Episode 186 Shelly Slocum Practical Advice for Living an Inspired Life

This transcript is from episode 186 with guest Shelly Slocum.

Scott DeLuzio  00:00:00    Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast, where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. Now let’s get on with the show. Hey, everyone, welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Shelly Slocum. Shelly is a military spouse and also a military mom.  She’s written the book “Love and Inspiration for Mom”, which contains inspirational quotes and practical tips on how to apply more positivity in your life to brighten your days, which I think is something that we all could use.  During this time in the world with everything that’s been going on in the last couple years, a little more positivity and inspiration coming into our lives is definitely a good thing.  I wanted to have Shelly on to talk about her, her book and her motivation for writing things like that. Welcome to show Shelly. I’m glad to have you here.  

Shelly Slocum   00:01:05    Thank you, Scott. It’s a pleasure to be here.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:01:09    For the listeners who aren’t familiar with you and your book and your story and everything, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?  

Shelly Slocum     00:01:19     I’m a military spouse. I’m married to my high school sweetheart for 39 years in June so we’ve lived through a lot. We got married young, and he was in the Navy and actually was active duty for 13 years and then retired as a reservist.  amazingly was deployed more as a reservist than he was as an active duty. Sadly, he was injured on his last deployment to Afghanistan. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, so it’s been a journey for us, what we make every day work, still happy to be his beloved wife. My daughter is active duty in the Navy as well. She is a pediatrician in the Navy, so that’s kind of an exciting military family. I’ve been a real estate broker for 21 years. So much with the military and he traveled for his civilian job as well. I felt like a single mom, a lot of the time with two girls raising them. I have lots of fun tips and tricks that I can share with your audience to help raise successful children while sometimes on your own.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:03:03     That’s something that happens a lot with military families where there’s deployments or there’s training, where it takes one spouse or the other away for a period of time.  It’s almost like you’re a single parent that you’re not. You are the sole person responsible for getting the kids to school on time, making sure that they’re fed and that their needs are taken care of.  When they need new clothes, they get to the store and get the new clothes, so that they’re doing their homework. It’s not something that you think about, but it’s one of those things that just adds up over time. It’s a lot of stuff that you end up having to do. When you have a spouse around who can share the load a little bit, it makes it a little bit easier because it’s all falling on you, but then when it does fall all on you, it’s harder because then sometimes you’re pushing your needs aside and you’re focusing on the children that you’re trying to bring up.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:04:12    That’s a lot to ask of somebody. Especially when you get into a relationship. In a marriage, you are committing to being there with each other to act as a team. life happens, the military takes one of them. The spouses are away, and now you’re off on your own. That’s sometimes not what people sign up for. It’s hard to wrap your head around how you’re gonna function day to day with all of that. I’m sure we’ll get more into that, but first I’d like to talk about your book that is Love and Inspiration for Mom. What was your motivation for writing it and where did that come from?  

Shelly Slocum     00:05:02    Well, interestingly my oldest daughter, she lived through a traumatic experience. As a result of the trauma, she had an emotional breakdown. And fortunately for me at the time, my husband was not deployed and I was able to drop everything in my world and move to where she lived and literally help her get out of bed every day for weeks. And when she was strong enough to go back to work, I would send her an inspirational quote every morning. Then I would follow it up with a couple of tips on how she could apply it in her day to live more inspired and happier that day. Then I’d say, love mom at the end. I did that every day, four months, and gradually she started getting stronger and better and more optimistic.  

Shelly Slocum    00:06:06    Eventually she was better than she was before. At the end of that, she said, I really encourage you to put all of this in a book, so you can help other people who are going through a struggle that might not have somebody who can come and help them get out of bed every day.  This was several years ago and kind of fast forward to a year ago, I was diagnosed with non-smoking lung cancer. Out of the blue, I had no idea. It kind of gave me a shock of reality. It’s like, Shelly, what are you waiting for? Your book is not helping anybody sitting on your computer. It’s been a year of me getting this ready to go and releasing for the public. It’s my hope that I can be the kind of the mom that either people never had or they’ve lost their mom, or just that voice of encouragement to help someone through a struggle.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:07:14    That’s amazing that you’ve been able to take that thing you were doing specifically for your daughter to help her through this tough time. Then you’re able to take that inspiration and box it up in a format that you can now go out and inspire many, many people, not just the one person that it was originally intended for. It’s out there in a format that one can pick up, whether they have a great relationship with their mother or not, or their mother passed away. They just might need some inspiration. They might need some practical tips on how to just do the simple things, getting out of bed in the morning, taking a shower, eating breakfast, things like that to just get moving. Sometimes that’s all you just need to get up and get moving and then things get a little bit easier from there. And then if you’re sitting in bed all day, it’s hard to keep moving.

Shelly Slocum    00:08:17    Absolutely.  

Shelly Slocum   00:08:22    I think most people would really like to live a more inspired life, even if you’re not going through a struggle. Life itself with all the things that are going on in our world. It’s challenging.  Sometimes we just need that little extra inspiration.  I think people, as evidenced by the popularity of quote books and inspirational apps, would really like to live a more inspired life. It’s just hard to do that in the midst of the struggles. My hope is that this book can help people with giving them the actual inspirational quote, which is wonderful.  I just read these quotes myself and I get so inspired, but then just reading a quote, doesn’t really help you apply it. That’s where the other part of this book gives you those practical tips. Here are simple things you can do today to be happier.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:09:21    I think the key difference between your book and all of the inspirational quotes that you see on the internet or in apps and other places that you might find them is the tips. Because you can be inspired till you’re right in the face. With whatever that you happen to be reading. But if you don’t know how to implement those things that you’re inspired about, then it’s what good is it really? You can be inspired and that’s great, but if you don’t know where to start and how to actually start implementing those things in your life you might as well be inspired. 

Shelly Slocum     00:10:06     Knowledge isn’t everything. It’s the application of what we know that helps us move forward. That’s where this gives you those little things you can do to apply that inspiration and day by day, the more you do, the more you apply, the better you feel.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:10:27    Just for people who may be kind of not quite understanding where we’re going with this, as far as having those tips and the knowledge is one thing, but then the application is the other. We all know that if you touch a hot stove, it’s going to burn you. The application of that knowledge is don’t touch the hot stove.  I mean, that’s a very basic, simple example. You can know that it’s going to hurt, but if you go and touch a stove anyways,  that knowledge is useless to you. It really doesn’t make a difference. It’s the application of that knowledge that really makes a difference. I think that’s where this book comes in. The difference is that you have the tips to apply the knowledge that is gained, through reading this book.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:11:26    I think that’s the big difference there. As a mother, as a parent, when you are writing these things to Others. When you write all of these things out and you’re doing that, it’s one of those things that, as a parent, you look to just do whatever you can to help your kids through these tough times. The thing that you found a few years ago, my wife had a serious medical issue. Prior to that, we were homeschooling our children. It was to the point where she couldn’t continue homeschooling until she recovered, and which she has, and we’re back to homeschooling now. We ended up sending our children to public school, and I knew it was hard for the kids because it wasn’t what they were used to.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:12:21    They were used to waking up in the morning and being around mom and mom helping them with their schoolwork and everything. It was just hard for them. They were young, like first grade and third grade at that point. Their reading level wasn’t super high where I was gonna get into any in-depth kind of thing, but I would always put a joke in their lunchbox, just like a simple, one-liner joke. And they’d come home and they’d say, oh, all the kids at lunch, they love that joke. We read it to them and everything.  

Shelly Slocum    00:12:55    Oh, that’s so great.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:12:56     Not only did it help them through that tough time, but also helped them make friends because they became known as the kids with the jokes at lunch and everything, and everyone was kind of looking forward to it. It kind of helped them out too. When I first heard your story, I was immediately out of that situation, where my kids were going to school and they needed a little bit of help from home. I just put these simple jokes in there that would help them get through their day.  

Shelly Slocum     00:13:25    That’s a great idea.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:13:28     You previously mentioned your life as a military spouse and sometimes going through parenting as a military spouse when your husband was away. What advice do you have for people who are navigating through parenting in a military family, especially when their spouse is deployed, when they’re taking on that role? 

Shelly Slocum  00:13:55     I’ve just kind of always been a person that I create acronyms to help me remember things. I created this acronym for mother and it’s while yes, it applies to moms, but it also applies to any single parent or anyone,  even in a co-parenting position. It’s really good tips that you can follow. The M for mother stands for morning time, self-care. And one of the big things that we miss out on when you’re trying to keep all the balls in the air is self-care. So I found that if I got up early before the kids, and really sometimes it gradually got longer and longer because I really enjoyed that time.  But it started out just a few minutes early before the kids got up and I would do quiet time.  

Shelly Slocum   00:15:01    I’d do prayer time. I would just set my goals. What are the things that I wanna accomplish? Gradually now I still do it, and now it’s like an hour and a half, but I don’t have kids at home and I have more time, but I get it before my husband.  I have this good, quiet, special time. That’s the M for mother, oh, is over-deliver under-promise.  I say that because when I was working, I was in real estate. Fortunately and unfortunately, it’s a 24/7 job because everybody thinks it’s a crisis and I would get phone calls in the middle of the night.  I just felt like I was always letting everyone down because I just couldn’t be everywhere at the same time.  I got to the point where I had very high requirements and expectations of myself, but instead of setting that really high bar, I would set a good level bar.  

Shelly Slocum     00:16:08    I would exceed that for my kids, for my business. What happened was sometimes I would promise my kids that I would be someplace and then a show would come up and I would go do that.  I would let my kids down.  I got to the point where I would say, I don’t think I can be there. Then if I could be there, it exceeded their expectations. I say over-deliver under-promise. The key is time blocking. Stephen Covey says to put the big rocks first, and those big rocks are the commitments with your kids,  commitments with your clients, your spouse because if you don’t put those in first, you can’t fit them in with all the little things that come up in a day.  

Shelly Slocum   00:17:03    The other thing with the time is where you are when you are spending time with your kids. Be with your kids, when you’re spending time with your client, your work will be there. It’s hard to do that, but you are so much more successful in each one of those roles when you physically, emotionally, mentally are where you are. The H is to get help, any kind of help that you can get, especially when your spouse is deployed.  I relied a lot on family to help me. I relied a lot on neighbors helping me pick my kids up from school or things like that. If you can afford to get help in your home,  helping clean, or having your kids help you clean,  those are great life skills,  but get help where you can.  

Shelly Slocum   00:18:03    E is exercise. One of the most important things that we can do for our health, mental health, and physical health is exercising, getting out, getting fresh air. I got to the point where I included my kids with that too. We went for walks. We went for bike rides because we were getting that exercise together. And then the last part of mother is Routine. As much as people like to fight routine, having routine is the best thing you can do for your kids because they thrive in routines. They thrive in being able to count on things with you and your family. One of the things that I put into place with my kids is 15 minutes with mom at night at bedtime. And we did that every single night that I was home. They looked forward to it. If you ask my kids, what was the best part of growing up? They would say 15 minutes with mom. 

Scott DeLuzio    00:19:07     That’s great too because that’s something they will probably take with them especially now being older, they, they, they probably still remember those 15 minutes. They may not remember any specific 15 minute on July 10th,  whatever, but they, they remember,  doing that activity with you on a, on a nightly basis. As they get older, if they’re gonna have children of their own, that may be something that they continue with their children and their families as they get older. that would be something that just, it’s one of those legacy kinds of things where it just continues year after year, generation after generation. It’s pretty special that you have something like that with them. That helps to form a connection between them. It’s not just sitting down to dinner, gobbling down some food real quick, and then out the door to sports or to wherever you might be going next. You’re spending quality one-on-one time. 15 minutes is not an hour, but it’s 15 minutes. That’s the time that you say, okay, I’m dedicating this to you. This is your 15 minutes.

Shelly Slocum     00:20:28    It does kind of seem silly. Like 15 minutes seemed like nothing, but it was one on one time I had the two girls. It was just time with mom, not with their sister. If you have both parents home and two kids, one parent can go in one room and the other parent can go in the other room. Then the next night you switch or but 15 minutes of undivided attention, so phones were not allowed. electronics were not allowed. It was time for talking. We could read books, we could sing songs, whatever they wanted to do, but it was no electronics,  

Scott DeLuzio   00:21:14    15 minutes. I just did the math real quick while you’re talking there 15 minutes a day for 18 years is 98,550 minutes. It’s not nothing. 

Shelly Slocum   00:21:27    Wow. I hadn’t even calculated that. That’s really great. It seems small, but it’s huge.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:21:33     It adds up over time. That’s a big thing in their lives. On the other side, as the mom of a service member. We were talking about how to handle it, that single parenting. It’s not like you were single, that one on one time with the children as your spouse was deployed, but now as the mom, of a service member. You mentioned your daughter is in the military. You probably have some concerns for your daughter’s safety. It’s not the safest job to be in the military. It doesn’t matter what your occupation is. if you’re behind the desk all day, you still have some potential dangers in the service. Thinking about the book that you wrote,  the Love and Inspiration for Mom, I’d imagine that some of the inspirational quotes in the tips have helped guide you through to be a better mom while your daughter has been serving.  

Shelly Slocum     00:22:47    Through COVID and all of that my daughter is stationed at one of the hos military hospitals.  I tell you, it was very challenging for them through COVID. They had the daycare on the base and she had kids and it seemed like every few weeks the daycare was closing and then the hospital didn’t shut down.  Then all the military personnel still had to be there every day. It seemed like every other few weeks I was flying to where they were to help with their kids. That to me one of the blessings of parenting is, you get to kind of help imprint on the next generation. Now I get to share all these fun tips with my grandkids and continue to inspire, my daughter and my son-in-law, and so on. I think even when life is challenging, there’s lots of hope and there’s lots of things to look forward to,  

Scott DeLuzio   00:24:05     That’s one of the things that I want to get across to the listeners is,  because a lot of people who listen to this podcast,  they’re going through tough times, they’re they have something difficult in their lives. Like you said, even though you might be going through something difficult, there’s still hope. It’s not the end of the book for you.  This is not the end of the road. There’s something else. This tough time might just be preparing you for that next big thing. That’s coming your way, whatever it is. I can’t say exactly what that thing is gonna be, but time will tell, and you’ll figure that out as time goes on. I firmly believe that any of these hard times that we go through are there for a reason. 

Scott DeLuzio 00:24:59    We go through them, we might struggle. We’ve struggled through so many things in our lives. Everybody has, this is not a unique situation to people in the military. This is like, everyone has struggled through something in their lives. going back all the way from the time you were a kid, you had struggles learning how to do new things was a struggle in school, learning how to read and write and do math. That was a struggle at first until you figured it out. Then it became easier as time went on.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:25:38    All of those things were a struggle, but they made you a better person. You’re able to read, you’re able to write, you’re able to add and subtract and multiply and divide. You’re able to do all of those things now because you struggled. Now think about those struggles. Weren’t incredibly difficult struggles, but they led to good things. Think about these harder struggles, how much better you’ll be after going through some of these hardships, and things, the lessons that you learn through the strength and the resiliency that you’ll build up through all of this will just make you a better person. To me, when there’s a setback or there’s some sort of struggle, I look at it as a potential opportunity to improve myself and improve things in life. I say that it’s just super easy. It’s hard to have that mindset because it’s easy to just beat yourself up, and get yourself down. but sometimes you have to do the hard work to get the benefits,  

Shelly Slocum    00:26:46   One of the quotes and love moms in the book is that external and internal scars are proof that you’ve done it before you can do it again. As I said, last year, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thankfully it was an early diagnosis. We caught it very early because I had a kidney stone. Who knew that you’d be thankful for a kidney stone, but they found this nodule on my lung when they were doing a CT scan for the kidney stone.  I went through a surgery, they removed the lower half of my left lung, and it’s been a journey and every day getting up.  I first started walking up two steps and then I started working to where I could walk all the way up the steps, and now I look at the scars and it gives me motivation and inspiration.  Hey, look how far I’ve come. I’m walking three miles again. I used my book and got it prepared for publishing and reading those quotes and the inspirational tips every day to help me get through it. I tell you it’s been the best year of my life. It sounds crazy that it’s true.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:28:18    It does sound crazy, but I’ve heard that from other people who have gone through something like cancer or some life-changing, whether it’s an illness or an accident or, or something like that. They say that it just completely changes their outlook on life. It gives them that perspective. Like you were saying that this book isn’t right in itself, it was just sitting in your, your, or, or wherever it was, all these, these quotes and everything, it wasn’t gonna write itself.  Tomorrow isn’t promised. You might as well start working on it today. Get this thing out there so that it can help some people, it can benefit other people who read it. That makes it make sense as crazy as it sounds.  

Shelly Slocum     00:29:09    I say when the saying, when life gives you lemons make lemonade. It sounds like a great idea, but how do you really do that? I kind of say that making great lemonade is finding sweet and sour. There’s sweetness in life. Even when we’re going through struggles, there’s little slivers of blessings and happiness, even in the midst of the challenge. If we grow through those sour times, then the mix is a beautiful lemonade.  

Scott DeLuzio 00:29:52    I never thought of it that way. I’ve heard the saying obviously many times before.  I just always chalked it up to, okay, you have something that’s sour and not all that appealing and make it into something just appealing, but the way you described it, how the sweet and the sour mixed together. It makes perfect sense. Take some of those struggles, the sour times in your life, and mix ’em together with the sweet times, the better times in your life. You end up with this, this thing that’s even better than just the sweetness.  if you’re just to have straight sugar, it wouldn’t be all that appealing. But if you mix it together, it becomes a drink that you actually wanna have.  

Shelly Slocum    00:30:34    As much as we’d love for life to be all good, we know it never will be. It’s embracing the struggle and learning how to grow from it. I just think that no matter what, no matter what you’re facing today, there is always hope. There’s always hope for tomorrow. I really hope that this book can bring people just a little light, a little light, and interestingly and amazingly, Jack Canfield who wrote, he’s a co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He wrote the forward for my book.  

Shelly Slocum     00:31:23    It’s like a warm hug in a book,  

Scott DeLuzio   00:31:30    Well it certainly sounds like the type of thing that you would want to get if had nobody to talk to, if you had no source of inspiration in your life, picking up something like, like this and reading it does sound like it would be like a warm hug,  like that everything’s gonna be okay. Kind of reassurance and give you hope. You might be going through something rough, tomorrow’s gonna be just a little bit better. Then the next day will be a little better than that. Eventually, you’ll get to a place where all of you’ll look back and all those lessons will come together and you’ll have that lemonade. You’ll have something actually that you look forward to as opposed to something that you’re turned off by.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:32:26    Shelly, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today.  I’m really glad that you had the opportunity to come on here that we got connected to.  I want to give you the chance to tell people where they can find your book so that they can pick up a copy of it. Any bits of advice that you might have for people before we close out?

Shelly Slocum  00:32:49    Well, wonderful. Thank you so much for having me. My book is on Amazon. I also have a website it’s Love and Inspiration.org, and you can find the book and inspirational tips there.  I would just love to connect with you and if you need help, a kind of warm hug from me, send me contact information through my website. I would be happy to connect and inspire you.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:33:25     I think for the listeners out there, especially service members who might be away from their family, especially during holidays.  Having stuff like this inspiration that they can open up, read it, get inspired, and then also have the practical advice for how to implement some of this stuff in their own day-to-day lives, is something that I think they’ll certainly enjoy. So thank you again, and for not only coming on the show but for writing this book.  I think it’ll be a blessing to many, many people.  

Shelly Slocum     00:34:08    I hope so. Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:34:11    Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.

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