– 5 – Short Toddler Stories

Well the time has come.

I have waited two years for the toddler stories and I am so thrilled (really, Sarah?) to have some to tell!!!

#1: The Puzzle

Jackson has this animal puzzle that seemed like a good idea (My mom bought it and I was so excited! I knew Jackson would love it!) but it’s a puzzle that has the little red knobs on the top of each piece so that you can pick them up out of their cut-out spot. It also has a sensor so it makes noises when you find each spot for the puzzle pieces.

Example:

If you put a pig in it’s spot, it makes a pig sound. A cat makes a cat sound, etc. Well apparently it’s also light sensitive. But here’s the thing: JUST the pig. So EVERY NIGHT… Continue reading – 5 – Short Toddler Stories

I am in counseling and I am Okay. I am Okay and I am in counseling. There’s no right or wrong in that.

Okay. To jump RIGHT IN…

I have been going to counseling for quite a while now. I had an 8 month break (mostly due to Eric touring) and have recently gone back again. I won’t sugar coat it – it’s hard but it’s so incredibly rewarding, refreshing & it’s a game changer. I’m going to write a future blog post about why I’m going but today? I just wanted to touch on my session… So here goes…

Yesterday I paid someone to make me cry and here is what i learned:

(1) I am okay. Just me. The way I am.

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Please note: this is not me saying you are HEALTHY just the way you are. But YOU…just you (your personality, your quirks… what makes you “you”)

…You are OKAY! You are not a bad, terrible person.

It is important for us to strive to be the healthiest version of “you” that you can be

(I think if I type “you” one more time, my computer might blow up.)

I would not recommend thinking along the lines of “well, i’m okay. Just me the way I am, like you said” and leave it at that. Like I said, You ARE okay but its not good for anyone to stay where they’re at, especially if you’re not emotionally healthy. With that, however, you don’t want to obsess about constantly being a “better version” of yourself because that can lead to thinking the current you isn’t enough. *sigh* It can get out of hand very quickly. Did that even make sense? Well anyways…

(2) I am my own person. I am not a replica of anyone.

To look this good.

Those of us that are easily swayed, we can turn into other people without ever realizing it. Losing our true self and being none-the-wiser. You are your own person. You have your own personality. You can be like others, parts of your parents and your siblings and relatives…similar to friends… but you are YOU.

If you are a “mini-me” of someone else, that is absolutely fine! Embrace that! But don’t forget that you are not them. You are still you and nothing someone has done or will do can determine who you really are. They certainly cannot determine what you can or cannot do, either.

What am I saying here? If you are just like someone else… this could be a friend or relative… and you see traits in them that you see in yourself that you don’t like.. then remember that you are not a mold. You are not confined to the way that person behaves. You…are….you. Make something of that. Be different. Be healthier. 

(3) I have to stand up for the way I feel.

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Basically, don’t be a people-pleaser (no matter who you’re trying to please).

Feel your feelings and express them.

Caution:

 

You still have to think everything through. This is definitely me not “giving permission” to react and say “well she told me to express my feelings as I felt them.” Well yes, sure… but try not to react on impulse. 🙂 Trust me.. this is the pot calling the kettle black – believe you me!!!

It’s hard, but try not to lash out emotionally and then say “well you said to feel and express as they are. To not judge them and accept what you feel.” You are correct. Accept your feelings as they are… that you feel “that way” and its okay that you do. However, mull it over before reacting. Think of all the various sides. Think of other perspectives and be sure that what you feel is something that you want to share. And then if and when you’re ready to share? Be confident. THIS is you, the healthy side of you. This is how you feel and no one should judge you for that. No one should make you feel small or like you’re a bother to them because you feel that way. Speak up for yourself but with love and grace to others.

(4) I am allowed to be proud of myself.

Untitled Design 7.pngI am someone who naturally likes who I am and is proud of what I have accomplished in all aspects of life. However I am also very practical. I think in black and white with intense logical conclusions. Sometimes if I learn something and apply it, I think “well, thats just the way it is. You learn something and then you apply it.” But sometimes what I don’t see is how fast I apply it or that maybe its a very hard challenge that most people aren’t successful with. So I should be PROUD. So I am learning to affirm that in myself.

My husband – Eric Barfield – gave me a great example. It’s like how baseball players practice all their life, constantly training. So when they hit a homerun, it’s no surprise that they shrug it off like it’s no big deal, meanwhile we’re in the stands acting like we’re about to go to war, charging into battle like an amazon warrior.

So with that said, I want to say to myself…

Sarah, I am proud that you were able to overcome this life-altering….game changing challenge

(*insert evil grinning emoji* – are you dying to know what that is?!?! I’ll go into it more in another blog… stay tuned!)

(5) I am not a bad person

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Sometimes the way we think of ourselves, the way others make us feel or the doubts we have in our abilities make us feel like we are not good people. Like we’re flawed (and we are) but that it’s all our fault and because we can’t be perfect 24/7… we are bad.

If you’re like me (an 8 on the Enneagram… again, something I’ll go into later) you feel like you can control ANYTHING (Hitler was an 8 lol). When you can’t “buck up” and fix yourself, its very, very hard. You feel like a failure and a bad person.

But. You. Are. Not….

 

So let me just say this: counseling is hard. You face some extremely tough emotions. But it’s far harder to live in a world where you don’t know yourself. You don’t know why you feel the way you do, you don’t know why you can’t change and you don’t know why you’re hurting. Sometimes? You don’t even KNOW you’re hurting. That is just not the way to live this life. If you can afford it, I cannot recommend counseling enough.

You are not weak if you go. You are not pathetic. You are not stupid. You are not worthless…

PS: if you try it and you don’t like it, consider trying another counselor before you give up. Not every counselor fits you! You have to try and find someone who works with you and your personality – someone who GETS you. Don’t quit…

Last & Final (very important) note:

I do not judge you if you do or do not go to counseling.
Do I think it’s wonderful? YES.
Do I think it can make you a healthier version of yourself? YES.
But I know that it can get very expensive (most will help you out and let you pay based on your income). I know that it’s very hard to get to a place where you’re willing to face your demons.

You are loved. You are cared about. With me, you are SAFE.

Have a good day, lovelies.

Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? – Rumi

…The Nashville Mom (part IV):  Advice for SAHMs in a New City

Photo Credit: Tony Mellinger

Welcome back! To those who haven’t been following this series…

I am writing about what it’s like in the world of The Nashville Wife (myself) and what it was like coming here without my own purpose. Along with that came The Nashville Mom. I had to find myself within both titles and I wanted to share my experience. I spoke to many other lovely ladies who have been through the basics of my story but in their own versions.

That is what this series has been about.

Their voices. Our voices. A community of people who share a common thread within our life story, willing to branch out and reach for the lonely or the broken.

These women are wonderful people who have volunteered their time to answer these questions and discuss their life with me. I am so grateful for their willingness to share and I hope this meets someone where they’re at in their story.


Quick Recap

Part III ended with some of the best advice I have ever heard…

STHE NASHVILLE WIFE Support. Embrace. Dream. GRateful. Prepare.upport. Embrace. Dream. Grateful. Prepare

I think I may even print out my own blog graphic, frame it, and remind myself of this every single day. If you’re in a new city for any other reason than for your own purpose, find yourself some support. Embrace your new life. Dream bigger things. Be Grateful for what you have and oh my goodness PREPARE! For what’s ahead, for what’s to come… mentally, physically, financially, you name it. Job well done, ladies.

Beautiful words spoken by beautiful women. It’s time to hear their voices once again.

Question #4

 “If you had one piece of advice to give a new SAHM in a new city, what would it be?”

Here’s what they had to say:

“Find your moms.  Join a moms bible study, book club, mops program, whatever.  Get you some girlfriends STAT.”
– Martyne Palmer

“I’m that mom so I guess what I would say to myself is reach out. Find your community whether that be at a church, a gym etc but you have to put forth an effort. 
– Heather Abbott Burback


“Join Facebook groups, find a school you like, find a good MDO program to give yourself a break at least once a week! ”
– Allison Klein

“Jump all in to your community. Find a moms group and a church. Make all the friends you can, find your tribe, and love them well. 
– Vicki Mason Brown

Jamie Angsten basically combined this question along with the next (and the last) 2 questions of this series. It’s a GREAT summary of advice so I have decided to wait and post it at the end. I will give you a great snippet, though!

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I feel like the overall arching theme here is MAKE IT HAPPEN! We have the choice to be miserable or to be happy. This is OUR life and we live it so vastly different than everyone else around us. It can take a long time to find your happiness or for some, it can be a quick turn around. Try not to place big expectations on yourself in that area.

Do your best

My counselor – yes, I am in counseling. The best decision I ever made – said one time before, “You don’t seem to give yourself much grace. I wonder what it would be like if you gave yourself as much grace as you give to others?”

I do wonder. So let’s keep that in mind.

Give grace to others and be gracious to ourselves.

Photo Credit: Tony Mellinger

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Spotlight: Footjunkie by Stage Tech Solutions

Happy Saturday!

Today is a spotlight blog! I want to introduce a product that one of my friends has created, that I think is simply brilliant. I love it when someone invents something, whether big or small, and has the guts to build something with it. Bravo to you, Jonathan!

So, What is the Product?

Footjunkie is currently a sustain pedal stabilizer, something that has been needed for quite a long time. Whether you’re at a show and you slide your pedal right off the stage (haha – yeah that’s definitely happened. Can you imagine? Whoops) or you’re working in your studio – laying down tracks, you really don’t need the distraction much less the hassle of endlessly adjusting your pedal. Time is precious for a musician. Uninterrupted creative thought is even more precious. Don’t waste it on something so ridiculous.

It solves a problem that has been a curse of keyboardists since the sustain pedal broke away from the original piano. – Eric Barfield

Below is a video of my husband, Eric Barfield (professional keyboardist & touring musician here in Nashville) giving a review of the pedal stabilizer. You can find the original video, along with a lot of other reviews + info regarding the product, at www.stagetechsolutions.com

 Please check out the product pictures below (click on them for a bigger picture), and give this company a ♥ on Instagram (@stagetechsolutions) & on Facebook (Footjunkie)

PS: I’ve never asked for this before, but if you feel inclined to it, would you be willing to help my friend out by spreading the word? Especially if you’re a musician or know one… Share on FB or Instagram or even my blog post. Whatever works best for you. I know those at Stage Tech Solutions would appreciate it 😉

Thanks, lovelies!

 

 

 

 

When the Nashville Wife becomes the Nashville Mom (Part I)

As you all know, I moved to Nashville because I made the choice to follow my husband’s dreams. I quickly found my dream job and started working at an animal shelter, to which I eventually became the Assistant Director there. I had my purpose and I was happy. I hadn’t planned on ever quitting my job, not even when I had my son. Truthfully, I didn’t give it much thought (who would? It’s your dream job. No giving up on that!) But then it happened. 

 

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I passionately, deeply loved that little boy. A love that grew so quickly that it took my heart by storm and my work was no longer my driving force. It was still my passion but it wasn’t enough for me anymore. It was harder and harder to swallow the thought of leaving him behind and then one day, the decision was made, and I would no longer work at the shelter.

I was so blissfully happy, but as most of you can imagine, the fullness of love couldn’t always fill the emptiness of solitude.

The constant stretch of days with no other human interaction, no getting out of the house, no me-time, was starting to wear me down. There were days where I felt like I was suffocating. Clawing my way out, I knew I needed something; I needed an outlet. That is when The Nashville Wife was born and so was the flame that ignited the kindling and set my world on fire.

I knew I wasn’t alone in this. I knew I couldn’t be the only mama that felt that way. Starting life in Nashville with no real purpose, finding your own and then letting it be taken away. Every road is traveled differently from person to person whether our stories are similar or not.

 

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We can let our different stories separate us or we can let them build us up. So I started this quest to share the stories and the voices of so many beautiful women who came here, to Nashville, either as a mom or not yet one. Women who came here with a purpose and those without one. Some that have struggled and some that have had the greatest adventure. These ladies wanted to let their words and experiences be available to those that may need to hear them. I needed to know I wasn’t alone. I needed to know there was a community out there where I belonged. So I might not be the only one.

I’ll end this with the first question I asked:

 What was the hardest part of moving to Nashville for you?

Here’s what they had to say:

“Probably leaving family, because everything I knew and loved still lived in Georgia.  I was lucky that my sister decided to move here too about the same time- she was (and is) a lifesaver.” – Martyne Palmer

“Moving to Nashville has been hard only because we moved with very little. We sold everything we owned to move here and it’s been a harder transition for my husband. We are very excited to be here and to see what this city has to offer for us. I think once we get settled it will make everything more of a smooth transition.” – Heather Abbott Burback


“Leaving California & the ocean. I grew up surfing on the beach my entire life…..And yeah, working for me is important. Also childcare is so affordable that moms can have careers and not hand over 85% of their paycheck to their childcare. It’s important! Many other countries have childcare priced similarly to Nashville (vs. let’s say, california) and there is a very high rate of happy moms with less post partum. I found staying home all day and breastfeeding made me sad and getting out for a few hours made me happy!” Allison Klein

“Leaving the only state I’ve ever lived in. Texas….I was leaving my sister which was really hard, but I knew Nashville was what God was calling us to do!” – Vicki Mason Brown

“I had a similar experience as you did with regards to working.  I found a job that I liked and was happy with the friends I met there, but once I became a stay at home mom I lost those friends as we were in different chapters of our lives.  My one piece of advice would be to save money.  We had moved here and had originally saved a good amount of money, but as we were both unemployed for a couple months, and moving into a new home, it was more expensive than we originally intended.  However, once we both started working, it evened back out but it was something we were not expecting as we were always so stable financially and neither of us wanted to rush into a job we were unhappy with. It all worked out but it does take time to get working, settled in a new home and making new friends. ”  – Jamie Angsten

I look forward to next Monday, The Nashville Mom (Part II), where I will continue with more questions and more answers from these women who want you to know you’re never alone. As always, feel free to comment or to send me a message through my Contact page. I would love to hear your thoughts and your stories!

Take care, lovelies.

 

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The Nashville Move

“I think we should move to Nashville”

The words that started our journey. He outgrew the city we were in and it was time to be the little fish in the big pond. I knew he needed to grow, to expand. He needed to flex his fingers and his mind in ways he’s only dreamt of. I knew it was time to stop dreaming.

“I think that’s where you belong.”

I wonder if other musicians feel this pull. For those that do, you’ll understand me when I say it’s not just a decision to move here. It’s the underwater current you can’t swim out of; the gravitational force you can’t peel yourself away from. You don’t decide to move to Nashville. You wake up and realize one day that you’re not home. That you’ve never really been home.

(To those that don’t have close ties with your family, know that this realization is both sad and inviting all in the same.)

“Now what?”

That first, scary moment where you’ve made the jump but now that you’re here, what do you do first? Is there a start to a finish? A race you’ve just entered and you’re hoping to catch up? Or is this just a pool where you jump in and hope you can keep your head above water?

“I must be doing something wrong. I must not be good enough.”

It’s been a year, maybe two now. You’ve not picked up any work, or at least very little. You constantly, silently compare yourself to those around you. You see their success and toss logic to the wind. Sure. They’ve been here seven years to your one, but hey that doesn’t matter, right? You should’ve already “made it” by now. This is the temptation. This is what you have to guard yourself from thinking, feeling, believing, if you’re going to continue to strive to be that successful Nashville musician. If you’re going to “make it”.

“Speaking of making it…”

I’m not sure this is a real thing, to be honest. I hear people talk about “making it”.

→ I should’ve made it by now

→ He/she never made it as a musician

As a musician, especially in Nashville, you’re always striving to “make it” and the closer you get to it, the more you realize it never really existed to begin with. You’re a musician. If you’ve already made the move to Nashville, you’ve “made it.” I mean sure, I get what people mean. “Making it” means they are successful in whatever goal they hoped to attain. But I guess that is exactly what I am getting at. Theres no such thing as “making it” because the phrase itself is so fluid and each person has their own definition. Don’t focus on “making it”. I don’t believe that is ever the end goal, not really.

… … … … …

Three and a half years later, we are still grasping at our goals. Striving for success but not at the cost of our sanity. We continue to blend our worlds to the point where we confuse the “I” and the “You” in any story. There’s more story to write, more plots to unfold.

 

 

If you would like to see where this story began, please click HERE.

We only get one shadow.

When my husband, Eric, and I moved to Nashville, it was clear why I was here:

→ To support the rising Nashville musician I knew he was going to become.
→ To finish school & get a job (as a stenographer, aka court reporter).
→ Take care of our two huskies
→ Make our house into a home
→ And to someday have a baby or two.

Then everything changed.

I was miserable.

Working towards a degree I truly hated. Lonely as I had no friends, no family, and my husband was working his tail off; out of town two days a week and in Nashville all the rest, making waves and changing tides.

Not to mention I was in a new land, unfamiliar with it’s heartbeat.

I was tired of being miserable. So I did it – I quit school. I started working at an animal shelter which quickly led me to become the Assistant Director, overseeing the animals being adopted.

I was ecstatic!

This was my dream job. Heck, some nights Eric had to call me and ask if I was ever coming home! I sure was walking on my own shadow.

Then in October of 2015, we made the decision to try for our current little boy and within a few weeks, we found out we were pregnant.

   (well that escalated quickly)

My new little man was born in June of 2016. I had every intention of going back to work but one day, I off-handedly said something to Eric about staying at home and he surprised the daylights out of me!

“If you think we can afford it, I think you should do it.”

I. was. SHOCKED.

I thought it wasn’t possible…
I thought it would stress him out too much…
I thought there was no way my dream of not having to work could ever come true…

And it just did!

I was such a happy momma. I still am.

But there came a point (and I couldn’t exactly tell you when) but I felt like I was wasting my time.

Can you imagine how that must feel?
Can you imagine what it was like to admit it?

…that having a baby and feeling like staying at home, taking care of this sweet child and taking care of the house was a waste of time? Was a waste of existence?

That I was taking up space in this world of movers and shakers?

Looking at it from an outsider’s point of view, that has to be the saddest thing I’ve heard. Someone responsible for raising an innocent, someone responsible for making sure this child becomes someone respectful, kind, loving, and a warrior in a land of chaos, that someone should never feel like they are wasting their time. They shouldn’t feel like they have no purpose.

So why did I?

I was no longer walking on my own shadow. Actually, I don’t think I was even standing on it. My husband was amplifying his and at some point, I snuck behind him, lined myself up and matched my shadow to his. (All without ever having realized it happened.)

Well, he is bigger than me (lol), his life is broader than mine, so my shadow disappeared in his. I disappeared.

The reality? You only get one shadow.

→ But what is the point of that?
→ What does that mean?
→ And what is a shadow?

Well, It’s not just a dark area or shape produced by someone or something, standing in front of light. It’s also an action; to follow or observe closely or sometimes in secret. We say people live in other people’s shadow. Usually referring to the fact someone isn’t as great or powerful or worthy as someone else and so anything you do is just blocked out by the “greater person’s” shadow, the mark they “leave behind”.

People want to be seen, to not be hidden inside of someone else’s work. They want to be seen and to cast their own shadow.

Your shadow tells the world who you are and where you’ve been. So what was clear was that I would get nowhere living and hiding inside a shadow that was not my own.

Like Angela Cartwright said, “My shadow in my art is one way I trace who I was and where I have been. My shadow and I have been on a journey for quite a while now!

So while you can stand IN someone’s shadow, you cannot stand ON their shadow. Nor would you want to. We need to find ourselves. We need to BE ourselves.

To start finding myself, my purpose and what life I’m supposed to be living, I need to remember to stand and walk on my own shadow and no one else’s. It’s a reminder of who I was and where I have been. It moves and grows and changes with me. So while I may be lost, my shadow is lost with me. And together, as many times before, we will find where we are next to travel.


Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow – Aesop

Photo Cred: xperimentiv.wordpress.com

…and so She began

“Happiness is an inside job.” – unknown

For the past few days, I’ve been wandering; walking into familiar rooms and not understanding where I was. I was lost. I mean, sure, I know who I am…

 – mother –

 – musician’s wife –

 – daughter –

 – sister –

– friend –

But knowing that isn’t enough for me. I want to be a mother and do more. I want to be my husband’s wife and do more. (etc.)

I. WANT. TO. BE. MORE.

As I walked into my son’s room, picked him up out of his crib, I sighed the most peaceful sigh. It was a breath of freedom. I should have done this months ago. Is it perfect? (lol)… NO. Will it be the answer I’m seeking? I sure wish. But again, NO.

and so today? I began my journey. We began our journey.


 I hope you sigh peacefully tonight.