In foster care foster parents growing family moving forward

Starting


The idea of foster care came up after the second miscarriage in 2015.

I said absolutely not. My heart was in a place of heavy grief and loss after two children were gone before I got to meet them. The idea of having a child in my home, and in my heart, for a few weeks or months only to have to say goodbye to them? It was unimaginable.

But one thing I have learned in my young life is that time can change nearly anything. I began toying with the idea again earlier this year. After all, there is no guarantee that even if I conceived again that I would carry to term. There are no guarantees in life period, the whirlwind of Nathan's health and moving proved that in a painful way.

So, we talked. And prayed. We tried to think about what it would mean for our lives. And we reached out to friends we know that have been or currently are foster parents to ask them questions and advice.

And this week, we went to the three hour orientation class at Lorain County Children Services to start the process of becoming foster parents.

As I sat there, listening to the stories and the facts and the advice, I felt more and more certain this was what our next step was meant to be. I listened to how to parent a traumatized child and instead of feeling afraid, felt confident that I could do it.

Nathan and I left the class in complete agreement: this is something we are going to pursue.

Here's some of what I learned in that three hours:


  • There are currently 101 children currently in foster care in Lorain county. 
  • There are 73 currently licensed foster families.
  • The goal of foster care is reunification with family.
  • But approximately half of the children in a foster home currently are in some kind of permanent custody heading toward adoption. 
  • We'll be undergoing 33 more hours of classes in October to be licensed as a foster family.
  • The home study after the classes will take approximately three months.
  • Afterward we'll be waiting for our first placement. 
It's a new journey, exciting and scary. But I can't wait to see what happens. 



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In health care insurance millennials pregnancy

Why Aren't Millennials Having Kids?



If you were born in the mid-80's through the end of the 90's, you're a millennial.

I'm a millennial, as are most of my sibling (my youngest brother-in-law is part of Generation Z). And both of my sisters do not want kids. One is so sure she doesn't want them, and has know this since she was a teen, that if she could get her tubes tied she absolutely would. The other isn't as extreme, but really isn't sold on the idea. She adores being an aunt, but being a mom? Not so much.

Those of my friends considering having kids are often of the "one and done" variety. Wanting a big family isn't nearly as common.

I can't pretend to fully understand their reasons, and I've always wanted to have a big family, but the practical side of it? Yeah, I get why they don't want kids.

I work at a very employee-oriented company, and I love my job. But, my job doesn't offer paid maternity leave. Yes, they offer the federally required FMLA 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but let's be realistic, do you know any woman that works that can afford to take three months off without pay? To offset that, you can apply for short term disability where they will pay you 60% of your weekly pay for 6 or 8 weeks depending on your type of delivery. When you combine that with some savings, that is a lot more possible.

However, I got home and checked the mail a couple weeks ago to find a letter regarding my application for short term disability.

Denied.

That's right, because of my medical history they're denying me coverage. Sadly, Obamacare didn't cover disability insurance, just health insurance, so there is not a damn thing that I can do. My medical records are always going to tell you the same story: I had a C-section, two miscarriages, thyroid issues, and a bad battle with depression. I don't know which one of those things was the trigger for them to say no, but those things don't disappear.

Being a parent isn't easy, but it seems that the United States is vastly behind much of the rest of the developed world. Would paid maternity leave change everyone's mind about their future family plans? Of course not. But it would certainly change the conversation.


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In 2017 Flourish learning link up monthly learning

First Borns, France, and Photography [July Learning]



1.) My high school group of friends are all first children.

While having lunch together we noticed something that we'd never noticed before: all of us are the first born children.We all have at least one younger sibling between 2-6 years younger than we are. Maybe that's why we get along so well (and keep in touch, since first born's tend to be planners).

2.) France is the blog's second largest audience. 

Obviously, the most popular place this blog is read is the United States. However, I was surprised to see that the second most views are in France. And then Russia.



3.) Walmart Grocery Pickup is the bee's knees.

The last couple weekends have been SUPER busy. And despite having a thorough list, going to the grocery store always takes at least an hour. So I decided it was worth a shot to try grocery pickup, and it was so worth it. I online shop my list, make sure I stay under budget, pull into the store, check in on the app, and someone loads the groceries into the trunk for me. Best time saver ever.

If you want to try it and want $10 off, here's my referral link (full disclosure, I'll get $10 off my next grocery trip too).

4.) Shutter Speed and Aperture

If I'm going to have a nice camera, it's crucial I know how to properly use it. So I spent a lunch break actually reading the manual that came with the camera, got on Pinterest for some tips, and started playing around. I haven't really figured out the whole shutter speed thing yet, but I'm improving!





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.) Meditate daily

Current Status: Not so great... but I did so well with my other goals that I can forgive this one!

3.) Maintain Blog

Current Status:Not only did I do a TON of writing this month (hello 7th post), but I also did a complete revamp of the layout and images.

4.) Write!

Current Status: I wrote and submitted one piece for a writing contest, continued working on my short story, and looked at some other upcoming submission deadlines to keep writing.

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In Cleveland Cleveland Metroparks nature Nikon photography summertime

Bradley Woods Reservation (Learning Aperture)


I've loved photography forever. I won't say I've always been good at it, or even decent really, but I love it. 


So my husband decided to get my the gift I've wanted forever: a real camera instead of using my phone or a little point and shoot. 



Of course, to justify owning this piece of equipment, I want to learn how to use it, and so today I woke up at five (in the morning) and decided to start trying shooting in Manual and adjusting aperture. 



Aperture is defined at the size of the hole that lets light travel. 


Basically, it's perfect for the little details in nature, like flowers and leaves. 


Also, Cleveland Metroparks are so fun to explore. I went to Bradley Woods Reserve in Westlake, a little over 10 minutes from work. Last week when I took pictures at sunrise I went to Huntington Beach in Bay Village, 5 minutes from work. There are so many parks to explore, which means so many more opportunities to get creative with my camera. 


So blog followers? Be prepared for more pictures in my posts, and hopefully as time goes on the quality of those photographs will improve! 


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In dance fitness fitness

Breaking the Norm



Two years ago, I looked like this:


I hovered within 7 pounds of my goal weight, ran a couple miles every morning, and was in the best physical shape I had ever been in.

Now, well let's add about 60 pounds to that weight, definitely not in the best shape, but still able to work out and move.



When word got out that I was going to start teaching a dance fitness class every week at church, someone came up to me and asked, "Are you leading the dance class?"

"Yes!"

She glanced up and down my overweight frame before saying, "Well are you like doing a video and opening the church?"

"No, I'm teaching it. I'll be up there doing all the moves and showing the variations from high to low impact."

"Oh."

We tend to think of people at my size as unhealthy and out of shape. It's easier to think they're just lazy than think that there are different body sizes and versions of healthy.

But I think that, right now, this size is good. Why? Because it encourages others. If I can do it, at over 200 pounds, it's that much easier to believe that someone else not in good shape can come to the class. I'm not going to be standing in front showing off how skinny and perfect I look, I'm being real. I'm a real woman, struggling with my weight and body issues, and still showing up every Tuesday night to do a 40 minute dance fitness workout. I'm red faced, out of breath, and embracing that it's hard.


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In animal advocate pit bull awareness Pit bulls Rescuing animals

We Have Your Dog


We adopted him from the local shelter last month, picking him up from the vet's office on a Thursday night after he was neutered. Apparently you either didn't have means or the desire to get him fixed.

Did you know that he was found as a stray in Elyria? Maybe he escaped from your backyard (he's done that to us a couple times). Maybe you looked for him, maybe you never did. Maybe you weren't even his first home, but the way he bounded onto my bed that Thursday night, it's pretty clear he lived in someones house at some point in time.

Did you know that he has bad dental disease? On a scale of 1-4, his teeth are at a 3 and he's going to need to go see the vet again for a thorough dental cleaning and hopefully won't need any teeth extracted. But don't worry, he's on a healthy diet now, and has dental chewing bones, so they're already starting to look better.

We've named him Maverick, and it took him less than three days to begin to respond to it. We call him Mavi for short, and he's just now starting to realized after a month that this is his new home and he's allowed to get attached to us. He's really a good dog, you must have worked with him and loved him at some point. He came to our house already knowing how to sit, give paw, lay down, and even stay. He's such a people-pleaser too, he looks to us for approval with almost everything he does.

He's a beautiful, five year old, brindle baby.

And here's the most important thing for you to know about your dog: he's not your dog anymore.
He's our dog. He's part of our family now.


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In link up things I'm loving

Things I'm Loving {July '17}

What am I loving in July?

1.) Bubble tea smoothies

Much better than just regular bubble tea, and extremely refreshing after a spicy Thai meal.

2.) Killing my step goal 

Two big contributers to this: Maverick (new pupper) needs to be walked, and walking two dogs means more steps. And the second is regularly teaching dance fitness, meaning practicing so I don't look too silly when I'm trying to teach. My average week steps lately are about 90,000 steps (approx. 12K steps per day).

3.) Having the answers 

Four months into my job, I no longer have to pester Annette with questions constantly. People at Hyland are starting to reach out directly to me with the travel and expense questions, and I'm able to help them!

4.) Caesar Milan 

Maverick is about 5 years old, has had no accidents in the house, and overall is a very good dog. However, having two dogs, and introducing them to be friends, is a lot of work. And because I don't like to do things blindly, I've been watching Caesar on YouTube trying to learn how to create a dog pack and be a good pack leader.

5.) Upcoming Summer Festivals/Events/Fun! 

One of my favorite parts of summer is all the fun things to do. Just to do still in July includes an outdoor screening of Moana at work, the Night Market, a trip to the zoo with friends, a trip to the splash pad with other kiddos, and Potterfest (and yes, all three of us have Harry Potter T-shirts to wear)!


What are you loving this July? What is bringing a grin to your face and joy to your heart? Link up below and share the good things!


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In Birth c-section miscarriage pregnancy

My C-Section Doesn't Require Pity

Scrolling through social media tonight I saw an article posted and some comments posted under it reading:

So sorry for her situation

This makes my heart hurt for her. 

I'm sad for her.

My heart was heavy when I heard the news. 

I read them to Nathan and asked, "What does it sound like they're commenting on?"

He responded that it sounded like they were commenting on a death.

In my mind other appropriate guesses included:
- Getting a divorce.
- A major medical diagnosis.
- Loss of a job.

But was it about any of the above? No. It was about Jill Dillard (Duggar) giving birth to her second child via cesarean section instead of the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) that she wanted.

And my blood was starting to boil.

My son was born via c-section in April 2012, a routine surgery that healed up well and gave me that absolute love and joy of my life. I've spent years since then listening to women put down c-sections and c-section mamas. I've spent Jace's whole life hearing vaginal birth put on a pedestal.

But this was new, this genuine mourning because a perfectly valid form of birth is how a baby entered the world.

To those anti cesarean advocates, I no longer care if I offend you. Stop lamenting for a "birth gone wrong" and let me tell you little something about a real birth gone wrong.

A real birth gone wrong, is when you walk out of the hospital without a baby. When you didn't get the option for a cesarean section or home birth or any other kind of birth because your baby died before it was ever able to breathe outside of the womb. When your "birth" experience is a D&C (dilation and curettage) because you miscarried.

Stop pushing forward the notion that a surgical birth is in any way less than what it is: a successful entrance of a sweet alive tiny human.

Every woman is entitled to picture the type of birth she wants, and allowed to feel however she wants after it happens. But for the love of those of us who have seen the positive pregnancy test and never held their baby, stop treating a C-section like the most awful thing that can happen.  Because I've lived both, and I can assure you they are in no way comparable.



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In Jace quotes kids say tiny human humor

Mom Moments (Part 12)


Me: Hey dad, we're heading to the 5K, the dog is coming with us so you'll have the house to yourself for a couple hours.
Jace: Yeah, so you can do anything you want to, except break the windows!


Me scrolling Facebook: Aww, cute puppers!
Jace: Aww, puppers! I love both puppers and catters.
Me: Did you just say catters?
Jace: Yep, that's what I call cats.


Playing Sorry
Jace: Tough life said the kitty!
Elise: What??
Jace: That's what mom said!
Everyone turns to look at me.
Me: Tough titty said the kitty. It's what my mom used to say to us sometimes when we were kids.
Jace: Oh, then tough titty said the kitty!


Jace: You're not the boss of the whole world dad. Cops are the boss of the whole world.


After church, where they learned about God creating the world.
Jace: I just can't believe God had all the ingredients to make the world!!


We give Finding Nemo style high fives (Give me some fin. Noggin. Duuuude.) 
Me: I bet Miss Jess would know how to do a Finding Nemo high five!
Jace: Yeah! Let's go find my grown up friend!


Nathan and Jace sitting on the couch a week after Nathan burned his hand on the grill and Jace just burned his finger on a sparkler. 
Jace: Dad. I know my burn is littler than yours, but I promise you it hurts worser.



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In 2017 Flourish animal advocate learning monthly learning Pit bulls

Better Books, 82 Teeth, and Breaking Comfort Zones [June Learning]

June was a pretty great month, and had some good learning experiences too!

1.) The book is almost always better.

I read the Miss Peregrine's series in May, so I got the movie this month and watched it with Nathan. Thy tried to combine three books into one movie, switched the powers and ages of characters, and basically massacred the series (in my opinion).


2.) Alligators have 82 teeth. 

And despite Jace getting up close and personal with some of them, he did not experience any of those teeth.



3.) My husband and I are softies.

We've pushed around the idea before of adding another dog to our family, knowing that if we did it would absolutely be a rescue dog, and highly likely a pit bull or pit bull mix because those misunderstood babies need love.

So when Kennel #2 popped up on social media, I noticed.
When he was still there the week before we left for vacation, I had a feeling.
When he remained there after returning home, the pull started.
When the pound was full and he was first in line to be put down? We took Luna to meet him and signed the paperwork the same night to adopt him.

Meet Maverick, who came home from the vet last night to join the Kouris family.

4.) Stepping outside your comfort zone is so worth it sometimes. 

One of my favorite things in Kentucky was every Monday night going to ReFit (dance fitness), with Nicole and many of my other friends. I wanted it here too, I wanted it at my church, I wanted it as a way to make friends. So, I asked fellow mom friends if they'd be interested. I asked our church pastors if it was something I could do. I researched, pursued, practiced, and finally taught my first class earlier this week. And it was completely, 100% worth it.




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.) Meditate daily

Current Status: Not terrible, I did spend some time in meditation over the past month. It's still going to take some building up to in order to make it a daily practice though.

3.) Maintain Blog

Current Status: Fourth post of the month, yet again doubling what I deemed necessary to consider the blog "maintained." In fact, I've nearly matched the amount of posts I published in all of 2015!

4.) Write!

Current Status: I started a short story this month that has been very therapeutic, and jotted down other ideas for pieces I want to write.

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In link up netflix summertime The Keepers things I'm loving

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:


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In best friend Friendship national best friend day

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.






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In baby years memories Motherhood writing

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.


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In 2017 Flourish learning monthly learning

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.

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In

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!


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In Jace quotes kid quotes kids say tiny human humor

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.


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In 2017 Flourish link up monthly learning

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 :(

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In chevron decoration DIY home decor new house pinterest

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!

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In Church faith God moment trust

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.




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In 2017 Flourish link up things I'm loving

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!


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