Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When I Grow Up

I don't really remember dreaming about growing up and becoming much of anything when I was a small child. I'm sure there were times when my grandparents, teachers, and other positive influences around me encouraged me, but mostly I just remember thinking that growing up meant being depressed and unhappy and poor and doing nothing but working and drinking. It's depressing to say and think about, but I guess I never really thought about it until now either. I never wanted to grow up.

As I grew a little older, however, say....12 or 13, I started to dream. I dreamed of marrying Justin Timberlake and having little blonde-headed babies (despite us both being brunettes?) and a world in which I never, ever had to worry about money again. I taped magazine pages on my walls and wrote love letters and was absolutely smitten with good old JT. Give it another year or two and I would snap out of my boy-band obsessed dreams and actually start reality-dreaming.

I specifically remember a conversation with my best friend about how we dreamed our lives would be:

I would marry at 21, have my first baby at 23, my second at 25, and I would be a stay-at-home Mama and wife to a brutally handsome tall, dark and funny man who did nothing but shower me with love gifts and worship the ground that I walked on. (I'll take this time to thank all those cheesy, romantic love stories and movies I read and watched as a child for encouraging me to think that true love meant that your husband was to be completely obsessed and do nothing but worship you.) I dreamed of a big house with big dogs and a happy family (with perfectly behaved children) who had parties all the time and friends over to entertain every single night. I would drive a fancy SUV with all the bells and whistles and would be drop-dead gorgeous in my designer clothing and I would never want for anything.

Fast forward to the present, reality sets in, and I have to praise my Lord Almighty that sometimes what we think we want is not at all what we really want, and He knows best for us, even when it comes to our deepest desires.

I did get married at 21 (to a shorter, not quite as dark, but still brutally handsome man) and I did have that first precious baby at 23. But the rest...well, it didn't quite play out in tune with my dreams. Instead, I have been blessed with less and am so very thankful for it.

My husband loves deeply and openly but I would not call him obsessed, nor does he worship the ground that I walk on. (Wouldn't that get annoying after awhile?) He is Christ-centered and a true family man. He works hard and provides our family with everything that we need. He is truly God-sent, even if he was just sent for me.

Although I still dream of being a stay-at-home Mama and wife full-time, I am living the next best-case scenario with a part-time job that allows me to stay home with my son so that he never needs to go to a babysitter or daycare. He has been raised 100% by his parents and that was a dream and desire that I could have never dreamed of having when I was younger. We own our home, which is not big by any standards, but is more than enough for our family, along with three vehicles - none of which have all the bells and whistles, or any, for that matter. We have two wonderful dogs who stand about a foot tall (we like to keep things small around here) and I don't think I own one piece of clothing that would be considered 'designer'.

Despite my dreams being a, I will say this: I always have everything I need.

God truly provides and sometimes I have to look back and just shake my head in amazement in awe at the ability He has to make our dreams come true before we even know that they're our dreams.

My life is more than what I could have ever dreamed it could be and I am head-over-heels in love with the way that He's planning it out to be.


Now go link up for this week's prompt: 
We all imagined what our lives would like like when we were "all grown up"... how does that compare to what your life looks like now?
Girl Between the Lines Link up

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I AM Pulling it Off

Clean eating has been going great for me this year. I feel absolutely wonderful and I have seen great results (but more on that in a few days).

Jeremy and I are in the process of planning vacation to the beach somewhere this year. It seems like every time we think we've got it figured out, something happens and we have to start all over again. Still the beach is calling our names, we will figure out a way to get there, and I (of course) have already started planning what I'm going to wear.

Whenever I start to think about new clothing or styles, I always think of Ted from HIMYM and his red cowboy boots and how he was so confident that he was pulling them off. I love that. I love it because it's 100% something I would (and do) do. I have accepted challenges before that started with the words 'there is no way you could pull that off' many times before.

I love proving people wrong!

Here are a few things I'm looking forward to pulling off this summer.

High-waisted, pleated skirts with a pretty t-shirt and flats.

I am usually way too fat for these. The pleats make me look like a huge balloon, but, my tummy is shrinking (noticeably so) and I'm hoping that by April/May when we go on vacation, I'll be pulling this one off.

Flowing shirts (can you tell I love belted things) with shorts. SHORTS!

I have not wore shorts since I was dating Jeremy and we've now been married for 5 years. I've got a long way before I'm going to be comfortable in shorts again (and I will never be comfortable in short shorts) but I think I can muster up enough strength to buy just ONE pair for vacation and summer.

Oh, and that red lipstick. I'm so buying a tube of red lipstick.

See that shirt? I've owned it for almost 6 months now but it's always been too tight. I had all these great envisions of wearing it through the fall and winter and it never worked out. The great thing was that I got it for about $4.00 so I really didn't have to feel too guilty about it. Still, it's about time that I wore it and why not incorporate it somehow into my vacation suitcase? I have white capris just like these so I see no reason why I can't be pulling this off by late spring.

This shirt.

Seriously, how cute is that?

The same is true for sleeveless shirts as the shorts: I haven't wore them in years. I started doing a few strength exercises and a couple of them are geared specifically for arms and shoulders.

I will go sleeveless this year.

Considering that the temperature is a whooping -10 today and the wind chill is way worse than that, it's easy to start dreaming about the warm summer months and a light and fun wardrobe.

Have you started planning for warm weather yet? What items do you have on your wardrobe wishlist?

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Monday, January 27, 2014

How to use Twitter: An explanation from a seasoned 17 year old to his newbie 26 year old sister.

I joined Twitter.

Well...let me rephrase: I started using Twitter. I've been a member for over a year and have never even looked at the thing. I just don't get it and it seems like it's just one more social network to keep track of.
Still, I bit the bullet - partially to feel like I still know what the heck is going on these days with technology and partially because I'm doing this awesome challenge in February in which the group will have Twitter parties and I want to join in.

(@overcomethelie - check it out, I'm pretty sure you can still join!)

The first person to notice that I joined Twitter was my younger brother, so I immediately 'tweeted' him my ignorance when it came to the social network, and he (like the good brother he is) gave me a few words of advice:

#1 - Go follow a bunch of people. And famous people.

Okay - so this doesn't seem too hard. Just follow people. Like Facebook, or Instagram, or even Pinterest...I can do this thing!

#2 - Tweet dumb stuff and retweet people.

Dumb stuff? Like...what exactly? I browsed a bit while watching the Grammy's and tweeted a few of my first tweets:

I can't believer I missed #TheBachelorWedding (Yup, dumb, got this)

I want a sparkly piano! #Grammys (...oh man, I'm going to be GOOD at this)

Retweet people?

Got this one too!

#3 - Complain and listen to other couples fight.

Jeremy isn't part of the Twitter there won't be any fighting done by us but the 'listening' part I can do. And, as much as I try not to, I'm sure I can manage to complain from time to time.

Does this one make me a Twitter failure?

#5 - People like Twitter Wars.

I'm still not sure what a Twitter war is, but I have a feeling it has a lot to do with #3. Anyone care to explain a 'Twitter War' to me?

As someone who is completely new to this Twitter world, I can see how it can be addicting. I'm pretty sure I could find something to tweet about almost every minute of the day. But...I will try to refrain.

What are your feelings on Twitter? Do you have any advice for a newbie?

P.S. - If you're looking for a quick 'explanation' of Twitter, here is how my brother explained it:

Twitter: Where everyone's opinion is worse than your own.


Also, this:

I will never let him live it down...and you should do what he says: follow me!
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Friday, January 24, 2014

A Day in My Life [January]

January 17, 2014

The wind is blowing something fierce today and it's a strong reminder that all things change. The once bright blue skies are now grey and the temperature has dropped at least 20 degrees, taking my motivation with it.

I woke up this morning and decided it was time to start really working with Henry on his speech, letters, numbers, and colors. I want him to be the very best that he can be... but I also don't want him to grow up too fast either.

There seems to be a fine line between the two.

Learning time soon turns to play time and I think I will get to work on the household chores: mainly dishes and laundry, the two that never seem to end.

When I dreamed of growing up and becoming a wife and a mother, I never took into consideration the housework that would go into these roles.

I also never took into consideration the rewarding feeling and overwhelming blessing that these seemingly small tasks could be. Life is full of little surprises like that.

My wrists have been bothering me something horrible lately, and it's hard at time do some of my every day tasks and even some of my favorite things. Perhaps it's the cold, or perhaps it's some other's hard to tell.

My crochet hook sits idle and there are so many photos that need edited...

I am glad today that I have stepped away from them all, the call is not there and when it is forced, it feels so much more like work. I hate that.

It feels so good at times just to slow down and focus on every little moment. The smiles and laughter of my little one and the warmth of my husband's hug when he walks through the door in the evenings.

It's comforting to the soul, just like the hot soups I've been making on a weekly basis. So good and satisfying and it makes you want to do nothing more than live in the moment forever.

It may be cold outside, but my house is warm and so full of life, love, and new things. Every single day.

I wouldn't have it any other way.


A Day in My Life is a new monthly photo project that I will be participating in with 9 other lovely ladies for the year. On the 4th of every month (with the exception of January) we will document our days through photos, pick 14 of those photos to share, and then blog about it on the 24th.

I'm so excited to introduce you to each of these ladies but today I want you to meet Clair! Clair is a military wife from Missouri, a wonderful mama of 4, and the editor of The Creative Mama. Follow over to cgdickson [the blog] and see how she documented A Day in My Life.


P.S. - Go ahead and click the 'shop' button at the top of my page. I've finally added a few products and will be adding more soon!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday!

So guess what?

My blog turns FOUR tomorrow! I have an awesome new project starting tomorrow so I decided to celebrate today.

A lot has changed since I first started blogging. Matter of fact - I used to 'blog' on Myspace. Remember those days?

I've went from blogging completely for myself for creative and stress-relief purposes, to blogging to document memories, to blogging within a community, to some sort of crazy cocktail of them all. Each one has been so much fun and interesting and I have grown so much over the past four years. I can't wait to see what the next four years bring and I can't wait to look back and think 'wow! look at how much I've changed...again!'

Happy 4th Birthday, Blog! I'm so glad that I have you to share everything with.  ;)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One Step Away from Family

I just recently acquired this old, worn, quilt and yet, it may be the most precious possession that I own.

First, some back story....

My dad was adopted after his grandmother (and caregiver) passed away by his great aunt and the woman that I call my grandmother today. I grew up calling her my Mammal, and it wasn't until I was old enough to understand why our extended family was so small that she sat me down and explained it all to me. With my mother and her family pretty well out of the picture, my grandmother, father, and brothers and sisters were pretty well the extent of my family.

This beautiful quilt that is frayed on the edges with holes wearing through, was made by my Mammal's mommy and it is something that she has cherished for years with all of her heart. It has been pulled out of a dresser drawer many times, holding it close to her chest, saying 'one day I will give this to you and then maybe you can fix it...' and then it would go back to it's place in the bottom of her dresser.

I always dreamed of the day I would own something so special and precious to someone. An heirloom to a family that I barely knew but cherished because it was mine.

She gave it to me last year. Her only words were 'please take care of it' and I vowed I would. I know she always said that she hoped I would 'fix' it, mending the holes and adding a new backing so that it doesn't eventually fall apart.

Maybe one day I will.

Right now, I am cherishing it the way that it is. It is my go-to snuggle blanket and hangs on the back of my chair all of the time. It smells of my grandmother's house and there's a comfort in knowing that you are wrapped in something that was made from the heart.

It may just be a 'thing', a possession, but to me, it's one step away from being family.

Girl Between the Lines Link up

Now go link up with Lauren and Hayley!

What is one tangible thing you have that holds intangible value?
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Homemade Wheat Bread

Since I decided to kick out all of the horrible, poisonous food in our lives and focus entirely on natural, clean foods instead - I've been doing a lot of cooking. There have been mornings that I've gotten up at 6:30 just to spend an hour making breakfast before my husband goes to work and nights (like last night) that I spend 2 to 3 hours in the kitchen working on dinner and other food preparations.

There is a kind of therapy that comes with making your own food, especially from scratch, and you learn to really appreciate it for all it's worth when you start from nothing and work your way up.

I've cut most breads out of my own diet completely, but I was still buying a loaf of whole wheat bread from the store almost once a week. It was okay, but I knew that I wanted to tackle the project of making my own despite the fact that I had never made real bread before. Sure, I'd made 'dessert' breads out of bananas that were about to go bad, but I had never kneaded and waited and smelled the delicious product of homemade bread on my own before.

All of the recipes I found were pretty similar and they were all pretty easy too, so I decided last night would be the perfect time to give it my best shot. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was and the delicious product in the end...well, it was SO worth it. {I will warn you, this bread is super easy to make but it takes a total of almost 3 hours to put all together and bake. While I was waiting for it to rise, I would busy myself with other things: it's a leave it and just come back to it type of thing.}

What you will need:
1 3/4 cups of warm water
3 cups of wheat flour
2 tsp of yeast
1 tsp of salt
3 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp of olive oil
4 tbsp of oats

Step One: Mix the flour, yeast and water together in a small bowl. Let it sit to rise for about 30 minutes or until it has about doubled in size. {check on the laundry, do 30 minutes of yoga, read the little one a book}

Step Two: Add 2 tbsp of honey, the olive oil and salt to the dough and knead until the dough is sticky. Let it sit for another 30 minutes so it can get it's rise-thing on again. {start your dinner preparations, flirt with the mister, give the kiddo a quick bath}

Step Three: Go ahead and knead that baby again and then throw it into it's loaf pan and allow it to rise for another 30 minutes. I just lightly oiled my pan with olive oil because I swear when I think something won't always does! Go ahead and mix your oats with your honey and set them aside to be spread over your loaf. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. {eat, read a few chapters in your book, blog about how dang long it takes for this bread to rise}

Step Four: Spread your honey and oats mixture over the top of your loaf and throw it into the oven for 40 minutes. {enjoy that wonderful smell, relax, swoon over the newest bachelor}

Step Five: Pull your wonderful creation out of the oven and ENJOY. I promise it will be worth it, especially if you smear a little natural peanut butter over that fresh, hot piece for dessert. SO GOOD.

I hope you will enjoy!

Nutrients per 5/8-inch slice: Calories: 80, Total fat: 1.75 g, Sat. fat: 0.25 g, Carbs: 15 g, Fiber: 2.5 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 1.5 g, Sodium: 26 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Monday, January 20, 2014


Henry and I are a little under the weather today so we haven't done much but lay around so I took the down time as an opportunity to give my little blog a new face-lift. The best part? It's completely custom and I did it myself! I have always wanted to take the time to create a custom blog template and although it's super, super simple, I love it!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Hello Saturday.

I wish I could say that I was happy to see you, but I have to work a 10 hour shift today and am hoping to squeeze in a very special photo-shoot in between there someway, somehow too...

Tomorrow is for resting and for connecting and loving on my boys and I can't. wait.

Please be easy on me and I'll look more forward to you next week, k?


Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Encouragement

If you want to be put down, let down, told that you're not good enough - I'm sure you can find plenty of people to help you feel that way. Some of us wouldn't even have to go any further than our own bathroom mirror.

Life can be so hard. There are those moments that you are at your highest high, on top of the world, celebrating all that life has to offer...and then there are times that you are so low that you can't even see the top of the hole, lost in the darkness, cold and so very alone.

In comes encouragement - in the form of a smile, a letter, a best friend's hug.

It'll wrap around you like a warm and familiar blanket; lifting your spirits and comforting your soul. It will help you out of your hole and begin to push you back up to that high place in your life.


It can heal a broken heart and be the final push you need to finally step out of your comfort zone. It helps you grow and prosper and live to your fullest.

We cling to those people who encourage us the most because we need it to thrive. We need people there who can help us back up when we're down, and push us when we're on the edge of something great but too afraid of that final step.

Be that person for someone today. There is plenty of disappointment in the world, but there will never be enough encouragement.

P.S. - These Ripples & Waves now has a Facebook page! Go like it here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Praying about Homeschooling

Jeremy and I have discussed for the past year and a half or so about homeschooling Henry. I'm not going to get into our reasoning right now, as that could be an entire post on it's own, but more or less about my heart's uneasiness about such a big decision.

Today Henry and I are starting a 'pre-school' type of regimen that I have been working on for awhile now. Each week we will go through one letter and number and pair that with books, songs, trips, movies, etc... pretty much we will have a 'theme' of the week and stick to it all week long. I'm going to see how this goes, if I can stick to a certain schedule and successfully teach Henry a few things on my own.

We have prayerfully considered our options and we feel as if homeschooling is best for us. However, we are also considering 'sending' him to a fellow homeschooling mom's home for school. I know that sounds a lot like sending him to public school, but the curriculum would be quite different and we feel like his life would be enriched by a different sort of learning experience guided by what we feel are essential lesson plans that include Biblical teachings and community service.

So pray for me today as we start on this journey. In a few years when it comes time for 'real' school, Henry may just end up going to public school. We don't know. We just know at this season of life, right now, our heart's are pulling us in this direction.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life is What You Make It

Everyone these days have a bit of advice. It seems like every time I have a conversation with someone, no matter the topic, they have something or another to add. There are times that I listen with both ears open and soak up every last detail, and there are times that I let the words flow through one ear and right back out the other without even a second thought.

If there is one thing that I've heard and held onto with all of my might, if I could claim one tid-bit of information as the 'best' advice I've ever received, it is this:

That Eleanor; she sure did know what she was talking about! Something tells me that her and Frank D. lived a pretty happy and fulfilling life.

I'm pretty well known by those who are around me as a happy, spunky, full-of-life, and carefree person. That may not reflect completely here on my little blog, but it's pretty well true in my 'real' life. I don't see any point in being dragged down by the world and I truly believe that my life is a reflection of this advice.

Our world is too full of people with excuses. Excuses as to why they are unhealthy, unhappy, unenthusiastic and unhappy. But the truth of the matter is that life is what you make it, and you must make the choice every day to be the person that you want to be. Courage, strength, satisfaction, happiness: all of these things are a product of a mindset. You could be in the most beautiful place and the perfect time and if you don't take the time to see it, enjoy it, soak it in...then you'll miss it.

So if no one has ever told you to wake up each morning and make the best of your day, your year, or you life: I'm telling you now. Take this advice and head it, keep it locked somewhere deep in your heart and soul and don't ever, ever, ever forget it.

It will make every single day shine in a light that you've failed to see before.


Girl Between the Lines Link up

Now go link up with this week's prompt: What is the most valuable advice you've ever received and why?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

We've been trying a lot of new foods and meals in our house the last couple of weeks. Just today I started pulling random things out of the refrigerator and mixing them together for lunch - and it was actually really good too! If there's one thing I've learned in the last week it's this: cilantro makes EVERYTHING better. Seriously. Why have I not been cooking with cilantro more?

Two nights ago I decided we were going to have shrimp. Typically we would do a butter and garlic mix for our shrimp and make like a scampi, but as butter is sooo bad for you, I decided I needed to try something new. After scouring the internet for a while, I came across this recipe, and it held as my inspiration for the meal.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

- 20 pieces of raw, medium-sized shrimp (shelled and deviened)
- 1/2 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 tbls lime juice

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet at medium heat, crack your cloves of garlic but leave them whole and add them to the oil. I let my garlic cook in the oil for about 2 minutes or so so that some of the flavor would release, then added my shrimp. Then add your cilantro and lime. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until they are cooked thoroughly. Remove from the skillet and serve, discarding the garlic cloves. If you would like, you could add a bit more lime or cilantro after cooking for added zip or just for looks.

We had our shrimp with garlic french green beans and it was delicious. You could also serve it up on some rice or even some sort of pasta!

This is a new favorite in our house and I foresee us having it a LOT in the future. Hopefully your family will enjoy it too!

Nutritional Values per Serving (serves 2)
Calories: 123
Carbs: 3
Fat: 2
Protein: 22
Sodium: 896
Sugar: 1

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Purpose in Photography

I've been reflecting and thinking a lot about purpose lately and what things in my life weigh on me the most and why. There are the obvious things that most of us stress about: money, time, and whether or not we're doing enough, and then there are those things that we have to dig deeper to discover.

We are just shy of two weeks into January and every time I have sat to reflect and think about the things that stress me out most in my life, I keep coming back to one thing: my business.

The biggest stress of my life right now is the constant worry and anxiety about whether or not I'm doing enough for my business to grow and prosper. Why I am not getting a certain client or why a certain client did not buy a certain image or why I keep allowing myself to be pulled into situations that I'm not comfortable in just for the sake of growing, prospering, and moving forward.

I realize that it takes leaps of faith and great courage to grow, but I also am not sure if it's worth the amount of time I spend worrying about it all.

The purpose, the entire reason, I went into this business was because I loved it. But I'm not sure I do anymore and that is so sad.

So, I've decided to take this year off. I'm going to sit back and let things go. I may take on a few clients (I have one wedding booked in July) but otherwise, I'm going to let go and let God.

I want to get back to loving what I'm doing and I want to get back to doing more creative photography instead of constantly trying to push myself to find and please clients. I want to learn and feel completely comfortable in different, tough situations. I want to find my passion and purpose when it comes to photography...and if that's not portrait work, then so be it.

I think this will be good and I think that in a year's time, I may just find exactly what I'm passionate about in this creative world and I think that in the end, my business will be better for it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Black Bean Soup

With all this cold weather lately, I've really been craving some warm, delicious soup. I wanted something different however, and something that didn't have meat or pasta. (I'm being difficult here, I know) My goal for 2014 is to find more healthy meals to cook and enjoy, especially meals that have no meat or grains. I've been watching FAR too many documentaries lately about processed foods and how horrible they are for us (including sugar and white flour), and I've been doing my best to cut them out of our diets 99% of the time. We gotta eat more fruits and veggies people! is my version of an (almost) vegetarian black bean soup. If you wanted to change it up a bit and add some meat, you could add a bit of hamburger, ground turkey, or even shredded chicken.

3 (15 oz) cans of black beans
1 cup of chopped onions and peppers (I used frozen)
1/2 cup of salsa or canned tomatoes
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cups of chicken broth (you could use any kind of broth really)
2 tbls minced garlic (or about 2 cloves)
2 tbls chili powder
3 tbls lime juice
2 tbls fresh cilantro, chopped finely
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and cook until the vegetables are at at texture that you're happiest with. I like mine with a bit of crunch yet so my pot only took about 30 minutes to cook.

Serve alone or paired with some chips, sour cream and fresh salsa.  This is by far one of my favorite meals for the winter time!

And because I'm trying to eat healthy this new year, here are the nutritional values for my recipe:

Per Serving: (Serves about 6)

Calories: 216
Carbs: 37
Fat: 2
Protein: 11
Sodium: 836
Sugar: 4

Let me know how you like it if you try it!

Five Minute Friday - See

I haven't seen any of them in so long that it almost feels like I'm a complete outcast just peeking in to a secret family life. I know that I'm still a 'part' of this family, kind of, at least by blood, but then on the other hand I know that I am absolutely no part of it at all.

See, I have made this choice for myself to step away and it's not for any other reason than the fact that I don't want to get hurt. And I don't want Henry hurt, especially.

Still, it hurts to see photos of them all together and yet, I am missing, and it's like they don't notice at all.

It's hard but I think it's worth it, and this is my hope.

My grandmother tells me that her prayer is that we will all be able to be a part of one another's lives again, that I will have the opportunity to pick up the phone one day and call any of them just to say hi, or ask for advice, or share something going on in my life.

The hardest part about my life, as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, may just be the feeling that no one sees me. I sometimes feel like a ghost in this world: completely and utterly alone, screaming never to be heard.

There is literally only one person, outside of my husband, that I can turn to at any time. And I know sometimes my husband feels tired and strained with the weight of having to carry his wife through everything all of the time.

I have great in-laws, but five years into our marriage and they're just now starting to feel like my family and not just a family that I was brought in to. Not that they weren't always welcoming, but these things take time.

I wish I could say that things will change, but I am not good at this. I am not good at making friends. I am not good at opening up. I am not good at going with someone with my problems because I have been taught my entire life to keep them in. Mostly, I'm not good at putting myself out there...again. I don't want to be hurt. I've been hurt so much and it just doesn't seem fair.

I wish someone could see into my soul and know exactly how it feels, but they can't, and so until then I will only pray that one day it may all change, and keep moving forward the only way that I know how: with my head up and my hopes high.

Five Minute Friday

Now head on over to Lisa-Jo's and link up yourself!

Thursday, January 09, 2014


I have spent my entire life shaping the person that I'm becoming. Despite being put into circumstances that allowed me to not care, at all, there was a pull in my soul that told me to just keep going. (I'll chuck that up to the wonderful grace of God.) I was always inspired and motivated by women around me who seemingly had not a care in the world; I remember looking up to so many of them thinking 'I wish I could have courage like that.'

I've always been a bit of a wallflower; I would much rather sit alone in my own thoughts, people-watching, rather than being a part of the party. I'm okay with that. Still, there are times (more often than I'd care to admit) that I'd much rather be the one dancing like a fool on the dance floor too.

The courage that it takes to step out of your comfort zone, past your insecurities and fears, is what I admire most in so many people around me.

My grandmother, who has spent the majority of my life teaching me how to live as a respectable lady, possesses more courage than any one person I have ever met. She lives her days without a concern or care of what other people think, being her complete self, and inspiring others to do the same.

My best friend and soul-sister, Allison, can light up a room with her spunky personality and willingness to talk and befriend all without even a second thought. That sort of courage and confidence shakes my very core.

My mother-in-law who never even blinked at the word 'cancer', she possesses such true courage.

Every single blogger friend with whom I have had the pleasure of talking to, those who bare their heart and soul on a daily basis, and those who continue to encourage and support others despite their own personal battles: their courage inspires me.

Courage is something I have lacked my entire life. When put into a position that requires overcoming my own personal fears and insecurities, I'm more likely to shy away than to stand up to the plate and do my very best. However, with all of the support and love of these courageous ladies who have surrounded me in life, I have grown leaps and bounds from the scared little girl that I once was.

Although I may still have my fears and insecurities, surrounding myself with courageous people has helped to build a bit of courage on my own and for that I am thankful. I am truly blessed.

Girl Between the Lines Link up

Now head on over and link up with Lauren and Hayley and tell us about a trait you look up to or admire in someone in your life and why!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Health with Purpose

January always means one thing, America - time to go on a diet!

I didn't set any 'health' goals this year for one reason and one reason only: I never stick to them and I see no point in going back and being all 'oh snap, about that...' one year later when I fail. Lord knows we don't need any more disappoints in our lives so why even start?

I'm so sick of the dieting 'fads'. One week it's Atkins, the next week Weight Watchers. Something works for someone, another person fails at it, and they all usually backslide and gain 20 pounds more than what they lost in the first place. No thank you.

I decided this year that I'm taking control of our lives in a different way. I'm not focusing on weight-loss or dieting even though I need to lose weight like now; instead I'm bringing our entire lives back into focus in a different way.

This year I am focusing on becoming the healthiest us we can be. This means going back to the basics of food in general, realizing what it is we're putting into our bodies and making drastic changes to cut out the things that are absolutely horrible for us.

Call it 'clean eating' but really it's just finding purpose with our food.

However, I am not just focusing on food alone. I am also putting a huge emphasis on our mental health this year and the image we perceive ourselves to be.

No more negative talk about ourselves or our bodies. We are going to focus entirely on being happy with who we are in the moment, no matter what. I am going to look myself in the eye every day and tell myself that I am enough, right now, in this moment, no matter what.

I know this is going to make a huge difference in our lives and I am fully confident that when I look back, I'm going to be so glad that I did this instead of some diet. 2014 is my year, I just know it.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Breathe, Trust, & Let Go

Do you ever feel completely out of control? That feeling that at any minute you're just going to completely snap because no matter how hard you've tried, it's just not working and you feel completely out of options...  well, that's where I've been today.

As much as it's hard to admit that there are times that I really have no idea what I'm going to do next, it feels good to openly confess that it happens more often than anyone would ever imagine.

The broken cabinet front that I know my husband is going to be less than pleased about when he gets home, the dishes piled in the sink that I was sure I was going to get to today, the toys strewn all over the living room floor, the lack of food in the house, and the two year old who is snuggled up by my side fighting sleep with everything he has...

all of these things weigh at my being.

I don't always need to know exactly how to fix everything. I need to learn to breathe, to let go, to find quiet moments through-out my day to quit freaking out, and just let it go until my mind and soul are stable enough to keep going.

Far too often I find that I never take even a moment for myself and it causes me to grow impatient and angry and bitter because I'm so. very. exhausted.

Today I am trusting that all of these little, minor, things will be taken care of eventually. Right at this moment, I need to breathe, to let go and to just see what happens instead of forcing it to happen.

If I take a moment of calm, for myself and for my well-being, I may just surprise myself at the end of the day with just how much I can get done.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Being a Mother in 2014

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a mother in our time-period. The more I think about it, the more discouraging, exciting, and mostly confusing it is to me. Well, perhaps not to me alone exactly, but to all of us really.

To be a mother in the year 2014 means a million different things, and that alone is what is so confusing.

It seems like motherhood to our mothers, and especially our grandmothers and great-grandmothers was less confusing. There seemed to be a direct role related to being a mother: you cooked, you cleaned, and you raised the children. A mother's place was primarily just in the home. Now days the role of a mother is just about as diverse as every snowflake that is falling outside of my window right now. No two mother's roles are the same, and no two mother's are going to agree on everything either!

It's really kind of sad when you think about it. Instead of building each other up, supporting one another in our roles, and lending some support when we need it (cause God knows we need it). We tend to tear one another down, judging one style of parenting from another, and acting like we know it all.

Then there is this unfortunate stigma going around that kids are the WORST thing that can happen to a young woman. Have you noticed this? Kids (and marriage, but that's a different topic) are something to be saved for after you've done some living. Ya know, cause kids (and a husband) bog you down, hold you in some place that you don't want to be, and overall ruin you. Where the heck does that come from? I feel like you can do plenty of good, quality living whether you have children (and a husband) or not.

But that's besides the point.

Whether you are a working mother, a stay-at-home mother, or something in between (like me). I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone as a mother and encourage another. We need each other, for support and laughter and kindness and just the know that we're not the only ones doing this thing. And quit judging one another, or at least, really, really try. We're all just doing our very, very best here...

And don't forget, my door's always open if you ever need to talk!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

2013 Recap!

I LOVE doing a yearly recap, I love looking back on the year and seeing all the we did and all the changes we made and ESPECIALLY how much Henry has changed. Looking back can also bring to light all of the things that make you so uniquely blessed and I love that! You can see my recap from 2012 here, read on for 2013's!

January 17 - We lost our cat Stinky, Jeremy's childhood cat. That poor cat put up with so, so much and as much as I hated cleaning up after him, he has been sincerely missed.

January 19 - Henry turned 18 months old. Seriously, where did the time go?!

February 17 - Jeremy, Henry and I packed up on a while and headed to Chicago for a day and night and had a blast visiting The Windy City.

March 6 - The night I stepped on a rock while running and thought I severely sprained my ankle only to find out I broke it months later. This still makes me cringe.

March 24 - My grandfather Hensley went on to be with the Lord. I was heartbroken by this news, mostly because I felt like I was robbed from someone who I should have been able to love and know more.

April 11 - We headed to Florida with the in-laws for a week's vacation.

May 28 - We had the house sided...finally!

July 19 - Henry turned TWO!

...and we had a bash of a party for him too.

September 3 - We traded the Cadillac for a mini-van that I had been wishing for since the day Henry was born.

October 3 - We replaced one of our couches with two new recliners.

October 5 - We took a mini-vacation to Michigan and visited Bronner's and The Henry Ford Museum & Village as well as visiting with family.

October 23 - I turned 26.

October 29 - Jeremy turned 31.

November - We had the gutters put on the house, completing the major overhaul on the outside of our home.

November 28 - My mother-in-law finally got to come home from the hospital after having a full hysterectomy that took care of ALL of her cancer. It was the best Thanksgiving, EVER.

December 23 - Jeremy and I celebrated five wonderful married years.