They offer yoga, aerial yoga, private parties, massage, kids classes and more!
When you walk into the space you are welcomed by a kind face and a smile.
The space is very clean, and offers lots of different merchandise as well as a nice, sweet, minty smell.
The vibe is peaceful and fun.
I began my yoga practice years ago in college. I took it as an elective. I continue to practice and since having my boys I try to incorporate it at least once a week into my workout routines. I love the peaceful mindset yoga gives me as well as the increased flexibility and lengthening muscles.
The aerial yoga workshop was so cool. We met on a Saturday and we were taught the basics of how to do aerial fly yoga. The instructors were so nice, informed and encouraging. I was very intimidated at first but it didn’t take long until I was happily flying in my own silk cocoon. We learned yoga poses while using the silks. And eventually we learned some tricks that required lots of strength and an I CAN attitude.
Trusting the strength of the silks and also myself took some time. Once you do it, the feeling is so cool and freeing.
I would recommend trying this if you haven’t before. It was such a neat feeling. I suffer from some neck pain and also motion sickness but this did not affect me negatively at all. Zen Body does not just do Yoga but also wellness. They do Chakra balance, Chinese cupping and and Thai reflexology.
Zen Body also offers private yoga classes, private parties and children’s classes as well. This place is a one stop shop for all things namaste. Who doesn’t want to incorporate inner peace, exercise and fun into one?!
I felt like I was floating and on my own little, mini vaycay.
I really believe that what we put out into the universe we get back. So if you are kind, positive and loving you should receive kindness, happiness and love in return or so the belief goes.
And Karma is a biatch so don’t be an a$$hole. That is the spiritual principle of cause and effect…
The center of my universe consists of about 10 people give or take a few. And I am eternally grateful for the incredible people I get to spend my life with. My tribe knows the real me and they love me just the way I am.
This past weekend I was lucky enough to spend one on one, quality time with my sister and my little boys.We went on a staycation in our home town of Tulsa. As a 3rd generation Tulsan, I love my city and I was excited to share the new sites of downtown with my sister.
As most of you know my sister isn’t well and has rare incurable illnesses. Although she has been diagnosed there hasn’t been much change in her condition. Actually she has progressively gotten worse over the years.
Her health issues present a huge challenge of experiencing life and living it to the fullest.
My sister is the most kindhearted, most grateful, eternal optimist with the best sense of dirty and witty humor. The sparkle in her eyes and the magic in her laugh are magnetic and leave you wanting to spend more and more time with her.
Even though she may look “ok” on the outside she is living a personal internal hell. Nobody really knows her struggles but the intensity of her illnesses are literally gut wrenching and overwhelming sad.
She showed me these images yesterday from a website called Colitis Ninja and I think this is almost a perfect illustration of her.
The Fairfield Inn & Marriott at the Brady Arts District in downtown Tulsa heard about the room makeover we were working on and they immediately gave 2 FREE nights stay to my sister. They wanted her to be able to have some fun in her own city. She had not been able to experience the newly revitalized Brady Arts District and all the new amazing fun attractions, restaurants and overall new positive vibe of downtown.
Initially we tried to do this in June, the same weekend as her BIG secret room reveal but sadly she was too weak to go.
This sissy staycation is something we have wanted to do since I got married almost 10 years ago. We have always dreamed of this sissy time. We have always wanted to go to a hotel, laugh, eat, watch movies and enjoy each others company and be silly sisters.
This weekend we made our dream a reality. The Sissy Staycation was a 100% amazing, bananas awesome success.
Thank you so much to the Fairfield Inn & Marriott The staff was so kind. A big shout out to Will & Patrick who UPGRADED us for FREE to a King Suite. Hell to the YES!!!
The first night we decided to wear our matching cold shoulder tops Similar here just to go pick up our TO GO food at Yokozuna. Then we changed into our matching sissy t-shirts and watched Mean Girls. If you do not follow me on Snapchat or Instagram you are missing out. So go follow me and get ready to laugh your a$$ off.
Anyway I saved a few pics and videos from our first night. We stayed up laughing and talking and it was seriously the best time. Just me and sissy and no place I would rather be.
Since we were gifted 2 nights I decided to bring the boys along. First stop was the indoor pool which was really clean and the boys had a blast!!! Then we ordered BLAZE Pizzas and found out they make a gluten free, vegan pizza for my little guy. As you can see we had so much fun and the boys are telling everyone about going to spend the night at a hotel.
So I asked Siri for walking directions and my boys and I stood at the Center of the Universe and we all made wishes. Roman wished that he would live forever and ever, Perry kept calling it the Cinnaburst and I wished for my sissy to get better.
I know it is supposedly bad luck to tell your wishes but I figure what do I have to lose.
Why not put your wish to the universe?
Who knows maybe the universe will answer my wishes and prayers and grant her some health, healing and happiness.
The last few weeks have been super fun, exhausting and expensive! We are so happy & thankful to be in our new home. Thanks babe!
As many of you know I love to exercise and I have been working harder than usual with my trainer to achieve my best mom bod. Well, since the move I have NOT worked out (BIG SAD EMOJI). I need my exercise therapy back in my routine!
BUT, I have been working on the house. Moving, packing, unpacking, taking care of my 2 sweet little angel nuggets oh and my husband fractured his foot in 2 places 2 days before we moved. It has been a lot of work, stress, money and pain.
I have suffered from neck and shoulder pain for the greater part of my time as a mommy. Sometimes it is a pinched nerve from hunching over when I was breast feeding. Other times it was from having bad posture at my desk when I was a career girl. I have been in multiple wrecks over the course of 12 years. Plus my mom and other family members have neck issues so I think it is genetic and degenerative disk problems. One of our closest friends is a chiropractor and has helped me on occasion, and I need to start making regular appointments to get adjusted.
In the mean time I was approached by POWERPLAY, a local Tulsa based company that has patented some incredible technology in aiding in muscle & joint pain & discomfort.
Anything can’t hurt more than what I am feeling right now.
I have tried stretching, massage, heating pads, rice packs, whirlpools, ice packs, you name the home remedy or strength exercise I think I have tried it.
So I was skeptical to try this new therapy system.
I am tired and in so much pain I just push through it because that is just what moms do. Since the move, it has become more intense and actually waking me up in my sleep, so I decided to finally try it.
The more I used it the better I felt. This is not a miracle one use wonder. Like any injury it takes time to heal but the cold compression therapy did give me some relief. I am actually using it right now as I type this.
Not only have I partnered with this amazing Tulsa Company but 3 other local businesses jumped in to provide an AWESOME Giveaway for Just Happy Mommy readers. This PowerPlay Recovery Prize Pack is valued over $400
EDIBLEND TULSAhas 2 locations to serve you!!! I love Ediblend and I have done a couple of their cleanses. I love the fresh ingredients and eating healthy after a workout or just stopping in for a healthy snack. The Blonde Brodie is one of my favorites or try one of their Acai bowls for a real treat.
WABI CYCLESTulsa hooked you up with a FREE CamelBak H2O Water Bottle for when you get to use your FREE CLASS pass to STUDIO POP Tulsa. I have been fortunate enough to take several classes at Studio Pop and Abby and her crew kick your buns and make it fun! Be sure to check them out downtown across from the ballpark they offer cycling and yoga classes and inventing new ways to stay in shape while rocking out.
They specialize in facials and massage therapies. I really wanted to keep this one for myself but I love y ‘all so much I am giving away this
Plus a cute tote bag filled with a mini facial kit and this yummy smelling Southern Rhodes Spirit Body Oil.
Last but certainly NOT least 2 $100 gift cards to PowerPlay!!!
Having little kids is no joke. Especially when they are home for summer vacation. I kept them out of camps this month for a couple reasons. I did not want to have a schedule after the move, I did not want to drive, and I want to soak up every last second with my 5 year old because he starts kindergarten in a month!!!
I never realized how much I do until this move. The boys have been resilient with the change but I know it was a lot on them. Growing older as a woman is no cake walk. We push ourselves to the brink. Sometimes there is no amount of coffee, alcohol, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicine to make it better. Sometimes our bodies are screaming at us to rest and slow down. For this time in our lives is amazing yet a reminder of our mortality. My mother in law always says “that is why you have kids when you are young because when you are older you just cant keep up.”
My husband tried the POWERPLAY last night. He is such a good sport. He also has had several injuries in his life. He has had elbow surgery from his baseball days, a knee surgery 6 years ago, shoulder pain from golf and most recently fracturing his foot in 2 places and wearing a walking boot for 6 weeks.
He tired all the packs that we got the shoulder wrap, the knee wrap and foot compression therapies.
I follow LOTS of celebrities on social media and I watch a lot of E! & BravoTV. I used to think “wow they make looking beautiful look easy & effortless.” In reality I know it takes teams of people and months of prep if not years for these people to get to this status.
Most stars have a team that literally works on every facet of their lives.
Personal trainer, chef, hair, makeup, stylist, driver, maid, assistant, nanny, nails etc etc. some more or less than others.
But nonetheless, a team around them to help them achieve their goals.
So when you pick up your fashion magazine or scroll through your social media feeds and see all the glamour photos of these nearly perfect humans. Remember that you too can get there but it’s gonna take time, talent, money, perseverance AND WORK!
Most of the things that I do on my blog are random or off the cuff but some are planned and calculated.
With my blog I don’t want to post just because my calendar says so.
But, I had a professional photo shoot with one of my BFFs scheduled so I knew I had to get serious.
The line from 40 year old virgin continuously pops into my head:
I decided I was going to take these pictures even though I’m not exactly where I want to be, but to show off my progress. First were some pictures I took in February before I started working out with my trainer. These pictures were NOT fun but a way of pushing me to have to embrace my skin.
I have been working with my trainer John Jackson for a while now and I started to see results quickly and NOW I can see my body transforming. I AM NOT LOSING WEIGHT! This is a total body transformation not a get skinny mission.
Me & Babe in Hawaii 2011 Before Babies
After having 2 kids you have things that do not go back the way they were before.
He said to me “pull in those abs,” while I was running and I yelled back “My abs are in, that’s just my skin.”
I have been more disciplined with my food choices, although I joke that if I was on a no carb diet I would be even bitchier than I already am. I still enjoy my ultimate favorites: chips, dips, cocktails & tacos but in more moderation than I did before.
My husband knows my love language is gifts and that includes food & drinks. If I am having a bad night with the kids he will get me champagne or Taco Bueno 🙂
Another fellow journalist and BFF of mine told me she had an idea for the title of my book, if I ever get to write one,
“Just Happy Mommy: Behind the Apron.”
It is perfect because I try to showcase that you can be a happy, good mommy, wife and still be real and sharing my life “behind the apron.”
Even still today society sees June Cleaver perception of the stay at home mom. I am anything but that!
Every look tells a story and thankfully my talented friend and professional photographer captured it perfectly. I did a kitchen scene, an under construction edgy look, easy breezy nightgown look, and of course some full glam mixed in. Check out this quick slideshow below.
As a mommy you hear all the time to make sure & do things for yourself. Well here it is. My hard work is paying off. I decided to push myself. Treating myself to workouts, hair appointments, botox, nails, spray tans etc to get ready for my photo shoot. These are all things I care about. Call me hubris but that’s not all I am about. If anything I just really started to invest in me and my dreams. And let me tell you it is an investment.
I love my husband. Thank you babe. Thank you for the support financially, spiritually and emotionally, through my transformation if you will.
The best part is that I do NOT allow it to come before or take away from my boys. If there is time then great, if not then it can wait. I have been super busy and I take time for me and my marriage. I will not apologize for that because it is making me a better me and a happy mommy.
It’s all about balance. Somedays I kick a$$, workout, eat perfect, clean house, do laundry, and I am super mom. Other days my cape is in the wash and the only marathons we run are food, movie & cuddle marathons, all day baby, all day. Somedays we don’t even leave the house because mama is so tired.
My squad is the best! They get me. They don’t try to change me. They encourage me. They love me.
So here we go. Unapologetically sharing my life as a wife, mommy, daughter, sister, friend and blogger.
I am by no means fishing for compliments here. I just wanted to show people that it takes hard work and dedication to look fit and be healthy. I have A LOT more to share with you and I would love to get feedback on what you want to know.
John and I have toss the idea of doing a fun workout video…
I am super picky when it comes to protein shakes. I cannot stand to have a meal replacement that tastes like total ass. Not to mention spending anywhere from $5-10 on these shakes can really break the bank. I am not a nutritionist. I am not trying to sell you anything. Just thought I would share my latest protein shake recipe that also happens to be allergy friendly and amazing. One more side note before I tell you what is in it.
Allergy Friendly means it is free of the Top 8 Allergens Wheat, Eggs, Dairy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Fish, & Shellfish.
I do not want to contaminate my blender or chance my little nugget exposed to any kind of deadly food allergens. So I decided to try out some vegan protein powders, most of which are disgusting in my opinion. But after trying several and doctoring my concoction I actually look forward to my protein shake meal replacement. I use VEGA ONE All in One Plant Based shake in Chocolate. To make taste even better I use chocolate coconut milk, the SO Delicious brand is awesome and easily available. I was so scared and hesitate to try Sunbutter. Call me crazy but after knowing that peanut butter could literally kill my kid I avoided the aisle completely and did NOT want to even try this alternative.
After meeting with my friend Allergylicious she encouraged me to rip off the proverbial bandaid and try it. Thank God I did because now we are hooked! Sunbutter is also school safe and encouraged as a peanut butter alternative. She has been such a HUGE inspiration for me to continue to cook with confidence, while keeping my baby safe & eating healthy.
Add 1 scoop of the powder, 12 oz of the coconut milk, a heaping spoonful of Sunbutter and blend that in my Ninja blender until smooth. The final ingredient is ice. Add as much or as little as you like, blend and serve. Also I love these larger straws for smoothies and shakes. Like I have said before eating is supposed to be enjoyable so switch it up. If you like whey eat that, if you like almond milk use it. I am just sharing what is SUPER safe, easy and delicious for me and my family.
Hope you enjoy! See the links below for easy ordering and reference.
On Sunday nights when I was working at the TV station I would have the worst anxiety attacks and Sunday night blues. Anticpating the stress of the upcoming week and all the work that I needed to do, often sent me into a full blown panic attack. I know I am not alone in this. My dad falls victim to this every Sunday night!
It wasn’t until I became a new mom that all of that melted away, once I decided to be a stay at home mom. Even still, It took me awhile to let go of the “grind.”
I would have nightmares about breaking news, missing a live sheet or not following up on a detail. It wasn’t that I missed the stress, it was more like I needed to recover from the years of fear, paranoia and anxiety associated with my jobs. I worked for a corporation that had big expectations and but low salaries.
I still hear my JMAC professor, “if you want to make money, do NOT become a journalist.” Well ain’t that the truth?! Haha talk about the 1% that is who “makes it.” The rest of us do it for the storytelling, the thrill, the excitment and protection of our first amendment rights, freedom of the press.
Even though we did not make much money I NEVER regret working in TV. I met some of the best and most important people in my life. I am grateful that most of us still keep in touch and I consider them some of my best friends.
So instead of having the Sunday dreads, I have Monday Motivation. Looking ahead towards the week is actually fun and I enjoy it. What a difference a life change can make. Becoming a mommy is the best thing I have ever done. It is hard as #$%& but I would NOT trade my time at home with my boys for ANYTHING!
It is not glamourous. It is often thankless. I am happy to make meals, pack lunches, wipe butts, sing songs, read books, cuddle and be a taxi driver. Of course it comes with the usual “work drama.” He stole my car. He hit me. I didn’t do it. Plus the nervewracking arguing, consistent talking, constant eating and of course all the pee, poop & farts one person can handle. #boymom
Last week it dawned on me that it is happening, I am officially a chauffuer. We are in FULL SWING literally and physically with Spring sports. I am so excited. I have honestly waited for these days with great anticipation. I know that it will be short lived and loose its luster faster than I can type this but nonetheless I am excited to be a soccer, karate, golf mom! MORE on this topic next week! LOL 😂
My husband and I keep a pretty active schedule. We both workout 5 times a week and try to fit in a date night once a week. Staying busy is part of being a parent. My motivation is my boys. I want them to make friends, be active and have fun.
I always hear “it is so important for your child to be social with other kids.” DO NOT WORRY both my boys are social butterflies. Both so friendly at times that we have joked around that we would microchip our kids like people do to their dogs. I kid I kid but seriously if that becomes a thing…
Maybe working, in whatever capacity that may be, is your Motivation. Maybe a vacation is your motivation. Maybe wealth, health or a combo is your goal. Whatever it takes to movtivate you to great things, do that.
Being a good wife, mom and not raising a$$@oles is motivation for me. Looking good and being healthy is motivation for me to workout and kick my butt. Being a good person is motivation for me to continue to love others, be kind and understanding.
We decided to start our tradition of Sunday night family dinner when I had the it’s. It is something all of us look forward to. We get to share a meal, have some laughs watch TV and enjoy the last remaining hours of the weekend with the ones we hold most dear.
So if you are reading this and dreading tomorrow, remember it is not all set in stone. Find what you love doing and rock it. Challenge yourself NOT to fear, but to own your motivation and make good choices towards your goals.
As many of you know I started getting BOTOX last year. And I LOVE IT!
Since I knew I was going to have professional photos taken I decided to really plan things out so that I would look my best.
After my friend and I got the date on the calendar I began to work backwards. These pictures were planned out from the outfits, location, down to the lipstick colors. So I called and got my appointment just a little over a week before the photoshoot.
Botox takes at least 7 days to really “set in” or freeze your face. Since I started getting injections, I now understand why people call it the gateway drug to plastic surgery.
It took years off my face and gave me the extra confidence I was looking for. I know that it is not for everyone. I am not paid by Botox and I am not your pusher love girl. I just keep it real and want you guys to know that I am not 34 with a frozen face.
When I was researching getting BOTOX I did not like the videos I saw, so I decided to film my last appointment. Here it is on my YouTube channel.
I film these videos for fun, entertainment and to share with my readers. Even though I work hard to look my best I need a little help from my friends at BA Med Spa.
I asked for an eye brow lift the first time I got Botox and I won’t do that again. The second time I got some injections above my lip in my mustache area and it didn’t really do much. If you get injections above our lip it helps soften wrinkles, plump and enhance your cupids bow.
So by the 3rd & 4th time I knew what I liked, what worked for my face and my nurse knew what I needed. Some people metabolize Botox faster or slower than others so that is why “they” say it lasts 3-6 months.
Be sure to research where you are going. Make sure the Dr. or nurse has a professional medical license to administer Botox or Dysport.
Drink lots of water and eat pineapple days before getting your treatment to help lessen bruising.
If you are scared about pain you can ask for some numbing cream but it just pinches a tad. I have heard some people hear the nerve crackle. The lip injections hurt pretty bad so I get the numbing cream.
Do NOT exercise the same day after your treatment. Do NOT lie flat for 4 hours after injections. Do NOT wear a hat for 24 hours.
Finally the dermaplaning. I am sooo in love. It feels so good and gives your skin an amazing, healthy glow.
It is not recommended to try any of these treatments without a professional licensed medical doctor or nurse.
I just share my personal experiences and what I chose to do.
This makes me happy. So with that,
Just Happy Mommy
For more info contact BA MED SPA at 918-872-9999 or visit them at baweightspa.com
and the “Apple Cider Vinegar Drink.” I am adding more pineapple juice to mine for added sweetness and health benefits.
I have tried to drink this by itself (like the cleanse & detox suggests) but I need more calories & caffeine. Plus I cannot afford to be a tired, hangry, bitch with 2 kids and a husband to take care of.
Since the new year, I have been researching all kinds of detoxes and cleanses. Here is what I found out, after you lose the weight, it comes back once you go back to your old eating habits. My husband and I even looked into getting colonics done but haven’t committed to that intrusion just yet. Many of you may or may not know what the “Master Cleanse” or “Beyonce Lemonade” is. This has been super popular and became more mainstream when Beyonce implemented this drink to loose weight for Dream Girls. Also my girl Yolanda Hadid has been a long time believer in the Master Cleanse.
It is a mixture of filtered water, organic lemons, organic grade A/B maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The “Apple Cider Vinegar Drink,” is filtered water, Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother and lemon juice. There are other variations where people add agave or cinnamon to their water this is all just personal preference.
So I combined the 2 and I am obsessed with my new concoction “Just Happy Mommy Water.”
I have been working on this recipe for the past couple months and I have finally figured out how I like to make mine.
I am NOT a nutritionist or specialist I just know that most of these ingredients have proven health benefits so I am putting them all together in one drink. I am also keeping a weight loss progress and exercise video/photo journal. I will be showing you all my progress. OK sooo here is the recipe I use.
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar with “The Mother” has been in the news a lot lately. The health benefits are astounding if you choose to research it like I have. Here are 6 Proven Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar I know several people who use ACV for literally everything! There is a list of uses but for now I use it mostly for digestive health reasons. “The Mother” is all the good protein, enzymes and bacteria that your gastrointestinal system needs.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice. Most commonly used to give Curry its golden yellow color but BEWARE that gorgeous color stains!!! Here are Top 10 Evidence Based Benefits of Turmeric
Actually after writing my first draft I thought about adding some pineapple juice. It made it so delicious! Also I made some last night and let it steep overnight in the fridge, it was a lot more potent, so I added more water to dillute it a bit.
I would suggest using some variation of the above. Keep hydrated with regular water. Please do NOT over drink this mix. It might be nice to add some in the morning to start your day. It doesnt have to be exact. Some people cannot handle spice, some people may want a different type of sweetener, or you may be out of one of the ingredients.
One final note is that this drink may help move you along to the bathroom. DO NOT be surprised if you get “cleaned out.”
Like I said before I have seen lots of people claim weight loss with drinking these beverages.
I am not going to make any claims like that. I am still eating food. I am not mentally able to go on an all liquid diet. I have tried juice cleanses and I know lots of people who love them and have had great results.
My job and body requires more fuel than “Just Happy Mommy Water.” With that said I do like to make a jug and drink it throughout the day. I don’t drink it everyday. I did today after a weekend of pizza, Mexican food and Superbowl calories. You can find almost all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s but they do NOT carry the Braggs ACV.
I would love to know what you all think. Let me know if you tried it, or your own variation of “JHM Water.”
I would be happy to make a video if you guys want. Thanks for reading.
I just started getting BOTOX this past summer. Turning 34, having 2 kids, living off little sleep and being a former journalist, aka (party like a rockstar) had me like WOOF! I am all about the tuneup. Like I said in my post The D Word we tune-up the car so lets tune-up the marriage & the body!
Scoff all you want but I love this stuff. I know so many of my friends are prolly terrified that I don’t use their beauty products but let me just say don’t knock it till you try it. They call it the gateway drug for cosmetic procedures for a reason. I am OBSESSED! Dr. Campbell & his team at BA Med Spa are so friendly, knowledgable, medically licensed & professional. I was so nervous the first time but now it really is like getting your teeth cleaned, except not as bad. Maybe its not for everyone so that is why I am picking 2 winners on this giveaway! Choose the FREE 10 units of BOTOX over $100 value and go with me so I can hold your hand!
The 2 FREE Organic Spray Tans from SLATE Tulsa $80 value. Seriously this is amazing! I used to only get spray tans for special occasions or when getting family photos taken. Now I want to get them all the time because it makes me feel pretty instead of frumpy. I love that I can get a spray tan and NOT have to wear makeup because it brightens me up. Literally a glow. We all need a little sunshine in our lives this time of year. It is FREAKIN FREEZING! Trust me, the girls at SLATE are so awesome, fun & professional.
So please ENTER to WIN! I will post the winners in my next POST Tuesday night! XOXO Just Happy Mommy
God brings people into your life for a reason. I wholeheartedly believe that. Whether we realize it instantly or later on, people come in and out when you need them to.
It’s been over a week since I was able to go to the gym after little nugget got a terrible case of hand, foot, and mouth. Even tho he didn’t have a fever and acted happy, I couldn’t be “that mom” that took her child covered in blisters to kids club.
Usually I do high intensity classes with my bestie, but today I couldn’t get us out the door in time. So I decided to sit down and ride a stationary bike, listen to my jams, and read.
Instead I talked with an 80 year old man named John. He was a lovely gentleman and so kind. We chatted for about 30 minutes as we rode our bikes. He was full of stories. He kept saying. “I hope I’m not boring you or keeping you.” I honestly was not bothered, but rather enjoyed his conversation and company.
He told me stories from his childhood, where he grew up in Fort Smith Arkansas, how much he loved Italian food, and stories of his wife and losing loved ones.
As I write this, I am even more touched by him and his life stories. We just had a real conversation. Nothing of fluff, but real genuine talk.
He and I had several things in common. We both recently had a birthday, both went to Catholic school “all the way”, and he attended the University of Tulsa (like most of my family members). But most of all, he lived life to the fullest.
He was raised by his grandparents and was never blessed with children of his own. He survived pneumonia and both a cotton-head snake bite and a rabid dog bite. All of which made me think. Damn That’s hard.
I of course told him about my two little boys, my sweet husband and my family & spunky 93 year old grandma. I expressed how fast it goes and I’m so nervous when my boys go off to school in a couple weeks.
He told me about a bully in school that teased him for having red hair everyday at noon. “I’d rather be dead than be red on the head” he would say. After weeks of this, he responded with “Well you know what? I’d rather be red than dead in the head.” This angered the bully who took a swing at him and missed. John swung back and knocked him out. He felt proud. He then spotted a nun out of the corner of his eye, and she grabbed his hand and said “God bless your hand child.” Hahaha yes!
John continued to tell me stories of his best friend Jimmy from Italy. They became close during high school and he enjoyed dinners at his home. He loves Italian food and played football. He reminisced about one year his coach, a priest, gave them all a St. Christopher medal that he blest to protect them. He gave me a big smile and said look. The chain I had noticed him wearing held that same St Christopher charm. I said “maybe that’s how you got this far?” he said, “I think so too.”
He doesn’t have any family left other than his wife, yet he said “Life is pretty good if you know how to live it.” After a long weekend of celebrating my birthday with those I hold dear, it makes me more thankful that I have my family and friends with me.
When he and his wife went to pick out their resting plots in Fort Smith, Jimmy asked John to be his brother, and share a spot in their family plot. So even though John didn’t have any living relatives, he still had Jimmy as his bro.
I could have smiled, nodded and put my headphones back in, but I didn’t. I so desperately wanted my alone time at the gym today. Instead I made a new friend. One that I’m sure I learned a great deal from.
Sometimes we need to stop and listen.
He told me a final story about his grandfather, who worked nights at a smelter plant in town. They did everything together during the day as he was growing up. Fishing, hunting, trapping etc.
He said when his grandfather passed away from brain cancer, his grandma told him to stay at a friends house the night he passed.
The next morning, he went home and saw his grandparents’ bed empty and he knew he was gone. His grandma said she held her husbands hand as he told her “don’t worry about me, Babe, I’m going to see my mama, daddy, and brothers.” And he died right after he spoke those words.
I got teary eyed as he told me. But then he stopped me and said “I felt that way too for a long time, but now, I hope I am that happy and brave when it’s my time to go.”
I live in a constant state of fear. For my boys, my sissy, my parents, my grandma and myself. I don’t want to die young. I think taking some time to come to the gym and talk with my new friend John is what I needed today. Perspective on this life and how sweet it can be. Not competing or comparing. Not to pity or worry. But to share our stories and be real.
I am so thankful that God spoke to me through John today. I needed his guidance and kindhearted smile. We ended our talk with a smile and a handshake. He told me to be safe and remember “Growing old ain’t for sissies.”