In acts of service hope love parenting

Pay It Forward

I've been told I have a "servant heart."

I love hearing that, but it's not why I do acts of service for others.

My love language is strongly acts of service.
So, partially, the reason I do acts of service is because that is how I best feel loved.

But the true reason, the one I didn't realize, popped out in a quick Facebook conversation.

The reason I do acts of service could actually be considered, well, greedy.

Without realizing it, or thinking about it, I labor under a "pay-it-forward" mentality in hopes of making the world better. A little kinder, a little easier, a little more forgiving.

For Jace.

When I take dinner to a family with a newborn, or offer to babysit, I'm not doing it because I want them to owe me. I'm not doing it to appease God (GRACE means I'm covered whether or not I volunteer myself). And I'm not forcing myself to do it with the idea that karma will owe me good things.

I do it because if I do something nice, and that action inspires the recipient to do something kind for another, then the world has been made a touch nicer.
The world that my son has to grow up in.
That all my future children have to encounter and learn from.

When you become a mom you stop being greedy for yourself: embracing motherhood is the most selfless thing a woman can do. But you become greedy for your children instead.

You want for them.
Your actions become all about them.
And your greed just changes from you to them.

But, truth be told, that's a kind of greed I can live with.

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In instagram selfies social media

My Thoughts on #selfiesunday

My sister-in-law posted this quote a couple weeks ago, and it stuck with me.

"I'm definitely pro-selfie. I think that anybody who's anti-selfie is really just a hater. Because, truthfully, why shouldn't people take pictures of themselves? When I'm on Instagram and I see that somebody took a picture of themselves, I'm like, "Thank you." I don't need to see a picture of the sky, the trees, or plants. There's only one you. I could Google image search 'the sky' and would probably see beautiful images to knock my socks off. But I can't Google, you know, 'What does my friend look like today?' For you to be able to take a picture of yourself that you feel good enough about to share with the world- I think that's a great thing." - Ezra Koenig

I've noticed myself taking a lot of selfies lately. I don't post them all, and I'm a lot more likely to post them to IG than anywhere else, but I take a lot of pictures of myself. Why?

Well, I think it's because I'm feeling more confident and happier.
I never wanted to take a ton of pictures of myself when I felt overweight or when I was sad.
I didn't want to document my face when I was stressed out and my smile felt forced.
But lately, I'm an optimistic healthier version of me, and I love to document that through pictures.

And I love to see selfie's of my friends too because if you're posting a picture of yourself to be critiqued by the social media world, then you are feeling confident about that picture. You are feeling good about yourself, and who doesn't want to see their friends feeling good?

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In #100happydayscmk 100 Happy Days challenge gratitude instagram social media

100 Happy Days!

Okay, I can't lie, I'm really excited about this.

There are so many people doing it already, and I have now joined them!

100 Happy Days Challenge!

Basically, you actually take a bit of time out of your busy day to notice something that makes you happy.
You snap a picture of it, hashtag it (I'll be using instagram for mine) and do so for 100 days.

Theoretically at the end you should notice yourself being happier, more appreciative, and overall just in a better mental space.

Who's with me??
Sign up, use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever your social outlet of choice is :)

For those who don't have instagram, but are still interested in what makes me happy, I'm going to update this post to include the pictures here as well:

Day 1: #100happydayscmk weather warm enough to wear a skirt and heels!

Day 2: #100happydayscmk morning workouts!

Day 3: #100happydayscmk my cute lace skirt, warm weather, my first 5K registration mailed in, and the great smelling candle at my desk.

Day 4: #100happydayscmk Friends that swim laps with me at 6:30am!

Day 5: #100happydayscmk Cuddling this sweet girl

Day 6: #100happydayscmk Going out to lunch after church with my little family

Day 7: #100happydayscmk strawberry ice cream with lunch

Day 8:  #100happydayscmk As soon as I open the door to Jace's room Luna has to come wake him up and lay in bed with him. It's pretty adorable

Day 9: #100happydayscmk It's confirmed, I'm running my first 5k in 23 days!

Day 10: #100happydayscmk I made this for Allyson at work this morning. I really do like this job :)

Day 11: #100happydayscmk a healthy start to Friday: swimming laps and nearly 25 pounds down

Day 12: #100happydayscmk watching this boy fall in love with the water just like his mama.

Day 13: #100happydayscmk a little happy about the snow day because it meant extra family time

Day 14: #100happydayscmk extremely thankful for an endless supply of hot chocolate on a cold, snowy morning.

Day 15: #100happydayscmk Candlelight bubble bath and chocolate

Day 16: #100happydayscmk A cute video of Jace popping bubbles, but I can't get it to upload here. Guess I should stick to pictures.

Day 17: #100happydayscmk Gilmore Girls marathon in my nest of pillows and blankets

Day 18: #100happydayscmk Lazy Saturday morning with my loves

Day 19: #100happydayscmk Watching Jace learn

Day 20: #100happydayscmk Jace discovered the volleyball court after our picnic dinner in the sun!

Day 21: #100happydayscmk Taking back control of my diet and workouts.

Day 22: #100happydayscmk A crockpot full of chili to come home to after work

Day 23: #100happydayscmk My splurge purchase, new running shoes!

Day 24: #100happydayscmk A lunch date with both my boys!

Day 25: #100happydayscmk Homemade pizza in the oven!

Day 26: #100happydayscmk Spending my lunch break in a bookstore 

Day 17: #100happydayscmk Pomegranate Green Tea arrived at the office today!

Day 28: #100happydayscmk Gorgeous sunset on the way to the gym

Day 29: #100happydayscmk Tulips delivered to work for my birthday!

Day 30: #100happydayscmk My 24th Birthday, which included placing in a 5k, lunch with friends, and an evening with my family!

Day 31: #100happydayscmk My bosses brought me Starbucks!

Day 32: #100happydayscmk New toy, the Fitbit Flex!

Day 33: #100happydayscmk A healthy lunch and catching up on Nashville

Day 34: #100happydayscmk My herbs and flowers are sprouting and growing!

Day 35: #100happydayscmk A leisurely walk at lunch enjoying the small town charm

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In animal advocate dogs Pit bulls rant Rescuing animals

This post is offensive.

And if it offends you, good because you're probably who I'm talking to.

Here is a basic truth I hold: if you purchase, adopt or take in an animal, you are responsible for that animal.

You have taken on an agreement with that animal, and your responsibilities include:

-Providing food and clean water

- Providing shelter adequate to keep them safe from extreme heat or cold

- Spaying or neutering them unless you are prepared for a litter of baby animals and take responsibility of finding them all homes or caring for them yourself.

- At least the most basic veterinary care.

- In the case of a dog, a way to identify your pup if s/he gets lost (we got Luna micro-chipped for $10)

These responsibilities continue until either the animal passes away, or you do.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think it's that simple. I have a friend whose family member was diagnosed with a terminal illness and they had no choice but to move to an apartment close to the hospital and could not take their large (very large) dog with them.

Situations like that happen, and sometimes circumstances beyond your control cause you to be unable to care for your pet.

But then there are the images on my social media that just break my heart. Like the family whose small dog has been with them about five years but since they got a new job and are moving, they decided that instead of looking for a pet-friendly apartment, they'll try to pawn her off to someone on Facebook.

Or the girl who has a history of getting dogs too big for her to handle at this stage in her life, then gives them away or takes them to the shelter, yet two days ago she posted a picture of her newest large dog.

And then there was the dog I found outside my apartment a couple weeks ago in the snow. He was a very large, sweet, friendly, and hungry dog with a collar. The collar even had a phone number on it! So I called, left a voicemail. We took the dog to our upstairs bathroom for a couple hours, gave him food and water, drove all of our pets completely insane, and tried calling a couple more times. Finally Nathan took him up to the humane society, where they checked to see if he was microchipped. He wasn't.

Now I don't know what happened to that poor pup: in my hopes he was adopted since his owner was apparently too careless to claim him or ever return either Nathan or I's calls.

Seeing all these situations kills me, because although I am not the best pet-owner, I at least adhere to the most basic responsibilities. And if you can't follow those simple guidelines, then you should not have a pet.

Animals do not deserve to be euthanized, freeze to death, or starve to death because human beings cannot keep up with their part of the bargain. I'm tired of seeing it, I'm tired of hearing about it, and I'm tired of keeping quiet.

Animals love with their whole hearts, they deserve a little basic respect in return.

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In letter rant snow winter

Winter, we need to talk.

Dear Winter,
    I'm afraid the time has come. Our relationship has run its' course, and we just don't make each other happy anymore. I think we need to break up.
See, you've been a lot harsher this year than in years past. Actually, this is the worst time we've had since I moved to Kentucky! I left Ohio hoping to connect with a milder version of you, one more prone to light dusting's of snow and temperatures that stay above 0.
But this year, well this year you have been determined to make things difficult.
I'm not being specific enough?

Okay, well since I like lists, let me be organized and explain my issues in more detail.

1.) My little apartment is having trouble keeping warm. Those nights of negative degrees? Well, thank goodness I've always kept endless blankets around the house. And then I saw my electric bill. Not cool winter, not cool.

2.) I learned to drive in you at a young age. I drove in snow, ice, sleet, rain, wind, and the occasional whiteout. I'm actually a pretty decent all-weather driver. But this year I have spent so much time sliding, getting stuck, and being unable to park in my own driveway, that it is not even close to okay.

See, after having to be towed out and back out of an icy driveway, I had to get creative. Which brings me to my next point.

3.) I'm getting real tired of hiking in the snow. Yep, to avoid the above image I have taken to plopping my toddler in the jogging stroller with a large blanket over him and hiking approx. .36 miles in the morning and afternoon in order to avoid losing control of my car. 

4.) You made me sick! I don't get sick often. I take good care of myself, eat healthy, exercise, and avoid situations where I would be bound to pick up excessive germs. But last week I was laid up for 3 days as a barely functional human being, and yes I blame you.

Maybe next year we can try again, maybe you will have mellowed, perhaps I will get tougher. But, I'm afraid it's over.

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In dating husband love marriage

Dating an INFJ. Or, more specifically, me.

I am a control freak.

I love to at least hold on to the illusion of being in control and having things in order.
I function amazingly within a routine I can design, and patterns I can rely on.

All of which make me a really challenging person to date.

Just ask my poor husband. 
He's been dating me for over four years now.

See, sudden plan changes that I have no say in or control over freak me out. 

But Nathan, well, he has finally recently realized that to date me, means to include me every step of the way.
For Valentine's day this year, I thought of different things I could do to surprise him. He likes to be surprised, and that detail-oriented part of me knows exactly how to surprise him.
But he sat down and talked through what he was thinking with me. Leaving some flexibility in the plans for me to be able to make my own choices in how we celebrated. At this point, he doesn't even really get his feelings hurt when I alter his plans, because he knows that I'm not doing it to be mean to him, I'm doing it because I need to have a certain level of comfort in the plans.
That is the mark of an amazing person. Someone who realizes that the only way for me to really enjoy my evening is to have a general timeline laid out and a plan so that I can be properly dressed and packed for it.

I really did get lucky with my husband, because I don't know many other people that would be willing to give over control of date nights and plans just to make their significant other happy. And mine is willing to do that.

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In healthy pinterest recipes Weight loss

Green Tea Spinach Smoothie

The healthy living is still going strong!
And something helpful? Sharing good and healthy recipes. 
So, combined from many ideas and posts on pinterest, simple, single-serve smoothie packs to live in your freezer.

You need:
Green tea bags
Ziploc bags

What I specifically use:
1.) Frozen bag of fruit (around $3)
2.) 2 Lipton Green Tea bags
3.) 2 or 3 bananas (usually $0.50 a pound)
4.) Bag of spinach (a little under $3)

In each ziploc bag put a handful of spinach, a handful of mixed fruit, and half a banana (sliced is easiest!). Put in freezer. 
Boil a pot of water and make a pitcher of green tea (no sugar or honey needed). Keep pitcher in fridge.

When you want a yummy fruit smoothie dump one ziploc bag and about 1 cup of green tea into blender, and voila! Of course, use more or less green tea to your taste, and you could always use juice instead.

As best I can figure, each smoothie is around 100 calories.
It helps boost energy, and you only really taste the fruit!

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