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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Smarty Mom: Meredith Wilkerson

By Rachel H

I am so happy to present Meredith to you today as this week’s Triad Smarty Mom! Meredith was nominated by Susan Davis, who says that Meredith encompasses all things “smarty” throughout her daily life. Meredith and her husband, Jason, have two children, John Merritt (four) and Samuel (one). They have lived in the Triad for two years after moving here from Maggie Valley, NC.

Meredith is a stay-at-home mom whose most recent hobby is baking cakes and cookies for people. (Seems like Meredith would be a great friend to have, huh?) She was also a mural artist before moving to the area, and says that cakes have now become her art.

Let’s hear more about this week’s Smarty Mom …

Tell us how you got started with your new endeavor of baking cakes and cookies!
It is only recently that I began baking. I’ve always loved to cook and bake, but nothing like the goodies I’m baking up now. Before we moved to the area, I was a mural artist and stayed quite busy. It wasn’t long after we moved that we were blessed with a second pregnancy and I knew my days of long hours on a ladder were over. As a creative person, I needed another outlet for my artsy side and baking beautiful things fit the bill. It’s inexpensive and it makes others happy! What better medium for creating! For me, creating is a way I can glorify God. He gives me the ability, so He gets the glory. I try to keep that focus and He just continues to bless me with new ideas to make special things for other people. Baked goods come in handy, too, when your husband is a pastor. He’s always taking goodies along when he goes visiting.

How can others find out more about your cakes or order for themselves?
I stay pretty busy as I can only do a few things a week. I only bake when my boys are asleep, so that limits what I can do. If anyone is interested, I’m on facebook and my email is It’s best to contact me months in advance for cakes. Even if I’m busy, I have lots of caker friends in the area that do amazing work. Cookies I can do on shorter notice.

You mentioned to me that you had a difficult time overcoming OCD after your first child was born. Please share more about this with us.
OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder. You can google OCD and read pages and pages of information on the disorder. I think it’s a fairly common disorder and it has many different faces. Looking back, I know I’ve always had it and probably always will and I’m OK with that. When you hear OCD, you probably think of those that have to wash their hands multiple times, or who have to turn the light switch on and off over and over to make sure the light is off. That is NOT the side of OCD I struggle with. I joke with my husband that it would be great sometimes if I did obsess about being neat and clean. Just visit my house in the middle of a cake or just dinner for that matter, and you will see that is not my problem! My struggle with OCD is all about my thought life. I’ll have a thought, and it will turn into a visual image that, if not kept in check, will bring me to tears and anxiety. What I’m going to share with you might scare some people, but I’m not afraid to talk about it as I’m sure there are others out there who have faced the same thing. My OCD flares up whenever there is a big emotional, stressful event like getting married or having a baby.

When I had my first child, it was so bad, I had to seek help, and that is when I was officially diagnosed. It started in the hospital when I was alone with my baby. I would have the thought “I have to make sure I don’t fall asleep while holding him.” Everyone has those thoughts, right? Well mine goes from that to “what if I drop him? What if he falls off the bed? To (the scariest of all) What if I throw him off the bed?” Talk about being shaken to your core! I’ve just given birth to a precious baby boy that we have prayed and prayed for, and now I have a thought like this? Not just a thought, but a visual image of me throwing him off the bed and him dying, to me in jail 10 years later, to what would my husband do, and on and on it goes. Hysterical is how I ended up; hysterical and unable to be alone much less alone with my baby.

So, with much love and prayer, my family found me help and then together we began to unwind this crazy thing called OCD. My doctor said “textbook OCD.” What? I don’t obsess about being clean and neat? It’s then I learned about the other side. The side where you have bizarre thoughts and they get “stuck” in your brain and you can’t dismiss them which leads to a non-functioning person. That was me and I wanted it to go away! But it didn’t. I pleaded with God, but it was still there. After hours and hours of prayer and scripture study, and a low dose of medicine, I began to function without the help of family. I still had the thoughts, but I was learning how to put them aside. Still, I prayed for God to take it away completely. He didn’t, and I’m thankful for that. I took medicine for one year after I was diagnosed. After that time I was able to manage the disorder without meds. As long as I was in the Word and connected to my heavenly Father, I was ok. If I neglected Him, my symptoms would flare up. I’ve come to be thankful for my OCD as it keeps me walking closely with Jesus. Pride can so easily sneak into one’s life, and I think God uses my OCD to keep me humble.

Daily I have to tell myself that God is sovereign and He has a plan for me. If I couldn’t rest daily on that promise, I don’t think I would ever leave my house. So I like to say I have “victory” over my OCD, but only through my Savior Jesus. He has a divine plan for my life, and as long as I’m seeking Him daily, He will direct my path. You know that song “He’s got the whole world in His hands?” I sing that one quite often.

Do you have any advice for others who may be struggling with a similar issue? My advice would be to run as fast as you can to Jesus. If you need help finding the way you can email me and I’ll give you directions.

What is a fun fact that people would be surprised to find out about you?
I have a degree in agriculture from Auburn University and I goat tied on the Auburn rodeo team.

What is the smartiest way you save money?
Consignment stores and workin’ those coupons at the grocery store!

What is your favorite family activity?
Just playing at home together.

Favorite “me-time” activity?
Creating in the kitchen!

Favorite place to eat dinner as a family?
Reno’s Pizza in Gibsonville

Favorite date night spot?
My house! Sunday nights after the boys are in bed, my husband and I make pizza and watch an old movie together. We don’t watch any tv other than that. We don’t even get any channels!

Favorite book you have read?
The Bible

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?

Minivan or SUV?
Minivan, 97 honda odyssey

Favorite place to shop for children’s clothes?
Little Blessings and Mrs. Tiggywinkles in Graham

What is your favorite mom’s must have item for around the house?
My Kitchen Aid stand mixer. A must have for avid bakers.

Favorite park in the Triad?
Northeast Park. Love the water park!

Favorite or most helpful blog you have read on Triad Smarty Pants thus far?
I love all the ones about saving money and neat ideas for family activities.

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
I love being able to live in the country, but town is only 15 minutes away.

Meredith, thank you for not only sharing so much about yourself with us today, but for being so open and honest. We always feel that if our blogs can help just one person or make just one person smile, it makes our job worthwhile! I hope that the details you shared about your experience with OCD can touch someone else's life today!


Anonymous said...

Meredith, you are just as sweet as your cakes! Thanks for sharing!

Lynn said...

That park sounds like so much fun! Never even knew it was there!

Anonymous said...

Sweet Meredith, I have known you for several years, and, as you said, I am one of many friends who had no idea of your struggles with OCD. However, we do serve King Jesus and He will ALWAYS stick closer than a friend. Your cake and cookie creations are fantastic!
We love you!! Lynda B.

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