Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Looking Back and Looking Forward

2015 was a mostly focused year. Moving was not a part of the original plan when the year began and so it was difficult to pack and move and keep up with my resolutions as a whole. As I look ahead to 2016, I am ready to jump back in with fresh hope that I can persevere.

After reading my resolutions from last year, there aren't really any that I want to change. I think I would like to be healthier both spiritually and physically and simpl continue to work towards those.

This fall, I enjoyed the Bible Study I was in by Linda Dillow. It was such a good study and challenged me beyond any other study that I have done. It was so practical and helpful. I hope that I can experience this kind of personal growth again this year.

Health wise, I would love to run at least 3 5k's. They are good goals to keep me focused. I would also like to figure out how to mix in the 21 day fix exercises so that I can also gain muscle in the process.

As 2016 approaches, what are some of your goals for the year? 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Craziness and Community

These last couple of months have been super crazy. It started around the time the buyer's of our home wanted to move the closing date up by a week. That was the same day that I found out my momma's cancer was back. The very next weekend was when the head gasket on our 15 year old van decided to go. When I was co-leading our women's retreat. The weekend after the retreat we moved. A week after we moved in, our heat went out in our (new to us) house and the HSA couldn't get someone out for a couple of days. The next week we replaced our van. And then our heat went out again this past weekend.

I tell you all of that, not to say "woe is me." Or to have you feel sorry for me. I tell you all of that to give glory to God for the amazing body of believers that He has given us to walk through carry us through the craziness.

When the buyer's moved our closing date up, 3 of my friends came over and helped pack us up. They got more packed that night than I could have done in a week by myself.

When my momma called with her news, one of my friends called me immediately to check-in to see how I was doing and stayed on the phone with me while I blubbered through the news. What a patient friend. This friend called and checked on me multiple days following that one. My husband left work early to come hold me even when I didn't ask him to. He sat there next to me while I sat in shock avoiding the subject. And later when the emotion overflowed, he held me and let me soak his shirt with my tears. What a man! Other friends have been great at texting, praying, and asking me how things are going. Not minding that my answer isn't "fine." One friend gave me a super cute pillow to hold whenever I need to just sit and cry. It totally matches my bedroom, too. A couple of other friends have hired a photographer to come take pictures of my family when we are all together for Christmas. What an amazing gift! Other family and friends have offered to buy plane tickets or offer points to fly so I can go be with my family. So overwhelmed by their generosity! When I couldn't be with my momma and daddy for the official news, my grandparents spent several days with them to keep them company while my dad waited. And they continue to be available to my parents when they need them.

When our head gasket blew on our van, we had family step in and offer us their cars until we could research and find a new one after we moved. Totally saw God's hand in this provision.

When I was at the women's retreat, friends showered me with some yummy treats and also with fun memories. What a great time to get away and shift my focus back on Jesus. When I got home, I was able to enjoy a date with my husband because family had taken the girls for the day.

When we moved, family watched our girls the whole weekend so that we could move without them underfoot. We had lots of friends come and help us move. Some came even if they were only available for a short bit. And others stayed for the whole day. All of the friends that helped also have families that were spending the day without them. What amazing friends to give up their family time as well as their Saturday to help us. Also, the weekend we moved was a gorgeous weekend. Hoodie weather. (The weekend we were to originally move on ended up being snowy, rainy, and icy all day long. Thanks Lord!) Several friends provided dinner during this week leading up to the move which was wonderful because I was able to have the kitchen packed up. Another friend came and helped me clean the night before the move. And a few friends helped take a few loads over that night before. One family member came and cleaned my new house for several hours on two separate occasions! It was a huge help!

When our heat went out, friends offered their heater to us if we wanted it. Family gave us fire wood for our fire place.

When we went to get our van, family watched the older two girls, making our test-drive much easier.

I am so very thankful to be a part of a community that picks us up when we are absolutely defeated and have nothing left to give. These last few years, God has definitely made it so clear to Adam and I that we need this community that we find in Him. His love overflows from His people.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


A few weeks ago, my momma called to tell me that her cancer had returned. Maybe it wasn't that long ago. But it feels that long.

Her breast cancer has returned in her liver, her lungs, and her lymph nodes. Metastatic breast cancer. Now there is something you don't want to google.

Words simply cannot express my heartache.

My heart aches for my momma. Who is in a lot of pain. And is about to face one the toughest monsters on earth and try to beat it for the rest of her life. (No pressure or anything, mom, but I am rooting for that whole 32 years thing that you were saying about that one lady.)

My heart aches for my daddy. Who will stand by and hold my momma's hand as she faces the monster. Knowing that his days with the love of his life are numbered.

My heart aches for my girls. Who will only get a limited amount of time knowing their awesome nana.

My heart aches for me. Because, really, who am I going to call when I need paint colors? Or to give me advice? Or to just call and talk to about how we both hate talking on the phone?

The reality is that God could heal my mom. He is the only one who could.

But even if He chooses not to. I praise Him. Because I know that my momma still has some time. Not enough. But time nonetheless. And I am so thankful for that.

Guys, my mom is pretty great. Growing up, she would jump on beds with us and make us laugh like no other. Even hide to scare me so that I would stop scaring my brother. (I may or may not have been 17 at this point.What can I say? I still love scaring Michael.) She cooks some of the world's best food. (I mean I am seriously bummed that I didn't get any of her pie today!) She taught me the most important parts of being a mom and a wife. (Especially balancing family life while keeping the house clean.) And how to be a really good friend. (Relationships require give and take.) And I would not be who I am today if it were not for her.

I love you momma.

Cherished Moment

Last night Charlotte couldn't sleep because she was super congested. I went in her room about 4 times over an hour before deciding to hold her on my chest in the recliner and let her sleep on me.

I hardly got any sleep. But at around 7 she woke up and we moved to the couch. She laid next to me with her chubby fingers and kept stroking my cheek and playing with my hair.

She's two.

I am not sure how many more times she will do this. Or how many more times she will sleep on my chest.

So I cherish these things in my heart. No sleep and all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

God Used You

Recently Adam and I shared our stories with our church family. Adam posted our "script" over on his blog if you missed it and want to check it out. For the life of me, I could not decide whether I wanted to share about my miscarriage or not. It felt too raw. Even up until the morning of, I was trying to decide. I had written out what I was going to say. It didn't feel like enough. But in light of what we were talking about, it didn't seem right to add more.

So, maybe this is a better place to put down what I wish I could have said. What I wish could have been summed up in that tiny paragraph.

This past year has been a complete turn around for me.

I wrote a couple of very raw posts that never saw the light on facebook. I only made myself vulnerable to those that are my true followers. (Shout out to the 7 of you that I know are reading.) You can find those by searching by the "miscarriage" label if you are super curious. But the point of this post isn't about where I was as much as where I am now and the process that I went through to get here.

During the last 2 (almost 3! Wow!) years, I questioned everything I had ever been taught about God. Even His existence. I consider this my darkest time. My most alone time. I wanted very much for God to rescue me and make it all better. I didn't want to grieve. I didn't want to think about it. But that never happened. I was forced to face the fact that my baby was not going to have a breath here on earth and that God was the One that allowed this to happen. I had no desire to seek God out.

So He sought me. And He used you to do it.

It started right away.

I had a friend drop of a special gift and literally hug and cry with me. My birthday was 2 weeks after I lost the baby and several of my closest friends took time off to go away with me to celebrate. One friend brought me meals for my freezer and gave me books that helped her through her time of loss. (Seriously yall, I did not want to get up some days. Those meals were great!) Several friends were willing to let me talk through the most painful times and not once did they try to offer advice or pretend to know what I was going through. Several of you shared your stories with me to encourage me and let me know that I am not alone. One friend sent me a sweet ribbon in memory of my baby. Others have sent cards, texts, and emails to let me know that they haven't forgotten about my sweet baby.

During this time, I had a very special conversation that I really consider the place that my heart started to let down the wall I had put up with God.  I had asked someone special to me how to move forward. I felt so stuck. I wanted to cry and miss my baby, but I also wanted to have joy because of the new life that I was carrying at the time. And was it ok that I wanted to do both? And in the mean time, did God really love me? Me. Specifically. And how. I wanted to feel His love in a tangible way. At the time, I listened and gleaned the wisdom imparted to me. All while sobbing through my sandwich. (This whole conversation took place at lunch at a homeschool convention.) As I look back, I have no doubt that even that conversation was God telling me that He loved me which is ironic since that was one of the things I was asking about.

Another friend shared with me how she realized that her children are simply on loan to her from God. That He knows how much time that they have on this earth and while she doesn't know how long that is, she surrenders her children to Him. What an amazing testimony?!

One other way God spoke to me was through music. One of my closest friends had said to me that she thought music was going to bring me healing. I laughed at her at the time. But after that it seemed like I kept finding songs that held how I felt. Here are a few of the ones that helped me through that time.

The first one was Give Me Faith. I shared about that one here.

Shortly after that I found these two songs by Plumb. I Need You Now and I Want You Here.

Draw me Nearer by Meredith Andrews

My favorite one of all of them is What I Know by Tricia because I found it when I really had no doubt that if I hung on to what I know then I would one day feel His presence again.

God used you guys to draw me back to Him! I thank Him for all of you!

Today I was in a Bible study where I was reminded of how God wants a relationship with me. He desires a deep intimate relationship with me. And when I sat there and thought about how I wanted that with Him, I realized that my heart had changed. I'm not sure specifically when my heart changed. I definitely see times that I was trying to change. But today I know my heart is in a good place. I no longer feel angry or bitter. Or wounded. But at peace.

That's not to say I don't grieve my baby. My baby would have turned 2 in August. It makes me sad to think about missed days. Missed firsts. Missed lasts. Boo-boos to kiss. Fingers to count.

It is to say, though, that God has walked me through the dark valley and I am finally once again walking where I feel Him walking with me and know that He does love me and care for me. And I don't think I would be in this place if it wasn't for all of you. Thank you.

I LOVE my house

Have you ever lived in a house that just truly felt like home?
I have lived in a lot of places. 25 to be exact. And that only counts 1 of my many dorm rooms.

Most of the time I would agree that "home is where the heart is", but in my current house I would have to say, "home is where the heart is and also where I reside".

I love my house. And let me tell you why.

And while we are at it... let me give you the tour.

When you enter my house you are welcomed by a big open space. I wasn't thrilled with the stairs being the first thing you see when you walk inside, but after living here for 2 years, I love that it is just wide open.

The dining room is also right at the entrance. It's large and holds our huge table and there is also space for my dish cabinet for my dishes from my Mema and Pepa. 

One of my favorite "areas" of the house is my kitchen and living room area. Everything about this area makes me want to sit down with some coffee and a book. Maybe even get a fire going. This is the space that I put a lot of time into decorating and choosing colors. My kitchen is amazing to cook and bake in because of the counter space. There is plenty of space for me to spread out and if the girls want to help, it is not too crowded.  It will be the most difficult space for me to leave.

Our old house was really nice for the time we were there, but one of the things I hated about it was how loud it was when the girls were playing. Now they have their own space upstairs and so even though I don't use that space for myself, I love every inch of it. 

My favorite space in the whole house, besides the living area, is my master suite. My room is way too big for just a bedroom so it is also my work-out room and my craft room. And my bathroom has the best acoustics. I have my own sink which may seem silly to some people, but I love having my own sink. And my closet. Ya'll my closet is amazing. Yes. My master suite is my hideaway.

While the basement is not my favorite space in the house, I have used it on occasion. Adam would live down there if I would let him since it is his space. It's a nice area, I just prefer my living room. 

As we embark on the next chapter of our lives, I hope that I can love my next house as much as I love this one. And that whoever buys my house, loves it as much as I have.

If only we could move this house to 5 acres.

Lots of wonderful memories made here.

Here is the link for our listing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Today I Gave Grace

In May I had planned on doing another round of May Mingle. I even had a few people tell me that they would be happy to do a guest blog for me. The months before and after flew by and I completely spaced it. My friend Katherine sent me her blog and when I couldn't open it on my phone, I decided to open it later on the computer. And that didn't happen until today. And honestly after reading her beautifully written blog, I can't help but wonder if the timing is perfect.

Katherine and I were "forced" friends. Our husbands have been best friends since childhood and so saying that we married into the relationship is a great way to word the start of our friendship. Over the years, Katherine and I have formed our own bond and I consider her one of my closest friends. It's an honor to share this blog that was on her heart.

Today I Gave Grace

Any mom knows the problems encountered by trying to teach their children responsibility.  You're all familiar with the nagging, begging, cajoling, and frustration associated with homework, chores, and just about anything else child-related. And let's not forget the shameful times that I've lost my temper with my children. Mentally raise your hands if you relate to this. Yep, thought so. I know I'm not the only one!

This day was another one of those days. It was a Saturday and I had my list of things to get done.  My two-year-old was busy undoing everything behind me that I had just accomplished. Silverware was on the floor, clothes were pulled out of the dresser and strewn on the floor, throw blankets had been pulled out of their baskets and trampled on, and couch cushions were in disarray. And the books! Oh, the books everywhere!!! Needless to say that my dishes and laundry chores were taking much longer to complete. I needed my boys to help and I had fun things on the list to do with the kids after we were all finished.

But my two boys, ages 7 and 9, had other ideas. They decided that it would be much more fun to turn room cleaning into an all day event. Something which they had perfected through much practice.  Somehow putting away a basket of laundry that I had already sorted and folded was akin to slave labor. Emptying the garbage can? Impossible without somehow spreading half of the trash all over the kitchen. That I had just swept and mopped. I kept hearing the sounds of harmonicas, toys, and other noises that distinctly indicated cleaning was not happening at anything resembling speed. Multiple check-ups on the boys to redirect, refocus, and attempt to motivate seemed fruitless. Finally after taking away several toys and privileges the boys found the motivation to complete their chores. I was beyond worn out and honestly wanted nothing more than to send them to bed. Some peace and quiet sounded like heaven! And surely the boys needed to contemplate their actions to learn from them. With my patience worn thin, my mother's heart was not sympathetic at this point.

Until my precious 9 year-old reminded me of something. At long last, with their room done, my children came to me to make their report.  My oldest asked somewhat sadly, “Mom, we probably don't deserve to play video games, do we?” And this is extremely hard for me. Beyond hard. I'm a justice person. I see things in black and white, right and wrong. I see the need for people to learn consequences of their actions. I'm all about teachable moments. Not kidding when I say that one of my fears is that my kids will grow up being irresponsible! So it comes without much guesswork that I didn't want to reward my children for the actions of the day.

But then I saw the correlation to my own life. How many times have we been given things by our loving heavenly Father that we don't deserve? How many times have we worn his patience by disobeying, and needing constant direction? How often has God had to remind me to stay on task, to trust him, to complete what we've been working on? But he still gives us grace, the gifts that we don't deserve. So I gathered my boys into my arms (something that's getting progressively harder as they insist on growing taller), and asked them if they knew what grace is. If they knew that God loves them unconditionally. We had a conversation about the amazing love of an awesome God. That love doesn't excuse disobedience and sometimes consequences cannot be negated. But that doesn't diminish the love.  That day my heart was softened and taught a lesson. And I got the privilege of passing on the blessing to my children. The timer was set and we played games together before tackling the next project on the list together.  My children do need to keep working on responsibility and work ethic. I need to learn consistency and patience. And we all need to learn more about the grace of God.

 Today, I gave grace. Something our Father always gives.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

How It All Began

When Adam introduced himself to me at school, I thought he was handsome, but little did I know he would one day be my husband. 

Adam invited some friends and me to visit him my first summer at school. On the way out to Indiana I got super nervous about seeing him, but didn't really understand why because I wasn't even sure that I liked him more than a friend.

Over the course of my visit, Adam talked with me and asked me to pray about dating him. I had made the decision to be single all summer so that I could spend some time focused on myself and my relationship with God and I appreciated that he respected that decision.

Over the next few months, I worked through my own self insecurities and struggles while praying constantly about Adam. 

When school started back up in the fall Adam came to me with a necklace that he had made. This necklace was made of 3 cords and he explained that if we worked together with God that we could handle anything. He gave me the necklace and told me that if and when I wanted to date him I could simply wear the necklace and then he would know that I was ready. 

On September 2nd, after Adam's basketball practice was over, I put on the necklace. My best friend Meggan almost broke my neck when she helped me yank off my other necklace and put his necklace on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Exercise Is Not My Thing

When people say that I should find something I enjoy and do it when referring to exercise,  I simply smile and nod.

I enjoy sleep. And unfortunately that doesn't count as exercise.

Not many of the things I enjoy doing would count as exercise.

So if I waited until I found something that I liked there is a chance that I never find anything that would count as exercise.

That is one of the reasons I chose to run. It's quick. Mindless. Focused. And burns calories.

For me, I had to just choose something.

Because in order to be healthy, I need to be active. And being active means doing more than sleeping.

Sunday, I ran my 1st 5k of the year. The Graffiti 5k. My bestie Annie and I found a pretty good deal on groupon and grabbed it while we could. My Dad decided to join us as well.

I have to say how proud I am of my Dad. He made time to train for this race and like me has never been a runner nor enjoyed running. He lost 20 pounds during the training! He pushed himself the whole race even when he was super parched. He finished strong. I know I said it a thousand times, but Dad I am so very proud of you and I cannot wait to hear which race you sign up for next.

My bestie Annie also impressed me. She is about 18 weeks pregnant and still ran. That first trimester is so exhausting and yet she stuck with her decision to run and kept up the whole time. Proud of you too, Annie!

This race was super fun and charged with energy. There was not a moment that I was bored or dying and wishing for the end. Other than needing more water stations during the race, I have no complaints. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I enjoyed myself. It was such a fun time. If you are thinking of trying out running for yourself, I highly recommend a color run as your first race.

With all of that being said, instead of waiting to find something you enjoy, I say "Get up and do something!" You may not enjoy it. You may hate every moment of it. But your body needs it. Your body wants it. Get up off of the couch. Don't waste another second. You won't regret it. Get up and do something!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don't Say The "D" Word

10 years ago around this time Adam and I were finishing up our premarital counseling in preparation for our quickly approaching wedding.

So for the next 10 weeks, I am going to be sharing about the last 10 years.

Today I want to share about one of the most important pieces of marital advice we received. Our pastor and his wife that did our premarital counseling were great. They did their best to share not only from their own experience, but also share from the Bible and what God says about marriage.

What was this great piece of advice?

Don't say the "D" word.


When you fight.

When you are angry.

When you are hurt.

When you are at your wit's end.

When you are joking around.

Don't say it.

When I decided to marry Adam, I decided to marry him for as long as I live. I told him so. In front of about 200 of our closest family and friends. This commitment that I made to him and with him was also a commitment that I made to God. A covenant.

Our marriage is not perfect.

We fight. And things get heated.

We get on each other's nerves. And disagree.

But "divorce" has never been a part of our vocabulary.

Our 1st Anniversary

Thursday, April 2, 2015

21 Day Fix

For the last 21 days, I did the 21 day fix and it was awesome. The program is based on the concept that it takes 21 days to form a habit, giving you 21 days to form good habits.

It is by far the best program I have ever done.

Since the healthier eating was going to be something I knew I would struggle with, I decided to get the challenge pack through beachbody that included Shakeology. Shakeology is their meal replacement shakes. I got the chocolate and really liked it. I added spinach to it and it helped me get some veggies in for the day and it really didn't change the flavor at all.

The workouts were amazing. I love the 20ish seconds between workouts to get water and I love that Autumn is so encouraging and pushes you to do more. She is constantly saying "you can do anything for 60 seconds" and she is so right. The workouts were difficult and I was constantly sore and sweaty which are both great things in my opinion.

The eating plan was so easy to follow and while I missed my sweets at first, I really didn't struggle with cravings at all. I did cheat a little in that I had 1 tablespoon of creamer in my coffee everyday in spite of them saying not to. I skipped the nuts and seeds too. Since my goal wasn't to torture myself, but to change my bad habits and make a better eating lifestyle for myself, I kept my creamer and skipped the seeds/nuts.

My results were pretty great in my opinion. I went down two pant sizes in the short amount of time. I lost 7 inches overall and 5 pounds.

After some debate, I decided not to post my before and after picture here. However, if you are interested in knowing more about the program and would like to see the picture, send me a message on facebook and maybe I will send it to you.

I loved every aspect of this and I will be doing this again in a couple of weeks. My first 5k for the year is coming up and I need to train for that, but once that is behind me, I will start doing this again because it definitely brings results.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Where are you at?

Good morning readers! I hope you guys are having a fabulous Friday.

Just thought I would check-in with ya'll to see how you all are doing with your own resolutions for the year and let you know where I am at with mine.

My first goal was to work-out 4-6 times a week and I am so happy to say that I have done this every week! Some weeks have been super busy so squeezing in 4 work-outs was a major stretch, but it definitely has gotten easier. Losing weight has been a slow process, but that is because I am gaining muscle in the process. Even so, I have lost 6.4 pounds since Jan 4 which is the day before I started my work-out goal. Since January I have lost 7 inches in my waist alone so I know I am making better progress than the scale wants me to think.

Thinking patterns are so hard to change. Honestly, I have spent some time praying for Adam and the girls, but could still use a ton of improvement in this area. I haven't been working near as hard on this as I would like. So, this goal needs to take a higher priority in my life for sure.

As far as the daily life goes, keeping the house picked up comes in phases depending on our busy schedule. I have done alright. The toys are always picked up before I sit down to relax at night. The dishes and kitchen floor have been the bigger struggle. It simply depends on the day and how exhausted I am. I am not giving up though! In January I went to extreme efforts to stay in budget and I went over by $4 because I had bought some snacks at Target that I forgot I had bought and since Target is not my usual grocery spot, I didn't even think about that receipt having groceries on it when I was calculating how much I had left in Jan. In February I stayed in budget, but it was a shorter month. March is in full swing. Not sure how the month is going to go. Especially since I am trying super hard to eat better foods and that can get pricey.

Overall, still finding the balance in all of these things.

How are you guys doing? The year isn't over! So, if you have found that your goals are already a thing of the past, you can dust them off and start again today! You can do it!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Year's Resolutions and What Not

Well, new years has come and gone.

But I still have a ton of resolutions for this year. When I look at my list, it is much more than my usual 3 items, but I am not overwhelmed by it.

This year I am also taking on a word. My friend Annie does this every year and this year the word "balance" kept coming to me when I thought of my resolutions.  I need balance in so many areas of my life. Those areas are where I have my resolutions as well.

First, is health. I want to eat well and feed my family nutritious foods, but also enjoy food that may not be nutritious. I want balance in not going to one extreme or the other. My personal goal is to lose 15-25 pounds by my anniversary in June. Adam and I have been married for 10 years this year and I want to look my best when we celebrate. I also want to work-out between 4-6 times a week all year. Now that I have 1 5K behind me, I want to continue to run. My first 5K of the year will also be my first 5K with my parents. After a lot of conversation and convincing, they have agreed to do this run with me and I am extremely excited to have them join me. My resolution is to run 2+ 5K's this year. Ultimately, I want to finish the year feeling good in my skin.

Next, is my spiritual walk. My thoughts tend to be "glass half-empty", pessimistic, and negative towards others around me. I want my thoughts to be more focused on God and that of Philippians 4:8. This one leads to my next goal of praying for Adam and the girls on a regular basis. I also want to find more joy in my children and to laugh and have more fun with my family. These things are important to my spiritual walk because God has blessed me with this little family and since He is the giver of joy, I know I need to look to Him for this.

Lastly, is daily living. This last year I struggled to stay in budget. I hope to stay within budget on groceries for 9 out of 12 months this year. Something else that seemed to get away from me was my house. I want to keep up with it better, making time for quick clean-up every night and quick deep clean once a week so it stays clean overall.

What are some of your resolutions and goals for 2015? Do you have a word for the year? 2015 is going to be a good year. Looking forward to sharing it with all of you!
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