time of
become so consumed with the thought of Chris and me potentially one
waiting that He is using in my life to mold me into a woman who, like my
day being parents that I overlook the need to ensure that my marriage
momma, loves the Lord with every fiber of her being and who will seek to
to Chris is continually growing stronger in the Lord every day. Taking for
demonstrate that love to her children and to everyone else who crosses
granted the time that we have right now while it’s just the two of us would
her path. Soli Deo Gloria.
be a huge mistake. What good would it do for us to focus all of our time
the age of
Contentment I have been known to spend a lot of time worrying about things (and people and places and thoughts and possibilities and dreams and nightmares) I cannot control. I’m not anyone’s example of a bubbly, optimistic person. I just don’t have that happy-go-lucky gene in my personal pool. I can display some childlike wonder every now and then; a good clean joke or riddle or pun does send me into fits of giggles once in a while. A chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven can elicit squeals of delight. But that’s about it on the giddy front for me. Large groups of people (and by that I mean any gathering over three humans and/or animals) exhaust me and I find the need to shelter in place much more than others – or at least that’s my perspective. And we all know that our perspective is our reality. Basically, I have spent most of my life, from childhood through the treacherously navigated adult phase, in an awkward state of mild to severe depression and/or anxiety. Perhaps it’s just the perspective again, but I’m pretty sure it’s a fairly accurate assessment. This world, after all, doesn’t exactly glow with goodness and light – especially these days. I can get much too caught up in the way of the world. But I have been working on a better understanding of one simple word lately and it has begun to make all the difference. That word? It’s contentment. The Oxford dictionary definition would have us believe that contentment is synonymous with happiness and satisfaction. A recent article on the subject of poverty opened my eyes to where we are in this country regarding earthly contentment, as compared to the world at large. And I quote: “If you have a place to live and food to eat every day, you are richer than 93% of the world population.”
own to get there and back with plenty of gas to spare. Am I content with my current age, looks, work, make-up, exercise routine, hairdo (and hair don’t)? That’s a “no” for each one. However, there is a true contentment outside of those areas, and inside ourselves that supersedes even the most egregious failure in each one. And it is something to be learned. Sometimes it helps to first figure out what something is NOT before coming to the definition or even recognition of what it is – contentment is very much like that, I think? If we know that contentment is not about a feeling or about simply being “happy” or satisfied, we get a little bit closer to what it is and how we can obtain it and maintain it. Or at the very least, strive for it. Being content is not so much about being “happy” where we are and with what we have – no, it’s more an understanding of where we will end up, no matter the current circumstances of our lives here on earth – which are, of course, subject to change in the blink of an eye. As always, it helps to look to His Word:
Let that sink in for just a few moments. I have spent far too many days complaining about living so far from a grocery store that I have often failed to notice that we have no troubles buying them or using a car that we
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
This does not mean that we who fear the Lord will never be touched by trouble – it means, I think, that worldly trouble will not touch our fear of the Lord. We won’t turn our backs on God because troubles come our way. We will live in awe of the Lord – whether troubles arrive or depart, or circle around us like hungry buzzards. To know contentment in this life is, perhaps, to understand the varied meanings of fear and love. Perfect love casts out fear and fear of the Lord leads to life. Both fear, but one is positive and one is negative. There is no negative in God’s love. Agape love – there is no fear there. Fear of the Lord is respectful submission, not oogy-boogy scary fright. In that way, then, we can be untouched by trouble – even when “trouble” comes. Fear of hell or death should not overtake love of God. I spent a wonderful evening recently catching up with a very dear friend over supper at Margaret’s in Mullins. She and her family have seen their share of heartbreak – they have endured a season that none of us desire, a time when whatever can go wrong does, and tragically so, with seemingly endless days of tears and sorrow. We have all been there, or will be there at some time in our lives. She struggles with understanding the meaning or purpose of all the pain, but is leaning on her faith – putting one tentative foot in front of the other, supporting her loved ones, returning to “normal” activities day by day, trusting that He will be there, is there, and was there, even during the height of the storm that is now slowly moving away. I believe that she is attempting mightily to live in contentment and not in what has been raging around her. It hurts every day, and it hurts those who love her to see how the recent storms have buffeted her. Hopefully, she will have many more days, mixed with joys and sorrows. But that is just how this life unfolds. With God all things are possible. Nothing is impossible, even when it seems to be. And it sure isn’t “happy” all the time. In contentment, we find a way to breathe through all of it, knowing in faith that the ultimate end of sorrows is only the beginning of eternal joy. So then, what is contentment? What does it mean to be content in all circumstances, whether young, vibrant and lovely or old, tired and worn out? You know, it must have something to do with that peace that passes all understanding. It must be that biblical meaning of the word, and not the worldly one. And contentment cannot turn into complacency, unless we let it. On that note, I will toss a few nuts into the cookie batter, just to keep things interesting.
in every issue
Reflection Images by Tracy Rowell
The biggest struggle is by far the lack of free time for yourself. Before motherhood, it was nearly impossible to understand how much time your children will require of you. A great blessing has been watching my boys grow and develop their own personalities and watching them blossom into their own person. The amount of love you feel for your children is an incredible blessing. This love is something that you cannot fully comprehend until you become a mother. Coming home in the evening and having them run and jump into my arms is the most joyous blessing of my day!
Carolina Moments Photography
in every issue
nicole lawson The biggest struggle about motherhood is balancing work while being a mom. After my maternity leave, I had separation anxiety and wanted to spend every waking moment with Mica Logyn. But with this struggle, came my blessing--having the best mom and support system to help me through this. My mom would occasionally bring Mica Logyn by my job, so I could see her, which helped ease a bit of that anxiety! As a child, you never fully understand how deeply your mother loves you. Once you become a mom yourself, your eyes are opened to see just how much your own mother has always cherished you. I wish someone would have told me how great it is feeling the overwhelming amount of love for your little one!
with Starla Shelton
3 WAYS to BUILD CREDIT with Starla Shelton
Palmetto First Federal Credit Union, Florence
IF YOU HAVE A CHILD WHO IS GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL THIS YEAR, do him or her a favor: hand your copy of She over to them and insist they read this article. The reality is that many adults have found themselves in a place where they need to rebuild their credit due to divorce or financial hardfalls, in which case these same rules can work to help you become financially independent. You should start thinking about your credit and how it affects every area of your life. Having no credit at all can make life difficult in the real world. Not much training that concerns personal credit is given in high school, so a lot of young people don’t know where to start when they get their first taste of freedom. This can sometimes lead to mistakes which will affect you for a long time. If you walk into a financial institution to apply for a loan, the first thing they will do is pull your credit report. If you have no credit, you have no history to determine how you will pay back the loan, so you may be turned down unless you have a cosigner. You can build credit in your own name by using several methods. Let’s talk about some of the ways to build credit responsibly.
These are loans which allow you to use your own money as collateral. Here’s how they work: you make a $500 deposit into your savings account, and we place a hold on the funds for security. When that process is completed, we make you a loan for $500. You pay this back over a period of time. Each month this is reported to the credit bureau, it is helping you build credit. If you have a family member who is willing to let you borrow $500, you will only need the money long enough to come to the credit union to make your deposit. When we process your loan for $500, you simply pay your family member. Then, each month you will have a loan payment to make until the loan is repaid in full. This will give you one trade line on your credit report. Most creditors like to see five to seven lines on your credit report. To increase the number of trade lines on your credit report, consider the following: when your $500 loan is paid down to $200, come into the credit union and ask for a new loan for $500—$200 of which will go towards paying off your original loan. This will show history of your first loan and will also give you a new loan that will appear on your credit report.
Credit cards can get you into trouble if you’re not careful! You’ve got to have the willingness to use them properly. Credit cards used to be really easy to get. Major credit card companies solicited business from high school and college students until the Credit Card Act legislation was passed in 2009, thereby limiting how they can market to people under the age of twenty-one. When I was seventeen, I got my first store credit card. My sixteen-year-old friend already had one from the same store. Just the other day, a twenty-one-year-old girl I know, who has no credit, applied for one of their cards and was turned down. Credit card companies are really starting to clamp down on when they will extend credit. That is why I first suggest the share-secured loan. Let that loan report on your credit report for a few months and then try the credit card route next. As you use your credit card, write down your spending in your checkbook register as if you were paying with your debit card or with a check. Then, when the bill is due, you should be able to add up all of your expenditures and pay off the bill. It shouldn’t be a hardship to do this because you’re deducting it in your checkbook register as you’re using your credit card. So now you have a couple of share-secured loans and a credit card. You’re up to three trade lines on your credit report.
Many high school seniors and college students have cars. If your car is paid for and has been passed down to you from a parent, you could get a loan on the car, then put that money into savings and use it to make the loan payments each month. You would still have to pay interest on the loan, but this is another way to establish credit. If you car is not paid for and is financed in a parent’s name, it may be possible to refinance the loan with both your name and your parent’s name.
The methods listed above are not the only ways to build credit, but they are a good starting point for young adults who are venturing out. As time goes on and these trades stay on your credit report and show that you’re paying well, your credit score should continue to improve. Palmetto First Federal Credit Union is here to get you off on a great start for your future. We’re happy to come into schools and into places of employment for free and fun educational sessions to discuss all of the steps necessary for building a solid financial future.
About Your Child
with Dr. Frank Moskos
Children of All Ages Need to be Immunized
Dr. Frank Moskos McLeod Family Medicine Center
Pediatrics is an integral portion of the care provided in Family Medicine. Caring for children is incredibly rewarding, and the thought of being able to help the youngest patients be able to grow and thrive makes the physician’s role that much more gratifying. One of the tools available to help children stay healthy are vaccinations to prevent disease. Many of the terrible diseases of the past like diphtheria and polio have been eliminated by the use of vaccines. The number of children infected with diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis has decreased over the last 20 years through vaccine technology, and some forms of one of the most dreaded diseases, cancer, are even being eliminated. Most parents are very familiar with the vaccines required in the first several years of their child’s life, and those have been quite successful in preventing serious illnesses. However, just as important is offering vaccines to our older children and adolescents.
Today, infants are vaccinated for many of the diseases that were once very harmful to babies. A vaccine for Hepatitis Bis given at birth, as well as other vaccines periodically throughout the first year. Hepatitis B was a common infection of the liver in the past and a cause of liver failure and even liver cancer. Babies’ immune systems are not fully functional, so the vaccines to bacteria like Strep and Heamophilus, and viruses like influenza and polio prevent children from becoming severely ill from these diseases. Once, deadly diseases like epiglottis (a condition where the child’s airway would swell closed) was common, but is less so now due to the use of vaccines. And, polio, a terrible disease that can paralyze children, is nearly eradicated due to vaccinations.
Toddlers Toddlers need vaccines for Measles, Mumps and Rubella, as well as Hepatitis A. There have been recent outbreaks in several of these diseases, some of which occurred in healthy, unvaccinated children. Measles is typically thought of as being a benign childhood disease, but Measles currently has no treatment and can lead to hospitalization and even death. Measles can also lead to a severe and fatal disease in the survivors of the disease, years after recovery. Mumps and Rubella are not quite as severe, but unfortunately there are no treatments once the child has been infected, and these diseases can also lead to problems years after the infection.
Adolescents Several changes have happened with vaccinations in older children. Whereas this group was once largely forgotten, now there is more emphasis in properly
immunizing adolescents. Multiple doses of a vaccine to prevent one of the deadlier diseases, meningitis, are now recommended. Adolescents who are heading to college or to military service can be infected with this bacteria, but the vaccine can be lifesaving. It is also recommended that both boys and girls receive vaccination for HPV (also known as human papilloma virus). If children are vaccinated by 15 years of age, they can form a very good immunity to HPV. This is important, because HPV is the virus implicated in a variety of cancers, such as cervical and head and neck cancer. Finally, offering influenza and tetanus are important as these diseases still effect older children, and are highly recommended prior to international travel.
Bottom line Medicine is changing rapidly, and the knowledge of healthcare professionals is evolving. There was a time that it would have been unthinkable to imagine a virus could cause cancer, let alone to think a vaccine could be administered to prevent these dreaded diseases. This is now a fact, certain forms of cancer can be prevented. Some people have asserted that vaccines weaken the immune system or even give individuals the disease, but the fact is that vaccines strengthen the immune system to fight off diseases that would have historically killed people. The faculty at the McLeod Family Medicine Residency Program recommend every parent consult with their physician about the vaccinations their child should receive. Stay on target for all scheduled vaccinations, as they just may save your child’s life. The best gift that can be given to the next generation would be to offer them something better than a cure for cancer - the gift of eliminating the need for the cure through the use of vaccinations.
In addition to caring for patients at the McLeod Family Medicine Center, Dr. Frank Moskos is a faculty member for the McLeod Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Moskos is Board Certified in Family Medicine.
in every issue
Collin M. Smith Portrait Photography
tiffany walker Out of all the advice that my family, friends, coworkers, and even physicians had given me in order to prepare me for the journey of motherhood, I had absolutely no idea that being a mother would feel this rewarding! I was expecting countless loads of dirty laundry, tons of diaper changes, endless feedings, and long sleepless nights (which I felt ready for, due to my experience as a night shift intensive care nurse). None of that compares to the love and joy I feel holding my little one, whom I created. There was a time when my husband and I weren’t sure if we would even be blessed to be parents, but God made a way. The biggest struggle that I have in motherhood is hoping that I’m leading a good example as a parent for my child. I want my son to know that he is a blessing and that he is loved unconditionally. Someone once told me that you can’t fully prepare for motherhood, and I understand this statement so much more now that I actually am a mother.
INTRODUCING MATTHEW FANELLI, MD & MCLEOD DERMATOLOGY ASSOCIATES McLeod Health is pleased to welcome Matthew Fanelli, MD to the newly formed practice, McLeod Dermatology Associates. A board-certified and highly-skilled Dermatologist, Dr. Matthew Fanelli provides patients with the latest procedures and techniques in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Dr. Matthew Fanelli and McLeod Dermatology Associates represent a new choice for patients seeking treatment for a wide range of skin conditions. Conditions Treated: • Acne • Rosacea • Rashes • Bumps and Growths
• Skin Discoloration • Scalp and Hair Conditions • Eczema • Dermatitis • Skin Cancers
Dr. Matthew Fanelli welcomes new patients. Same or next day appointments available.
Call 843-777-9360 to schedule an appointment.
McLeod Dermatology Associates 401 East Cheves Street, Suite 302, Florence, SC 29506 843-777-9360
in every issue
Reflection Images by Tracy Rowell
ashton pennstrom My most memorable moment to date was when when my daughter was placed in my arms for the first time and we locked eyes with each other. Iâ€™ll never forget how much I was in awe of this little blessing God gave me, and I still find myself in awe as I watch our sweet Anna Lee grow!
in every issue
Reflection Images by Tracy Rowell
jessica mcdaniel I wish someone had told me that motherhood is beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. It comes with a lot of pressure, not only from the people that surround you, but also from the pressure that you put on yourself. Who would have thought that you would ever question your own mothering skills? While I was pregnant, I read so many books trying to prepare myself for motherhood, but I quickly learned that there is no book or class that will prepare you for being a mother! Motherhood is something that you tackle from day to day. Everyday is a challenge, but at the end of the day, itâ€™s all worth it.
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effortless STYLE everyday ease meets inspired design with go-to-pieces and comfortable slip-on sandals.
Dr. Dee Gulledge contributing writer
“As you are celebrating this special day, be sensitive to the fact that not everyone is enjoying a celebratory experience... Reach beyond your own family. There is likely another woman who would appreciate an encouraging word from you.”
MOTHER’S DAY REFLECTION Growing up, Mother’s Day was an almost sacred day. With my childhood rooted in rural South Carolina, Mother’s Day ranked only behind Christmas and Easter. It meant wearing a red rose if your mother was living or a white rose if she had died. In our little country church, dating back to 1860, it also meant many forms of recognition for moms in different times of life. The idea was respect and honor by acknowledging the one who gave life and love to her children. My mother instilled in her four daughters the strong desire she had for church; attending church with her was the only gift she needed from us on Mother’s Day. This yearly tradition dates back to a time when even servants in the United Kingdom had the day off from duties to attend church with their mothers. They would often pick wildflowers and place special floral arrangements in the church as a gift to mums. So, the practice of giving flowers on Mother’s Day seems to have been born. As Mother’s Day approaches, the irony of writing this article is that it is our family’s third Mother’s Day without our beloved Mama and MeMa. We are holding her close in our hearts with precious memories as we sisters share special items that belonged to her. My three sisters and I always had made a big deal of Mother’s Day with our mom. I remember that as we gathered with her one year for Mother’s Day lunch, we also included a precious young woman who was navigating the waters of her first Mother’s Day after the unanticipated death of her own mother. We used this opportunity to minister into the life of a grieving daughter. Whether it is the loss of your mother or of your child, or if you’ve suffered a miscarriage, Mother’s Day can be an emotionally difficult time to get through. Often, this time can be laden with many questions. “Am I still a mother? Do I still have a child? How do I answer the question, ‘How many children do you have?’ ” Mothers can sometimes become so absorbed with grief over a deceased child that other children may be emotionally neglected. The first Mother’s Day after our daughter’s death had the potential of being a tearful time. However, our college-aged son surprised us by rolling in for the weekend after driving from Baltimore’s
John Hopkins University — and he brought a car full of his friends with him. Our son greeted me by saying, “Mom, I couldn’t bring you Melanie, but I brought you a car load of kids.” It warmed my heart realizing these college-aged kids had forfeited their time with their respective mothers to spend the weekend with me. They didn’t know how to talk about Melanie and include her in conversation, but they had known her, had interacted with her, and had spent some time with her before her untimely death at age 17. Knowing my son had done his best to fill a gap to assuage my grief, I allowed that to set the tone for the weekend. As you are celebrating this special day, be sensitive to the fact that not everyone is enjoying a celebratory experience. Be aware. Be alert. Reach beyond your own family. There is likely another woman who would appreciate an encouraging word from you. Honor the memory of your mother or the maternal figure in your life by a thoughtful deed or kind word to another. If you are one who is unable to celebrate with a living mother or child, make a choice to cherish the memories you made in the past. If you have lost a child, I would also encourage you to honor the memory of your child by mothering others whom God has placed in your path. Whether it be a luxury gift or afternoon tea, a meal around a worn table or a picnic, hand-picked wildflowers or a fancy bouquet, a commercially-produced card or handwritten note, the best gift a mother can receive is your presence of shared time together. So, please take every opportunity to show your mother appreciation. Life is fragile. She will not be with you forever.
SEE YOU NEXT ISSUE!
Itâ€™s time to recognize the amazing fathers, sons, brothers and guy-friends in our lives. JUNE 2018
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the Motherhood Issue