I have some new readers, so I thought I’d reintroduce myself. It’s been more than five years since I started blogging. Things have changed since I started and who’ll probably change a little bit more by the time this goes from the keyboard to publication.

This is me on a solo moving trip during a stop in Virginia. One of my blog posts talks about the trip and how I just had to let stuff go.

I am a Mountain Mama. I was born in the North but raised in the South. My kids were born in the mountains and that’s where I became a mom. I hold the rituals and ways of the Appalachian moms before me — being resourceful with what you have, teaching kids to be kind and hard workers, and being a mamma bear when you need to be — close to my heart.

To be honest, being a mom didn’t come naturally to me. I still struggle with life before kids and life as it is now. I’d love to run away to the hills every once in a while. But I wouldn’t trade this life with my crazy and insightful Mountain Kids for anything.

If you go into my posts, I’m sure you can find some questionable things. I spent about the first 10 years of my parenting life as an angry mom. Fueled by a lack of sleep, weight issues and a need for perfection and acceptance, nothing seemed to go right. A lot of that stemmed from the fact that I needed help, someone to help mellow me out and tell me what to do, but due to finances (too poor to afford care but too rich to get government assistance) and life circumstances, I didn’t get the help I needed until I took the steps to make it happen.

I started exercising for my first race since high school. It was 2012, and my grandfather died the pervious fall. Seeing him lying in bed, a shadow of himself, made me want to be better. I always wanted to to be better because deep down I knew I sucked as a parent — but this time, I did more than just sit and wish for it to happen. I’d do something about it.

I started reading and putting what I learned into practice. I looked at my resources and used them to my advantage. I started running. My youngest son went on many stroller runs with me and was my workout buddy. My speedy daughter paced me (she outpaced me most of the time) races.

I adapted more of an Appalachian mindset — to work hard and use what you have available. In the process, I left a job I had been in for a long time for one with less pay, but a chance to see my kids at night. I also got a lot more sleep.

Mountain Kid 1 and I during a Team RWB ever, Eagle Charge:

During this time, I joined Team Red, White and Blue. The organization helped me by reconnecting me to adult life. I wasn’t the only person lamenting school tests and struggling to be a good parent, wife, coworker, etc. It was a blend of civilians and veterans that reminded me a bit of my family — as my siblings were serving at the time. It was nerve whacking yet joyful at the same time because as an introvert I was doing something I wanted to do but had always been too scared to do — lead.

The welcome party at my first — and only so far — GORUCK event.

In 2016, I completed my first GORUCK event. It changed my life just as running had in 2012. My father and great-uncle-in-law — both veterans — died earlier that year. Being under the watchful eyes of the cadres and the shadows at the GORUCK event transformed my thoughts about who I am, what I do and why I do it.

The events of that year also forced me to confront many things from my past that I thought I had forgotten but still leave me raw and in tears.

I live about an hour from this view now.

In 2017, we left the mountains of West Virginia for home, North Carolina. I am still struggling with the aftermath of that move, but I’m still moving forward.

This blog is a chronicle of my family’s adventures, the good and bad, and mine in particular.

My original goal was to help people like me — living paycheck to paycheck but trying to pull yourself above it. This blog was supposed to be a place of insightful tips on healthy and inexpensive foods, exercises you can do anywhere, etc. It’s still about that, but it’s also a chance to unravel my brain.

There are times when I’m still that angry mom. But I’ve learned how to temper that anger with compassion. Exercise and eating healthier has helped me do that. Owning my own mistakes, worries and fears has helped me. I hope that by sharing my world, you’ll have the courage to take your next step forward — whatever that may be — to the person you hope to truly become.

Life is too precious to just exist and trudge through your routine. Get out there and adventure — do something new or try to see old things in a new way. You won’t be disappointed.