The Significance of the Sock Monkey Cap

Here at The Overcoming we not only serve pie – but I often come up with the wildest ideas for musings, or rantings, that may not make sense by the title. I hope you giggle snorted a bit. This is not really about a sock monkey cap.

No I’m kidding – it actually is.

What is thee speaking of in such a weird title? Is this a metaphor? Am I perhaps describing one of my children’s toys that scares the bejesus out of me and I’m wondering why we ever bought it?

I mean, have you seen a sock monkey (AHHHH)!!

Alas, I am truly speaking of my own sock monkey cap.

Picture this: on Sunday, while gripping my iPad in my lap with two screaming children in the back, watching the Patriots lose the playoffs, we began a road trip to take my two oldest children home to their father up north after their visit. The weather people kept talking about a possible snow storm for Tuesday (yes, that’s today, yay, I got my days straight). Upon dropping them off and a trip to a local Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the final moments wither away from my beloved Patriots – we went to the gas station.

All of the cool kids were there wearing these cute caps. They were laid over their apparently hyperactive from ice cream heads – these cute knitted caps. Some of them were just in American colors. I noticed one that I think may have been the Grinch. I found my husband at the cash register – and in his hand, a sock monkey cap. He handed it to me – he actually bought it for me – “because you like sock monkeys” he said “and it’s cute.”

I held on to the precious cap until today – awaiting this supposed snow storm.

I am a SNOW LOVER – I absolutely adore it. It reminds me of peace. Have you ever walked outside mid storm? The flakes are falling – and it’s eerily dead silent. The sounds of the outside are filtered through the snowflakes, embedding them in their icy flesh – it takes that sound and makes it just that – nothing. When I was younger I would get on my boots and my cap – go outside, run, play, throw my hands in the air, make snow angels. Whenever it snows now – it takes my breath away. Time seems to stop for me. With each flake far and wide, or a blizzard, or even a simple flurry, my mind returns to those days of youth when I would hold my daddy’s hand while sledding down the hill.

I forgive you daddy for the time you dropped me on the concrete in the ski resort parking lot after I slipped off your shoulders.

Today I sat by the window like a little child. The word “bust” came up. If you have ever lived in or know the Central Virginia area – we often bust. Being so far from the mountains and so close to the water, we usually get the dry air sockets in which we get into a bubble of flake deficiency.

I knew it – it wasn’t coming, I thought. I ran for the sock monkey cap. I had a sock monkey as a child – maybe, if I took myself back – MAYBE I could behold my inner abilities to channel mother nature – and get it to actually close in on us – BRING THE MOISTURE!



Behold – the power of the sock monkey cap.

Complaints flew in to the weathermen all day. Poor dudes. I understand their job isn’t easy. We wanted the snow. My heart wanted the snow. My childhood still locked inside of my often sad soul (missing those days) – really wanted that snow. My Facebook feed blew up with parents wondering why school was closed for NO SNOW.

I watched the radar. I kept touching my cap. I closed my eyes – and I said “Mother Nature, believe me, I understand it’s hard to answer everyone’s prayers – but for pete’s sake, you always give it to New York – please, for me, just let me see the flakes…”

I noticed the gaps closing in on the radar and I felt that sock monkey cap’s ego growing. It was coming. The low pressure was late in forming off the coast. So close …. so close….

1535407_10153752153910531_1609216405_nI could feel my inner baby girl with her eyes wide open and hands on the windows – breath showing (and I used to blow on it on purpose so I could mark my words like “yay” or “snow” or “mama” on the windows and doors… I could see that tiny lady with her sled grasped in her hands just waiting.

The snow began to fall at 3:45 PM. Right on time – I had said earlier based on the radar I felt it would close in about that time, and it did.

I’m no weather woman. I just watch – but I grasped onto that power of the child in me that just simply wanted to run out in a few flakes and touch them – let them fall on my nose – write on the windows – and I kept on believing.

As I watch the snow fall now and I point it out to my little 10 month old boy – I imagine the times I’ll have with him. It’s just the simple things. It’s the little things on days like this where I just smile, my heart opens, and I beam.

Even if the weather people were off by oh say 4 inches – my little tiny prayer for that moment of childhood bliss still was answered. Whether it was the power of the sock monkey cap (which by the way, I love, because it also reminds me of childhood) – or the inner belief that I could just for once run again like a kid on Christmas in those white fluffy pieces that fall from Heaven … or if it was simply that Mother Nature already had this set up – because we all know that I truly have no power to control the weather.

My heart is happy. Snow is good for my soul.

I am off to fetch a beer and sit by the fire and watch TV with my husband and baby – a cozy night.

But before I go … one last thought….




Liebster Award: My First Nomination!


Well blow me down!

WOW! I have been doing this blog for a two weeks and one day. I was excited yesterday to celebrate two weeks with over 1,000 views and 70 followers.

This afternoon after a great trip to Target and fun times watching the weather (go home Mother Nature, you’re drunk, 60 degrees with a Winter Storm Watch, GAH) – I found a comment waiting for me: You’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award (blog with under 200 followers).

My head just blew up with excitement! This is beyond an honor. First and foremost, I want to thank the person who nominated me: Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer  and for her kind words with regards to my blog.

Here’s the rules for this awesome honor:

1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Here are the 10 Questions from IDS (I’m only using initials because I always spell dysfunctional wrong (<— and yes, I’m a writer) … Questions are in BOLD. Answers in ITALICS!

  1. What motivates you most in life? Is it your family, your friends, your own will, the weather – I look forward to your answer! My biggest motivations are my husband and my children. When I’m at my deepest, most profound moments of sadness, it’s them that brings me forward into new life. Having children in itself is a blessing – but mine, they are the world. I see them – and I see these sweet three faces and souls that need me. They need my touch. They need to hear my voice and snuggle in my arms. My husband never gives up on me. Please read my original post that started it all if you yet do not know my journey – but he has pulled me through an element that I never once gave myself enough credit to think I could brave it – and not give up. They are powerful forces in my life. My inner spirit also motivates me – while sometimes lost in the catacombs of an often aching soul that suffers with Panic and Social Anxiety Disorder as well as Depression, my faith and willpower and my knowledge that I know I can do anything I set my mind to – grabs me back and brings me copy 5photo copy 4
  2. What the next big thing that you know is going to happen in your life? How are you approaching it? The next big thing I know is going to happen is that I am going to take my ability to write, my experiences, and seek a publisher to write a book. I have always been striving for this goal and life seemed to get in the way – but I have so much faith I can do this and so many places to go. It will be non-fiction, a chronicle of sorts, and will depict my efforts as a human and my spirit: how I have overcome obstacles – some that I have not yet even revealed on this blog. I am truly excited.
  3. Home or abroad? Why? Home. My heart is always home. I am very picky about foods, having my own bed, and my private space. I suppose I could never be a famous person – I am just way too private. My home is my abode. It’s been my life since I was born, it’s what I know. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been abroad. I think it’s wonderful to see other cultures and give myself a taste of other lifestyles. I just prefer to be home – it brings me comfort – much needed comfort for this southern daddy’s girl who loves his cooking – and my parent’s home (which is right down the street).
  4. What do you fear the most? Why do you fear it? I define fear as the side effect of hidden truths. I have always feared things because deep inside, I know there’s as true reason why. This goes for my fear of snakes (I’m afraid I will be in a ninja like war with one and it will eat me) – but when it comes down to it, my biggest fear is fear itself. Fear symbolizes to me that I’m hiding something from myself – whether it be a consequence I know I will face for my actions that I’m afraid of, or if it’s something I just cannot muster up the energy or willpower to bring to the open so I can face it. Sure, I fear things like sharks, snakes, and yes (insert laughter like an old 80’s sitcom), flushing the toilet (the truth behind this is the movie Ghoulies scared me as a child). I fear not facing what I need to in order to overcome something – because I’m anxious about what the results will be. I often address this in my blogs and how I overcame addiction.
  5. What’s the memory you cherish the most? Why? Christmas at my parents’ house when I was young. Everything from the lights, to the tree, to putting the presents under – cookies for Santa, the anticipation of Christmas morning and seeing what joys awaited. I loved when my parents would video tape us coming down the steps (my brother and I) to see that world of wonder we had been thinking of all year. It was my own Winter Wonderland – if even I live in an often flake deficient city. I remember Christmas Eve at my grandparents before they passed away – so warm in my heart. I still watch those old videos – and I cry inside. I miss it. I miss them.
  6. Do you like where you live? What are the best/worst things about it? After living my entire life, until age 18, in Midlothian, Virginia – I moved to Blacksburg, Virginia to attend Virginia Tech. I then moved after 7 years to Maryland, before moving 2 years later to Ashburn, VA where I remained in Northern Virginia until September 2013. After a divorce, a new marriage, and the birth of my third child – I was so emotional and overcome with chronic pain that I just wanted to go home. I am now home in Midlothian, Virginia again where I started – and I love it. The best thing: my mommy and daddy right down the street, family functions without a huge production of beating traffic and packing the car, the smell of the Central Virginia air in the fall full of burning leaves and carving pumpkins … the worst thing: it’s flake deficient. We live in a snow hole – IT NEVER SNOWS! I’m a snow lover!
  7. Do you learn best through doing, listening or seeing? Why do you think that is? I am a very visual person. I have to see something first and then do it myself. I hardly ever listen. I’m sorry, this sounds like the problem of a four year old, but unless I put my hands on it, look at it, I won’t learn it. I’m usually self taught in things. I’ve self taught myself to be a Chef, to write, to do anything to the extreme: like paranormal investigation. I also taught myself how to build websites and do HTML coding. Too bad I’m using the free version of WordPress or I could have a hay day 🙂
  8. Who is the most important person in your life? What makes them so special? I cannot pick one of my children from the other – so let’s say they’re all three top notch – but as a single person, my husband is most important. My husband brings me so much joy. He has taught me that after divorce – when I felt I failed at everything – that true love exists still, that I can feel it so immensely like I could never have imagined. He forgives me, he’s patient, he’s kind, he holds my hand in my deepest moments of physical and mental illness. He never hesitates to make me feel beautiful – which is difficult for a person with body image and inner beauty image issues. He is my rock, my other half, one of the biggest reasons I’m able to overcome so much. I love him more than anything.
  9. What’s your idea of a great night? Short and simple: my husband in my arms, watching Ghost Adventures (my favorite show) on the big TV screen, with a glass of wine, and some great home made street tacos. Nothing beats it – unless you count blogging and live tweeting American Idol. It’s a close second!
  10. How would you describe yourself in ten words? Passionate, kind, spiritual, poetic, genuine, eccentric, prolific, forgiving, soulful, inspiring.

Now that I’ve answered the questions – here are the 10 blogs I nominate for the award:

At Home in New Hampshire:  She uses amazing imagery and writing. I love her quotes, and I also love how she uses her blog for so many different reasons that I find informative and inspiring.

The Convoluted Menagerie:  It’s just what it speaks: so many different thoughts in one place. I’m shocked he has under 200 followers – his thoughts and stories are mind blowing.

Schizo Incognito: His depictions of life events are unbelievable – and I really related to him. He has worked really hard on getting his blog together – and it’s amazing. He is very personable – and speaks from the heart.

Misadventures: Daring Escape: Just go read. I really get a kick out of this blog! It’s awesome!

Orthodox Mom: brilliant writing, amazing ideas, fascinating outlook.

Life A Better Life: because it is just what it says – hope, inspiration, and motivation.

Aiming for Simplicity: such intricate writing, graphics, everything comes together. Mega like!

Lisa’s Kansa Muse: Fairly certain she’s already nominated – but this blog is insanely amazing – and so well put together. Kudos! You are inspiring!

Sebastien Grobelny Photography: Brilliance in words and pictures – and read The Dark Knight Batman daily prompt, that was awesome!

A Journal of Impossible Things: interesting musings, and I love the takes on inspiration – it goes in the direction of my own blog and I draw inspiration from it.

Now come my 10 questions I would love for these nominees to answer:

1. If one movie could describe your life – what is it? What are the elements of this movie that remind you of yourself?

2. What are your biggest pet peeves and how do you react when faced with them?

3. What is your favorite day of the year and why? What do you do on that day that makes it special?

4. What is your biggest dream you are still striving for?

5. If you could travel back in time – what era would you want to live in or experience? Why?

6. Who is it that inspires you the most – famous, or close, anybody – and what is your message for them?

7. What would you do if you came face to face with a person you’ve always wanted to meet – living or passed? Who is that person and what would you say?

8. Describe your motivations in blogging and how they have changed – if at all.

9. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? What makes you so?

10. What’s your favorite weather condition?

Once again, thank you os much to IDS for nominating me. I will be informing the above bloggers very soon – but I’m late for a date at one dollar taco night at the local mexican restaurant. After I’ve stuffed my face and enjoyed some time alone in the restroom for a few hours regretting it, I will certainly let everyone know.

I am so honored. Thank you again – and even if I do not end up “winning” or “getting” this award – you have no idea what it means to be thought of at all. I feel very emotional , motivated, and happy!

I Remember You (On being 16)



I remember that bright sunny day. November 17, 1995. I woke up to the sound of my blaring alarm – time for school

It was different, however, as that day –  I turned 16.

After getting some balloons from friends at school – eating a great slice of greasy pizza for lunch in the lunchroom surrounded by my normal group of lovelies that helped me celebrate in between Algebra and Keyboarding – I made my way home. I was 16. It kept resounding in my head. I had been waiting. I remembered watching the Olympics when I was 12 and thinking “next time I watch this, I’ll be 16”. I felt on top of the world – older. I felt the gateway to adulthood closer than ever and I smiled the entire day. This in itself was quite unusual – I hardly ever smiled then.

I usually was scared to go to school. I would wake up at 4 AM to get myself to look “decent or pretty” by slapping on the foundation and my badly placed clumpy mascara. I was afraid to face the bullies – whom never decided to accidentally catch the flu or puke during 2nd period so I could have a day of peace. They were always there.

It was a happy day. I remember it clearly. A friend of mine drove me up to my mother’s office where I finally made a dream come true that I had been waiting for – I grabbed the keys to her car. I drove the car home. I drove it around the block. I rolled down the window and blasted obscene rap songs (I’m sorry if you’re reading this, mom, yes I was cursing behind the wheel of the minivan – and proudly).

Today I am 34. It amazes me how clearly the memories resound from younger times. I look back now on this – and to be honest, when I was younger, I wanted so bad to grow up – to be on my own, to forget the bullies and the bad hair and to gain responsibility. Moving to college and getting job seemed so great at that point in time.

I wish now, after many years of problems with depression, anxiety, body image, after 2 college degrees,  a divorce, 3 children, and many medical bills from recent illnesses – that I had enjoyed that time a bit more. I do remember you. I speak there to my 16 year old self. I remember you – that scared little girl wanting so bad to be a woman so the world would simply go away and I could make my way into my own place without worrying about the judgements of others. I used to smack myself in the face repeatedly over acne – thinking it would go away if I just closed my eyes for ten seconds. I would open them – disappointed.

Now an adult, I wish I could go back and tell myself what was coming. I wish I had taken my mindset that day and instilled it into every single day of my life. I  learn new lessons everyday. When I was 16 I had body image issues but I did not have the panic disorder and the depression. I had not yet overcome an addiction nor did I think I would ever fall into that trap.

I wish I could go back to that day, turning 16, and tell myself – “girl, you think you’re strong now? Wait until you see the strength you have later…”

I built up personal strength over the years – it did not just happen in seconds, or in a day. This is years of therapy and support from others that I’ve been able to fight these battles and come out winning. I have come so far. I have been through so many things in the 18 years that have passed.

Sidebar: Those born on my 16th birthday are now adults. 

I always tell myself daily that I take the biggest of imperfections and turn them into empowering lessons in human spirit. I even did it back then – when I was at the youngest of minds, when I had yet to discover what the world had in store for me. The paths I have walked down through adulthood have presented me with elements that, at the age of 16, I could never have dreamed of braving.

I will never forget that happy day. It was sweet. I didn’t have a party, or have a huge grand entrance and a car waiting for me outside of the red carpet. I smiled. I enjoyed it. I ate cake and a few slices of pizza and soggy french fries. It was one of the most awesome days of my life – and it’s hard for me to dig deep and find any at all that were truly as great as that.

And as I sit here and write this I realize I have the power inside of me to take my bravery and courage and instill it in each of my daily activities – to make these days just as great as they were then.

Things change. People change. Life changes.

But I still remember you – because you are still me. Your soul has never once left you, it has only grown.

And for my 35th birthday and every birthday on – I’ll look back as I blow out the candles, shove cake into the faces of my 3 babies and watch them laugh, and perhaps go grab a massage or a good steak dinner – and know that with the same hope and faith I had then that kept me going – I clearly still have it now. I have even more than I give myself credit for or care to notice in immense moments of depression when I cry…and…cry…and cry…

I can never forget that I am a hopeful and faithful person. I always remember you – you have always been me despite age in numbers. 

Don’t ever give up.


Suffering and Honesty: Blogging for Mental Health in 2014



From Canvas of the Mind:

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”  

The note above is brought to you by the Blog for Mental Health 2014 project by Canvas of The Mind (linked above).

For all of my dedicated readers, those who come and go, and for all of my wonderful Twitter followers and Facebook friends (I do NOT have a public Facebook group, my Facebook is private) – you all know my blog was started at the beginning of January 2014 to chronicle my journey and dealings with my own mental health. I chose to speak up about life with Panic Disorder, Depression, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Addiction.

My blog continues today to show you my experiences. I speak with transparency. I hold nothing back. Those who know me or come to know me often wander here to get a heads up on how I’m doing or to read my inspirational words and quotes. Some appreciate my sarcastic humor when it comes to living with Panic Disorder while having three children. Others have been overcome with appreciation for my sharing of my recent pathway to freedom from addiction.

I pledge to the above and will be highly active in this project this year and every year. The intentions of my blog will not change – although you may see some different types of postings depending upon how I’m feeling or what I’m inspired by, it will always be related to helping others understand how mental health works and I will always be open to giving a shoulder or support for others in need. While I am not a doctor and do not provide medical advice – I am always an open ear, and sometimes people find that slightly more useful.

No I’m kidding. I was just giving myself props.

Welcome to my blog and again, to this project that I plan on being very passionate about. If you have already seen my previous posts you will see I already was in the first place – and I am very excited to take part in this.

Peace, love, and welcome to my crazy world.

Shoulder Space Available: Inquire Here


Clearly if you have navigated to my blog you will come to realize within, likely, seconds – these thoughts are new.

My bare sidebar, less than 20 posts, 49 followers…. (I even put a new arrival sign for wandering eyes to better understand that I am still gathering my thoughts, intentions, and design).

The header I made is a graphic from a banner making website: it was free.

I show no talents in graphic creativity. I chose to utilize the free version of WordPress (oh, but how I want to upgrade my space so I can get a music player for my side bar) …

Yet, if you have ventured into the depths of each of the posts, the vast majority of them are long winded thoughts, musings, stories, random tidbits of my brain that have come flying out through my typing fingers. I’ve learned to use blogging as an outlet – and yes, deep inside, I hope I reach out and touch somebody (this blog is in no way associated with AT&T or MCI) – that my messages will resound, and be inspiring.

Interestingly enough, I saw a blog on Freshly Pressed yesterday about  the 8 Reasons Why (the writer) would not be friends with you on Facebook in 2014. I completely and totally failed number 6 – guilty (“sorry, not sorry”) – I bluntly apply my struggles to social networking (no, not my divorce, as a matter of fact, no one knew I got divorced until a year after it happened when I kept getting inquired about my ex-husband, so I eventually spilled the beans).

My rantings were with regards to overcoming a dependence on pain medication, the withdrawals. I was not ashamed to post it – and the comfort (and the GO GET HELP, DO NOT TRY THIS ALONE) posts – I am so grateful for.

(Sidebar: Number of people who defriended me over it out of 500: ONE.)

I do what I do  because I know that deep in the pits of the person, or two, or ten, that has come to visit The Overcoming – and even those that saw my Facebook posts, they have come for a visit because they have read my header: I aim to inspire, and I am completely, utterly, FANTASTICALLY, honest. I hold nothing back. I choose to announce my struggles via Facebook (defriend me, I do not care. If you do, you are obviously not someone I wanted to be friends with in the first place if you can’t stand to set your eyes on the fact that some people have to struggle negatively and reach out for help. I said this in my article previously on being Uniquely Strange) . I also choose to chronicle my daily dealings as a mother who lives with anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, self-esteem problems, and the “how-to” of remaining completely drug-free while raising my children, being a wife, staying a friend, and keeping calm.

I am an accepting person. My shoulder is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week (or in recent terms “24/7”) – if someone wants to talk, vent, yell, cry – I will not judge that person.  I will not underestimate that person. I certainly would never condescend to that person – because I am so open-minded as to understand – everybody hurts (props to REM for a GREAT song! If I only had my darn music player I would add it … )

I know that if there was one person who came to read my blogs: it’s the open-minded, inspiration seeking, understanding, individual looking for motivational words, a trip into how a blogger can creatively turn an uphill battle into just what my header says: an inspiring intent.

Odds are, it’s the person that wants so badly to come out and express themselves, a truth they want to get into the open, that they are struggling: but because of the nature of privacy and social media, taboo subjects, not knowing how people react: they become afraid. My aim is to discourage ever keeping secrets – to fully embrace whatever it is you are conquering, and to let people watch and learn from you: to be able to inspire takes a very strong human willingness to be HONEST.

In the week and a day I’ve been blogging, I’ve already garnered so much support, likes, follows, e-mails, comments – of those that I believe I have touched in a positive way. I also got Blogger of the Week on Dancing with Fireflies (insert happy dance here). I do this for those that I know are coming to read – if there’s one specific person, I believe it’s the motivated one who is looking for another shoulder space on loan (they do not sell supportive shoulders at Walmart) – and someone to relate to that is not afraid to muster up all of her emotional energy and put it out for public eyes to read (again, I digress, they do not sell transparent honesty at Walmart, nor is it ever on sale for half price “in bulk” at your local Cotsco).

(Sidebar: it’s free on my blog)

That person is me, that blog is mine, and to that reader: I want you to know you are never alone, no matter the battles you face. I want you to understand you can always be yourself, to never give up hope, and to always reach out for support when you feel it’s necessary – you will find gratitude, patience, and dedication waiting for you on my welcome mat.

We’re always open at The Overcoming.

And yes, we serve pie.