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Challenge: WHO Are You?

That Time I Was A Guest On The Kelly Clarkson Show

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Sometimes it still seems like a wild dream. The flight, the driver, the hotel, the makeup and hair, the green room, the meeting Kelly Clarkson!

But, it was real. And I worked crazy hard to get there.

I’ve had loads (I mean a serious crap ton) of people approach me, email me, call me (seriously though – don’t call. Send a text. It freaks me out when my phone rings – it’s just too much commitment to answer the call) and ask me: “HOW DID YOU GET ON THAT SHOW?” Because, obviously, they were scratching their heads in as much disbelief as I was myself.

There’s no short answer to this question. Fate? Talent? My Adorably Chubby Face? I know for a fact it’s not any one thing that landed me there – although my chubby face helped, I’m sure of it.

So, for those of you who have been curious how this yoga pants wearin’ non-yoga doin’ girl from little Medina, Ohio got to meet Kelly Clarkson – here’s the short version:

First off, nothing has ever really come easy for me. I’ve always been the girl that had to work twice as hard (sometimes in my teen years it seemed 50 thousand times harder) than the person doing the same thing next to me. I wasn’t “naturally” good at much of anything. But, I learned early on that if I really, realllllly tried, I could manage being okay at most everything. Just “okay”. Which was especially frustrating in school when I was busting my hiney, practicing or studying every night religiously while the other person just showed up but still managed to be better. I just wanted to be considered good at something. ANYTHING.

And this is why I’m proud to say that without a doubt, I’ve finally found something I excel at.

Being my kids Mom.

I’m not saying I’m a Super Mom. Or the Best Mom. Or The Mom to be. I’m simply saying I’m a Rock Star at being their Mom. All 8 of ’em.

And, because I’m a Mom of 8, ranging in age from 2-20, I’ve learned a few ‘tricks and tips’, some ‘do’s and don’ts’ and a heck of a lot of ‘probably best to never do that again’s’ along the way. With an arsenal of parenting wins and fails, systems for shopping on a low (loooow) budget, perfecting our larger-than-most meals and creating a home for my family using mostly reimagined items, I’m the queen bee of this adorably unique castle; which is actually a small-ish house that we’re all squished in together all cozy like – just like a bee hive – noisy, sticky and at any moment, depending who you touch, you may get stung.

So here I am. Sitting at my computer. Typing these words to you in an attempt to explain how this girl that was never really fantastic at anything hopped a plane to LA and had a spot on National Television creating a craft alongside Kelly Clarkson – AND Octavia Spencer!

Was it just pure dumb luck? Honestly, I’d be lying if I didn’t say probably a little bit.

But, was it mostly hard work, perseverance, sleepless nights, loads and loads of failed ideas, and repeatedly getting up and dusting myself off every.single.time someone or something knocked me down? Absolutely. Yes. Since I started blogging and making television appearances, I’ve had my fair share of “NO’s”.

“No, you’re not good enough.” “No, we’re not interested.” “No, you will need to trim up a bit before we even consider that.” “No, we’re not sure you are what the viewers want.”

In the past 2 years, I’ve heard it all.

What I wasn’t hearing, because I was too busy listening to all of the outside noise, was myself. And the moment I finally started listening to what I had to say, was a moment of self reckoning. It was when I realized God had been leading me down my path all along. It wasn’t about what I was or wasn’t good at.

It was about what I was here to do and who I was here to do it for.

I was meant to be a Mom. A Mom of Many. And I was meant to do it a bit different than every other Mom I’d known before. What started as a big mistake and a lot of hard lessons (I was a teenage mom – but that’s a whole different ugly-cryin’ long story) turned into a purpose and a direction. And a large and wonderful family that I love with every inch of my being.

Having a soccer team big fam means you learn how to pinch pennies while you feed, clothe and raise a small army on the daily. And for me in particular, it meant getting creative with our spaces and corners to curate a home for my growing family that showcased a little bit of all 10 of us under one roof. And sharing my ideas and creations with the world on this blog was a way of helping this tired, worn-out mother find a hobby of her own that had nothing to do with poop, snot or dirty laundry.

So to make a long, somewhat dramatic story short, allllll of that and a maybe a teensy bit more that I don’t even know, led me to Los Angeles and The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Flying home from this experience, all I could think about was being back with my little and not-so-little ones. Sleeping under the same roof, on my own pillow (I’m funny about pillows. And sheets. And hotel floors. Don’t get me started on the bathtubs.) and kissing all those sweet cheeks. There was a moment when I was standing in my shower at 3 am scrubbing the airplane grime off, my false eyelashes from the show were slowly detaching into what looked like disgusting squished spiders in my hand and I realized it was over. I was back where I was meant to be. This place, these people, after all, were the whole reason I am where I am and why I was on the show in the first place.

But, let’s be real. For that 36 hours, I was a friggin’ STAR with killer lashes in overalls!

But wait! Before you think this is a “And everything was perfect. The End.” type of roses and sunshine story, I should add in full disclosure: the entire duration of this amazing time in my life, I had strep throat, pink eye and pretty much no eyeballs due to extreme sensitivity to light and the inability to open my eyelids thanks to a tremendous amount of nasty, green conjunctivitis gunk. Also, I was heavily drugged. Sooo, yeah.

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