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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Things I'm Loving {June '17}

We're already halfway through 2017, into the beautiful summer, and it's yet again the 15th; time to intentionally write out what I'm currently loving!


1.) The Keepers

I watched The Keepers on Netflix in under 24 hours. And then watched all 7 episodes again later the same week. It's a really compelling series, especially for a girl that grew up watching Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, Perry Mason, and Snapped with her mom.


2.) Hanging out on the back patio

Whether it's just sitting, or playing a game of UNO after dinner, I'm loving our backyard with giant shade trees and some plants (that are still alive!).

3.) Summer Vacation! 

We're heading to Florida for a family vacation, and boy do we need one. This will be the first vacation I have taken where I have not A.) Worked extra hours during the week to make up for the day off or B.) Worked from vacation since I left Kentucky. I am taking one glorious week of paid time off to enjoy with my family and I cannot wait.


4.) Birthday Shenanigans 

In March, we went out for my 27th birthday, now that it's June it was time to go out to celebrate my sister's 25th! We found an awesome bar and restaurant in Kent, Erie St. Kitchen inside Venice Cafe, and it's right beside an adorable walking path and the Cuyahoga river.


5.)  Vacation Bible School

This is the first year I've ever been involved in a VBS, and I love love love it. Kids dancing, singing, playing, learning, crafting and laughing. It's a busy ans exhausting week, but if I'm being honest, I'm loving every minute of it!



What are you loving right now?

Link up below:


Thursday, June 8, 2017

National Best Friends Day

I enjoy some of the silly "national" days.

Like, National Doughnut Day (any excuse to eat a doughnut is good in my book).

And today is National Best Friend day. I have a small group of people I consider my best friends, and I do my best to tell them I love and appreciate them (seriously guys, you're awesome)!

But today, something about it made me think of all of my former best friends. The people who, at one point and time, knew me better than anyone else. They shaped me, and whether we simply grew apart or ended our friendship dramatically, they impacted my life.

To my many former best friends, thank you. Thank you for sleepovers and conversations at 2:00 in the morning, giggling about boys and dreaming of the future. Thanks for being there through dramatic meltdowns, first kisses, first boyfriends, and of course breakups. Thank you for important lessons and teaching me how to move on. Thank you for at one point calling me your best friend.

I think I've finally reached a point where I can look back on the friendships that aren't still thriving without bitterness and regret, but with genuine joy at the fact that they happened at all. I would not be the woman I am today without all the experiences both good and bad. And today felt like a good day to acknowledge that.






Sunday, June 4, 2017

Perspective

*This post was what I wrote and submitted earlier this year, it wasn't chosen to be published, but I was still proud and wanted to share it.*


It was 117 degrees as I stood in front of the Sphinx. Yes, the missing nose monument that comes only after the pyramids when thinking of Egypt. In total I spent three weeks in Egypt with classmates, and my professor told us, “You won’t remember the heat.” Every day for twenty-one days was over a hundred degrees. I distinctly remember thinking there was no way in hell I was going to forget this heat.

Talking to fellow moms that are in the trenches of baby and early toddler years I heard their guilt for not enjoying every minute. Some struggled with infertility and miscarriages for years before having a child, and now they feel immense guilt for not being in love with their baby every minute of every hour. They are disappointed in themselves when they’re stir crazy from staying home every day. They hide from their spouses that they really just want one night to sleep through the night and not wake up for the 3:00 am feeding. They want every day to be the diaper commercial of the mom snuggling their baby looking completely fulfilled.

That’s not reality. Whether you tried for ten years for that baby or it was a complete surprise you weren’t prepared for, you’re not going to feel joy every minute. You’re not going to be a perfect mom by your own standards. There will be moments when you lay a screaming infant into their crib and walk out onto the porch because you’ve overwhelmed. There will be times you scroll your Facebook feed bitterly jealous of your college girlfriend who was just promoted at work and is vacationing in Cozumel.

But take heart, because those moments aren’t what you remember. Take it from a fellow mom who is now out of the baby years and into the preschool years. When I think about those days, I think about my toddler saying “straw-baby” instead of “strawberry.” I recall sweet moments cuddling instead of tantrums and refused naps. Those good memories, those moments of contentment and joy, outweigh the moments of feeling inadequate, feeling overwhelmed, or just being discontent.


Stop tearing yourself down for having minutes, hours and days of not loving motherhood. Start focusing on the minutes that you are happy. Because when I think about the Sphinx, about the wonder of it, and remember standing in front of that history, as crazy as it may sound, I don’t remember the heat.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Recipes & Roller Coasters [May Learning]

1.) Variations of Oat Balls 

The peanut butter, oat, honey and dark chocolate chip balls have been longtime healthy snack favorite of mine. Most recently, I added vanilla protein powder and it was a tiny but noticeable change. But I found a ton of new ideas and options on Pinterest that I now can't wait to try.




2.) Double sports bra is the only way to do coasters.


For those of us that are, well, no an A cup, spending the day on roller coasters can be rough. Two sports bras seems to be the solution though, because we did coasters for 8 hours straight!





2017 Goals Update:

I laid out goals for myself this year, and what better time to check in with them then my monthly learning post? Here's where things stand currently.

1.) Read 50 books!

Current Status:

2.) Achieve and maintain goal weight.

Current Status: Honestly, I think I'm removing this goal for 2017. It is not happening, and I'm tired of feeling guilty about it.

3.) Meditate daily

Current Status: Not daily, but I did do some meditation. For June, I want to take on this challenge.

4.) Maintain Blog

Current Status: Third post of the month, still going strong and bringing me joy.

5.) Write!

Current Status: I didn't submit a piece, but I did work on some more of my writing.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Things I'm Loving {May '17}

1.) The weather is right for beach lunch breaks!


2.) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

I listened to all three books in two weeks. It was creative, fun, and well written (also, I looked up all the photographs online since they're the big piece of the story so I wouldn't miss out!).

3.) Thirteen Reasons Why
I loved this series in that heartbreaking emotionally damaging kind of way. And being a person who has been there emotionally, it was a reminder to me that staying was the right choice. And that being kind and listening and believing is always the right choice.


4.) The Handmaid's Tale
I'm not going to lie, this show gives me nightmares of my rights being stripped away, or being trapped or imprisoned. But I also cannot stop watching it.

5.) My mom and dad are visiting!!! 
I don't think more than that needs to be said, I mean, I got to spend Mother's Day with my mommy!

So, what are you loving this month? Link up below!


Monday, May 1, 2017

Mom Moments (Part 11)



Me: Jace why is there marker on your neck? Did you color at school today?
Jace: No, Alex colored me.
Me: Why??
Jace: He makes a lot of bad choices.


Baking brownies with Aunt Weese and she gave him an egg to crack. 
Egg explodes all over him.
Jace: I really thought I had it.








Me: There's your pillow, it's on the floor. You kicked it off when you were sleeping.
Jace: No, I didn't kick it off, I sleeped it off.


Jace: Mom, why do you look like that?
Me: Like what?
Jace: THAT *points at my face*
Me: Can you elaborate?
Jace: Your eyes.
Me: Oh. That's spring allergies.


Playing Go Fish
Elise: Camille, do you have any Jace's?
Me: *laughing* Jace's?
Elise: Ace's, I meant aces, not Jace's! But... can I have you Jace?
Jace: No, I'm still my family's Jace.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Reporting, Qualifying & Screening [April Learning]

Every month I end with a post of what I've learned and my goals progress for the year, so here's how April went!

1.) The World Happiness Report

It exists, which I did not know, and apparently has decided that to improve overall happiness these are the areas that should be focused on:
Nutrition 

Mindfulness 
Community 
Environment
Movement 
Financial 


2.) We meet all the qualifications to be foster parents. 

Two years ago, after the second miscarriage, I couldn't imagine being a foster parent. The only thing I could think was, "No more loss." Now, I wonder if it's something we should consider, and my high level research showed that we would be approved to do so if it's something we decide to pursue. 

3.) Kindergarten Screening

The last time I had to think about kindergarten screening, I was 5. Needless to say, I remember nothing about it. But the tiny human is starting kindergarten this fall and needs to undergo a screening (next week!) and I wanted to know what it entailed. Apparently, it's as simple as proving he knows his letters, numbers, and basic self-care like going to the bathroom and washing his hands. 


2017 Goals Update:

I laid out goals for myself this year, and what better time to check in with them then my monthly learning post? Here's where things stand currently.

1.) Read 50 books!

Current Status:

2.) Achieve and maintain goal weight.

Current Status: The last two weeks of the month I finally started tracking my calories again and hitting my step goal more often. I lost only a pound, but it's a loss not a gain.

3.) Meditate daily

Current Status: On average, I think I meditated 3x a week during the month of April, which is the best I've done so far this year!

4.) Maintain Blog

Current Status: Another month with four posts, this goal is being consistently exceeded.

5.) Write!

Current Status: I didn't submit any more pieces this month :(

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Decorating A New Home!

When we moved out of our townhouse in Kentucky, a lot of our furniture was mismatched. We moved in as college kids, and I didn't have the confidence yet to take on projects like redoing furniture, and even if I had, where would I have done it?

Moving into our new home *happy dance* meant gaining a garage and backyard. And at 27, having a home that looks put together and like a real home matters more to me. But on a budget. Because no matter how adorable that dining room set is, I am not about to drop the cash to bring it home. Oh no, I will be proudly over here hunting through Craigslist, finding deals on clearance, and using Pinterest (aka the best invention since the internet itself) to put together my house.

The first room I wanted to tackle was the living room. I wanted it to look like a coherent room, which meant needing a color scheme. I found a secondhand couch in grey/black, and so decided on a scheme of grey, black, white and turquoise/teal for a pop of color. I hunted down curtains for three days online before finding a sale with additional clearance and getting all the curtains for about $40. I already had some black and white pictures and furniture, and even blankets.

Before:



After:





Then came the dining room. Which was blue. We got permission to repaint, which took two coats of heavy duty primer and almost a week of effort to accomplish, but ended up being completely worth it.

Before:


After:



The kitchen really just needed moved into and a little personalizing.

Before:



After:




The upstairs will be next, I have a handful of projects in mind, including painting the master bedroom before I deem it fully decorated!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Listening and Purpose

In the busy-ness of the last month, I've been sitting on a story, one that I didn't want to try to share until I had adequate time to write it out.

I mentioned in a February post that I learned what Lectio Divino was at church. It's basically a way to read the Bible and respond. There are five steps:

Silence
Silent preparation for the reading.

Read
Read the scripture.

Meditate
Reflect on words, phrases or sentences that speak to you. 

Pray
Respond to the words that God stirred in you.

Contemplate
Rest in the presence of God, allowing the words to root, and write what God is saying to you. 

This was February 12, 2017, as a church we read Matthew 14:22-33. The words and phrases that resonated with me were "Take Courage!" and "Come."

Because I am a writer, I scribbled down quite a paragraph for my prayer.

"I'm afraid. I'm afraid none of my interviews will result in a job. I'm afraid to want to grow my family and afraid for my marriage to go wrong again. I'm afraid to make new relationships and friendships. I am living in fear, and I know that's why the words "Take courage!" and "Come" were what stuck out. I hope that it means to take courage in movement. I hope these words mean impending change."

As I contemplated, this is what I wrote:


Because I doubt myself, I wondered if I heard wrong, so I didn't share this with anyone. But I held on to it, keeping it in the notebook that I carry everywhere with my day to day lists and tasks.

Two weeks later, on February 26th, we toured the home we're now living in. February 27th I received my offer letter for my current position.

It's clear that I did not hear wrong, and now I'm settled into these new roles and contentedly waiting to see what that purpose may be.




Saturday, April 15, 2017

Thing I'm Loving {April '17}

I'm basically just loving the whole month right now. It has been rather joy filled and happy! But here are the specific things that I'm loving.

1.) My new job.

As a T&E specialist I'm spending my days doing specific tasks like checking reports that are pending exceptions for approval, ordering office supplies, and editing the website. Things that, once I complete them, get checked off the list and so I get that feeling of pride that comes with accomplishing something. Also, my new manager gave me the go ahead to redesign and work to update the travel and expense website. It's basically like working on this blog for me: creative, fun, and something I'm actually good at!



2.) DIY Furniture Projects

I keep working little by little to turn our new house into our home. But on a budget, because hey, real life. So when I wanted to TV Stand/Entertainment Center, I was not interested in spending a couple hundred dollars. I ended up finding a twin bedroom set (dresser, nightstand and bed frame) for $50 that really just needed a new coat of paint. And I turned the dresser into my TV stand with the help of Pinterest. There are some little paint touchups and details to still be done on it, but overall, I'm really happy with it!



3.) Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack

My favorite Disney princess has always been Belle, so I know no one is shocked by the fact that I've been listening to the soundtrack daily over the past couple weeks.

Gaston: My future wife, the most beautiful girl in town. That makes her the best.
LeFou: But she's so well-read, and you're so... athletically inclined. 


What are you loving this April? If you're a blogger please link up below and share!


Friday, March 31, 2017

OnBase, Good Friends and Step Goals [March Learning]

1.) Moving basically guarantees exceeding your step goal.

Day one of the move, over 16,000 steps. Day two, over 14,000.

2.) Good friends will drive over an hour to come have dinner and hang out at your new house.

3.) OnBase is amazing.

I worked at Hyland for a year, but was never in OnBase. Now that I've gone through training I've learned what the software actually does, and it's fantastic. Especially for an organization freak like me. Also, I may or may not be considering an anonymous note to the law office I worked at, because they really need to consider going paperless.

2017 Goals Update:

I laid out goals for myself this year, and what better time to check in with them then my monthly learning post? Here's where things stand currently.

1.) Read 50 books!

Current Status: I read one book in all of March, so hopefully April I can pick my reading back up now that I'm moved into my new place and finished with the training and assessments and Monday I sit at my new desk for my first official day as a Travel & Expense Specialist.

2.) Achieve and maintain goal weight.

Current Status: No comment guys. No comment.

3.) Meditate daily

Current Status: Um. See above.

4.) Maintain Blog

Current Status: Success! 2017 seems to be a good year so far for my blogging life.

5.) Write!

Current Status: I didn't submit a piece this month, which means I'll need to submit two pieces in April.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Things I'm Loving {March '17}



1.) NEW HOME!

After more than a year of sharing space, having my own house is bringing me more joy than I could ever have imagined.

2.) Moments of spring weather

Currently, it's snowing. However, a week ago it was so lovely I went for a walk on a work break without even needing a coat or jacket. And those moments of warmth and sunshine and the promise of spring bring me extreme joy.

3.) Decorating

We unloaded the first uHaul into the house on Saturday. The second uHaul on Sunday. And by last night, I had begun a gallery wall in the living room, because a house is not a home until I have personalized it with pictures.



4.) Season Three of Girl Meets World

Yes, this show is meant for the preteen/teenager age. Do I care? Nope. Still gonna love watching it.

5.) Memory Lane

In getting everything from my parents old house, I now have years and years of memories, which I've loved going through. Look at baby Camille, I totally see some Jace features and also, CUTE!



What are you loving right now? What joy is in your corner of the universe? If you blog, please feel free to link up below!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Leaving Limbo

I have spent the past year (and a half) of my life in limbo.

Am I leaving Ohio?
Should we try to move back to Kentucky? 
When will my temporary position end?
What's the plan when it does end?
What is the next step for my family? 

In August, I started applying to jobs. I applied to positions in Kentucky (Berea, Richmond and Lexington). I applied to positions at Hyland and nearby. And when my parents moved to Ocala, Florida, I started applying there.

My temporary position got an end date, September 15, 2017. That was my timeline left to figure it out. In the meantime I would continue living in the basement, unable to move because where my next position would be was unknown.

The number of positions applied to and number of times I tweaked my resume and cover letter grew, exceeding 100. I had several interviews that ended in rejection, and one I never heard from again. And it was discouraging. There were many moments I just felt completely defeated and useless.

But then, in an attempt to move forward with our lives, we started looking for places to rent that would be closer to our church and give us back the ability to be our own family unit here in Ohio. After being turned down endlessly because of Luna, and feeling done on that front too, I got a lead from a coworker. A three bedroom house, 15 minutes from church, 20 minutes from work, and we went to see it. I fell in love.




The next day was a follow up interview for a position at Hyland Software. I was offered the position in the room.

 In one week, everything changed. In one week, I had answers.

I'm not leaving Ohio, I'm staying at Hyland in a permanent position. We are living in a home in Elyria for at least the next year, and after that we can decide whether continuing to rent or pursuing buying a home is the best option. Jace will start kindergarten this fall, Nathan will finish up his schooling here. And meanwhile, we will be a family. We will plan to attend events nearby, we will be more involved and work to create relationships within our church. We will make trips to Newton Falls to visit my sister and our friends. We can plan family vacations to Florida because I will now have paid time off. And we can settle in, because obviously, this is where we're meant to be.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Mom Moments (Part 10)



Jace took his tools to work on the faucet in the bathtub:
Jace: Hey mom, where does gwampa keep his tools? Mine just aren't doing the job.


Having mini cheeseburgers for dinner.
Jace: Can I have one piece of bacon for my sandwich?
Me: Sure *Hands him a piece*
Jace: Thanks. Can I have another so this piece doesn't get lonely?


Me: Strip down, it's time to put on PJ's.
Jace: But I don't want to.
Me: Not a choice, it's bedtime and you need PJ's.
Jace: But I want you to do it.
Me: Jace, just get naked.
Jace: *Deep sigh* I'll do the top half, you do the bottom half, does that seem fair?


Jace: Hey mom, do you want a foot massage?
Me: Sure, that sounds lovely. Do you know how to give a foot massage?
Jace: Yep! I walk with my feet on your back.


After finding out I got the new job.
Me: Jace, did dad tell you the good news when he picked you up?
Jace: Um, yeah. Tomorrow's pajama day at school!!


Grandma to Nathan: Your face looks fat all of a sudden.
Nathan: Gee, thanks.
Jace: It's not fat, bloated is the word.


Me: 20 minutes until bedtime, what do you want to do?
Jace: Hmm. Hmm. Um, I don't know. Do I have to take a bath before bed?
Me: No, you got a bath last night and you weren't outside today.
Jace: Oh. But mom, can I please have a bath?


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Facials and Faith [February Learning]

As usual, the last day of the month I like to look back and see what I've learned over the days, and encourage friends to blog about it as well!




1.)  Lecto Divino

At church one week instead of a sermon, we did bible reading in the style of lecto divino as a whole church. And it was amazing, a very different way to read the word and listen.

2.) Facials

Hyland offers facials once a week for less than any salon I've seen, so I wanted to try one. It was soothing, and wonderful (except for the removing blackheads part. That part was a little bit painful) and I was amazed at how much more smooth my skin was afterward. She also was able to offer me some great tips to help me keep my skin healthy and hopefully get this stress acne under control.

3.) Detroit! 

Nathan and I  took a trip to Detroit the weekend after Valentine's day to see The Lion King and it was our first trip to Detroit together. I learned a little bit about the city, and had a lot of fun and food (Michael Symon's restaurant Roast. Best food ever.).


2017 Goals Update:


I laid out goals for myself this year, and what better time to check in with them then my monthly learning post? Here's where things stand currently.

1.) Read 50 books!

Current Status: I am still ahead, but not by the great leap I was before.

2.) Achieve and maintain goal weight.

Current Status: I gained back two pounds. Not what I was hoping to do, but I also barely worked out this month and kind of ate whatever I wanted. That's what stress does to me.

3.) Meditate daily

Current Status: Instead of improving, somehow this month I actually did worse. I think I meditated once a week. Maybe.

4.) Maintain Blog

Current Status: While not as impressive as my January, February continued my dedication to keeping the blog alive with four posts.

5.) Write!

Current Status: I wrote a short 500 word piece and submitted it to Babble. Currently their submissions are on hold until April, so it will be a while before I hear anything back. But I did it. And sometime in March, I will write and submit again. Because even a 500 word piece is 500 creative words in the right direction.

Friday, February 24, 2017

5 Reasons You Should Never Have a Pitbull



1.) Obviously pit mixes are vicious vicious creatures, completely untrustworthy around tiny humans. I mean, look at these pictures!





2.) They cannot be trusted with other animals.Which, of course, is why since we've had Luna she is the only animal in the entire house.
Except for the bearded dragon. And the cats. And the other dogs.



3.) They're just mean looking beasts. Truly, look at her, doesn't her little pibble smile strike fear into your heart?



4.) There are websites pushing breed specific legislation and memes telling me how bad they are. And obviously, if it's posted online somewhere, it's true.



5.) And obviously, these cold blooded killers are not capable of loving and being loyal to their family.



We've had Luna for four years this month. She's not just a dog, she's part of the family. She's also the main reason we are turned away from apartments or homes for rent: because of discrimination for her breed. She's a pit bull and boxer mix dog, and it is completely lawful for her to be discriminated against. Not long ago Montreal banned all pit bulls, resulting in families having their four legged family members taken from them unless they acquired a special permit (source). The ban was then temporarily suspended, but in other areas similar bans have held up.

This isn't just an "I prefer this type of dog" issue any longer, the more of this legislation is passed, the more innocent puppers are going to be put down. As it is, when entering a shelter, the statistics have proven if a dog looks like a pit their odds of being put down are 87.6% (source).

Speak up. Fight against the breed specific legislation, because I will say it until I die, it is not the dog, it is the owner. And if we want to see fewer of these babies put down, we need to make it easier for them to find homes.




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Things I'm Loving {February '17}

Welcome to February's Loving post! For those unaware, on the 15th of every month I host a linkup asking what you're loving. Without further ado, here's what I'm loving:

1.) #takeactionTuesday (Check my instagram for more details, #takeactiontuesdaycmk).



2.) Valentines Day sweetness and chocolate.

3.) Snowmen, snowball fights, and laughing outside with the boys.

4.) Cooking new Thai recipes! So far this month, Thai Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce.

5.) Season two of Crazy Ex Girlfriend on Netflix (if you need some silly overly dramatic humor, this is it).

6.) Music mixes by alexrainbird on youtube. They're perfect for working, or to listen to while reading a book.




7.) Bible In One Year app. I've never read through the entire bible. I've heard and read a lot of it through sermons and studies, but I know I've never read the whole thing. So I downloaded this app that I listen to in the car in the morning en route to work.


Do you blog? Was a goal of yours for 2017 to blog more? Then please be encouraged to join in the linkup below!



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Valentine's Day Post

I've always loved holidays, and even when I referred to Valentine's day as SAD (single awareness day), I still paid attention to it even if it was to buy ice cream with my girlfriends and mope about how terrible it was being single (spoiler alert for any of my single friends, it's not that terrible and those are some of my favorite memories).

This Valentine's day isn't anything special, but I feel that it should still be paid its' due. Jace is celebrating by having a party in his class, and handing out valentines to all his friends. And this weekend we went to get chocolate and made cards for all of our valentines.

He's adorable, and starting to get more of the traditions that come with holidays. Of course, a big part of this holiday for me is chocolate, and what's not to love about that?

And this year is my eighth with Nathan as my Valentine (babe, we're getting old).




Our first Valentine's day was certainly our most memorable (the man learned to tango with me. Nathan, who hates to dance and generally refuses to, learned to tango with me and went to a milanga in Lexington).

In the years since we've done movie dates, evenings at home; the more quiet, we've been married for awhile kind of Valentines day celebrations that can actually be just as fun.

Happy Valentines Day my friends, may it be spent with your love, or loves. Whether that is your spouse, your kids, your friends or your furry babies. May it be a day that reminds you that you are loved.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Essential Oils, Harry Potter, & Feminism [January Learning]

The first month of 2017 is at an end, and that means time for a collection of learning! Here's what I learned in the month of January.


1.) Harry Potter in Concert



There is a tour that brings the first Harry Potter movie to a screen with a symphony playing the soundtrack alongside the movie. It's coming to Columbus in March. It looks amazing.

2.) Some of my social media friends still have no idea what feminism actually is.

With the women's march taking place the day after inauguration I was shocked to see how many of my friends were posting that night and the next day about how they "don't need feminism" and are "so sick of feminists" and that "feminists do not speak for them."

Because I can't summarize it nearly as well, please enjoy this quote from Aziz Ansari:



3.) Essential Oils 

I started a small collection of essential oils, and this month have discovered how useful they can be. Diffusing lavender in the evening before bed helps me to feel calm and ready to sleep. Using tea tree oil on pimples (diluted with coconut oil) does appear to help them. Do I actually believe that a combination of 6 oils is the magic fix for a lack of motivation? No, but it also does not hurt and smells lovely.

4.) Doing nothing isn't an option.

Less than two weeks in office, and thus far Trump has "tried" to fulfill his campaign promises, and I'm not about to sit idly by and watch it happen. So from here on out, I will be participating in #takeactiontuesday where at least once a week I will be doing something to fight back. Because climate change is real, the government shouldn't control a woman's uterus, alternative facts are fiction, and this country was built on immigrants and religious freedom, to build a wall and ban the Muslims is simply un-American.

2017 Goals Update:


I laid out goals for myself this year, and what better time to check in with them then my monthly learning post? Here's where things stand currently.

1.) Read 50 books!

Current Status: 



Also worth noting, I have a book type. Fiction, authored by a woman. So in an effort to mix that up, the book I'm currently reading is nonfiction authored by a man.


2.) Achieve and maintain goal weight.

Current Status: Losing. Weight. Sucks.
I'm an emotional eater who deals with stress, and feelings and rejection with sugar. However, I joined a gym, I'm tracking my weight, and in the month of January I lost 4 pounds. That's progress, no matter how small.

3.) Meditate daily

Current Status: This was way harder than I anticipated. I figured oh, a beginners meditation can be done in five minutes. If I had to guess, I'd say I've meditated approximately twice a week all of January. But February is a new month!

4.) Maintain Blog

Current Status: I set this goal and said to "maintain" the blog, I needed to post at least twice per month. Well, say hello to my sixth blog post this month guys, if there's a goal I'm currently crushing, this is it.

5.) Write!

Current Status: I think I needed to give myself some better parameters on this one. I've written blog posts, and hand written letters to friends. But I've not written one poem, or short story, or creative piece. So, let's refine this, once per month (11 times this year) I'm going to submit something to a journal/newspaper/other publication.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Self Care (when the world beats you down)


1.) Reach out to those hand-picked friends

The ones who won't give you platitudes like "It'll all be okay." The kind that will let you be pissed off, that will simply listen to you, validate your pain, and build you up. The ones who don't judge you for not being able to always be optimistic and plucky and "keep the faith." Those friends, the ones that let you be real, are the most valuable asset you have when the world is crushing you.

2.) Keep plans anyway

Even though the only thing you want to do is curl up in your bed with a glass of wine and pint (half gallon?) of ice cream. If you have plans on your calendar, keep them. Go out to see that movie with your spouse, keep that library date with your kid, go meet your coworker for lunch like you planned even though you feel like terrible company. Because as appealing as your bed is, staying there too long doesn't do anything to help you.

3.) Rock out

Listen to those feel good songs. It doesn't matter if your feel good songs are a collection of Avril from the early 2000's, musicals like Chicago and Moulin Rouge, rap, Weird Al, country, Taylor Swift. Whatever it is, listen to it. Enjoy it. Be transported by the memories that songs hold.

4.) List the good

When you're ready, make a list of the things in your life that are good. Everything, from your job, your family and friends, that book you just picked up from the library, the piece of chocolate you savored on the drive to pick the kids up from school. If it's something good, something that brings about positive emotion no matter how small, list it out.

5.) Rally

When you've taken some care of yourself, and when you can, rally. Scrape together every bit of anger, resilience, drive, stubbornness, and energy and push forward. Make your plan to fight back on whatever has been crushed.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Thanks Obama

My title is not sarcastic, and I didn't realize how thankful I was until the votes came in to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Am I saying it was a perfect system? Of course not. But now it's going away, and there is nothing going in to replace it. This directly affects my family, it impacts our future, and what kind of future we get to have.

Thanks to Obama, when Nathan and I were married in 2011, Nathan was able to remain on his stepfathers insurance. Our entire marriage, Nathan has been able to stay on good insurance, insurance that has effectively kept him alive. Insurance that severely reduced our burden when his Crohn's disease got worse, when he needed major emergency surgery, when he spent weeks in the hospital. It's no secret that we struggled financially in that time, that we barely scraped through when he was unable to work for nearly a full year. But when the medical bills came with scary numbers, like $53,000, our responsibility was reduced to closer to $2,000 or so.

Nathan is turning 26 anyway, so he would no longer be able to remain on that insurance, but this repeal brings a new issue. Insurance will now be allowed to discriminate based on a "Preexisting condition." Nathan has Primary Scholarosing Cholangitis, which is a rare disease that means his liver WILL fail. There is not an if, it is a when. We will live with and plan for this for the remainder of our lives, which let me just tell you, is a scary place to live. But now, will he even be able to get medical insurance? In May we had intended for him to get insurance through his work or to add him to my plan. Will the insurance companies accept him? Will they accept him and raise his rates so much that it will break our family?

Not having medical insurance for Nathan is not an option. As stated earlier, with him, it's not if something goes wrong, it's when. If we're unable to afford insurance and he needs surgery, those bills for $53,000 will no longer be reduced to a co-payment. They will be $53,000, which will end up in collections, destroying our credit, destroying our ability to buy a home, to provide the life we are willing to work to have for our son. We will become the family that sets up a GoFundMe account to survive.

I am afraid right now. I am afraid for what these politicians with their government funded insurance are deciding for my families future. And I am truly, fully grateful for the last 8 years where despite our medical trials, we at least did not have to worry about having insurance. Thank you Obama, for keeping my family alive.


Want to do something about it? Contact your local representatives:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state 

Express any concern you have with removing the ACA without a replacement plan ready to be implemented.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Things I'm Loving {January '17}

Welcome to the first link up of 2017! Each month on the 15th I will be posting a blog dedicated solely to things I'm loving, things that bring me joy, and just adding a little intentional positivity to my little corner of the world.

If you're a fellow blogger, please be encouraged to join in and spend a little time thinking about what's happened in the month that's bringing you happiness!



1.) Muscle Memory

I finally got back into the pool this month, and was surprised at how quickly my body jumped back into  the movements and rhythm of swimming laps.

2.) Gratitude Journal

In an attempt to be more positive, there's a theory that you can retrain your brain to think less about the negative. so I picked up a journal that contains prompts, quotes, and reminders, and the idea is that each day I jot down things I'm thankful for. And honestly, I have noticed a difference by making the effort to notice something good, and take the time to write it into the book. At the end of every day, even if there are only two things noted, that's two things that made me thankful and happy.



3.) More regular yoga practice

I've written before about how much I enjoy yoga, but meetings and business and generally not making it a priority means it fell by the wayside. So far in 2017 I've gone to yoga sculpting class I've gone every week and the upcoming week looks good to make it for week three!

4.) Black Mirror 

It's a series on Netflix that's being hailed as the new Twilight Zone, which I used to enjoy watching with my mom. I'm almost finished with season 1, and thus far I'm finding it strange in a satisfying and addicting way.

5.) Reading Challenge

One of my goals for this year was to read 50 books, and having that goal has made me more intentional about finding the time to read. Thus far I've read three books, and I'm hoping to keep up this momentum, because exceeding my goal would be just peachy with me!



If you decide to join in, please add your link below!