That warm day in May the boulevard was not very crowded as I drove up and down looking for my next target. Being in outside sales is tough, and being new is even tougher. You don’t have a list of monthly regulars to draw on and you hope to land a new business before some one else does. It’s the game and that’s how it’s played.

The only advantage to being a girl in sales is sometimes when your shirt is cut a little lower or that extra button is undone, at least the manager will talk to you. This of course, doesn’t mean he will buy from you either but at least he’s listening, or pretending to. On this day I chose a cute white sweater with a keyhole neckline and some navy pinstriped pants. I’m telling you, it matters.

As I passed the Nissan Place a bright red, white and blue sign caught my eye on the left hand side. BINGO was spelled out across the old building but being I’d lived here my whole life, I knew it was something recent. Passing it up, I made a quick UTurn by Jade Palace  and headed back to the BINGO sign.

Looking in the mirror and making sure my make up was right, I fought back some tears. Going through a divorce is hard, my kids were scared and so was I. This job meant a lot and making some sales meant even more. The last thirteen years of my life were gone and now I was starting over, into a world where I had never lived without either my parents or my husband. I was 30 years old but I may as well have been 17, figuring out how to navigate through life.

I pushed back those tears and adjusted my mirror back. I got out of the car and put on a smile, there were sales to be made and bingo halls made lots of money, right? They needed our demographic of listeners, the country music lovers of the world played bingo, didn’t they?

As I walked through the door, there sat the person we sales people rarely see, the illusive owner. For a salesperson, that’s money. You don’t have to hope the manager shows him your special of the month and you may get to interview him and really get a good feel for the business. I rubbed my hands on my pinstriped navy blue pants to make sure they weren’t clammy and walked on up to the table.

Jade Palace chicken fried rice wafted over and although I hated Chinese I just smiled and introduced myself and he asked me to sit. We talked about Bingo Halls and radio and demographics and how I didn’t look old enough to have an 11 year old. He made me laugh and was very open to me making a spec spot for his business.

I wanted it to be just right, the spec spot; I put in all the highlights we had discussed. I made sure the music was just right and that in that 30 seconds, the listener would know they had to visit his bingo hall versus the others that decorated that side of town. I watched his face as he listened to the spot and I could tell he was impressed. So much so, he would fill out an application for credit and think about running it on our new station that would debut the following month.

Being the keen salesperson I was, I went through the application with him and noticed we had the same email carrier. This was mentioned in small talk and I closed out the visit by letting him know I would submit the application and be in touch. I felt pretty good about it because I felt that if this drew response, this would be one of my first regular accounts I had scored on my own. This would prove I could make it on my own, I could do this thing.

Weeks went by and I continued to visit the client, it always seemed to be bad timing financially or not a good fit for what they were looking to do but it was always a good time. There was always laughter and jokes and I never left there feeling like I was defeated because there wasn’t a purchase. I was patient, and knew I would land the client at some point.

The client, on the other hand, had other ideas. He wasn’t interested in radio, he was interested in spec spots or commercials. He would just ooh and ahh over whatever I brought in and pretend that in the next week he would have the money, all the while he was trying to land something entirely different.  The subject of our email came up again one day and he asked if he could email me. Somehow, this ended up in us talking on the phone for hours on end and going to dinner at O’Charlies.

From that day, he had my heart.  The Shelly who was going to be wild and free after my divorce just faded away and all I wanted was this life with him. It wasn’t the life I was used to, one filled with teenage band, color guard kids sleeping on your living room floor and sleeping on gym floors on air mattresses was not what I had envisioned for my newly single self.

It’s been almost eight years since that day in May where I held back the tears and smiled to try and sale a radio ad to some stranger. I smile at my desk as I listen to Cooper cooing in her crib, waking up from this afternoon nap. Where the years have gone, I don’t know. There have been good times and bad times for sure but I’ve never been more thankful for the BINGO sign on Fort Campbell Blvd. than I am today, surrounded by love and life and the magic of who we are and where we’ve came from.

So one day, Cooper can read these words and know that her Dad and Mom fell in love because of BINGO, the radio and of course, that white sweater.


Sweet Release

I awoke the other morning, early, as always with Cooper ready to eat that first bottle. She sucks it down so fast sometimes I wonder how she doesn’t make herself sick. As I watch her fall back into that full-bellied, morning sleep, I get ready to lie back down and get a few more hours for myself. Sometimes I just sit there for a while and rub her sweet little peach-fuzzed head. Other times, in pure exhaustion, I lay her right back down and climb back into bed.

On this particular morning, I started thinking, which means I won’t go back to sleep for a while or even at all. Since I’ve shared my story of the depression I have been facing, I have been so surprised and encouraged by the comments, emails and facebook messages from those who know the struggle first hand and from those who simply care for what I am facing. It is empowering to share that kind of dark situation and as each email or text or message would come in, it would make me feel lighter. Just knowing someone stand with you can make a difference in how you feel.

Today is not such a good day but it seems now that my good days slowly but surely are outweighing the bad days in this fight.  I wanted to share some things I’ve been doing that have helped me. Sharing the blog helped so much; just getting the words on paper and out of my head seemed to help me more than I could have imagined it would.

While there are days like today when I am feelin’ a lot like Eeyore, my depression manifests itself more in anxiety and anger. There are times that once I get mad, I cannot seem to get myself settled down and get back on track. I have a good friend who has battled depression for years, obviously not postpartum but depression none the less. He gave me some good tips for handling anxiety attacks and what to do at the onset of feeling the anger start. The things that have helped me the most is to play music LOUDLY in my headphones at my desk and to just get up and walk away from the office and take five minute walks to clear my head.

On that particular morning, as I lay there trying to go back to sleep, God kept showing me a sky filled with balloons that had been released. I remembered a Sunday morning where my friend Alicia came up to me and prayed for me and spoke some truths into my life that I needed. There were parts of me that I truly was not trusting to God and not only did I have to give Him the battle I am facing, but I have to trust Him that He knows what is best for me, depressed or not.  As we prayed together, I felt a release in my spirit. I knew that while the depression did not disappear or miraculously go away, I released the hold it had on me. I released the grip of it telling me I can’t make it through this storm or that when I have two or three ‘bad days’ in a row it means I have failed or lacked faith.

As I watched those balloons racing toward heaven, I wondered why we can’t let go of fear and anger and stress like those balloons and let it float away. The Bible teaches us in Psalm 121:1 “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from which comes my help.” When we let go and look up, that is where our help is. Instead, usually, we are like those little kids at the fair who get a balloon from the electric company and let it go and as soon as it’s out of arms reach, they start to jump for it, to bring it back to them. They cry and fuss and don’t understand that unless your dad is pretty tall, when you let go of it, it’s gone. I want that, I yearn for that, I want that sweet release where it all just floats away and I don’t try to grab it back because it’s familiar. I don’t want to be seen on the sidewalk jumping up and down trying to pull it out of the sky because trusting God is harder than holding onto anxiety.

I’m not totally there yet, and to be honest, I don’t know when I will be. I don’t believe that depression is just a ‘spiritual’ or ‘mental’ thing. It makes me sad when people equate depression with ‘craziness’ or someone who needs to get the devil off your back. I believe the life we’ve lived and the things we’ve endured shape our brain and our hearts and sometimes, life is just too much and depression is the result. So today, while I am feeling all Eeyorish (pretty sure that’s not a word) I’m going to look at my babies face and smile anyway. I am going to close my eyes and picture visions of those balloons floating away and let my sadness go with them. I am going to do what I do every day, put one foot in front of the other and carry on.

Five Months

What a busy month we’ve had. It seems like i just wrote the 4 month old post yesterday. It’s been a month filled with firsts and lots of company and fun. Cooper, this month, you seemed to just really come into your own. Talking out loud, screaming to get our attention and becoming increasingly social.
Your brother got a nice camera from his graduation money so he took your five month pictures for me yesterday. You are so good natured most of the time, I would have two or three more babies if they were all like you. You actually don’t hate to have us take your picture.

This month, you learned your sticker comes off and you decided you would crumple it up and eat it. Everything goes straight to your mouth these days. You are drooling constantly so you always have a bib on. No teeth are poking through yet but you gums are showing signs that it may happen soon.

I love seeing you grow and change month to month. Last month, you would barely look at a toy. Now, you will grasp it in your hand and put it right in your mouth. You watched Elmo on YouTube at the doctors office and seemed to like it alot. Then, you watched almost a whole Elmo movie with McKenzie in the nursery. Couch Potatoes Unite!

We had so much company this month and you were loved and spoiled by all. We had our friends from Maryland: Charlie, Angela & Andrea who stayed for an entire week. Then Aunt Heather, Uncle Mike and the girls stayed part of a weekend with us. Alicia and Alexia spent the night with you and Alexia wanted to kiss you but you weren’t too sure about it. Then, we had the fabulous five come in to stay for a quick night which included your Aunt Jerri, Grandma Sally, Grandma Louise. They brought Esther and Grandma Ruth all the way from Switzerland to see you. You rank pretty high little lady.

One of my favorite things to do is watch you sleep. You look like a little angel when you sleep and some of your sleep poses just crack me up. You do love your sleep. You usually sleep 10 hours every night and take several 45 min naps during the day. A growing girl needs her rest. You are drinking about 24 oz of milk daily and eating 1-2 regular sized jars of baby food. You weigh around 15 lbs.

When you are awake, who knows what face you will make. Some of your faces make you look just like daddy and others make you look just like Logan and Caitlin. I see all three of them in you, which makes you a pretty lucky girl, in my opinion. Your smile, it lights up the room and you give it freely.

You would think that our month was busy enough with all the company we had but we added to it by having a date night and Miss Kelsey watched you for us. Since she’s been out of school, Taylia has been helping with you during the day while I try to work. Now that she’s back in school, we are just working with your schedule. Toward the end of the month we took a trip, your first trip to Illinois or as your dad says, ‘Up Home’. You were really awesome for a 7 hour car ride. We stayed in our first hotel and you attended your first wedding. That was a busy 36 hour time period right there. We took in a bit of shopping and were ready to see the house by the time we got back, that’s for sure.

We also headed to Kentucky for the last weekend of the month for some birthday parties and were able to go to lunch and see cousin Portlin. Now Mommy realizes why she is so tired. This month was CRAZY. Until next time…..