Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Growth-Part 1

I have made mention a few times that we switched over to Paleo for health reasons, but I never divulged why. 
Over the last 5 months, I have been on a new health journey, and it has been one of the hardest things to do mentally, spiritually, and physically.
Feelings of hopelessness have been overwhelming at times. 
Deep depression set in for a bit...something that I previously thought only the "mentally weak" struggled with (a prideful thought on my part).
There has been a lot of anger mixed with grief.
And my family has suffered right along with me because all of these feelings weren't staying bottled up. 
So basically the five stages of grief, minus the bargaining stage because I don't bargain. 
Unless it's at a thrift store or a yard sale ;-)
I finally feel like I am in the stage of acceptance. I have pulled myself up by the boot straps, and I'm no longer fighting against who I am and how I am made.
I'm just going with it.

So a little history for you...
I have struggled with digestive issues as long as I can remember. 
I have memories of lying in front of the toilet of our little farm house in Tennessee, clenching my stomach, and sobbing because the pain was so intense.
I was diagnosed with IBS in elementary school, after a humiliating visit to the doctor, and just went about life after that...taking Milk of Magnesia (the worst tasting over-the-counter medicine known to any child of the 80's) when my symptoms would flare.
(That's me on the far dress looks like it should have been wrapped around an arm chair instead of a child, HA!!)

I also struggled with other health related issues along the way, but they all seemed to be random.
I could do funny tricks with my elbows and fingers, and could gross people out with how bendy I was. Unfortunately, my "bendiness" started causing problems when playing basketball in high school.
I believe it was my freshman year when I reached in to steal a ball, that my shoulder subluxed (partial dislocation). 
Super painful.
From there on out, I suffered from shoulder subluxations frequently.
My senior year, I turned my ankle, a common basketball injury, so it didn't seem out of the ordinary.
I continued to have issues throughout my years of college basketball, and when you play contact sports, you assume that injuries will be par for the course.
I wore ankle braces on both ankles, and constantly sprained them WITH the ankle braces on. 
I had surgery on my shoulder as a junior in college to tighten the ligaments because the subluxations were getting so nasty that all I had to do was sneeze and my shoulder would pop out. 
Gross, I know.
Fast forward a few years...
Pregnancy opened new doors to new subluxations.
I had to go to physical therapy during both pregnancies because my hips started to sublux. The physical therapists worked on tightening the muscles around my hip flexors so I could walk without falling apart.
It didn't seem too out-of-the-ordinary because I had always heard that when you're pregnant, things start to loosen and spread apart. 
I thought it was normal.
And things calmed down a bit after the babies were born, thankfully.

Six years ago, I started running. 
It was a great way to relieve stress, and it was helping all my joints stay in place. I was becoming stronger again, and I was feeling great.
There were injuries along the way, but I didn't care.
That was normal for me, and I just pushed through.

I ran my first half marathon in Nashville TN, and I was super proud of myself.
I didn't run the entire way because I started to struggle with my IT bands tightening up, but I finished.
I had caught the running bug, and in a sense, taken on apart of my old identity as an athlete.

I have several half marathons under my belt, and my biggest accomplishments were competing in weekend challenges where I would run or bike in multiple races over the course of two days.
I keep all of my (participation) medals and trophies in my craft closet because, let's be honest, nobody cares :-D!!

The Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend will always and forever be my favorite challenge to participate in.
The Glass Slipper Challenge, a10K race followed by a half marathon the next day, was what started my body's downward spiral.

Little did I know that this would be the end of running for me.

To hear more, make sure to come back.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Teal Pumpkin

We have enjoyed two full weeks off from school, and it has been amazing!! A break that we definitely needed. All three of us were starting to go a little batty.
I have been able to knock out so many things on my to-do list. Things that are a little harder to tackle when we are busy with school work.
One of the tasks at hand was diving a little deeper into Paleo cooking. Sister and I struggle with intestinal and stomach issues, and Paleo seems to be a great option for us. 
We are using Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Cookbooks, and we have not been disappointed. 

The food has been delicious and our stomachs are much happier.
Since we have taken on this new style of eating, it has opened my eyes to the world of food intolerance and food-related allergies.
Halloween candy is definitely a big no-no for those who fall into that category.
Have you guys heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project 
We will be participating in it this year, and to let other families know that we are handing out non-candy alternatives, we have our very own teal pumpkin on our front porch.
This is what our little pumpkin looked like when we found him at the thrift store. He was a whopping $1.
Breakin' the bank, I tell ya.
 Fortunately, I had turquoise paint sitting around.
 The pumpkin took two coats of paint.
While it was drying, I drank my afternoon coffee from my new coffee mug.
You can find the vinyl decal HERE.
Can you name the movie this quote comes from??
After the pumpkin dried completely, I decided to glam it up a bit. 
I used Modge Podge on the stem, and added rose gold glitter.
All he needs is a little candle to make him glow :-)
Who else is participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fall/Halloween Home Tour

Good Morning Friends!
Are you guys ready for Halloween?? 
Our house has been decorated, costumes have been purchased (even for myself), and the Fall baking has begun.
We are so excited for the upcoming holiday season!! 
I have lots of Halloween decor, but I don't usually put out the creepy stuff until the day of Halloween because it doesn't really go with the rest of my decor. I will most likely take pictures, but I won't be blogging about it, so make sure you are following me on Instagram. I will be sharing the pictures and videos on my "stories."
So today, you'll get to see the "non-creepy" decorations ;-)

If you notice, my front porch isn't covered with any real pumpkins...we haven't been to the pumpkin patch yet. :-) That's on next week's agenda.
We have become a Paleo family, so gluten and processed sugars are out for us. Sister also got braces this week, so we sympathize with the non-candy families out there. This year, we will be handing out treats that are allergy friendly, hence the turquoise pumpkin.
Check back to see the process of how I transformed this little guy I picked up from the thrift store the other day. 
Here's our fireplace mantel. Fairly simple, with just a few touches of Halloween.

And my interchangeable hymnal wreath with the Halloween center. 
 I like to have my Fall decor carry me all the way through Thanksgiving if possible. 
I found this quote on Pinterest, and loved it. 
 This little pumpkin sign is a new addition this year. I purchased it from 2crafty4myskirt. I have been following Alese on Instagram for a few weeks now, and her signs are super cute.
Confession time:
I am fighting the urge to bring out all my Christmas decor. 
Ridiculous, I know. 
This year I will have to show some restraint because we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house. 
I won't put Christmas decorations out until the day after Thanksgiving. 
It's going to be so hard!! 
(First world problems).

Thursday, October 12, 2017

New Disney Promotion!

As most of you know, I am an official Disney and Universal travel specialist. As if I needed anything else added to my plate!! Ha!!
 For the record, this blog will remain a DIY, lifestyle blog, but I will be sharing travel promotions when they become available. 
Travel planning is a new'ish favorite past time of mine. I have been doing this for over a year, and I love it! I will eventually do more than just Disney and Universal, but for now, in this season, I will just stick to Mickey and Harry ;-)
I am what some would call a "Dis-nerd." I am not totally obsessed, but it's pretty stinkin' close. I would live at Disney World if it were in the castle, wearing my mouse ears, and my princess dresses, hangin' like a boss...but apparently that's not "allowed"... so, whatevs. (insert eye roll and shoulder shrug)
Most of my accessories have some form of a mouse on it. 
It's almost embarrassing...almost ;-) I have no shame in that department.
However, Disney makes me smile, and it also reminds me of some of my absolute-most-favorite memories as a child. 
And don't we all need a reminder of that occasionally??
Anyway, if you are looking to travel to Disney at the beginning of 2018, here is a great deal to consider!
You can Play, Stay, Dine and save up to $500* on a 5-night/6-day Walt Disney Travel Company room, ticket and dining plan package for a family of four at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for arrivals most nights Jan. 1-March 10, 2018 when they book Oct. 3-Dec. 22, 2017.
When you purchase this package and stay at a Disney Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort, you'll enjoy the Disney Dining Plan, which allows you to savor a variety of delicious dining options. When you purchase this package and stay at a select Disney Value Resort, you'll get the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan that offers convenient meals and snacks throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.
Booking Window: Oct. 3-Dec. 22, 2017
Travel Window: Jan. 1-March 10, 2018
Full List of Disney Resort Hotel Exclusions:
  • Campsites
  • 3-bedroom villas
  • The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Room
  • Disney's All-Star Movies Resort
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge – Cabins
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
If you are interested in receiving a free quote for a Disney vacation, please feel free to email me at 
Make sure to follow me on Instagram, to keep up with what's going on!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I'm Still Here...

Wow! Long time no see, right? I didn't realize how long it had been until I received an email about my blog a few days ago. It made me realize how much I miss blogging, and the connection to the outside world. I actually started this blog after spending 5 solid months with sick babies who caught everything imaginable, and I had not seen any adults outside of hubby and the doctor during that span of time(slight exaggeration, but it was almost that bad). I needed a way to connect with humanity, and blogging provided that connection. Here lately I have felt extremely isolated due to our season of life. A feeling I know a lot of mommas and daddys feel at one point or another when in the throes of child rearing.
Our lives are so busy right now with homeschool, our Classical Conversations community, church, Taekwondo, and golf(new to us...and I love it) that I have barely been able to keep my head above water at times. That's just the stuff we have to do with the kids. Somewhere in the midst of all that I am a wife, a hair stylist (once a month), and a travel agent(which I also LOVE). There have been moments where I have literally broken down into tears with just feeling completely overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done in a day.
Last night I woke up at 1:30 a.m., and could not get my mind to turn off. I could not stop thinking about all of the things I have ahead of me in the coming weeks. So many opportunities, and every one of them are blessings...but it takes time and planning for those to come about. I am at a point where I feel the need to drop a thing or two, but then there's this little thing called commitment, and there are people depending on me. It will all work out, I just need to quit putting the cart before the horse :-)
We have had so many changes come about in our family this year, and I do plan on sharing them. This has been a year of spiritual and mental growth for me, and I have fought it tooth and nail the entire way. I look forward to sharing the journey that I have been on, as well as my family's journey, so I hope that you will keep checking back to see what we have been up to.
Until then... :-)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Our Portion of Faith

It has literally been forever and a day since I have posted here, but I felt a tug at the heart. Most of the time this blog is dedicated to DIY and home decor. Occasionally, though, I share my faith. Today seems to be one of those days. I have had a few conversations lately that made me want to dive a little deeper into the thought of "Bearing one another's burdens." Mind you, there is nothing earth-shattering here. Just my thoughts.

We are told in Galatians 6:2, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." For most of us who follow the Christian faith, we ignore this verse. We really don't want to air our dirty laundry, or hear about someone else's...especially in this day and age when everything posted on social media portrays our "highlight reel." Granted, we probably have a select few in whom we will divulge our secrets, but for the most part we keep our problems to ourselves. When someone is brave enough to reveal their struggles, we tend to listen for just a bit, and then go on with our daily lives. If that brave soul continues to share on a regular basis, we eventually roll our eyes and run in the other direction and hide. I'm sure each of us can think of at least one person who fits that description. If you can' may be that person...I'm kidding!! I remember when I was younger there being certain women in the church who would come forward after the sermon (regularly), asking for prayers. After a few times, it became sort of a joke, and even annoying because it was cutting into lunch time. It was especially irritating if the preacher had been long-winded that day. Shameful, I know, but those thoughts did run through my mind. :-)

Bearing each others' burdens requires slowing down, looking up from our screens, and making eye contact, as well as soul contact. I don't believe that we are required to personally take on someone else's burden as our own. The Psalmist writes, Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22) In some instances, we can help lessen the load, but other times, circumstances won't allow it. However, there are some very important things we can do. We can listen, and we can pray.

Listening to someone unload can be downright exhausting, especially when they are going through a trying time. As a hair stylist, I get to hear A LOT about someone when they are sitting in my chair. Sometimes it's good news, and then other times it's just awful, and all that person really needs is an ear to listen. Two things I have had to learn as a listener, though. 1.) I cannot make these burdens my own, and 2.) I cannot compare my life to theirs. Those are difficult lessons to learn, and ones that I haven't quite mastered. There have been several times where I have literally dropped to my knees in tears for friends or family who were suffering, asking God to lessen their load. And it can be especially frustrating when you don't see immediate results. The bible tells us that patience is a "fruit."
Gal. 5:22
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
For me, patience is a lemon...still a fruit, but sour to taste. :-) 

We have several examples in the bible where strong leaders were either praying intercessory prayers, or asking for them. Christ, when He was about to be led to the cross, prays for His disciples because He knows the trials they will face. Paul requested from the church at Ephesus  “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:18-20).
We must pray for those who are burdened, but have the understanding that everything is done in God's time.
I mentioned earlier that we cannot compare our lives to the ones for whom we are praying. It's really hard when we see others who seem to be doing more than us. Who seem to be killing it in God's kingdom. Who are completely on fire for God's cause. And when they become burdened, it causes us to take a moments pause and reevaluate our own lives. Maybe even bring about guilt in what we see as our own shortcomings as a Christian. Why aren't we doing more for the kingdom? Should we be doing this or that to bring more souls to Christ? However, in that moment, we must realize everyone has been given a "measure of faith" by God.

Romans 12 says:
 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

We do not all have the "same function" or the same "gifts." We are all wired differently, and it's 100% ok.  We should focus on the gifts that God has given us and make the most of them. Comparison and guilt kill joy, and they cause us to focus inward instead of outward. How can it be possible to help those who are burdened if we are dwelling on what we perceive to be our shortcomings? 

All in all, the only way I have found it possible to "bear another's burdens" is to lie those burdens at the feet of Jesus and wait patiently, while holding the hand of the one who is burdened.