The R E A L Life

Sometimes I am taken back by the circle around me. I feel undeserving, under committed and way too fortunate. This is how I feel about my circle of friends right now. They surrounded me with blessings, stories, and warm wishes last night for a surprise birthday celebration.  I didn't plan on being in the place I am today but oh, it is so sweet.

Words of admiration, affirmation, and fondness were thrown around last night, above a glass of wine, of course. The napkins were black and pressed with starch, which is so ridiculous when trying to absorb a tear..... or two....or a waterfall. Celebrations of friendships just beginning and ones that have shared years and decades of life together. That room was filled with what every person wants. People who understand them. People who accept the real them, unapologetically. I have brought the real and the real has been accepted and I am grateful. It is too exhausting to try to fake being yourself.

These fun photos are our attempt to put together a photo booth in a very tiny room with 14 women. Thank you Chad for setting this up, it was so easy and brilliant. These pictures mean so much to me. They are my tattoo to remind me that I am loved and accepted and not alone. I see the face of God in every one of my friends and I have them to thank for teaching me how. 

I've been told to set my expectations lower so I won't be let down. I will not. I love this life too much not to live it to the fullest. I am blessed in so many ways. So here's a toast to you, the outside world of web, "Here's to life, love, and real words. Here's to accepting, serving and doing. Here's to being bold. Here's to the next half of life on earth. May we share experiences together and continue for eternity."


I’ve teach Latin, although I don’t speak it. I teach Reading although I rarely find myself with a book in my hand. No matter what I am doing, I have the urge to be building something with power tools. I have married two men named Chad.I have had a failed marriage. I have learned to trust again. I have lived in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, no where else. The first time I ever lived on my own was November 18, 2014 when I left that double-wide with three children in the car. I’ve conceived four babies, delivered and raising three, loving one only through my belly. I have sat in the front of a court room and learned what confidence really is. I have left relationships that I thought would last a lifetime and still feel the pain from that loss. I have seen love displayed in ways unimagined by friends serving those who hold to different beliefs. I have been protected by friends who spent the night just so I would not be alone. I have bought three houses, three cars and one motorcycle. I have little faith in church but love my Lord, Savior and Friend who has never left me through it all. I am have been a home health aide, nursing assistant, elementary school teacher, gymnastics coach but photography has my heart now. I instruct four little humans in academics but find that teaching the love of learning has the greatest impact. I have spent time in Peru a few times and would love to spend a season there with my family.  I love making love. I love eating great food. I love real conversations. I love who I am today.

I am 40 years old today.

“Thanks to everyone who’s stayed around but especially those who didn’t. You made me.” -Mark Maya

Photo by my lover and husband- Chad Erickson