12 Things You Didn’t Know About Neutron Stars

Mondays with Matthew.

One night Matthew was reading his science book at bedtime.   As he read, I got myself ready for bed.  I was brushing my teeth and planning for the next day when he appeared out of nowhere!  “Ah!” a bit of toothpaste may have escaped my mouth.  “Mom!” he said with pure excitement in his eyes, “Did you know neutron stars are so dense it’s like they take 2 super tankers and condense them into the size of a pen point!”  He looked at me expecting me to absorb this information.  I was more in awe of the fact that my kid was so excited about science he literally had to jump out of bed to talk about it.  So, I decided to ask him to teach me a few things about these awesome stars.

Today Matthew is going to teach me about Neutron Stars. (1-11 are from the space book)

  1. If a star goes supernova then it might turn into a neutron star.
  2. Neutron stars have an insane amount of gravity.  Not as much as a black hole, but…  They’re really dense, that’s why they have so much gravity.  They can pack the mass of the sun into the size of Boston.
  3. Neutron stars are about the size of a city.
  4. A pinhead of matter has more than twice the mass of the largest super tanker on Earth.
  5. They rotate as fast as 700 times per second.
  6. The surface temperature is about 1,000,000 degrees Ferenheit.
  7. It DOES have a strong magnetic field.  It can be a quadrillion times more powerful than Earth’s magnetic field.
  8. A neutron star is a solid surface which is a million times stronger than steel and a 1/2 mile thick.
  9. The highest “mountains” on a neutron star are less than .19″ tall.
  10. The average human on a neutron star will weigh about as much as the human population in tons (7 billion tons).
  11. Also, a neutron star’s gravity is so great that an object dropped 3 feet from its surface would accelerate to 4 million mph by the time it landed.
  12. Neutron stars are “strong enough to significantly bend radiation from the star in a process known as gravitational lensing, allowing astronomers to see some of the back side of the star”

After he excitedly told me a couple more facts about neutron stars, he went to bed to continue his reading.  I went to bed to start on my reading when he again came out of nowhere.  “Ah!” my book plopped to the floor.  “Mom! I finished reading about neutron stars and didn’t think it could get any more exciting, but then I turned the page (his hands up for emphasis) and there were 2 pages about black holes (his hands still up for emphasis).  I thought neutron stars were incredible, but black holes basically take everything from neutron stars and magnify it.”

I will forever be in awe of his love of science.

adulting sucks sometimes

I find myself saying “I used to…” more often than I like.

I used to have a photography business.

I used to sew.

I used to paint.

I used to be super angry and suppress all my feelings….. OK, that’s a good one to have in the past.

The rest, though, I miss.  And that’s what I’m hoping to rediscover here.

As a full-time single Mom these past couple years, I was just adjusting to my new life.  I did not have time for myself.  Heck, I haven’t even taken myself to the dentist in 5 years and I only get about 3 haircuts a year.  I know I’m not the only Parent out there (regardless of marriage status) who forgets to take care of themselves because they get so busy taking care of the kids.  So, will you go on this journey of self discovery with me?  Because adulting is super hard, and friends make all journeys more fun.

In this blog, I want to write about my thoughts and experiences in the hopes that it helps someone else out there feel like they’re not alone.  I will bring to life some of my old journal writings as I worked through my divorce.  I will share my mom thoughts.  And I will share my thoughts as I navigate getting married this summer.

Also, let’s me honest, I desperately want out of my cubicle.  I want to have a better schedule so I can take care of my boys.

Though I would love to regain some of the “used tos”, here are some I’m read to release:

I used to be terrified to know what people thought of me.

I used to hide my feelings in a small journal so I didn’t bother other people with them.

I used to let life make choices for me instead of making my own choices.

Now is the time of new decisions, rediscovering passions, and charging into the future.

Thanks so much.




Blog Challenge Day 5-Elevator Pitch

Again, I have taken DAYS to answer the thought-provoking questions from the challenge.  This is a good thing, I think.  The fact that I’m having such a hard time naming my passions really lets me know how far I have strayed from my path.  That’s okay, because that’s what this blog is about.  Finding my way back.

  • What am I excited about?
    • I’m excited to find my purpose.
  • Why am I excited about it?
    • Because I want to live a happy and fulfilled life.  I want to help people.  I want to give my kids a great life.
  • How will it help people? Who does it serve?
    • This will help so many people!  I don’t know who my journey will serve just yet.  My hope is that through this discovery, and throughout my life I can help as many people as possible.  Mostly, honestly, I want to help my kids and other Moms.
  • How does it uniquely tie into my story, passions, talents and/or experience?
    • This is MY journey.  My quest.
  • Why do I care and why should the world care?
    • Because I know I’m not the only 30-something Woman who has found herself in a life different than she wants.  I’m not the only Woman who has gone on a quest of happiness and fulfillment.  And I won’t be the last.

Blog Challenge Day 4-Accomplished

“What accomplishment are you proud of?”

Why is this such a difficult question to answer?  Two things come to mind immediately: 1.) My boys are awesome.  2.) Graduating college as a 32-year-old Single Mom.

These seem nice, but the interesting thing is the negative Chandler-esque self-talk that happens in my head immediately following this list.

1.)   Sure your kids are great, but doesn’t every mom say that?  So cliché.

2.)    OK fine you graduated as a single mom, but you were still living off of your ex-husband’s money.  It’s not like you did anything big.

Why is it that I can’t just be proud of something I’ve done?  Why do I feel like I haven’t really accomplished much?  Why am I always judging myself so harshly?

Do you ever struggle with that mean-girl voice in your head?

This negative self-talk is the reason why it took me days to answer this question.  Honestly, I ran from this.  I thought I needed to have some magical event that I could write an inspiring post about.  I finally decided to just be open about my thoughts because that’s what this blog is about.  Me just figuring out this world as I am.  So, here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to ask the negative voice what it wants.

“Negative voice, I appreciate your input.  I know you have a reason for voicing your thoughts.  However, your words are hurtful and I can’t hear your message when you’re being hurtful.”

Just acknowledging the mean-girl always makes her disappear.  Show her a little bit of compassion and she melts.  And, I feel calmer because I know I’m loving myself instead of judging myself.

Well, look at that.  I just found another thing I’m proud of.  I’m proud of the fact that I’ve learned to be gentle with myself.  Stopping to acknowledge the mean voice lets me see the good things again:

1.) Let’s be real, I’m a Mom so of course I’m ridiculously proud of my boys.  I mean, every teacher they’ve had has said “I wish the whole class was made up of (insert name here).”  How awesome is that?!

2.) It took me 14 years to graduate.  I started the Fall after graduating High School in 2000.  I got married in 2002 and had my son in 2002.  3 days before my final semester, to be exact.  And I was so exhausted I just couldn’t keep up with school.  After many moves, many years, 2 other attempts to finish, and a divorce, I finally made it to walk across the stage.  My ex-husband agreed to financially support me so that I could finish efficiently.  I’ll always be grateful for that.

In the end, remember that it’s okay to be proud of the things you’ve accomplished.  If that mean-girl voice in your head tries to take over, just hug it and tell it “Thanks, and no.”

Blog Challenge Day 3-Thanks!

Hey y’all!  “Thanks” is a powerful word, isn’t it?  I like to say it a lot because a long time ago I decided to live life being grateful instead of angry.  Sometimes saying “Thank you” to a person or situation just puts things into a different perspective for me.  I even add it to the end of my emails at work about 95% of the time.  Until recently when I read this article dissecting the salutations of emails.  It said “thanks” is totally sarcastic!  I was a little hurt, then I felt terror as I wondered if all my coworkers thought I’d been sarcastic this whole time!  they are kinda right, I realized.  It can totally be seen as sarcastic.

“Good Morning.  Your document is approved and ready for use.  Thanks.”  (I do document control things, so I send this email many times a day.)  Does that sound sarcastic?  Like, “Thanks for making me work, asshole.  Here’s your document.  Jeez.”

Meh.  I’ll choose to be thankful and just leave it at that because being thankful is awesome.  And, it totally relates to today’s prompt: “What do people thank you for?”  or, to dig further… “What would you be happy and excited to help others with even if you didn’t get paid.”

This was actually a really difficult question for me to answer.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to help people lately.  Rather, I’ve needed a bunch of help.  In the past, before the full-time-working-single-mom Gig, I loved helping people.  And in my job I kinda get to help people.  I help them with work stuff, anyway, but that doesn’t get me “happy and excited”.

Then, I remembered photography.  About eight years ago (how in the world did THAT happen?!) I was taking family pictures for people in my town.  I got hired frequently, and only by word of mouth.  On TimeHop every once in a while I’ll see an old Facebook posts….”Thanks so much for the pictures!  We love them!”  I even inspired a few people to do some photography of their own.  Those people are still shooting; and doing an amazing job I might add.  My favorite thing was to get the ‘in between’ moments.  The times in between the poses when people were a little more relaxed and just being themselves.  I was just so incredibly critical of my work and of myself that I thought all these people were crazy.  “can’t they see the composition is off?”  “I shouldn’t have added so much of a vignette.  It looks cheesy.”  “Ugh.  The coloring looks stupid.  I can’t possibly ask for money for this.”  I wish I could go back in time and hug myself.  I was so insecure.

That’s what people used to thank me for.  I haven’t picked up my ‘real’ camera in years.  So many years.  Last I checked, the screen had cracked somehow, and it’s just been sitting in my closet all lonely.  Thanks to this prompt I have a renewed urging to dust off my camera and capture some decent shots.  Perhaps I’ll renew my long-time dream of attaining a photography degree.

Dear Live Your Legend Team,

Today you made me think real hard about life stuff.  It was hard and enlightening.  I’ll be thinking about it the rest of the day and probably for many more.  And, I just wanted to say thank you.



Blog Challenge Day 2

I joined an awesome blog challenge in order to get momentum on my dream of starting a blog.  Find details of the Live Your Legend Challenge here.  I love the accountability and the inspiration that comes from a challenge.  I’m the type that needs just a little bit of help to get going on my goals.  When I’m by myself, I tend to think too much and get overwhelmed.   “Should I start a bog about design?  What about parenting?  What if nobody reads it?  What if i become famous and get to do a TED talk?  What if….”  What if I what if myself into a frenzy????  So, having other people around me grounds me in a way because I can’t overthink every little step.

On that note, today’s writing challenge is “What makes you angry about the world?”  This is a tough one.  And, honestly, I’m writing this at 5am and I don’t really want to dive too deeply into things that make me angry.  But, I’m a good student, so as a compromise I’m just going to list a few things:

1.) The fact that caring kind people who desperately want to be parents struggle with infertility or infant death and heartbreak while other people just get babies and don’t even take care of them.

2.) our school system for so many reasons.

3.) Corporate America

4.) Judgy people

5.) The unforgivable lack of homemade tortillas in Arkansas.

6.)  Anybody who says/does anything negative toward my sons.

OK, hopefully that passes the test.  Gotta have a little bit of fun in life, even if you’re angry.  That’s my goal, anyway.  I hope tomorrow’s prompt is “What makes you so happy you feel like you’re dancing on a rainbow?”


Well, Hello There!

To hear my Mom tell the story, I was the perfect child.  Note, this is between the ages of 0-2.  I couldn’t really do much wrong yet…  “You were so good I figured I had this Mom thing figured out so I decided to have another one.  Then your brother came along.”  I always feel a little bad for my brother when Mom says this.  He wasn’t a bad kid by any means.  He was just more boisterous than I ever was.  He has always been 100% himself…a trait I envy to this day.  Whenever I tried to be 100% myself as a child, I felt like it annoyed people.

In first grade I requested an alarm clock so I could wake myself up every morning and get myself ready.  I would lay out my clothes the night before so that I could be ready to spring out of bed.  I put the alarm on the other side of my room so I would be forced to get up.  I also told my Mom she could no longer do my hair or cut my nails.  I got this.  (Yes, apparently I was the oldest 7-year-old on the planet)  …That is, until Senior year of High School when Mom woke me up every morning because by then I couldn’t stand the sound of that alarm.  After all, I had 10 years of that noise under my belt and it grated on every nerve.

In sixth grade we moved to a new school.  I joined the band (saxophone all the way!) and the basketball team (Go Lady Mustangs!).  I liked Tweety Bird and the Beatles.  I was known for all my rings.  I wore one on each finger.  I was very shy yet managed to make a couple friends I still chat with to this day.  We’ll skip over the awkward Middle School years.  Y’all know how bad it is.

Sophomore year of High School I met a boy and fell head over heels.  We were the ultimate High School Sweethearts.  Two weeks after High School graduation he proposed to me with a quarter-carat heart-shaped diamond ring.  I said yes.  Two years later we got married.  In the following years he graduated college, had 2 amazing boys, moved 11 times (only once outside of Texas), and did the best we could to figure out the whole marriage-thing at such a young age.  Ultimately, we decided to go our separate ways.  We stayed friendly for a while until I realized I was harboring feelings and a tiny hope that things would still magically work out.  I had to tell him to not be so friendly and give me some space.  It seemed weird to tell someone to stop being so nice to me.  But, it was confusing, y’all.  I just couldn’t handle it.  So, I had to shut it down and take care of myself for a while.  And that’s what I did.

I’ve been a single Mom for a while now and honestly I love it.  It’s incredibly hard sometimes, but I’m so grateful for every day.  I know, I know, that sounds like a cheesy hallmark commercial.  Sometimes things are cliche because they’re totally true.

A few months ago I met an amazing man and everything with him is going really well.  Due to my previous life I have some deep fears about diving into something good.  Do you ever get scared/freak out/try your best to subconsciously sabotage this great thing whenever something seems to be going well?  No?  Just me?  Well, lucky for me, this man is patient and smart.  He saw my walls and quietly stood outside them until I was ready to take down some bricks.  The fact that he saw my fears before I did and stuck around to love me anyway…..well, that’s pretty sexy.

Do you ever hit a point when you realize that you haven’t been really living your life?  Like, you wake up one day and realize that thing that seemed so HUGE in your life happened six years ago and it’s time to move the fuck on and pick a bigger adventure.  Then you try to figure out what you’ve been doing the past six years because how could so much happen yet it all feels foggy….That’s basically where I am.  My goal is to use this blog as a place to document what I learn.  I just want to explore life and figure out who I am and figure out my place here.  I spent so much of my life trying desperately to be someone else that I’m just starting to learn who I really am.  It’s pretty fun, and I’m guessing that I’m not the only 34-year-old to wake up and say, “Wait, what just happened?”.  So, I’m going to read books, interview people, chat with my kids, explore ideas, take lots of pictures, and document it all here.  We’ll see where it leads.  My hope is that this journey will connect with you, too.