Happy New Year! After the craziness and sadness that 2016 brought, I’m hoping for a more positive 2017.

On that note, I’m not only dusting off my blog, but I’m going to try and implement a few weekly things. Namely #MotivationalMondays and maybe even a #FamilyFridays. I’ve realized that often, too often to be honest, I have really good intentions to complete a project, or even add a new task or event to my daily life, but my follow-through record for anything is exceptionally low. Almost like the score the Buckeyes put up against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl, but that’s a whole different topic and sore subject. ūüôĀ

Given it’s a new year and most people tend to try instill new tasks and habits into their lives in January, I thought I’d kinda jump on the bandwagon and try a few things. I recently got a new -paper- planner that stretches over two years (see here) and it’s got a variety of motivational quotes and encouragement in sticker form that you can plaster all over the pages as you see fit. (creative AND organizational? it’s a win-win for me) I wanted to give myself encouragement throughout the year, because it’s always nice to get encouragement and because I’m not even certain what next month holds for us, let alone the whole rest of the year. Which led me to focus the motivations to appear on the Mondays of various weeks, hence the #MotivationalMonday idea.

So, I’m going to attempt to do just that, motivate my readers & myself each Monday. It might be in the form of a funny picture, a thought provoking quote or best yet, solid encouragement from the Word of God. I hope you gain insight and positive stimuli from the posts.


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.

-Proverbs 1:7 [HCSB]


I’m beginning to derive enjoyment from reading the Proverbs. There are lots of good nuggets of encouragement in them and they may be a commonly referenced source for my Monday posts. For a long time I didn’t understand the connection between fearing the Lord and loving Him. I’ve always had a negative connotation about the word fear. Growing up it was a word that had not been used in a way that referenced anything but being scared or frightened by something or someone, so when I started reading the Bible and seeing the phrase “fear of the Lord” it confused me. It’s taken years for me to realize that the word ‘fear’ could be swapped out for ‘awe’, and that has made a huge difference in my understanding of these verses.

When you awe something or are awestruck by someone, you tend to hold the person in high regard and view them quite favorably. So this verse could be interpreted to read: to be in¬†awe of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (…) Doesn’t that make a drastic difference? I know it has for me.

On that note I’m going to keep this short and encourage you to try something new this week and try to look for the positive and good in your life and surroundings. Hope you have a wonderful week. Hope to see you Friday for some family-oriented stories and fun.

Survivor, not victim.

A few weeks ago, I attended a local dance schools spring recital. I enjoyed seeing the young girls get their moment on stage to show their families and friends all the hard work they’ve put into practices finally pay off. The whole show was bittersweet because there was a missing dancer among the tutus and tap shoes. Her absence wasn’t due to being ill or on vacation, it was due to a senseless act committed by someone she once loved. Emilee Hurst would have been on stage, at that recital, showcasing her solo dance routine and participating in a few group routines as well, but sadly, she was killed in a suspected¬†case of domestic violence by an ex-boyfriend in April.

Domestic violence isn’t as rare as some believe. According to SafeHorizon.org “1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence¬†in their lifetime”. To break it down for you, that means, if you have three friends one of you will be a victim of domestic violence in your lifetime. Scary huh? What is even more disturbing than that is the mind-boggling fact that “more than¬†four¬†million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners.” (emphasis added)

Now, I bring those statistics to you because, while sitting enjoying that same dance recital, I realized that there’s an unfortunate chance¬†that of all those girls dancing their hearts out on stage for their family and friends, some of them either have been or will be raped. They may be attacked by a random person, or it may be done by a close friend or family member, but rape is rape. A quick Google search on rape statistics led me to RAINN.org, and a brief reading over their site was chilling; “1 out of 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime”.

Rape can happen to anyone, by anyone; not just women being attacked by a man, or men. One case made recent news because of the powerful letter the woman victim (or survivor, in my mind) wrote to her attacker and read aloud during their trial. Her letter is chilling to read, but it got a lot of people talking about rape, finally opening up about being attacked, and how rapists are treated versus their victims by the authorities and culture at large.

As a survivor of rape, I know what it feels like to be afraid to walk alone anywhere, even in broad daylight. How worthless and filthy you feel even after the hottest of hot showers. Being afraid to open up to new people because you’re afraid they’ll look and treat you differently after they know. It took a few months time for me to be able to share this chapter of my story without having dreams about that horrid night. Some survivors aren’t able to talk about what happened to them for years. We all heal in different ways, and from something that’s so violent and invasive, some may not find healing this side of Heaven.

All this to say that if you’ve been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence, silence isn’t the answer. Speak out, get help. Write your feelings down in a journal, blog about it. Find a counselor to talk to so you can be a survivor of this terrible act, not a victim of it.

I feel that if more victims speak about what they experienced the stigma of rape culture and blaming the victim will begin to diminish and those who perpetrate these cruel and damaging crimes will be held accountable for their actions.


In memory of Emilee Hurst, there will be a community project to help families in need in the San Antonio area happening July 16th at Judson High School. Volunteers and funds are both welcomed and needed. More details are here.

Medicated Motherhood

Being a parent is stressful. Managing a chronic condition on a daily basis where nothing is certain, despite doing relatively the same thing at the same time every day, is stressful. Interacting with a toddler who is trying to learn how to exert their independence while not being able to clearly communicate is stressful. I won’t even delve into the extra pressures mothers feel from the¬†external pressures we see, hear, read about, scroll by on social media. That’s a whole blog post itself.

After I had my daughter, she had to spend a week in the NICU due to a serious case of jaundice that almost led to her having a total blood swap to get a better batch of blood in her body. Thankfully the blood swap wasn’t needed, but not having a set discharge date for her to go home was discouraging and made me feel helpless and a failure as a mother. A silver lining to her being in the NICU was that the hospital I delivered Little Miss at was able to finagle a postpartum room for me to stay in while she was undergoing treatment, so I could be close to her and recover without any interruptions. I was grateful for the extra efforts the staff went through to help me stay close to my daughter at a very uncertain time in her young life.

Even with all the adjustments I was having to make at the time, I also had a toddler, a husband on paternity leave (which was awesome & super helpful given the circumstances), and a furry family member who I wanted to be with, not to mention I wanted to sleep in my own bed again. I spent a lot of time in my hospital room crying; out of frustration, fear, and loneliness. Being given a discharge date for Little Miss was one of the happiest days in recent history for me, didn’t matter the crazy hoops we had to jump through just to get her discharged, she was finally able to go HOME.

There was quite a bit of adjusting that happened when we all were home together, but the joy of being under the same roof was enough to keep my fears and insecurities at bay for a time. Having family coming to visit and being preoccupied with hosting them did help distract me from examining my feelings too closely as well, albeit briefly.

Once life calmed down and Mister went back to work, reality came knocking. It wasn’t a polite and patient knock though, it felt like a Medieval battering ram was consistently pounding on the door in my brain. Once my mental door started to crack, the fears, insecurities, and feelings of inadequacy all flooded in and tried to drown me. I chalked some of my over-reactions, emotional outbursts and depressive days to my hormones adjusting after giving birth, my widely fluctuating blood sugars as well as adjusting to nursing after being out of practice of it for over a year.

Even at my 6 week postpartum appointment with my Ob-Gyn, I didn’t think that what I was feeling was anything abnormal, I just thought time would help ease the fears & insecurities. I think it all got to a tipping point shortly after Little Miss turned 6 months. I realized that I was dreading staying in the house with the kids alone while Mister was able to go to work and escape. We would go out to the park, run errands and I would ignore the feelings of inadequacy for a short time, but they’d wriggle out and rear their ugly heads at the worst times. Usually between¬†the evening hours before Daddy got home and their bedtimes.

Mister would come home from work and the house would look like a disaster area; Munchkin was zoned out on electronics, Little Miss was playing in her excersaucer, and I was trying my best to ignore any and all responsibilities I had. Graciously, Mister would come in, do what needed to be done so that we could eat a semi-home cooked meal and start the bedtime routine we had in place. Frequently I would offer to take Little Miss up to bed and feed her a nighttime bottle so I could have 15 minutes of peace, a temporary hideout if you will. Even though I craved peace and solitude, my emotions and fears would creep into the peace and spoil it. Some nights I would come down after getting her to bed in a worse state than before we went up.

After too many emotionally draining days and tearful evenings, I asked Mister if he thought it would help for me to talk to my OB about postpartum depression and anxiety, and what could be done to deal with them properly. He said it would be worth asking about, and if therapy was suggested, we would make it work. (I love my husband.)

I was able to text my OB and ask her what could be done to deal with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed with life. Jokingly she suggested having a stiff drink, but then said she’d call that evening to discuss what was going on. Based on our conversation, she offered to write a prescription for an antidepressant. It’s helpful that I was already starting to wean Little Miss from nursing, because most antidepressants aren’t recommended for nursing moms. Thankfully, even though I was still nursing when I started the medicine, I timed the doses so that she wouldn’t get much of the medicine in her system when she did nurse.

Since starting the medicine, I’ve noticed my mood swings aren’t as drastic. I still have mood swings, but I’m able to better deal with the uncertainty that’s inherent in toddlers and their odd demands, as well as not be so negative about things in general. There are still tough moments and days where I’m exhausted and want to do nothing more than curl up with a good book, but the smiling faces that greet me when I see my kids every day are worth it.

The idea of needing medicine to help manage life and its stresses initially scared me, but I’m glad I took the step to help me manage life right now. It may seem like a crutch to some, but to me, it’s a step on the right path to feeling better about myself, being able to parent well and not feel so burned out by all the responsibilities that I have in taking care of myself, my diabetes and my family. Parenting is hard, physically, emotionally, financially and mentally, but for some, medication can help them with the mental aspect of it all. So for this mom, motherhood is medicated, and it’s helped make a difference.

Be intentional

Just a few weeks ago, our church and the local community were shocked to learn of a young woman’s tragic death. She was very involved in her school, the community and our church. We only knew her indirectly, but the shock of losing a woman on the cusp of adulthood hit everyone very hard. The memorial service was a mix of sadness at her passing, but also, joy and laughter about how she was and what she did on a consistent basis to encourage others. She spread joy wherever she went, but her death¬†also opened up a lot of dialogues about stalking, emotionally abusive relationships, and ultimately, where you go when you die.

This young woman, as busy as she was with the end of her senior year quickly approaching, was intentional. She made sure to do what she could to get a smile out of her friends, encouraged the younger dancers she helped instruct at the dance studio¬†and shared her love of Jesus with the young students she taught on Sunday mornings in Childrens’ Church.

The stories I heard about her made me wonder, how am I intentional? In my life, in my faith, in my parenting? In all aspects of my life I know there are chances for me to live with intention, but what is my focus and ultimate goal? I want so much for my children, my marriage and myself to thrive and grow, but where do I go for guidance for it all? The Bible of course; it’s the ultimate source of encouragement, guidance, peace, comfort in times of trouble, grief and worry.

I’m not sure exactly how to be intentional with my actions, but I will try to share my snippets and glimmers here and hopefully help and encourage you in some way.

I’m back

Now when I think of that phrase, I actually think of the still image from The Shining¬†of Jack Nicholson peering between a¬†splintered door. Oddly enough, I’ve never seen the movie, but that’s beside the point.

I’m back after an unintentional hiatus, but then again, having a baby who spent her first week in the NICU tends to distract you. I hope to have a new blog post up soon, but just wanted to share that I’m still here and there will be some changes to my blog coming soon.

Until next post, I hope all is well with you and yours.

Puzzles & Dreams

I love puzzles. Jigsaw. 3-D. Word games. Rearranging furniture to fit a room better. Most any kind of puzzle I’ve at least tried, if not fell in love with growing up. My favorites are 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles of Americana paintings. So I was pleasantly surprised when a few weeks ago the toy in Munchkins kids meal was a 3-D puzzle of a basketball.

When we got home Mister assembled it and Munchkin had a wonderful time playing with his new ball. Unfortunately, a few weeks later we found that the ball doesn’t hold up well to continual rough use that a toddler thinks is normal play, so it fell apart. He was crushed that the ball was in pieces¬†and in his own way asked me to put it back together. It took some doing, but after a few missteps, it was a ball again. ¬†Now it’s a part of his ever growing collection of basketballs, soccer balls and a few odd balls.

Dreams can be a lot like puzzles. There are usually a lot of smaller steps that need to happen or be done before the dream can be realized, but if there’s a mistake made, or a step missed, it can feel like the dream is over before it began. A few days ago Mister sent me a link to a video that’s been making its way around social media and it’s worth the few minutes to watch. You can see it here. The video got me thinking, what are my dreams? What do I want to accomplish? How do I want to be remembered?

When I start a puzzle I typically try to have a pattern I follow. I pull out the card table I use. Then I start to sort through all the pieces for the border of the puzzle. That way I can figure out if the space I’m working on will fit the puzzle. Once the border is assembled, I then go back to the box of pieces and start sorting again for anything that I can group together (sections of houses or buildings, specific features the puzzle has, etc).

It may seem silly, but I think Gods plans for us follow a similar pattern. Once you’re a child of God all things are possible. Even those far-fetched dreams that seem like they’ll only happen if all the stars align just so on that certain day. God already knows what He’s got planned for us, but sometimes it can take years for us to know it as well.

I think back to when I was in high school. I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life and the type of person I would be, but God didn’t factor into any of my plans. Once in college (still following my own plans) not Gods, I began to realize that the way I was going wasn’t where I wanted to be. Through some amazing people and personal reflection, I began to rely on God for more than just help on that unexpected pop quiz in Humanities. He showed me a glimpse of what my life could be like as a beloved child of His and I wanted to see the finished puzzle of my life, so I dropped my unfinished puzzle at His feet and let Him assemble it the way it’s intended.

It’s not always been easy, but over the years since I’ve allowed God to sort and piece my puzzled life together, I’ve made some amazing friend connections, met and married the man of my dreams, started a family and will be adding to our family here this fall. Not to mention: moved across the country for a job that has encouraged, supported and challenged Mister in ways no job in Ohio ever had, sold our first house, and adjusted to a summer season that lasts from April until September.

So if you asked me what my dreams are now I would have to say that most of them are in the process of being accomplished now. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m connected into multiple groups of people who I can rely on for help and support and be there when they need it as well.

There will be missteps and mulligans needed, but I hold on to the fact that God gives us grace when we need it and especially when we don’t deserve it. I trust that with God assembling my life puzzle, it will turn out beautiful.


Scars happen when we injure ourselves (accidentally or otherwise) and the skin eventually grows back over the site of injury. They can also occur when cancer decides to take up residence in a part of us and in order to lengthen our lives the cancer is removed until only healthy tissue remains.

Scars¬†aren’t always fun, but they always have a story behind them.

Some people go to great lengths to hide their scars and try to forget they have them. Others accept the scars as a portion of their life story and learn to live with them.

Yet, have you ever thought of the emotional scars you might have? From a failed relationship, lost a dream job, broken family, spoiled holidays, low or non-existent self-esteem… those situations can create scars, sometimes more easily than a mishap with a carving knife and your hand at Thanksgiving.

Emotional scars are harder to see and usually they don’t heal up as nicely as those surface scars do. Trust me. I speak from experience here. They take time to heal, a lot longer than physical ones do. When a scar forms on the outside there’s a period of time where the skin is tender and new, but with enough protection (from band-aids or lots of gauze), you can continue to heal from the injury.

Emotional scars are a bit different. You may think you’re healed from a negative situation, but something could happen that feels like the emotional band-aid has been ripped off that delicate new “skin” and the wound is left open to bleed and you’re just as bruised and hurt as you were when it first happened.

Once the Mister and I got married and started talking about having children of our own, an emotional scar I thought had healed was opened up. Abortion is hard. It was a hard decision to make at the time and dealing with the consequences of it was even harder. Especially when we started talking kids.

Around the same time we were trying for Munchkin, there was a bit of a baby boom at our previous church. (“There’s something in the water” was a running joke). Anytime I heard the news that a friend was going to be a mom, that emotional band-aid I had placed over the sore part of my heart, because of the abortion, started to come loose. It hurt to see other people so happy about impending parenthood while we still didn’t have that positive news to share ourselves.

Once we got the positive test we had been praying and hoping for, that emotional band-aid came off. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, because we were finally going to have a BABY, but God came around me and gently took it off. Only after I was through the labor and delivery of our son did I realize that the emotional scar from the abortion was healed, by God blessing us with a child. A happy, healthy son.

Throughout the 8 and a half months of my pregnancy, I had begun to realize that Gods plan is so much better than the ones we come up with as mere humans. Honestly. It took time for that emotional scar to heal, but it finally did.

No matter what caused the scar(s), God wants to help you heal from them. Sometimes they heal faster than we expect, other times they take much longer than we expect, but as always, with God His timing is perfect.

So as you’re wrapping up your 2014, be willing to let God in to help start the process of healing those scars you have. He’ll be gentle and kind, but there will be some pain, because healing can sometimes hurt.


Isaiah 53:5 [HCSB]

But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and will have an enjoyable and safe New Years Eve. See you in 2015!

Life. Gets. Busy.

So yea, the last time I posted was way back in August. Sorry y’all, I’ve been slacking on the whole blog update thing. Thankfully, this should hopefully be the first in a few posts I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Tis the season for: to-do lists a mile long, moms and dads alike to get into baking frenzies in the kitchen, everyone trying to score the best deal on the “must have” gift of the season for that special someone on your list. It’s easy to get caught up in the “busyness” of the season, but Christmas is so much more than that. I’ll even dare to say that Thanksgiving & Christmas are both so much more than what they’ve become lately.

For Thanksgiving this year we decided to travel to Ohio, ahem, driving the whole way, with a toddler. (gold stars for the Mister and I, please?) It went better than either of us expected it to, but now Munchkin dislikes his car seat,(obvious side effect of being in it for 12+ hours each over two days), but I digress. We decided to make the trip so that we could be with a large portion of family on one of the biggest family oriented holidays of the year. (We also went up to see a close friend and a former classmate of mine get married, so it was a win-win.)

The visit was awesome and we are glad we made the choice to be there with family. We had decided to not over-schedule ourselves while we were there, so we could have time with friends & family that we don’t see often now that we’re residents of the Lone Star state. One key point I want to make is that we decided¬†to not fill our week in Ohio with stuff, but to spend time with family and friends. Yes, we wish we would have had more time to see more friends & family, but given there are only 24 hours in a day and Munchkin naps for approx. 5 of those prime hours for visiting, we had to make some sacrifices. Plus, we have a guest room available for anyone who wants to visit us!

Christmas this year is a bit different than previous ones. First off, we have to keep the tree away from toddler hands, we don’t have a whole lot of space to decorate that’s not directly in the line of fire for a toddler & it doesn’t feel like Christmas for the Mister and I. Yes, 70’s and sunny is nice, but where I’m from, that’s summer. Not Christmastime.

So we are trying to make Christmas special for us here. It’s not easy, but with enough Christmas music playing in the background and the smell of a fresh cut pine tree glinting with lights, we are trying to make it feel festive. Whether it’s due to Munchkin being very mobile, and FAST, or the calendar is telling me only __ more days until Christmas, I’ve realized I have to choose to focus on what’s important to me & mine this year.

We had grand plans of decorating the outside of the house with lights; neither outdoor outlets work. We wanted to hang our stockings where they’d be cute and visible; prime location for Munchkin to pull them down. We wanted to get grand Christmas gifts for everyone we care about, but our house in Ohio has some foundation issues that may need some attention¬†ASAP.

It’d be easy to turn into a Scrooge due to our circumstances, but I’m trying to focus on the real reason for the Season and not let circumstances steal my joy. I’m realizing that the important things to me are; Christ, family and friends.

Christ was born specifically so that he could walk among men & women and share the good news of God’s love for them. He knew what was going to happen to Him, yet He allowed His Heavenly Father to send Him to earth, be born of a virgin and dwell among men. Some of those same men he lived among had Him arrested, tried and convicted to die. Yet, without His death, this season would be empty of sincerity & wholly commercialized.

Family. It’s always been important to me. I’ve always dreamed of large family gatherings and being close by if a family member needed something. Since we’ve moved away from immediate family, other people have come around us to fill in those gaps. We’ve got a church family, Nate has co-workers who are another branch of our extended family & thanks to technology, we can still stay in contact with our immediate family (thanks to FaceTime & email).

Friends are those people who choose to put up with you, even if they don’t always understand you. ūüôā We’ve made lots of friends since moving to Texas, some friends are becoming like family to us, and that’s always welcomed. Less stress to impress if they’re treated like family. They help us not to feel so isolated as we go through the holidays, and we greatly appreciate that & them.

My final thought is this: Choose to focus on the important things in life. Not just during the holidays, but each and every day of your life.

This poem seems to sum up nicely what I tried to say. Enjoy!

The Dash by Linda Ellis

“(…) For that dash represents all the time

that they spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved them

know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,

the cars… the house… the cash.

What matters is how we live and love

and how we spend our dash.”

Abide in Me.

I grew up in the country. I didn’t own any farm animals or have to muck stalls growing up, but I did get to enjoy other perks of country life. Mainly seeing how many different types of flowers and trees my parents could grow on the five acres of land we owned. One of the flowers that flourished was called a trumpet vine (more info), it wound its way through the metal fence our neighbor used to mark their property from ours (and to keep their dogs on their property) and softened the lines of the stark metal very nicely.

It didn’t need much to flourish, a bit of good soil, some water and a place to twine about and stretch along is really all it needed to go buck wild. It also brought hummingbirds and other small birds food and shade in the hot Ohio summers (yes, I know Texas summers are much hotter than Ohio, but that’s how I saw it at the time). Make sure you give it room to grow, because it will take over anything it’s near. Fences (obviously), trees, trellises, the ground, really anything.

Recently, one of our pastors preached on abiding in Christ. He mentioned how we get so busy with our daily lives that we sometimes (oftentimes) forget to just abide in Christ. (def: to remain; continue; stay and to wait for; await:)

When you look back on your day, how often did you look at your FB or Twitter feeds? Check the latest sports scores or news? Play the next level in the newest and hottest free game? If you’re like me, you could and should say yes to all those questions. It’s so easy to spend 5-10 minutes updating your profile pic, or Instagraming a picture of dinner, but when was the last time¬†you just sat down, opened your heart, and just prayed to God? Not for anything, just to talk to Him and wait for Him to speak into your life?¬†

If we don’t abide in Christ, we start to shrivel and die away. Like a piece of trumpet vine that’s been transplanted away from the rest of the plant, but with no good soil, no water and certainly nothing to climb on as it grows. God doesn’t want us to be apart from Him, that’s why He sent His SON to die for us. For our sins and the sins of our friends, family and neighbors. In John 15 Christ is called a vine and God is the vine keeper. God will trim away the parts of the vine that aren’t growing anymore and aren’t producing any fruit. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be a part of the living vine & Christ than apart from Him and removed completely from the vine and burned.


Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.

John 15:4-5 [HCSB]

So instead of checking the news stories or your FB feed (since they’ll be there later), why not try and take 5 minutes out of your day to just abide in Christ and see what He wants to share with you?


Mirrors are just simply reflective surfaces that we use to view ourselves, yet the image we see in the mirror can be radically different than the image God sees in the same mirror.

When I look in the mirror I see a person who’s more often than not, tired, worn out, easily discouraged and not filled with the Spirit. Yet I put on a happy face and trudge through my day trying my best to survive another day. I “fake it til I make it”, but when God sees my reflection He sees something totally different. He sees a person who’s tender-hearted, passionate, loving, intelligent and creative. All characteristics He’s blessed me with so I can live for God wholeheartedly.

All too easily day-to-day life gets in the way of my intentions; to spend more time in the Word, have quiet time with the Lord while Jackson naps, getting involved in the church more than just as a regular attender. If I want my reflection in the mirror to be lined up with what God sees, I need to make some changes. They won’t be easy, but things that are worth it in life rarely are.

What do you see in your reflection versus what God sees? How different are they and what can you change to be more like the image God sees?