Where there's a will, there is always a way

Every time he was drunk he would tell me how I would never amount to anything without him. How I would become homeless and lose the children. How I would crawl back to him begging him to take me back. Then he would follow it up with the detailed description on how he would kill me if I ever left him. I thank the Lord that during all those times, within me, there was a voice of strength, whispering that I can and would prove him wrong - I relied on that voice many of a night to get me through being emotionally battered to the point I was fighting not to become a shell.

I don't know why I am thinking about all of this now, all these years later. Perhaps it is because I am seeing the fruits of our (the children and my) struggle blossoming before me. I will not lie, after my marriage ended and the children and I were alone to live life during that recession, life was hard, extremely hard. If I admitted how many times I had to fight the thought of driving off a cliff, or into a tree, my friends would be shocked. Yes, I thank the Lord for that voice deep within me telling me not to give up. Sometimes that was all I had to hold on to in keeping my car on the road so I could continue on to my next destination.

Just over 10 years later here I am, one week out from kissing my boys goodbye as I boarded the train, leaving from my almost week in Memphis visiting them where in the last year they have built a life and more importantly, laid the groundwork for an incredible future. Yes, I raised strong, independent and responsible young men - without him.

I hope my sons are reading this - I want them to remember these steps we've taken. I know they remember those terrifying evenings, unfortunately, they witnessed too much. I want them to know to NEVER allow someone to take them emotionally hostage. To always remember where they came from and what has all been achieved by all three of us.  You lived through and attained an education that no amount of money could ever purchase -  self-respect will pull you through the toughest times.  Don't ever believe someone who tells you that you are not good enough, that you'll end up behind or in a dumpster without them. Toss those emotional vampires aside, and keep the course of being true to YOU.

Witnessing how much the boys have accomplished at their young ages, especially knowing how much they endured during their childhood, I trust they will never forget that lesson.

I have a lot faith and hope for 2018. I know more positive changes and opportunities are on the way - I also know that there may be times it may not feel like that, but if we hold on to that voice of strength and determination, life will see itself through.

Kyle did an outstanding job representing the Memphis Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge. He was their chosen performer in the youth showcase. I was one proud Mama! Since the IBC Kyle has been on the upswing of getting more attention for his talent and hard work.

Justin is still my sweet 1st Baby Boy. The day I arrived in Memphis he gave me the tightest bear hug I have ever had, I thought he was going to break my back. He has been such a strong supporter of his little brother -I am SO proud of him! This year I want him to work towards his own dream in becoming a cosmetologist. I know he would excel at it!

There are no words to describe the emotions I have watching my two boys support one another like they do. They literally have each other's back. And, this past year I am sure they've been tested more than once. Just the stress of moving to a new state with very little money in their pockets for Kyle's dream had to not only have been exciting but also terrifying at times. I am glad that with them is their best friend, Gabe. All three went there to build a life and I know they had hard times they never told me about because they didn't want to cause me worry.
Justin, Gabe, and Kyle

They still need to learn that as a mother, I will always know. They've all lost quite a bit of weight, Kyle, I think lost the most. It showed in their photos and when I arrived in Memphis, I witnessed it in the kitchen cabinets and fridge. There was no food, just coffee.

All three are working a retail job that relies heavily on tourism, and right now it is a slow period, meaning dwindling hours. They'll make it, the hours will come back in about 2 months but needless to say this mom was, in fact, worried.

Kyle needs to focus on his music, Justin needs to start focusing on his own future career, as does Gabe. They are pretty much attending life's college right now - so a lecture on getting a 2nd job with all that they are juggling would side-track them from what they need to do in building their futures.

I am glad I went there when I did. I reminded Kyle that he is a brand, his own business and all of them have a stake in that so they need to get creative and remember dedication and determination will pay off. I think they needed a fresh look at their situation. Kyle often needs that reminder as he tends not to like to promote himself (ooooh the mind of a humble artist).

Want the shirt? Contact me at chewedupspatout@gmail.com
with your size, address and email - I will invoice you through
Paypal.  Small -XL are $25.  2XL -4XL are $28.
And thank you for helping me keep my sons' fridge stocked!

The mom in me came out and I utilized my skills - the very same skills that got us through that decade of struggle, the one where the inner voice of strength kept me going. Within an hour I had made contact with a woman back in Mauston, WI who owns her own business - soon after making contact she came up with a t-shirt design and we were on the road to taking orders. The money is to be used exclusively for stocking up on food. One less worry for all.

When the boys saw all that unravel, once again they were sparked up and motivated and ever since I've been fielding their calls littered with creative ideas, goals and hope.

The best part of all, those t-shirt sales are keeping their fridge stocked so that Kyle can work his job AND concentrate on his future in music. It also means Justin and Gabe can work the job they love AND concentrate on their next steps in their own future careers.

Where there is a will, there is always a way - NEVER give up on your dreams! You have one life to live, live it to the fullest with no regrets on what could have been...what should have been. Boys, are you listening?

And for everyone else - my son is not JUST a guitarist nor JUST a musician...he has what it takes- he was born to do this, there's not a doubt in my mind.
Recently he was interviewed on the Booze and Blues Radio Memphis Show. The following comes from the show's host, Ric Chetter, who also does podcasts and has a blog. He starts talking about Kyle just after the 12-minute mark, but give the entire show a listen.


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