If Mama Ain’t Happy…

By | About Organic Mama, Honest Mothering, Live NOW, Local Phoenix, Uncategorized | 3 Comments


You know those times when you know what you SHOULD be doing for yourself but you don’t do it?

Things like – going to bed at a reasonable hour so you can get enough sleep even if your kids wake throughout the night (which they always do!)? Or taking the time to sit down and rest when you’re tired? Or taking the time to make and eat nourishing food for yourself (especially when you’ve already fed the kids)? Or taking the herbs you need to strengthen your body at the beginning of a nasty cold instead of taking care of everyone else and running yourself ragged?

Well, the above is pretty much where I’ve lived for the past month.
Yep. I have not been taking my own advice to rest, eat and nourish my body and spirit into good health.

In my own defense, it’s been a crazy month. First, we made a pivotal decision about taking our house off the market. Then we jumped on the year end roller coaster of gigs, weddings, trips and a visit to Disneyland, which I discovered is actually super fun when you’re not pregnant as I have been the last three times.

Meanwhile, I caught a fast and horrible stomach bug with my kids, followed immediately by a secondary respiratory infection which has morphed into a kickin’ sinus infection.

So, I have been cut off from most of the world for weeks as I’ve nursed the kids and me.

In between, I went to church only to serve in the nursery with MORE little kids (don’t worry, only on the healthy weeks). It’s been a long, lonely month. Robert’s been around but he’s working extra hard on work projects and extra gigs so he’s maxed out too.

And as I look back at the last few years, I realize that a lot of motherhood is like this. Things might go smoothly for a while but pregnancy, recovering from birth, nursing & caring for said small child and his or her siblings along with normal life stuff, this is pretty much motherhood for most of the women I know. Crazy with a little bit of calm.

And like a lot of moms I know, I’m in that weird place moms of young children often are.

Before I say this – PLEASE HEAR ME.

I am only sharing my heart. I am NOT judging anyone’s choices or saying what YOU need to do. This is a place for support and encouragement, not condemnation. ‘Kay?

That said, I choose to stay home with my kids because I want to be home with them. I want to see all their little first moments. I want to see the world with them for the first time. I want to help them understand how Robert and I view God and other people and our response to all that we see. I want to be available for them as they’re figuring out life.

However, being home with my beautiful, funny, incredible kids – who I adore – has in some ways been the most mentally, physically and emotionally challenging experience of my life.

Please hear my heart in this. I LOVE my kids. I love the gift of being home with them.

But some of the harder parts of being at home are things that I should expect the third time around – or maybe be better at fielding but I still find them so hard.

A lot of Stay at home mothering = loneliness.
No one tells you about this! Our schedule is fairly limited. Small children do better with a predictable routine and a nap. For us, that only happens at home. It’s not that you’re not surrounded by people. They are precious. But the emotional and physical demands of small children without any adult interaction can be SO LONELY. Plus, I stink at the phone. It’s just not practical when you’re watching small children (believe me, I’ve tried!). Playdates are awesome but one cannot playdate every day. And usually, the best playdates are more about saving a toddler from his own ambitious climbing than it is about visiting with his friend’s mom. Ok, pretty much always.

Staying at home often means mom gets no quiet time. I don’t have daytime babysitting time so I take my free time in late night when the house is quiet and I can hear my own thoughts. Sometimes I write. Sometimes I clean or put away the laundry while watching a movie. (I know – such a party girl!) Mainly, I’m trying to find some “me” time at the wrong time of day. Then, I get worn down and a little crazytown and soon I’m not thinking straight about taking care of me. It occurred to me lately that this might be why my grandmother (mother to many) took forever to eat. It was probably one of the only moments in her day she sat down.

Staying at home on a single income = super frugality.
Like a lot of families, we’re living on one income so we budget carefully. But a lot of times that means when there is a decision to make between groceries and something I need (like clothes, makeup, a night out), I choose groceries (duh).

I’M NOT COMPLAINING!!!! I chose this. I know it. But I am sharing it because I know a lot of you mamas are in the same boat and it’s hard. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing the right thing but your friends stop calling because you can never afford to go out. It’s hard to know you look unfashionable and have people make comments (Yes. They DO!) about your wardrobe. It’s hard to get a rare invitation out and know you can’t go because you don’t have appropriate clothes. (Obviously this is a sore spot with me. Gulp).

Sometimes it just seems all wonky. The sacrifices seem overwhelming. The pace is breakneck. The house is a mess even though I work hard to keep it nice and teach the kids to help. I don’t have free time and Rob is at his limit. I can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m pretty sure I suck at this whole staying at home thing. If I could just parent and not deal with the rest, I’d probably feel like a rockstar mom.

But I don’t, so I question my whole existence and why I am even doing this.

The inner dialogue starts.

Crazy Monna: “I can’t do this anymore! When will there be time and money for me to do something I love? I’m going to be doing laundry, changing diapers, enforcing homework and piano practice and cleanup till I’m too old to have a career (and I’m not even that good at it!). Then I’ll die and what will I have to show for it? AH!!”

(Drama? Hey, it’s my blog).

Rational Monna: “Ok. Just take a deep breath. Look at those sweet faces. Think of how many parents can’t stay home with their kids out of necessity. You love them. They love you. They are definitely benefitting from your being home.”

Crazy Monna: “Are they? Or will they just remember a wild eyed, frumpily clothed, scattered woman who clearly didn’t know what the heck she was doing? How much therapy are they going to need because I’m their mom? I don’t want them to be ashamed of me. What kind of an example am I to them? I don’t know how to fit more into my day. I am just.so.tired running after the small ones.”

Rational Monna: “LOL. We ALL need therapy because of our parents. After all, we are ALL just figuring out life and we’re doing it WITH our partners and our kids. You are doing great. You just need some sleep.”

In short, I stay home by choice for the sake of my kids and our budget but sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind because of it.

Yet somehow I talk myself off a ledge, usually with a call or two to my kind hearted husband thrown in, but I’m still not entirely settled in my heart about how I spend my time.

Because I really AM spending all my time taking care of other people and not taking care of me.

Since I’ve started having babies, I’ve consistently put myself last despite knowing I need more.

When I don’t take care of me, besides getting sick, I retreat inside myself and it’s hard for me to respond to other people, particularly the physically and emotionally demanding needs of my small children.
Not only am I not a good mom, partner or friend when I’m like this, I’m not enjoying my life. Since this is the only life I remember having, I want to be present in it. I want to enjoy it.

I know I have the ability to make a meaningful difference in my circle of influence and I don’t want to miss it. But at the same time, I am not superwoman. There are only so many hours in the day. I’m not out to prove that I can do everything AND still be a good mom. I simply want to be the fullest version of who I was created to be and in doing so, I know I’ll be a better mom.

Maybe I just need to be more organized. Maybe I just need to ride out this phase of exhaustion and small child growth.

BUT I really can’t wait for everything to line up perfectly to make some healthy changes for me. I have to take care of me for me and I need to do it for my kids.

My kids need to see me enjoying life right now – with them, not at at their expense.


I need quiet time.
Not just away from my kids but away from EVERYONE!!! A brief walk in the morning isn’t cutting it though it helps.

I need interaction with adults who are not chasing small children as well
(though I LOVE the friends who have time for me despite their being in the same boat!).

I need to pursue those things about which I am passionate – BESIDES my children.
God gave me those passions and gifts and I don’t believe that I need to put them on hold indefinitely to be a good mom. I just haven’t been able to figure out how to do them all well to the degree I wish to pursue them.

And so, friends, I am telling you the truth.

This is not a “Here’s how you live a life of fulfillment” post, unless you’d like a Bernstein Bears version (As a perfectionist I always hated those books! Boy, have I had my comeuppance. Heh, heh).

This is me – being honest about where I am and making some commitments to me.

1. I am taking better care of me – sleep, eating, drinking water.
(Embarrassing that this is so hard when you have small children but it is!) I’ve already been sleeping a lot more, taking a page from my friend Chelley’s play book. She’s gone to bed around 7:30 pm since I met her years ago and she always looks beautiful and rested. Chelley, I want to be you when I grow up – even though we’re the same age.

2. I will find some more hours to connect with the adults in my life sans kids.
Our youngest wakes at 5 so Rob and I are getting up to hang out a little then instead of just plunging into our day. I’m also going to spend some more time out with girlfriends (or in with girlfriends) without kids.

3. I’m going to make more of an effort to do the things I love – even if it’s just a few hours a week.
Hiking, writing, reading, singing… Whatever. I’m going to do it even though it’s not what I’d be able to do if I could really throw myself into it. Quite frankly, I don’t have the energy to go to law school right or be a full time writer. But, a little is better than nothing. To his credit, Rob has been saying this for years but it’s hard for me to do things halfway.

4. I’m going to work harder at dressing up in the morning – FOR ME.
I intend to wear clothes I LIKE even if they’re likely to get dirty caring for my kids and cleaning my house. I want to feel good about how I look and I want my kids to know it’s good to decorate the beautiful body we’re each blessed to possess. If this means we eat beans more often so I can afford it, SO BE IT. “If mama ain’t happy…”

I don’t have a number five right now. I realize lists of 3 or 5 look a lot cooler. But right now, this is all I’ve got, man. So there.

(Besides my ever-loving husband Robert, I want to give a shout out to my Mother-in-law here. Without her, I would truly lose my mind. Poor woman gets to spend more time with my sleep addled brain than most and she is amazingly patient. God loves her and so do I.)

How are you doing this fall? Are you barely holding it together or feeling like a champ?

Share where you are right now in the comments so we can cheer for you either way. Let’s encourage each other!

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We’ve Found the Perfect Home for Us. Ours.

By | Live NOW, Local Phoenix, Money, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

moving - entryMost of you know we’ve had our house on the market for a while now. The first weekend, we had 8 showings and within three days, a contract! Then the contract fell through due to  the buyer’s financing. After that, we had plenty of interest and even offers but but no sale.

While putting a house on the market and not selling could be incredibly frustrating, Robert and I actually feel good about it. The experience has required us to take a close look at our income, our expenses and our goals for the future, including retirement and planning for our kids’ educations. We needed this!

Throughout the last few months, I’ve struggled with the idea of leaving our home.

Despite its small size and the things that have irritated me about it over the years, I love my little house. I love my neighbors and I love this part of town. I kept hearing this little voice in my head suggesting that we might not be “done” here yet.

And honestly, the homes in our price range were pretty dismal. Most would require a major investment of time and money just to make them livable. We’d be moving from a very beautiful, comfortable home into a place that would require more energy and money than we really have to spend in this stage of our life with young children.

We considered our options. Everyone kept encouraging us to keep going forward. And several people constantly encouraged us to spend more than we should so that we could have a bigger home in a “better” neighborhood, but –

The idea of buying more than we can afford goes against our value to live within or under our means and plan for the future.

To some degree, we follow the wisdom offered by financial advisor Dave Ramsey to save, buy when you can afford to buy and strive to be debt free. He offers a great plan for getting out of debt and on the road to financial stability (as much as that is predictable).

We don’t agree with Dave that a person should only buy a home when they can put down 20% to avoid PMI. This seems unrealistic for most people – depending on where they live. On the one hand, it makes a lot of sense to avoid the PMI of a loan for which you’d not put down 20% – especially because due to the loan shenanigans of the last several years, PMI is now permanent on some loans.

On the other, if you can buy a home that’s below market value it’s possible that it might appreciate enough in a few years to sell and put down 20% on a home of similar value. However, because the housing market is not exactly predictable, every buyer has to make this decision knowing that a home might not go up in value or at least not as much as they’re hoping it will. Plus, it requires some serious discipline and humility not to think you have to “move up” to something bigger and better.

We agree with Dave Ramsey that –

It’s not wise to commit to a mortgage when one can’t pay the upkeep or make necessary improvements without taking on extra debt.

The cost of upkeep is something buyers often overlook when considering the purchase of a home.

Upkeep can include anything from general plumbing, roof or electrical repairs to paint, landscape (trimming trees) and replacing major items like air conditioners, appliances or water heaters. One way to plan for this is 1% rule, which suggests estimating upkeep at an average of 1% of a home’s value into annual upkeep over the life of ownership. That would mean that on a $180,000 home, a buyer should expect they might spend $1800/year or $150/month. When considering a mortgage, PMI, insurance and property taxes, the extra $150/month is a significant additional expense. You can read articles about this on MSN money, Budgeting.about.com and the National Association of Builders.

Because of the major expense of annual upkeep, I agree with Ramsey that it’s ok to rent if owning a home would put a strain on monthly cash flow and not allow for savings.

But I also have a slightly different outlook from Ramsey, thanks in part to my husband’s “live now” attitude and my own life experiences.

While I believe in saving, being wise and planning for the future, I also know that life is unpredictable, short than we expect and should be enjoyed now.

We are learning to plan fun into our budget now instead of waiting for the future. We haven’t always done this, falling into the category of being so frugal I didn’t buy clothes for myself, makeup or get my hair cut. Rob and I also never went out alone just for fun. A wise friend said to us, “It’s great that you two plan and save so carefully. But what are you working toward? You need to enjoy your life now.” Wise words.

So, I don’t agree with Ramsey that paying $3 for a cup of coffee is a waste. I’m not paying $3 for coffee, I’m paying to spend time in a space I like, with people I enjoy and get a little breathing space away from the kids. In my book, that’s a well-spent $3!

Life is meant to be enjoyed and as long as I don’t have to go into debt to buy $3 cups of coffee, I’m going to budget for them.

That said, we needed to make a decision about our house after being on the market since April. Here were our 3 options:

1. Significantly drop our listing price, which would leave us short a good down payment or reserve cash. Although we wouldn’t make much on a house we’ve spent significant money upgrading, we’d still be free of the responsibilities of home ownership for a while. Also, we could probably rent somewhere inexpensive and save money we’d normally spend on upkeep.

We don’t mind the idea of renting but truthfully, our mortgage is so low now, we can live at our current home for less than renting a two bedroom apartment elsewhere. That includes upkeep.

2. Buy another home and rent our townhouse to someone else.  EXCEPT – we can’t afford to carry two mortgages PLUS upkeep on one income. We don’t have the reserves to go without a renter and it’s likely at some point we would lose the rental house.

3. Take our home off the market, refinance it (due to market fluctuations, we have been unable to do this until now) and sit tight a little longer.

And for now –

We’ve decided to go with option three and stay in our current home.

We spoke with trusted, wise friends who, respecting our values, goals and situation, offered us their thoughts. We’ve decided to refinance and put the little extra monthly into savings and upkeep on the house.

And the experience clarified my current thoughts on home ownership, which have changed significantly over the years. Here they are.

A house is not an investment.
A house may or may not go up significantly in value. While over time, houses tend to go up in value, the timing is not predictable. If the crazy housing market of the last few years hasn’t taught us that, we’ve not been paying attention.

A house is a place to live.
Choosing a mortgage that fits well within our means is a way of ensuring (at least to the best of our ability) that we’ll have stable housing expenses and a place to live in the future.

So, here’s where we are.

We get to stay in a house that is familiar, in our favorite neighborhood, with neighbors we love.
It might be small but we can make it work. After all, many people in the world would consider our home a mansion.

For those of you who prayed for us and encouraged us, thank you.
We felt it and know it contributed to our decision. We feel good about where we are!

We’d love it if you’d share your experience and wisdom in choosing a home, purchase or rental!

And as always, if you liked this – share it.

Read: Keeping Your Cool in a Hot Seller’s Market.

Read: How Knowing Your Family Values Will Help You Rock Your Life.




“Fat Mama” – Fat Is Not A Dirty Word

By | Honest Mothering, Live NOW, Local Phoenix, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Do you have some baggage associated with the word Fat? Let me help you shed it. Or, you can just watch to see if I fall down the stairs while filming.

You don’t have to be fat to need a new perspective. Check out the guest post by my friend Cassandra. Skinny is the New Black.

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Skinny Is the New Black

By | Local Phoenix, Natural Health, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Today’s post is by Cassandra, another incredible woman who happens to be a long time friend. (How did I get so lucky to know all these amazing women?) We got to talking online one night about body image and – this is the result. I had no idea this was Cassandra private journey. Her words are raw and powerful. Chances are, someone in your life is fighting the same battle and needs to hear this story from someone who is learning to see herself for the beauty she is, from the inside out. Meet my friend, Cassie.

Cassie - skinny is the new black

5 foot 7, 115 pounds.

Soaking wet. These are Numbers that I would have at one point sold my soul to the devil for. (At least the Devil Who Wears Prada.)

I was never the “skinny girl” growing up. But I never EVER felt like the “fat girl” either…

I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and I wore a size 12. Let’s be honest, I bought 10’s that I had to lay on the floor to zip up. And, I was happy. No one ever mentioned my weight or criticized how I looked, I was just me. And it was amazing.

Then one day I went with my best friend to one of those “cattle call” modeling seminars…

You know the ones? Where they’re just trying to get you to pay 1500$ for pictures and teach you how to not trip on a catwalk. My friend looked like a Giselle. Tall, slender, blonde, high cheekbones…perfect fit for a runway model.

And – surprise, surprise. My friend made it through the first round as I sat outside on a curb waiting for the seminar to be finished and her mom to come pick us up. What a crazy feeling to look back 15 years later and realize how such a seemingly small event would create ripples and tidal waves of doubt and image issues that would echo to this day.

I remember the first time I made myself throw up.

I chose a salad With Italian dressing. A salad??? Total amateur move. It digests before you can even hiccup! I didn’t know any better. I didn’t even realize the toilet was a much more appropriate place to do that than in the shower. But from that day on, there was a voice in me that said “you’re not good enough. And you never will be.”

And so it began. All through high school it’d be a constant battle between “I love food SO much” eating an entire bread bag of donuts in 2 days and “just looking at food makes me disgusted”….even through my college years I got bigger-not smaller—using food as a comfort blanket, never connecting it with deeply rooted insecurity…

Let’s add more fuel to the fire and fast forward to my move to Nashville.

My first job was an omelet chef –yes, we do exist— working for a catering company (surrounded by food oddly enough).

One night I’m all dressed in my little catering tuxedo to work at a fashion show benefit, when someone starts freaking out saying one of the models didn’t show up.

Next thing I know someone grabs my hand, says “put this on and don’t fall”, and I’m shaking down the catwalk in a skin tight couture gown.

Pandora’s box opened, and within the year I had landed work in fashion shows, print, commercials, music videos, and film…but with every audition and booking, my insecurities grew tenfold. All the girls around me were 6 inches taller, 20 lbs thinner, and 5 years younger.

Modeling turned my growing fascination with size into a full blown obsession.

I kept extremely detailed Food diaries including the time of day, brand, even counting out the exact serving sizes, then putting back 2 or 3 pieces to know I was eating less calories than what the package said. I weighed myself every time I went into the bathroom, wearing plastic “sweatsuits” at the gym IN the sauna. I soaked cotton balls in oil and swallowed them to stay “full”. I punched smaller holes in my belts and wore them as tight as I could under my shirts to squish my stomach and make it hurt so I wouldn’t want to eat. I became a “pro” at sliding forks and straws up my sleeve at restaurants so I could purge within 5 minutes of consumption.

Sounds so glamorous, right? Lol

All that to say – It had consumed me. Nothing was ever good enough.

I had become so impatient with “imperfection” that I felt like no one else was living up to their potential. 

I tore apart any small career successes I had and was generally an unpredictable, angry, hot mess.

But I “looked great”…I wore a size 2, I was tan with long blonde hair, booking international campaigns, and I didn’t have to be an omelet chef anymore. Yet I was miserable and those closest around me knew it. The saddest part about being a “smart” person with an eating disorder is that you can fool even the person you live with. My friends just thought I was super stressed with school and working 2 jobs and modeling until it got to the point where people started wondering if I was on drugs.

And this sounds really backwards, but I was so far into that hole that all their “concern” would have done was justify my isolation and convince me that no one had a clue what they were talking about.

My breaking point? I was having so many stomach issues I ended up in the hospital to have a bunch of tests run. 

I had burned not only my stomach lining but also my esophagus and vocal chords from the stomach acids I was overproducing to make up for all the acid that I expelled with each meal. I had ulcers, acid reflux, a raspy voice, the enamel on the insides of my teeth were eaten away, and the blood vessels in my eyes broke from the pressure of puking.

It’s so strange typing this all out for the first time, but I know there are so many people out there who struggle too so I want to be specific.

I think if I could talk to that version of me now, I wouldn’t know what to say. 

It’s such a consuming process that feeds off of becoming a lone wolf and thinking that you alone can tend to your wounds. That no one could ever really get it because its so “commercialized” now and “everyone goes to rehab”… You don’t want people to feel sorry for you and look at you differently because you’ve had an “E.D.” (Eating disorder) label branded into your forehead. Or freak out every time you’re just straight up not hungry.

The ED underworld has a term called “ProAna” (like a proponent of anorexia). It’s a community of people who bond together by seeing the beauty in “thin”. “Ana” becomes a character that is your friend. She talks to you and tells you how good it feels to be hungry. How beautiful your collar bones will look if you stop eating anything with salt, or take laxatives to flush out the puffiness. She is the Devil Who wears Prada. And to someone living in the E.D. World, she is the most beautiful thing that has walked the earth.

Pretty much this world is hell on earth, yet feels like heaven when you hear things like “you’re too skinny” and “wow, have you been working out?”.

Let me pull us out of all these specifics and get to the point:

Why am I dragging out these skeletons???

To feel sorry for myself? To get pity and confirmation from others?

I had to stop here for a minute and truly think of my motive.

I’ve realized if I’d had someone in my life willing to be blunt and honest about their own struggle with this, it would’ve given me a better perspective.

I may have been TOO detailed and honest for most of you. But my heart is instinctually being uninhibited on the off chance that just one person reading this has swallowed oil soaked cotton balls. Or sat on the steps outside feeling like a failure. Or has a voice inside them telling them they are nothing but a waste.

Truth is, I still stare at the big jar of cotton balls.

And I still find myself moving my scale to certain parts of the uneven bathroom tile so it’ll show me a lower weight. I still judge people in my industry who “let themselves go”. I still own a pair of size 25 jeans that won’t zip up so I can put them on every now and then to torture myself.

But the new chapter I’m in is starting to reveal that it’s not a numbers game. It’s not the 5’7, 115 pounds that will give me peace. And it’s also not eating whatever I want, as much as I want.

It’s about being truly healthy according to your body type.

So maybe someday I will be 115 since my bone structure is labeled “small” and that’s what my grandma weighed. Maybe I won’t.

Maybe I’ll eat the perfect amount of protein and carbs and blah blah blah, and end up heavier than what my mind thinks I should be.

But at the end of the day, when all is said and done and I close my eyes, I just want to go to sleep and dream about my future, without being terrified of waking up and stepping on the scale.

Or obsess over what I can’t eat…because I come from Italian blood and we LOVE our food. Hahah!

While I don’t scarf bags of donuts, eat entire boxes of cereal in one sitting or go for days with drinking only broth and laxative tea anymore, it’s still a battle to see all of these skeletons gracing the covers of magazines and reading about how Beyonce lost 30lbs for a movie being on the “Lemonade Diet” (and yes, I’ve tried it and it SUCKS! Haha).

Day by day, I’m doing research on how nutrition works and listening to what my body needs.

I’m realizing I feel a BILLION TRILLION times better when I eat LOTS of whole foods instead of processed foods, pair veggies and fruits with high protein intake, and even try recipes involving my arch nemesis: KALE.

I’ve never eaten this much in my life yet my body is responding realllllly well.

Let’s be real, I’m still gonna eat pizza, ice cream, potato chips( all of which I’ve had this past week), but I’m slowly weaning myself off of them so it’s a “special occasion” and not a “cheat night”…

I guess my hope is that someone reading this super long novel–thinking that  “Skinny is the New Black”, will hear these words echo back to them in the mirror…black clothing makes everyone look skinny anyway.

Whether God made you a size 2 or 22, being truly HEALTHY physically and mentally should be our New Black.

Let’s DO this!!!!

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Cassandra is now a full time musician and songwriter in Nashville, TN and is part of the Warner/Atlantic group “The Railers” with her husband and brother-in-law as well as a Staff songwriter for SonyATV. Beginning her southern adventure as an omelet chef and server for a local catering company, it’s been a ten year journey in Nashville that evolved into many detours along the way. Her acting and modeling credits range from runway and print modeling for Women’s Day, Victoria’s Secret, NorthFace and Hannah Montana to videos with Allan Jackson, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum. Her heart found its way back to her first love: music. Between touring and songwriting, she enjoys gardening, journaling, cooking, volunteering at the Humane Society, and working with The Special Olympics.

Watch more: “Fat Mama” Fat, Not a Dirty Word

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