The Road To 25K

Hi, friends!I'm so grateful that you're here today! This post has been a long time coming and if you'd asked me a year ago, I probably would have told you it would never come. But here it is and I'm just so full of gratitude to be able to share this little part of my story.About a year and a half ago, our whole life turned upside down when my husband Matt had a horrible relapse. He was diagnosed his senior year of high school with an auto immune disease and throughout most of our marriage, we have been able to keep it under control. Things were spiraling out of control around Christmas time in 2015 and we felt helpless as to what was going on and how to stop it. Finally in January Matt was admitted to the hospital and had emergency surgery. Turns out, he was almost septic and in a very dangerous situation. The surgery was a temporary fix but he would end up being in the hospital for over three weeks and then in and out of the hospital for the next year to follow.I say all that to give you a little glimpse into what our lives looked like when I thought to myself "Hey, maybe a blog would be a good idea!" Ha! I was in the hospital one day with Matt when I got this sinking feeling that he might not ever be able to go back to work. I started wondering what we would do. Since he owns his own business, if he doesn't work, we find ourselves in a pickle! I also knew that our medical expenses were going to start adding up. The anxiety started causing me to dip further and further into fear.I was willing myself to take deep breaths when I got this thought "I should start blogging again." I had dabbled with it a bit before but let it go while my babies were really little. I even had the crazy idea that maybe I could make it into a business and actually help support my family, all the while staying home with my babies. It still felt like a dream.At the time, I'm pretty sure I had about 5 followers on Instagram and couldn't even remember my blogger password. I was also frazzled and un-showered any given day of the week. I loved putting outfits together and I loved helping other people. So if I could help other people put outfits together, I may actually stumble into something I really enjoy.A few weeks later we were back in the hospital but this time, Matt was well enough to be able to walk around a bit. We took an afternoon walk around the hospital/college campus and it was a glorious day. I was so nervous but I said "Hey, babe. I know this sounds crazy. But could you take a picture of me?" My sweet Matt has really never thought any of my ideas were crazy (bless him) so he said yes of course. So there he was barely able to walk, still in so much pain and he's taking my very first OOTD. There I am with confidence the size of a mustard seed watching all these people walk by while I'm trying to act natural for the picture. Looking back it was just so funny and precious at the same time.I posted the picture that afternoon and then decided to keep on going. My goal was to reach 1000 followers on Instagram and I made myself a promise that even if it was hard, I wouldn't give up til I had at least given it a year.Now into year two and here we are at 25 THOUSAND of you following along and being a part of our every day lives. You guys are the ones that have sent countless prayers up on our behalf when Matt's been sick and you've laughed alongside me in this hilarious journey of motherhood. Yes, we have talked a lot of clothes but I think we've done more than that. My dream for this space has always been to build a community where we encourage and lift each other up. One of my favorite Proverbs tells a story about a wife of Noble Character. it describes her as being clothed in fine linen and purple, which would be equivalent to suede and Louie Vuitton (or something close to that!) but it also says she is clothed with strength and dignity. The two don't have to mutually exclusive. I want to learn to do both well.I have learned SO much about myself over this past year and a half and I am really SO grateful to those of you who have followed along with me and given a lot of grace as I've learned what the heck I'm doing.This week is all about celebrating YOU GUYS and I'm excited to be giving away a few of my favorite things as a way to say THANK YOU!All my love to all of you! You are a blessing to me and I'm so so so grateful that you're not just followers, you're FRIENDS!Thank you!!!!!All my love to YOU!

Meal Planning Made Easy

Some of you might not know that I grew up in a family of eight kids. My mom (rock star that she is) was an incredible meal planner. She pretty much had to be since we had a tight budget and lots of mouths to feed.I can still remember as a little girl watching my mom plan out our meals two weeks in advance. Then she would make a grocery list and get everything she needed for those two weeks. She had it down to a science and it was an incredible thing to behold.Once Matt and I got married, I remember trying to plan our meals the same way my mom used to do it. It didn't quite work out in the beginning... I was used to buying food for LOTS of people! Let's just say in the first few months of our marriage, we threw away a lot of spoiled produce. Ooopsies.I did finally find my stride and I want to share with you what works for us. I realize everybody has their thing so best case scenario is that you take a little something from this and tweak it to make it work for you.First things first, we sit down at the beginning of the week and talk about our plans. If we will be eating out certain meals, we write them down so we don't end up with extra food we don't need. I then plan out what we are going to need for each meal that week.I love using my Simplified Planner for meal planning. It's so nice to have my calendar, to-do list. and menu all in once place. Not to mention it's just so pretty!Once we figure out our schedule, I make one trip to the store for the week. Sometimes I get stuff to carry us into the next week, especially if it can be frozen. Most of the time though it's just what we need for that week.A normal week looks like this for us:Monday: Breakfast: Toast with raw honey, scrambled eggs, orangesLunch: Carrots with hummus, rolled up turkey with cheese, apple sauceDinner: Honey baked chicken, green beans, sweet potatoesTuesday:Breakfast: Waffles (frozen organic) with sliced bananaLunch: Smoothie and pretzelsDinner: Kids Eat Free at Fickle Pickle (Yes, Lord!)Wednesday:Breakfast: Smoothie and scrambled eggsLunch: Chick fil a play date with friendsDinner: Baked salmon, broccoli, and brown riceThursday:Breakfast: Toast with raw honey and peanut butterLunch: Black bean and cheese quesadillasDinner: Nachos with ground turkey, shredded spinach, black beans, and cheeseFriday:Breakfast: Cereal and almond milkLunch: Carrots and hummus, turkey and cheese, strawberriesDinner: PIZZASaturday:Breakfast: Chick fil a (don't judge me)Lunch: LeftoversDinner: Date Night!Sunday:Breakfast: Gluten free Pancakes and chicken sausageLunch: Family Lunch after churchDinner: Pasta with spinach and chicken sausageIn addition to all the items I need for meals, I also get snack foods to keep for me and the girls during the day. Matt isn't much of a snacker and with his diet limitations, snack foods are hard to come by!The biggest game changer for me when it came to meal planning was just deciding to actually plan. I know that sounds ridiculous but I spent many years just kind of flying by the seat of my pants. Cooking when I felt like, begging to eat out when I didn't (can I get an amen?). Taking the time to sit down and plan out our week set us up for success in so many ways. We found we were eating cleaner since we were making eating decisions in advance. We also found that we were managing our budget better by knowing week to week what we would spend.I hope this helps to get you off on the right start. If you aren't a planner by nature, just start out planning a few days out of the week. I'll tell you though. This way of planning things out frees up a lot of time in the long run! You might just learn to love it!Happy Meal Planning, y'all!    

New Year 2017

Happy New Year, friend!Each year, rather than making resolutions, I like to find a word to focus on for the year and then add some goals that I want to start or continue.My word this year is Abundance.I find myself operating out of a scarcity mentality in so many areas of my life and I really want to shift my thinking in that area.There's more than enough of God's sweet blessings to go around. I want to rejoice in the victories I see in other people's lives with total abandon because I know that a rising tide lifts everyone up!This means that ANY form of comparison has to go. In my line of work it is so very easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others but this always leads to toxic thinking. So no more!I also want to believe and claim abundance over our marriage, our health, our finances, our girls, our home, our present, and our future. Dreaming BIG dreams over here and I'm not going to shy away from writing them down and giving them over to Jesus so I can watch Him blow us away!__________________________Even though I'm not big into resolutions, I do love treating the first of the year as a benchmark of sorts to help me stop, take a breath, and just reflect. Here are a few areas of reflection... hehe. :-)I'm still going to continue my normal workout routine but I want to clean up my eating, especially after this Christmas eating extravaganza. #worthitThe key to clean eating is planning out my meals in advance and not keeping sugar in my house. Sounds simple enough, right? Yeah, you haven't seen the chocolate situation that unloaded itself out of my Christmas stocking into my pantry. Jesus, take the wheel.I'll have a blog post coming up on meal planning as well as the workout routine that works with my crazy mom life schedule.I think my biggest shift this year is going to be putting forth an effort to plan ahead more diligently. We had so many changes happen this past year that we just kind of rolled with. Most of the year I was just winging it. All of it. I find I approach daily tasks with a lot more joy if I have a plan to implement and if I have the time in advance to make sure I can get things done the way I want to.I want to play more with my girls. They are both at such a fun age! But they have also just recently gotten to the point where they will play happily together for long stretches of time so it's tempting to always let them do their thing while I get stuff done. But seeing how their little faces light up when I join them is worth it every single time. I'd rather have dirty floors and happy kids. Actually, I'd rather have happy kids and a housekeeper that cleans my dirty floors! Let's be real.Matt and I have always been pretty consistent about going on dates, but this year I want to be more intentional about the time we have at home. Less TV and phones, more talking and laughing. Easy peasy. I hope. Ha!Finally, I always like to evaluate my relationship with Jesus and make sure I'm continuing to walk with Him on the regular. For me, this looks like a consistent devotional that I can do every morning. Also just spending time in the Word AND writing down the things I'm grateful for, worried about, or just what's taking up room in my thoughts. In Psalms it says to "cast your cares on the Lord because He cares for you." I find myself sinking into anxiety only when I'm keeping my thoughts to myself instead of trading my heavy burden for the light one He offers.Y'all I can honestly say that I've never been more excited for a fresh and new season! I would love to hear from you about what you're taking time to reflect on and adjust in this New Year.As always, thank you so much for reading! You are loved! 

Thinking Happy Thoughts

Hi, friends!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope this Monday is being nice to you.

I'm really loving the pixie pants from Old Navy right now. Anything that works for Spring/Summer and can still stick around for the Fall is a win in my book. These gingham pants are on clearance but they're coming out with tons of new patterns for these peplum tops so I imagine we will be seeing loooooots more of these to come. I'm not mad about it. The $15 dollar price tag is also something to not be mad about.

Add caption

Similar pants linked here
Top linked here

You know the age old saying, "you are what you eat"? I don't necessarily think that's true because if it were, I'd be a bowl of mixed berries. Can't seem to get enough of those these days. #pregnancycravings #exceptnot

But even if you aren't what you eat, you are what you think. Your thought life will literally determine the way you view your circumstances, others, and yourself. So disciplining your thoughts then becomes one of the most important things you can do.

We spend hours in the gym (ok, I don't but maybe you do?). We read labels before buying certain foods and household products. We even carry tiny bottles of germ killers and lather up every time a threat to our well being arrives (looking at you, public bathrooms).

Yet, for so many of us, thinking "happy thoughts" is a ridiculous notion that's cute for Disney movies but not applicable in real life. Seems much more viable to allow negative thoughts to wreak havoc on our thought life and just assume that it's normal. Riiiiiiiiight.

Well, it's not normal.

Here are a few ways I've been practicing whipping those joy-killing thoughts into shape:

1. Discipline your disappointments: It doesn't take long for me to jump to conclusions, and if you even try to tell me not to get my hopes up... LOL. TOO LATE. The highs are fun but when I hit those lows, I really let myself sink. SO instead of showing up to the pity party, I shut it down. By literally just deciding to revert my thoughts to something else, I don't give the disappointment the freedom to de-rail me.

2. Stop the Spiral: After giving birth to Rowen, I had three months to fit into a bridesmaids dress for my sisters wedding. Pressure was ON. I was nursing exclusively so I had to be so careful about everything I did. I tried my dress on when it arrived and the dang thing wouldn't zip. Keep in mind, I still had months before it had to zip. But I allowed myself to spiral. First I was disappointed about the dress, but then like a toxic ooz, the disappointment starting seeping into other areas of my mind. "Not only am I too fat for my dress to fit but I'm pretty sure my marriage stinks, my kids are annoying, my house is ugly, and I have nothing to wear to the rehearsal dinner (in three months)". It happens fast. But stopping the spiral needs to happen faster. It's like you come up with two choices as soon as the reality of negativity hits: You can focus on the negative. OR you can focus on the positive. It really is that easy. Like a muscle, it starts out weak and then the more you use it, it starts to get stronger.

3. Protect against Patterns: Sometimes you just can't help running into negativity, but where you can help it, DO. For instance, I noticed that every time I weighed myself, I would either be happy because I met a goal or sad because I didn't. I realized after weeks of taking my frustration out on whoever ended up in my post-scale encounter wake that it just wasn't worth it. Sometimes, when possible, just remove the trigger. Case and point, I stopped weighing myself. As long my clothes fit, I was reaching goals. So it really didn't matter what the scale said anyway. If you can remove whatever is triggering your negativity, always do that first. If there's a few people you follow on social media that make you feel bad about yourself in one way or another, UNFOLLOW. Even for a time. It's ok. You can always follow back. Taking the time to really learn what triggers negativity in your mind is vital to having a happy thought life. Really start trying to notice what is causing you to develop patterns of negativity and you can actually start doing something about it

4. Read the WORD: I just can't stress enough the power that is in God's word in helping to align your mind with things that are true. Every morning during my time with the Lord (Reading the Bible and praying), I ask God to renew my mind. It's like when you're needing to see something new on your screen, you just refresh it. Reading the Bible is the most powerful way to refresh and renew your thoughts. If you're new to the Bible reading thing, I'd suggest starting by reading a Proverbs for each day of the month. I also love Philippians. Yes, the whole book. So good. You can add in a devotional like Jesus Calling or something from the app She Reads Truth. As you start each morning this way, you'll begin to see a huge difference in your thoughts!

Over the past eight years of our marriage, Matt and I have crazy amounts of ups and downs mostly due to his health. He has an auto immune disease that's had him hospitalized for over a month already this year. If there's one thing we have learned during this season of our lives, it's that while we can't control what happens to us, we CAN control how we respond. We choose happiness. You can too. Even if it means you need to see a professional to help you navigate thru the depth of your thoughts. Do it. You're worth it.

A negative mindset is just a thought away. But guess what? So is a positive and happy one. You get to decide!

Happiest of Mondays to you!

All my love,