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I’ll Catch You

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This is my last day before my whole world changes. Knowing I will meet my daughter for the very first time tomorrow is overwhelming, exciting, anxiety inducing and includes “all the feels.” Of course, I’ve had months of preparation…feeling her kick and punch constantly have served as a wonderful reminder of the little one growing inside me. And now that the day has almost arrived for us to meet her, I find myself feeling a little shy – like it’s a blind date. What will she be like? Will she look like her daddy just like her brother did? Or will I see a bit of myself reflected in the shape of her eyes or curve of her lips?

Will she know how much I have prayed for her and loved her since the moment I learned of her existance? Will I be able to show her that love unconditionally the way I want to? How will my heart grow without bursting? Having a second child is easier in some ways, I guess. I can tell myself, “I’ve done this before.” But in many ways, I haven’t. I haven’t been the mother of a newborn and a toddler before. I am scared that I won’t be very good at it and one of them will always be wanting. I worry that I may not have enough to give to be the mother they both deserve.

And then I think of the women in my life – friends and family who have more than 1 kid, and I see the love and affection they have for each other. I can do this, many have done this before. I know it will be a big job and I’m not really sure there is any training, any reading or any conversation that is going to make me feel prepared. Trial by fire, my friends.

But babycakes, I do solemnly swear – you will be loved by your mommy. And I will do everything I can to keep you safe, raise you to love and respect others and to know God. I have spent months preparing for your arrival, and on this last day – my mind is full of what ifs and worry and wondering if I’m ready.

The truth is, if you are – I am. Because that is how motherhood works. There is nothing that can prepare you – but I liken the experience to those automatic reactions our bodies create. Like when you drop a pen and your body immediately reacts to catch it – there is no thought or skill…it just happens. It’s in my DNA to be a mother – and despite not knowing what to expect, I do know that I’ll catch you.

Baby girl, you are my favorite girl. And I can’t wait for you to meet my favorite boy – your brother who already loves you so much that it makes my heart beat faster. Every day, he talks to you, gives you kisses and hugs and I cannot wait for you to recognize his voice upon your first meeting. His sweet voice singing you good night songs and shouting “I love you” at belly button level – you will know him as big brother. He will catch you, too.

Your daddy hasn’t a clue what’s in store for him, but I can’t wait to watch him fall in love with you. It’s a special bond between daddy and daughter and I am sure you will have him wrapped around your tiny little finger in no time. He will make you laugh, his jokes will make you roll your eyes, and no matter where you are – he’ll catch you.

I am honored to be your mother, and so excited to meet you in person for the very first time tomorrow. I know you will change my life in ways I can’t even fathom right now. But I’m sure we will navigate this new world together….the 4 of us.

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Filed under being a mom, family, Life, Uncategorized

Beyond the Thank You

First off, I have to admit that finding time and creative energy to blog weekly has been a challenge for me. I guess that is part of the intention though, to push myself. So here I am…week 3. Thank you to those who have reached out to tell me you are glad I’m blogging again…blogging can sometimes feel like talking to an empty room. So, thank you for making me feel heard. It makes a big difference to me!

Okay, that actually segways into my intended topic nicely today. On with it, as they say…

When is the last time you thanked someone? Not just a quick, “Hey, thanks!” or the generic thank you note we end up writing after we recieve gifts (unless you are the rare amazing gift thank you card writer, I know maybe 1 person in this category!).  I’m talking about a real sincere and specific thank you.

It’s been awhile for me too, so don’t feel bad if this has you thinking and coming up short.

Let me back up for a minute. I had the fun experience this past week to go back in time to my last job and participate as an employer at a student career fair alongside a few of my colleagues. It felt strange to be on the “other side” – but I fell into step with my old colleagues right away, laughing and joking and catching up with things happening. They are family like that – you don’t have to talk everyday to feel connected.

Anyway, after a long day of standing and chatting up students and alumni about my company, I was so ready to sit down (p.s. cute shoes + pregnancy isn’t a match)! As I was finishing up my meal, a young lady with a familiar face tapped me on the shoulder.

“Dre? I’m not sure you’d remember me, but I’m (insert name here) and I was one of your ACAD babies.” (read: she took a freshman 101 course that I taught).

Me: “Oh wow! Your face was familiar but I wasn’t sure since you were here as an employer how I might know you! How are you?”

Her: “I’m great! Actually, that is why I wanted to come and talk to you. I never had a chance to thank you. The whole reason I’m here today recruiting for my company is because of you.”

She went on to tell me that as a result of her being in my freshman 101 course, she came to see me later in her college life to help with a resume. Then I helped her with a resume to get an internship. The internship turned into a full time job where she is happily employed now that she has graduated.

Of course, all of this was so great to hear. There is nothing that makes a career development professional more pleased than to hear  someone is happily pursuing a career they love because you helped in some way. But during her story she said something that really stood out to me:

“I figured that you might not always get to hear the success stories of the people you help, and I’m so appreciative of the time you spent with me. It really helped me get to where I am today. Thank you.”

She’s right. It’s so rare in life to get the end of any story. We play a minor role in a lot of peoples lives, and often we are in a different place by the time the story of that person plays out. We don’t know the impact we have on someone through our actions, our words, our referrals, by just offering a friendly smile on a crap day.

But that’s why it’s so important we take this whole “thank you” thing more seriously. My heart grew about 3 sizes when she shared her success with me. It made me feel so good that I had a positive impact on someones career, even if it was just helping her get on track with a resume and internship.

downloadHow hard would it be for us all to take time to reach out to someone who made a difference in our life? Did you ever tell someone  what they said made a difference? Maybe it wasn’t a life altering thing, but maybe someone’s well timed joke or delivery of baked goods was just what you needed when you felt like giving up.

I am going to take time to be more sincere with my thank you’s. I won’t overlook the power of good manners, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to sincerely appreciate someone when they have made a difference in my day, and even more so – if they’ve made a difference in my life.

I challenge you to do the same.

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Filed under Challenge, goals, Life, motivation, relationships, Uncategorized

The thing about Trust

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying out this whole Presbyterian thing and it’s like a brave new world. Growing up Southern Baptist, I definitely felt like I “got” the church thing and knew what to expect. The church we are going to is definitely different – but in a really refreshing way. I’m taking my time to learn more about how they do things…and why it’s different and taking time to reflect on whether the difference is something that sits well with me or not. So far, so good…even though I’ve explored a lot of questions along the way.

Something new that happened after Christmas was an Epiphany service where we were all given these stars with a word written on them. The idea is these words were to mean something for us in 2016 as we started the new year. I had never heard of this before, but I immediately loved the concept and idea behind it. And I almost laughed out loud when I received my star with a word on it: TRUST.

I knew it was perfect for me and exactly what I needed a reminder of for this year. Our minister suggested we post it somewhere we’d see it often, so I brought it to work with me and posted it in my cube.

Basically the day after I posted it in my cube, I got word at work that my entire team was getting restructured. There was a period of several weeks ahead of me where things would be extremely blurry. I wouldn’t know what to expect in terms of my job, who my manager would be….if felt like the rug was pulled out from under me when I had my eyes closed.

But I opened my eyes and what did I see? That crinkled star pinned to the side of my cube reminding me….TRUST. I took a big breath and decided I would trust the process. Trust God had a plan….and in a more tangible way…that our leadership team had a good plan to get us through this.

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It’s been about a month and things are starting to take more shape now. Because of that constant reminder to “trust” I have been moved to see the change as a unique opportunity to learn new things and pursue some new avenues in my current role. It’s not often you get a chance to take on totally new projects and learn a slew of new things in your current role. I’m trusting this is what is meant to be for me and my career.

There are about a dozen other examples of times when this word Trust has been a beacon of light for me so far this year…and it’s only Februrary. I am sure I could have gotten any word and found meaning in it – but again, I’m trusting the word was meant for me as a reminder to let go a bit. What’s that saying? Let go, Let God?

I’ve not been great about that as an adult. The never ending pressure to control everything, to avoid the bad stuff, to prevent negative things….it’s hard to let go of that pressure and just trust if I keep making good decisions that things will go as they are meant to be.

So the thing about trust is that trusting doesn’t mean that things will be easy, or that things will turn out okay. I’ve experienced some major let downs in the area of trust before…it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that letting God deal with things doesn’t exempt you from pain, hurt and sadness. And many times, I think people give up for that reason.

So having this word in my cube and in my heart….it’s the reminder I desperately need on a daily basis that there IS a plan. There are bumps on the path to get there and I’m going to fall and get hurt along the way. In the end, it’s not my plan…I’m only a small piece in a much bigger puzzle. I had forgotten about that, and I’ve been steering my life solo for awhile without stopping to ask for much insight from God.

So this year is tough. It’s tough to break these old habits of only trusting myself. As I started my first day of a daily devotion last week, it was like getting a nudge in the side from God. Here’s what it said:

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith can be simplified to mean trust. It’s trusting in God even though you can’t see, smell or touch Him. It’s trusting that he loves you and will always have your best interest at heart. Once you believe that he loves you, it becomes easier to place more faith in Him. How are you faithfully trusting in God?

Loud and clear, big guy.  I hear you – loud and clear.

 

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Spending Dollars on Grown Up Things

I guess part of growing up is realizing that you can’t spend all your money on flights of wine and clothes from The Loft. I suppose I have known this for awhile, but owning a home has definitely brought with it a whole new adventure of “grownup-hood” that I’m not sure I was expecting. Like that day when we came home to a hole in our wall because our new puppy decided that it should be there. Or that other time when we came home and our couch no longer had stuffing in the cushions (jury is still out on WHICH puppy did that).

Or when you decide that you hate your bathroom so much, that it’s worth saving up enough money to do something about it. 🙂 Owning a house as a grown up means that you can’t rely on other people to do things for you, you can’t call your landlord to solve a problem – it’s all up to you. Sometimes it’s exhausting. A few years back, we renovated our smaller downstairs bathroom and it turned out pretty well! But we never really use that bathroom, so I don’t always appreciate it. This time around, as we considered our options for our master bath (which is also the guest bath), we came to a pretty clear conclusion: We are not doing this job, we’re going to pay someone else to do the work.

Another part of growing up is realizing what your time is worth, and with all the crazy going on in our lives right now – it just made sense to hire an expert to take care of it for us. It’s been a few years in the making – I’ve hated our bathroom since the moment my hubby bought the house – and I’ve literally daydreamed about it being ripped to pieces so we could start over again. But just in the last year, we’ve made progress on paying off our debts and saving money to go towards this project. We were finally able to afford the bathroom renovation without putting more money on the credit card. Today I took my very first shower in our new bathroom. It was glorious – particularly after a long night because our power was out all last night and it was super cold! But even if I’d slept like a baby – I think I still would have appreciated the new bathroom just as much.

There is something about seeing your ideas come to life – it was sort of fun coming home everyday and not sure what we’d find. What had been removed? What had been added? What would the accent tile REALLY look like with the tile we selected? Will the light fixture look cool? I’m certainly not the visual person in our family – so I can say I loved each of our selections independently, but it was hard for me to truly have a vision of what it would turn out like. But I’d like to say now, Better than Expected.

For those of you who enjoy a picture show – I took before pics, during pics and of course, after pics for your viewing pleasure. A big shout out to May Property Services who did this work for us. He had great ideas and was easy to work with and we would use him again!

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Filed under family, goals, just for fun, Life, Uncategorized

11 Facts about me (that I know you can’t wait to know)

Alright, friends –  I know I’ve been slack. Life has just been SUPA crazy lately and my blog has taken the brunt of the stress. BUT, one of my lovely readers has nominated me for the liebster blog award and I figured that would be a low stress way to get back in the blog game! You should check her blog out, she’s super inspirational and funny and was one of my first ThirtyStory followers! So go meet Cassie over at Journey to Awesomehood.

Here are the questions she posed for me to answer:

1. What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

Hmmm, I really think I have a well rounded personality. I can get along with almost anyone.

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live?
I have lived abroad before – and I’m not sure I would want to permanently live abroad. I’m actually super happy with where I live now. If I could change anything it would be that we could afford a ridiculously amazing house in our current city with a beautiful back yard and people to take care of all the upkeep for me. 🙂 The only thing is that I’d also want all my awesome neighbors to transplant to a new ‘hood with us.

3. What’s your favorite planet?

I have never really thought about this one before. I’m going to go with Earth since I have some pretty serious ties to it. 🙂

4. What cheers you up the most when you are feeling down?

Watching one of my favorite TV shows usually helps get my mind off things. Or reading a really awesome book!

5. What is one goal you want to accomplish before the end of the year?

I really need to find a new workout plan – I’m in between at the moment and it’s not working for me. So I want to research some ideas – I’m thinking I may start swimming again since we have a nice indoor pool at my gym.

6. You just found a large sum of money on the street. What do you do with it?
Well, I would probably look around to see if I could tell that someone dropped it that was still in the area. This would be my attempt at doing the right thing because I would hate to take someone elses money. If it truly was just lost money and no one would claim it – I would probably use it to pay off some bills. I am boring like that. But my hubby and I are focused on paying down our credit card debt (we are close) so that is all I think about when I run into extra money.

7. If you were on a liquid diet, what do you think your favorite food would be? (Can you tell I am looking for ideas. ;p)
Well, since it’s fall – I would probably try to find pumpkin inspired things to make. So maybe a pumpkin/cinnamon yogurt smoothie or something. Could you make pumpkin cheesecake into a smoothie?

8. What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
I enjoy the community that regular blogging brings – which I’ve been sorely lacking lately. I have made some really good friends in my life from blogs – but I’ve kept some sort of blog for probably the last decade of my life.

9. Do you have a favorite game?
I am a big party pooper – I hate board games or really any “games” in general that people always want to play at parties. I just want to hang out and have good conversation and don’t want to be forced to play Trivial Pursuit or Apple to Apple (which i still don’t get). If I had to pick one  game – I would say Pictionary because I like to guess/draw pictures. Catchphrase isn’t too bad either – although sometimes it makes me feel dumb because i have no clue what the word is 🙂

10. What is your least favorite chore?
I hate mopping.

11. Do you know how to tie a scarf?

I actually learned several new ways to tie a scarf thanks to one of my co-workers. I am a regular fashionista now.

Okay – that was pretty fun. Fun for me, boring for you? Who knows!

Because I’m a bad sport, I’m not nominating anyone to continue the blog award. 🙂 I know, I’m such a rebel without a cause! I will do some research this week and share what my new work out plan will be for the rest of the year!

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Filed under just for fun, Life, motivation, Uncategorized, work out

Primal Meatloaf (with Brie & Mushrooms!)

Not sure that everyone follows my food blog where I posted this recipe, so wanted to share it here as well! Enjoy!

I mentioned I was going to try out this recipe a few days ago and had several people ask for the recipe or to share how it went. We made it over the weekend and I ate it yesterday for lunch, so I feel more confident in sharing the recipe and results now!

 

I can’t take credit for the idea – I found the recipe at PaleoPot and you can see the original post here. As usual, we made a few changes so I’ll include the original recipe and our changes in Green so you can take it or leave it, or invent your own variation!

What you need:

  • 1.5 pounds of 90/10 grass fed ground beef. Leaner cuts work better as the extra fat simply runs off in cooking anyways. (We used a mixture of beef and pork for ours)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 cups of…

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Easy Curry (Paleo & Wheat-Free Friendly)

Check out my recipe blog here – this is one of our meals for the week if you are looking for a healthy and EASY lunch/dinner option!

 

This weekend I selected a Quick Curry meal to be one of our lunch dishes for the week. It was really simple to make and didn’t take a long time or weird ingredients either. I found this recipe in the book: The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf that I just finished reading.

Here’s what you need (and then below I’ll tell you what I added):

1 lb ground pork (you could use lamb, chicken, turkey, stew beef)
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp curry powder
1 bag baby spinach (14 oz)
1/2 can coconut milk (7 oz)
2-3 cloves garlic

 

I felt like that wasn’t going to be filling enough for lunch – so I sauteed some carrots (bought fresh from the farmer’s market) with a little garlic, cumin & paprika seasoning and added those to the top of the dish. I also added some yellow onion to…

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