Saturday, July 15, 2017

In my feelings...

The other day on my drive to work I heard a story on the radio that broke my heart. It was about a young girl who had a terminal disease and had only days left of life. Her wish was to marry her best friend one day and he agreed. Mind you they were both under 10, never the less the parents set up a ceremony and they got "married". The young girl died just a couple days later...

It pained my heart but as much as I wanted to sit there and shed a tear, I was running late so I rushed out from my car and buried it. Almost toward the end of my 4 hour shift a little boy approached me and asked if I worked there. He told me his mom was having a hard time finding her size so I followed him back to his mother who had her back towards me.

"Mommy I found someone to help you!" he said excitedly as she turned around. Half of her face, chest and her left arm were covered in burn marks... "Malachi don't bother the lady, I'm ok" she said embarrassed avoiding eye contact. I asked her what size she needed and offered my help but she declined- so I wrote her size down for Malachi and showed him how to look for it on the drawers. He is 6yrs old and had a younger brother with him no older than 3. As they were leaving he approached me again and said  "I'm sad we couldn't find her size but thank you for your help." The look of disappointment in his eyes, like he let his mom down- it burned right through me.

I couldn't help but wonder what happened to her. Did she run into a burning building to save her sons? Did an abusive husband burn her in an act of violence for trying to keep her boys safe? I'll never know, but what I do know is that Malachi looked at his mother like she was the most beautiful woman in the world and he loves her deeply.

Then I got home and watched some Grey's Anatomy and cried my eyes out... There is so much that I feel through out my day that I can't react to, that finally being able to feel and express it openly from under my covers is a much needed cathartic release. And then after all of that, I get to lay down in my comfy bed, in my house, next to my loving husband, with our healthy loving children sleeping upstairs and our loyal dogs laying close by protective of us all. Overwhelmed with gratitude, I back to waterworks until I eventually fall asleep...

I used to hate being so darn sensitive and emotional, but I feel so blessed to have the ability to emphasize, sympathize and feel so deeply. Just as the smallest things can bring so much pain, they can also bring so much joy! It's almost funny when my 5yr old sees me tearing up and asks me "What's wrong? Why are you crying?" and I have to explain happy tears.

It's ok to feel folks! You're entitled to having emotions- just don't stay stuck in a bad one... Night will fall, but the sun will always rise again. 🌞

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

On Purpose

So this past Sunday was "Vision Sunday" at our church.
We got to be witness to our friend's Baptisms and we served at the Fall Festival.
We were given these awesome "On Purpose" T-shirts.
During Sunday service we received the message that
we were created on purpose with a purpose. 
This was welcomed by me as lately, I have been struggling with "finding my purpose".
Sometimes my days are long,
and sometimes I blink- the day is gone and nothing was accomplished.
This brought me back keeping up with my Bullet journal
and I wrote down a 17 before 2017 list.
I set out to accomplish these things on purpose,
not just let think about and hope I get around to it but actually do  it.
I made this list on Friday and I'm happy to report
that I have already crossed 3 things off my list!

So let me ask you this: what's your driving purpose?
and how are your new year's resolutions coming along?

There are 95 days left in 2016- make them count!
Photo credit to an awesome volunteer at out church: Douglas Jacobs

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mental & Emotional tracking

Hello again!

So I was going though Pinterest looking for stuff- printables, layout ideas, stickers, trackers etc and I came across this:

and it blew my mind!

Since Winter of 2013 I have been struggling with anxiety and depression.
Every time I went to my doctors office for a follow up I was asked to evaluate my past 2 weeks and average out how I had been feeling.
People! I couldn't even recall how I got out of bed that morning or if I had had breakfast but I was supposed to produce analysis on my mental & emotional status on demand?

I'm not sure how accurately I answered. My "numbers" were improving according to my doctor's interpretations of my answers even though I felt like I was devolving and spiraling deeper into darkness... I was prescribed the wrong medication for me and I took it for nearly a year.

I desperately wanted a way to show them, diagram my emotions, make a pie chart of some sort to visually explain the torturous turmoil inside me... but I didn't know how or what to do to help myself.
Winter of 14 I discovered this whole "BuJo" idea, and found support to start my journey in a Facebook group.
It was there that I discovered ways to use my personal bullet journal for more than just productivity. Thanks to this method I was able to better explain myself to my doctors and I was put on a different prescription and it made such a HUGE difference towards my progress towards feeling like myself again. 

I've made monthly mood trackers before which are fun and nice to see but to be able to see the whole year... that's just incredible. I wanted to make sure that if anyone else who saw it- liked it- then they too could start doing it right away so I made a PDF form of it but with more defined "moods" or feelings that I personally roller coaster through. You can go ahead and: right click- save image as to your computer and print it off!

.::Click here to download::.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

5 key things that make my marriage work

This past weekend was quite a revelation to me about how blessed I am.
We had a gathering for the Holmes VS Tate fight with food and a painting party on the side to keep the gals busy while we waited for the main event.  It was a joyful evening, a good time with great company. Unfortunately the before and after of the evening was not as pleasant for our guest.

A close friend of mine almost missed the party because she had been in an argument with her husband. I'm a mutual friend to both so her husband contacted me and told me she thinks he may be having an affair. He was firm that no such thing was going on and asked me to talk to her and assure her that she didn't have to worry. I tried calling and texting several times with no response, but to my delight, she made it to our painting party with a smile.

At the end of the night my best friend told me she was feeling animosity coming from her husband. She has an ongoing struggle between loving her husband and wanting to be loved in return. While the greatest proof of love is trust, her husband does not trust her. She made mistakes in her youth that he still holds her accountable for. He also has made mistakes, but those mistakes are in the past and have been forgiven. Still he refuses to move forward even though he has no real reason to doubt her.

And last but not least, the couple my husband invited over got into a domestic altercation on their way home. The young wife called out for our help in distress. She loves him but he's abusing her and she didn't know what else to do. She wants him to change but doesn't want to get him in trouble, so she reached out to us instead of going to the police. He is obviously still bitter about his previous marriage and is taking his unresolved issues out on his new wife. My husband and I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning, trying to help them talk through their issues. They're so young and have an infant so we hold on to the hope that they can work through this.

All of this led me to reflect on everything my husband and I have gone through. If I was to tell you detail by detail all that has transpired between us; you would not believe or understand how our marriage has survived or that we have a thriving relationship after all of it. The road has not been easy for us, from bumps to block-wide pot holes, we have kept on trucking through. What makes our relationship so different? Let me tell you about some of the understanding principles that we keep.

1) Forgive without condition:  The bible says that we ALL fall short of his glory (Romans 3: 10-18, 23) but even though we fall short, God loves us! (Romans 5:1-8) Was it not his commandment for us to love one another like loved us? (John 13:34, 15:12) He died for us even though we are sinners and make mistakes- so why would we not love our spouses through their short comings? (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13) When my husband makes a mistake, no matter how significant, I don't get upset. I expect that he will fall, and as his helpmate I see it my duty to help him back up. And if ever I find negative feelings in my heart, I turn them over to Jesus. Not religious? Holding on to a grudge or hate is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die. It's pointless! In the words of Frozen's Ana "Let it go, let it go!" (1 Peter 4:8)

2) Do your part: (Ephesians 5: 21-33) A lot of people take this out of context, submitting is not accepting failure, it is accepting protection. In todays world women are becoming quite liberal, discarding most if not all of traditional values. Women are trying to do or be the man and handicapping the men and then they wonder where all the good men have gone... They have been pushed out and annihilated! Be a woman and let your man be the man... Go to school, get a job, a career, pursue your dreams WITH your husband, not instead of him or without him. Allow him to make those decision with you, trust him, respect his opinion, don't rub his failures in his face, help him pursue his dreams too!  In the same way, men are accepting failure and stopped caring. They walk their journey leaving a trail of broken hearts... It is your job to love your woman, build her up, encourage her, lift her up when she falls, rebuild her, pray for her, cherish her, and forgive her. Everywhere I turn I see couples tearing each other down, STOP IT! The saying goes "It's you and me against the world" NOT AGAINST EACH OTHER!
Respect him, Love her, and fight together for your marriage, family and future. Not religious? Consider your family a company, each member has a role- choose/assign yours and accept responsibilities for your duties.

3) Stay humble: Accept and understand that we are not perfect and expect that mistakes and accidents will happen. (John 8:7) Life, love, marriage, parenting: these things don't come with instruction manuals! You learn as you go, or you seek answers in God's word. (Ephesians 4:2, Proverbs 11:2) I am not perfect, I don't know it all, I'm not the best at everything, I'm not always right. I know and accept this of myself and I know and don't expect perfection from my husband. If we do not agree on something, instead of arguing about who is right, we seek knowledge together. We take advice from others, and accept reprimands and criticism. We work together to improve. Not religious? Check out THIS article, it's about entrepreneurship, but it applies to life as well- Ego/Pride leads to failure, humility sets you apart.

4) Choose to be kind: (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7) Bad things happen, hurtful words are said, but just because it's started doesn't mean it must continue. Turn it around and remember 1, 2 & 3. Each day is a new beginning and a new chance to start over. Don't wake up with an attitude while giving your spouse the silent treatment! That solves noting, choose to be kind instead.  (Proverbs 15:1, Luke 6:35, Colossians 4:6) Sarcasm and snarky replies can lead to an acrimonious atmosphere at home. Being hurtful towards each other builds walls between you that prevent intimacy and separate you. I don't always know how to be sweet during conversations or situations that go sour, but in that case I would rather stay quiet. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" "If you cannot be nice, at least be quiet"   Not religious? You can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar, apply the golden rule. Treat others how you want to be treated or kill them with kindness, either way, you remain a decent, civil, diplomatic, cool-headed king/queen.

5) Don't give up: They say the hardest year of marriage is the one you are in. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Hard times will come, but don't give up. (Romans 5:3-5)You can't fail unless you quit. Marriage is a commitment and a commitment is staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood you were in when you said, has left you. (2 Peter 1:5-7) You have to be determined to make it work. Determination is doing what needs to be done, even when you don't feel like doing it. Don't be a part of the problem, be part of the solution. Marriages don't fail because they "can't" XYZ, they fail because the people in them refuse to change their insane destructive patterns of behavior! Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Not religious? Quitters never win, and winners never quit. You can't win in life, love, and marriage if you quit. Keep working at it.

With all that said: I am not advising you remain in an abusive relationship longer than you have to, but from personal experience I can attest that your relationship can get past it if you both love each other. Anger management and recovery is possible. Things will not be the same, but they have the potential to be better. If you have a husband with a temper and your husband hits you for the first time (a smack/strike- just 1)- and you decide to stay, speak up for yourself and let him know that it's not ok. "what you allow, you accept"(Matthew 18:15-17) If it happens a second time, tell a friend and family member- set up an intervention, but if he hits you a third time please recognize the pattern of behavior and his unwillingness to change.: Call 1−800−799−SAFE(7233), the National Domestic Abuse Hotline. Concerned professionals will advise you about how to get out safely. It is ok to leave your abusive spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15) If you are in an abusive relationship and your husband is beating you call 1-800-799-7233 immediately.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

We found the one

So this past week my husband and I went on a road trip to look at houses.
We searched in Virginia and Maryland since he will be working near DC we have more options.
We had a list of non-negotiable needs and a wish list of wants which included:

3+ bedrooms (it has 4)
1.5 bathrooms (it has 3 full bathrooms)
Not a corner lot (2nd house from corner)
Not on a main road (2 blocks in 45sec drive to main road)
Gated back yard for dog (1 acre fully fenced in plus built in kennel)
Garage (drive through garage for 2)
Basement (its finished and lovely)
Deck (needs refinishing but has a big one)
Porch (does not have one in front but has a screen covered one in rear leading to deck)
Spacious kitchen & cabinets (nice color, stainless steel appliances and roomy enough)
A fireplace (no but has a wood burning stove)
Walk in pantry (bust: tiny closet)
Tub in the master bathroom (bust: crowded room with a stand up shower)

It has a pool & diving board.

All in all I think we made out great. We're super excited about this new stage in our lives.
We went over our initial budget but we were pre-approved for our loan.
Now we just wait and pray that it passes inspection, that it appraises fairly with the agreed upon prize and that the loan gets approved!
We're pushing for a closing date of March 31st and if all goes well, we'll be packing up and driving out April 1st.
Hubby is due to begin work on April 10th so it gives us a little over a week to get settled in.

The house is in great condition, of course I want to add splashes of color to the rooms and see if I can DIY some magic in to make it personal. We're so used to not being able to many any adjustments with rentals, I can barely sit still as I think of all the possibilities.

All you prayer warriors out there, please lift up our process for approval.
Now to Pinterest ways of meeting the neighbors! Any tips?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cloth Diapering: It isn't for everyone

As we get ready to move here, I've started digging through my "junk closet" and I've found many precious gems that I had left to be forgotten. I stumbled across my Cloth Diaper stash from Just Simply Baby and I started going down through memory lane.

As a teen mom, I didn't know what to expect with my first child. One thing I did do was count how many diapers per day/week/month my baby used and I saved all of my receipts. Total for 2.5yrs of full diapering and 3/4 of a year of pull ups my total investment on disposable diapers was $3,847.92 and it all ended  up in the garbage.

When I found out I was expecting baby #2 I could not figure out how I would find enough money to diaper! and that's when I ran across an add for cloth diapers. I used to think of CD's as something ugly and difficult and potentially dangerous (large pins and all) but when I  clicked through the website I was delighted to see how wrong I was. These diapers were cute, simple to use, eco friendly and would save me a ton! I ordered my first diaper kit for $100 which got me 10 diapers, a changing pad and a wet bag.

I found myself washing these diapers EVERY DAY and it was daunting because I couldn't be too far from home because I'd have to wash and dry them or be out! So then I spent another $250 and got an additional 25 diapers. Now we were talking! With a 35 diaper stash I only had to wash every 3rd day. Silly me though, baby #2 was a girl so I ordered everything pink and cute not thinking ahead... 5months later we were expecting baby #3 and low and behold it was a boy!

No one would be looking at what color his diapers were and baby #2 was a little older now so she didn't use as many diapers as she did in the beginning but now we were back to washing nearly every day. So I did what any reasonable person would do! I invested another $350 for 35 diapers and now we had 70 diapers! as they both grew a little more I found myself only having to wash diapers once weekly but I'd do it twice because it can get a bit stinky!

Soon baby #2 was out of diapers and baby #3 was rocking the cloth. I had a rotation I had worked out where I'd use a number of diapers for a week then change them entirely out for another set, so on and so forth. I even had a stash that was brand new and didn't get used because the other diapers were clean and ready to be used again.

Then when my husband deployed I kinda feel off the wagon. I started only using cloth at home but started purchasing disposables for when we were out. I eventually just quit on cloth. I probably spent about another $400 in disposable diapers until my son potty trained. So in total I spent a whooping $1100 for diapering 2 babies in comparison to what I originally spent on my first.

I must admit that cloth diapering is not for the faint of heart. It can be gross, it can smell really bad, you have to lug around bulky stuff. Once when we visited my mom in California from Virginia I had to use a whole luggage bag specifically just for diapers. Then you totally have to rely on having a washing machine and you need special treatment of your washing rituals because CD's must not come into contact with fabric softener or it's residue.

But if you are dedicated to being eco friendly, or have a child with sensitive skin, or are simply just broke and in need of desperate drastic measures- then this could be for you!

 I researched several companies while looking for a brand I could trust and the reason why I settled with JBS was because they had a wide variety of options with inserts, prints & styles. I found them to be the most cost effective PLUS they were the ONLY company who offered a 30 day return policy! Can you imagine dishing out $350 on cloth diapers only to find out you hate it and be stuck with your purchase or sell at a loss! How disappointing. Everyone else had the disclaimer that due to the nature of the items returns were not accepted. Hog Wash! And that's why we went with JBS. Plus the customer service is amazing, the owner Katie is such a dear. A little hand written note in every package a long with instructional pamphlets and packaged with love.

Wicked cool part? They have an affiliate program! You can earn 10% in store credit or 5% cash of any referral sales! What better way to fulfill your fluff addiction and make the world a better place?

Do you cloth diaper? Have you ever thought about it? Would you be interested in trying them out?

*Disclaimer: I'm part of their affiliate program. Purchases through the links may help contribute to the expenses of running this blog. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A glimpse into a day in my shoes

7:30am Alarm went off. Made my bed and came down stairs to make myself a cup of Tazo Passion Fruit tea.
8:15am Alarm went off to take my kiddo and the neighbors to school. Got back, got the kids dressed and we got in the car to take daddy to work.
9:35 I called a friend on the way home to see if she wanted to grab some coffee but she was busy so I went to the gas station and grabbed a cup of joe for myself. I was too impatient to wait for it to cool so I threw it back and my throat is still scalded.
9:55 got home and  got ready for doctors appointment and got kiddo ready for preschool and worked on my journal
12:10 Alarm went off to take kiddo to Preschool. Dropped her of then headed to the Post Exchange to kill time before my appointment and to search for V-day cards
1:30 got to the hospital parking lot and shared a snack with little man before running inside. Walked to the basement to get him into watch care but it was closed so we headed for the clinic.
1:55 got called back to the observation room. Took weight (lost 5lbs since my last visit), Blood pressure (went down) but my depression symptoms aren't improving.
2:25 the doctor finally came in and she felt for my thyroid and said she wants me to get my TC levels checked again (3rd time in 8months) plus an ultrasound.
2:35 checked in to Radiology and made ultrasound appointment.
2:40 checked in to the Lab to get blood work done.
2:48 flew out of there to make it to school in time to pick up the kiddos.
3:30 got home & I had to try on the new lipstick I purchased at the PX earlier + took a selfie.
3:45 Daddy got home
Some time between 4:30 & 5 Daddy and the middle child passed out on the couch while I cleared the notifications from my phone.
5:30 went on Zillow to look for homes in our price range, with our wants/needs plus good school ratings. Seems like an impossible feat.
6:30 Started writing this blog wondering where the past 3 days have gone. I have 3 snail mail letters that need to be responded and mailed out but my energy is through the floor and I have no desire to do anything.
Kicking myself for missing my Friday deadline for posting to my YouTube channel...
My phone is dying, I don't know where my charge is and I don't care to look for it.
Little man is throwing a fit & I feel like I'm failing at life...
I have a terrible migraine, my back & shoulders hurt and I could really use a nap but I'm too stubborn to take one.
It just feels like theres a black hole walking behind me sucking life & joy out of me. HELP!