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Fear of Flying

In February, an opportunity arose for me to go visit my husband in Korea. WHOA.

I could not stop dreaming about it. How lucky am I that I am able to go visit my husband mid-deployment. Every military wife would kill for the chance to do that. My Rodan and Fields income from the previous month gave us a big cushion for the expenses that came along with the trip. I was all over it and extremely excited but one thing held me back.

My fear of flying.

I was going to have to conquer 3 different flights.

Atlanta to Seattle: 5.5 hours

Seattle to Japan: 9.5 hours

Japan to Korea: 2.5 hours

Grand Total= 17.5 hours of flying.

My heart sank. 2.5 hour flights from here to Oklahoma scare me. Now they weren’t looking so bad in comparison to the others.

Now I’m conflicted. I love my husband. The idea of seeing him seems so right. Everything fell into place perfectly. The only weeks I could go were conveniently the weeks of his military ball, his birthday, and our winter break for lacrosse which means we had family back home available to watch the babies. I prayed and prayed and prayed about what the right decision would be and every time I feel like God was telling me to go.

Then I started thinking of my fear of flying. It would literally consume me. I would start thinking of all the negatives and some were ridiculous. I allowed the devil to enter my heart and mind and TAKE OVER. I day dreamed about crashing over the ocean, something going wrong with the plane, something happening to me in Korea, something happening to my babies. Then I would become overwhelmed with sadness thinking about leaving the babies for 2 weeks. I’ve never been away from either of them for that long.

I was in this state of “BLEH” for months. I already have S.A.D. It’s been an issue for me since High School, followed by anxiety and depression. Not many understand or are willing to. It’s better now that I’m an adult and since I married Clay I have not had to deal with it as much. When he left in October, it’s like everything grew cold and dead again. I was immediately reacquainted with my HS self. I needed this. I NEEDED to see my husband.

I have God, my babies, and lacrosse to lean on, to help push me through and they are enough. I just knew if I saw him, I would have that light back in my life again. I think God knew that too.

My best friend, okay I have a lot of best friends, but seriously my oldest best friend that’s been by my side since elementary school BEST FRIEND had just recently come back from a mission trip and decided to come over and visit me one morning. I was struggling to wake up that day and the babies were too. It was like 11 AM. She could tell I just wasn’t myself. She literally just walked into the house and came down to my room. I’m pretty sure that’s the truest sign of a best friend. They just let themselves in….

After small talk, she just cut to the chase and said she was worried about me. Not in an ugly way but a genuine way. She’s the only non-military person that I have talked to since Day 1 of this deployment, besides a conversation on the back porch with my dad, that made me feel like she understood what I was feeling AND that it was okay for me to be feeling those things. I didn’t feel judged. She didn’t make me feel like a bad mom or a bad person. I sat and talked with her for an hour about everything. She listened. She asked me questions that made me challenge myself. She asked me questions that I didn’t want to hear my own answer to. I told her my concerns and fears about leaving. I told her why I wanted to go.  Literally, if anyone else asked me the questions she asked I probably would have been offended and just blown up on them.

She told me she had to go back to church but she wanted to continue our conversation later. I walked her out to the driveway and before she left, she told me I should go. And that sealed the deal. After she left I felt 100% at peace about the trip. I don’t know why, lots of people told me to go, but when she said it, it felt justified. I didn’t feel guilty for wanting to leave and see Clay. I didn’t feel bad for burdening anyone with the babies. I didn’t feel like a bad mom for disappearing for two weeks. I was going to see my husband. I was going to blast out of my comfort zone and JUST DO IT.

*Nike Sponsorship?….. jk

The morning of the first flight, I’m pretty sure my heart and my stomach were tied in a big knot. I choked down every tear kissing my babies goodbye. My dad dropped me off at the airport which was probably the best case scenario. He’s the least emotional, or the best at hiding it? He has always had a way of just making me feel very calm and confident, much like my husband, and he helps me conquer my fears. They both have always pushed me and challenged me.

The flight was surprisingly smooth, I was lucky and got a seat near the wings of the plane and the plane was huge so I couldn’t feel much. I took a sleeping pill to help me get some rest and it ended up not working. I was so tired but I had a middle seat and the guy next to me took the arm rest so I had nothing to lean on comfortably while I napped which left me conscious but basically sedated with no way to sleep so when we landed in Seattle I was exhausted.

I checked in for my flight the next morning and as I was waiting on my bags, I felt like a train had just plowed through my body. I started getting really sick and dizzy. My throat hurt. My muscles were weak and sore. My skin was hypersensitive and I could feel myself getting a fever. I grabbed my bag and decided to walk to the hotel we were staying at. It was only a mile. I could have taken the bus but they ran every 25 minutes to our specific hotel and apparently it had just come by. I didn’t want to wait that long in the cold so I just walked. I got my room key, went to the room and immediately got in bed. I felt so sick. My MIL just said she had the flu so I was worried I was showing symptoms. I couldn’t get on the plane the next morning with the flu!

I tried to sleep it off but my heart was racing. An hour later my friend arrived and she was like,” Dang, you don’t look good.” Great first words after seeing someone for the first time in 5 months haha

She was awesome. She immediately ran down stairs and bought a ton of medicine and told me to take it all, lol. She ended up meeting up with family for dinner and I bought a fruit cup and a cup of hot tea from the little restaurant downstairs. I took a hot bath and tried to get a few hours of sleep.

The next morning I still felt uneasy but worlds better than I did when I got off the plane so I decided to go. We checked in and waited to see if we had made the list. That’s the only down side to flying Space A, you never know if you will make the flight or not. They called my friend and then finally,” Rutherford!” I was so relieved yet terrified.

I made the flight! I was going to see Clay. Now I had to cross the ocean… for 9 hours.

I was able to sleep the majority of the flight and the majority of the turbulence we hit was while I was sleeping. They played movies and TV shows for us. We were served two hot meals that actually weren’t bad. I had a row to myself in the back so I took the window and stretched out. A couple hours into the trip we flew over some beautiful mountains covered in ice. It was like a scene out of a movie on another planet. It was breathtaking, untouched, raw land. I looked up our flight route when I got back and found out we had actually flown over part of the Aleutian Islands!

We landed in Japan for a brief layover so they could unload some passengers, allow new passengers to join us and to refuel the plane. I did not see much of Japan. The mountain ranges in the distance were beautiful. The air had a sweet smell. The trees are very elongated and a deep, dark green color. I hope to go back with Clay sometime and actually explore!

The last leg of the flight to Korea was short. I napped for a little bit but my stomach was in knots! I was so excited to see Clay. The plane touched down and I started sobbing. First of all, I was extremely proud of myself. Second, I was so grateful to God that we landed and he guided that plane so gracefully. He was with me every second.

I was overwhelmed with joy, nerves, excitement… I just wanted to jump on Clay and hug his neck SO BADLY. I kept picturing it over and over and over.

We got our bags and Customs took longer than I thought it would. The guys had jumped on a train to meet us so we waited at the hotel on base until they were close. The plan was to take a taxi to the train station closest to base but turns out there are like 3 stops outside of post to choose from and we had NO IDEA how to get there or where we were going AND it was raining. Our phone service was limited so we just decided to stay put at the hotel and the guys were going to pick us up there. Waiting was painful and 2 hours felt like forever knowing the other half of my heart was traveling closer to mine by the second. I just wanted to see him!

Clay said it is not like America, the taxi will not wait on you to get your bags and get back in, so we had to hurry and try to keep our taxi. I saw them pull up out front. I could hear his voice through the doors and I could pick out the back of my husband’s head in a crowd of a million. My heart was pounding. I ran out the doors and tackled him before he could even turn around. Words can’t describe how amazing that hug felt. We got my bags, he gave me a big kiss and our taxi ditched us. We didn’t care too much, we were just happy to be back together. Luckily someone was dropped off right behind us so we jumped in that cab.

We attempted to find our way back on the trains but ended up getting lost and it was freezing. We got as close as we could to post on the train, because its the cheapest way to travel, and then jumped in another cab the rest of the way to save us some time. The guys had to be back on post in their rooms by a certain time and I had to check into my hotel. We made it with 30 minutes to spare thanks to a special taxi service in Korea called ” Bali Bali.” It’s either fun or horrifying depending on the type of person you are. For me, it was the latter.

We stopped at a little hole in the wall that the guys call “Ma’s.” (That’s not the actual name of the restaurant but “Ma” is the Korean way of saying “Mam” in America. Apparently “Ma” had the best french fries in the world so Clay had to buy me some. They were actually very good. I looked behind the counter and saw she was cooking them in soybean oil. They had hints of salty, sweet, and bitterness which is why I think it they were so delicious.

I enjoyed finally being able to eat with my husband again. I was holding his hand, kissing him, hugging him, talking to him… My heart was at peace.

Long plane rides still freak me out a little bit BUT I would travel around the world for him again in a heartbeat. It was worth everything. My world felt whole again. Now the babies were the only thing we were missing for it all to be just right. As much as we wanted them there, we agreed to take advantage of the time we had alone together so we could enjoy just being us again.

Blog  about our trip is T.B.C.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Watch our reunion HERE!

Function Of Beauty Review 

I’m all about trying new products, supporting friends and finding the best stuff on the market but if I don’t like something I’m not buying it and I’m not reviewing it.

I’ve come to you today to let you know that I really think I’ve found my lifetime haircare brand!  I’m going to give you the low down on this awesome new company. This isn’t going to be short. I’m putting as much thought as I can behind the details you would need/ want to know before trying this stuff out yourself. 

Admittedly, this was an impulsive buy. I liked the rainbow colored posts and thought it looked pretty so I clicked the link to see what it was about. (Great job marketing department) I quickly found out this was personalized haircare. WHAT?! 

Like there are 12 billion different combinations! Two MIT engineers created an algorithm to figure out a formulation that is unique to every individual. Therefore, your experience with these products is going to be different than mine because your hair is different than mine! I thought this was the coolest thing, so I took the test. 

First, it asked me about my hair goals. There were so many options to choose from but as you can see the mint colored boxes are the ones I picked. These goals can be changed with every purchase. I picked deep condition because my hair is so dang dry. Color protection since I’m a fake blonde. 💁🏼 Anti- Frizz so maybe I will look less like a lion when it dries out. Shine because my hair is dull due to it being so dry. Lastly, I picked Soothe Scalp because I’ve always had an issue with dandruff. Even medicated shampoo from the dermatologist hasn’t helped. I hate it. Next, it asked me more about my hair type. I have wavy, coarse, and very dry hair. It’s long and thick. It’s a pain in the butt to handle. My hair stylist can vouch for me, it literally takes like 20 minutes to comb out alone because it turns into a curly, knotty mess. I haven’t been able to keep enough coconut oil, Moroccan oil, or biosilk in my hair to keep it from drying out. It soaks it up like a sponge and gets dry again a few hours later which is why I can only wash my hair 1-2 times a week. I was then able to choose the color of my shampoo and conditioner. I was always told cool tones were good for blonde hair especially since I personally hate having brassy tints to my hair. I got to choose the scent; I picked the recommended scent which is a blend of sweet and minty. I wanted medium strength because I like my hair to smell like I washed it after I wash it but I also don’t want the whole room to know I washed my hair so I thought medium would be just right. 

This is what my box looked like when I received it. The bottle said ” Function of Brooke” which was pretty neat. It came with two pumps and a pamphlet that explained every essential oil that was used in the products in conjunction with the hair goals that I chose. At this point, I realized it was all natural! How cool?! I was so excited to try it the first night. 

When I used the shampoo, the first thing I noticed was how concentrated it was. Since it is concentrated you don’t need to use as much product so I strategically placed it evenly throughout my scalp. It did not lather like your normal shampoo from the store would. According to everything I’ve read, it’s not normal for shampoo to lather into an 8 inch mountain of bubbles on your head.  🤷🏼‍♀️ This was new to me but I have since gotten used to it. I’ve actually found that if I rinse and repeat the shampoo, it lathers a little bit the second time although that is not necessary. My hair just felt dirty that particular day after lacrosse practice, crossfit and the pool. 

My essential oils blend smells VERY minty in the shower and the mint infused with the steam helps to open up my lungs. It feels tingly and relieving on my scalp and it honestly feels like I’m in a steam room at the spa everytime I wash my hair. If you’re sensitive to strong mint, I would say try another scent or pick “light” for fragrance strength. I personally enjoy it but I could see how it may overwhelm some. 

After rinsing, my hair doesn’t feel slimy like store bought shampoo. It truly feels like all the dirt and grime has been stripped from my hair and scalp. When I run my fingers through my hair it is, no joke, “squeaky” clean. 

The conditioner is very thick also BUT it also doesn’t feel slimy and greasy when you put it on your hair. I always use more conditioner than shampoo so I intentionally got the bigger bottle of conditioner. I did still feel like I needed to use more conditioner than shampoo. The first time I used it, I probably put 3x the amount necessary just because it didn’t FEEL like most conditioners so I didn’t think it was actually conditioning my hair and I kept adding more. Now I use a normal amount of conditioner and it still conditions wonderfully. After rinsing, it does feel soft but again not super slippery like normal conditioner. I was kind of disappointed after my first shower because I really didn’t think it was conditioned enough to comb through and I feared it was going to take 40 minutes to comb out instead of 20. 

I towel dried and got to work. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to brush my hair! I timed it.. 8 minutes y’all! Still sounds ridiculous BUT if you felt my hair you’d understand why. Definitely shinier than normal. No products in my hair in either picture. This is the result of air drying in a braid. Sorry for the terrible quality picture below but I wanted you all to see how long my hair is so you can get an idea. 

I let my hair air dry like usual and the next morning it was SOOOOO soft and shiny!! My hair usually gets frizzy and knotty after it airs dries over night but it wasn’t frizzy at all. I actually don’t even put any leave in products in my hair now and I don’t really have to style it. I just braid it, let it air dry and it’s naturally wavy but not frizzy. 

When my hair dries, the minty smell goes away and it’s left with a sweet scent. It’s very subtle and just smells clean. 

I now wash my hair 3 times a week because it feels oily after like 3-4 days compared to before which would take like 10 days to feel even the slightest bit of oil. It used to be THAT dry. Whatever they are using for deep conditioning really works. I don’t want you to think this product makes your hair oily because that’s not what I’m saying. I now feel like my scalp produces oil like it’s supposed to. I think I’m back on track with the average person as far as how often I should be washing my hair. 

My impulsive purchase has turned out to be one of my favorite must have products. I’m a believer. If anyone has any questions about the products please comment below and I will do my best to answer them honestly. 

You can start your quiz and purchase your products here with this 5$ off referral link. Remember you get 5$ off your first order. They give you up to 5 referrals every time so that’s up to 25$ off your following order. 

***This is an independent review. This is not a direct sales company. I am not a consultant. I am not being paid or receiving free products in return for my opinion. I, along with everyone else who signs up, get a link to share with people that will give you $5 off your first order and in return it gives me a 5$ credit for refering you. You will not find a deeper discount. Everyone only has a 5$ off referral code. 

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My Skin Story

It’s awesome to see how Rodan and Fields is changing lives!! This skincare line is the real deal y’all.

Alright everyone, I am about to get so real with you. I will share something that has literally been a struggle of mine since 5th grade! I never thought I would share this with anyone because I have been so embarrassed and ashamed that my skin ever even looked like this.

In the 5th grade I got my first pimple ever. Straight in the middle of my face between my eyebrows. It was the only place I would get it for a good few months until I reached 6th grade. Through out middle school my acne only got worse. I was always so embarrassed about my skin. I wouldn’t spend the night at my friends houses because I didn’t want to take off whatever makeup I had on so people could see what my skin really looked like.

I remember so vividly, my freshman year of high school the entire sports…

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The One Lesson Every Championship Team Takes To Heart

I had many coaches throughout my athletic career. I learned the value of hard work, strength, humility, unity, resilience, mental and physical discipline, grace, sportsmanship, and competition to name a few. Only one emphasized the weight behind being an unselfish player and this was seemingly the lesson that changed the entire structure of our team for the better. Unfortunately, it was senior year and we were kicking ourselves for not embracing this sooner. We could have been unstoppable.

If you were to put your teammates into “classes,” one of the book ends of that spectrum would be the best player. The best player on the team is the typically the one with the highest stats. They get the MVP at the end of the season, their name makes the paper, and they get the looks from colleges because they have the most goals, and assists. They are typically the natural athlete. The one you have to teach a play or concept to one time and it’s mastered. You center your entire game strategy around this player. If you lost them, the team would fall apart.

Coaches are thrilled to find these players, so thrilled that they often consume most of our resources and attention. Naturally this player is TYPICALLY, not always, selfish BUT it’s not their fault. They are conditioned by coaches and peers to act like this because everyone depends on them and makes them the center of attention. These players are often the ones, by observation,  that either drop out of their sport because they’ve spent too many years carrying the weight on their shoulders which takes the joy out of the game or they go on to be the obnoxious, inflated NFL superstar that blows their signing bonus in one day.

Are these players important to have on your team? YES, but we are doing a huge disservice to our teams by trying to make everyone else like them. Ever catch yourself pointing out one player more than the others? The one player that’s used in every example or analogy you can think of?

Can lessons be learned from that player being AMAZING at everything? Of course.

Athletes and Coaches, this is where we are getting it wrong. We are not shining light on arguably the most important players on the team.

Here’s the secret:

Good players play to make themselves look good. Great players play to make their teammates look good. 

Hear me out, think about your team and let’s break this down.

You have a player…or 5 that start every game. At the end of the day when you review game stats they did nothing or at least on paper they did nothing.

Then you think,” Why is this kid still starting?”

“Maybe I should take them out?”… “But what did they do wrong?” ….

Nothing. You cant think of any reason to take this player out of the starting line up. You need them, but WHY? You go back through film and watch just them and this is what you see.

Game is tied. We lost possession. CRAP! The other team is sprinting down the field with the ball. We are in a man down situation. The opponent winds up to pass to a player cutting to goal and you see they are wide open. The ball leaves her stick and you have this gut wrenching feeling. She’s going to catch it and score. The ball leaves her stick, here it is…. Oh , God please……Oh, DANG Hannah way to get a stick on it. Your defender, Rachel, picks up the ball and you regain possession. 

Ground ball goes to Rachel. *high five*

Jess has the ball at the top of the court. Sarah runs across court to set a pick for Kate. Kate cuts to goal, receives a bounce pass from Jess and gets an easy lay up.

Goal goes to Kate. Assist goes to Jess. Sweet!

Stephen holds the line for 10 seconds so your Quarterback, Mike, can make a 35 yd pass to Jordan down field. 

Jordan gets credit and Mike has an amazing arm. Both get raving reviews in the paper.

Riley and Maddie are on the same team sprinting neck and neck with the opponent towards a ground ball. Riley has the lead and could easily pick up the ball but instead slows down enough to box out their opponent and let’s Maddie sweep through for a clean pick up. 

Maddie gets the point for the stat book.

Up by 1 with  2 minutes on the clock. We have the ball but the other team is playing hard pressure defense all around the field. Sarah is stuck with the ball. Every time she tries to pass, it’s not a good look. She’s exhausted, and running in circles because her teammates have forgotten how to set picks and get open for each other, conveniently, in this moment in time. Finally, with 4 seconds left she’s able to get a pass off to Bri who scores another goal to seal the deal. 

Bri gets the point. Yes!!

Do you see a pattern?

What did Hannah, Sarah, Stephen and Riley do that was so special?

They are the play makers. They make stuff happen behind the scenes and they don’t care about the credit. They play to make their teammates look good. They are the secret MVP’s. The stealthy Ninjas that always come out of of the shadows right when you need them.

We as coaches need to be teaching our players to be more like them.

Hannah interrupts what would have been a game changing moment. Sarah creates an opportunity for her teammate and maintained possession of the ball and almost died, at least it felt that way, taking 2 minutes off the clock. Stephen puts his blood and sweat on the line to make sure his QB is protected. Riley seals off an opponent to make it easier for her teammate to get the ball.

They all played to make their teammates look good.

When my coach taught me the importance of being an unselfish player, I learned to coach in an unselfish light. In my career, I have been able to take raw talent and turn it into communal success. I have taken broken teams and mended them. Teams that hated each other. Teams that had no life. Teams that were on a plateau. Teams that were lost. Teams that were chaos. Teams that were apathetic. They were all changed for the better with this one lesson.

They learned it’s not about being the best player on paper. It’s about helping your teammates out in every circumstance. They now had a reason to work off ball. They found value in just knowing that they simply created an opportunity or a wave of momentum. I went from having a one man offense to a 7 man offense… with a few defenders and a goalie considered to be offense threats as well. I went from having a 8 man defense to a full field defense. My whole team became a threat as a consequence of this attitude change.

Coaches- I challenge you to take this lesson to heart and apply it to your teams.

Players- I also challenge you to embrace this concept because consequently playing to make your teammates look good ends up making you look good too.

Be an unselfish player.

Teach your players to have an unselfish mentality.

Watch your team change for the better.

 

I have many players that come to mind when I think of my “play makers” but these two will always hold a special place in my heart. Riley and Sarah are real athletes and deserve to be highlighted. By understanding unselfish play they’ve made themselves champions. They have State Championships and Region Championships under their belts and both are now college athletes with successful careers. They have it all. Skill, a coachable mindset, humility, resilience, an innate competitive spirit, and most importantly the ability to be an unselfish player. I’m so proud of them!

Sarah LAx

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The problem with two…

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I’m sitting on the plane going back to Oklahoma and it’s just me and my daughter. She’s now 8 months old. 

My happy baby fell asleep within minutes of take-off while I’m over here shaking like a leaf on a tree. I’m trying to stay calm. I look at her fast asleep and realize how ridiculous I’m being. If she’s calm then why can’t my heart and mind be still?

I stared at her longer and started to wonder where the days had gone since she was born. 

Why can’t I remember more of her hair when it was shorter and darker? Her fingers and toes being much smaller than they are now? Her laughing more? 

Because my attention has been divided. It’s not something that I think I should feel guilty for. It’s natural when you have multiple children and our attention is drawn away from the other child as well but this was the main thing I worried about when I found out I was pregnant with her. 

I felt the same way with Luke but for different reasons. I was pregnant with Lily and sick all the time. I was working full time into part time and my friends were gracious enough to take care of him while I worked. We were in the middle of building a new house. All of those things distracted me from my little Luke. Now he’s almost two and starting to test us more than ever before. (I know that gets worse as they get older)

He’s also getting so big, so fast and his brain is like a sponge. His vocabulary is increasing by the day. His problem solving skills, in my opinion, are pretty exceptional for a child his age. (He locked the whole family out of the house the other day.) 

I wrote a few months ago about being content with my life. Especially during this “rainy” season where Clay is away. I try my best not to show the hurt because I really don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I just want them to understand that I’m going to have good days and bad days. I’m going to have bad WEEKS. I’m not perfect. 

I am finding joy in being with my family and friends. I’m coaching again which is hands down by biggest passion outside of God and my home (husband and children). I can do all of this without any financial pressure because all of that is relieved with this new business. I am blessed and I am content but I’m also still very distracted. 

I think I’m remembering more with Lily than I did with Luke but sometimes I feel like it’s still not enough. I’m still not giving her my best. 

As much as I fear flying, I do love that it gives me a chance to disconnect and just sort through my thoughts and feelings. I spend most of the flight in prayer and then I spend the rest in reflection, starring out the window, in awe of everything God has created and kind of sickened that so much of that beauty has been destroyed by mankind. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time just to see the lands we currently live on before they were tainted by humanity. Does anyone else think that when they look out the window and see the ground below? Seriously my favorite part of my flight to Korea was going over the untouched parts of Alaska. It was breathtaking. 

I know all of that sounds a little off topic but it marries well with the reasoning I’m going back home for a few days. 

One of our favorite things about Oklahoma, which I hated at first, is how rural it is. There’s not much to do so instead of moving to a more populated area we did the opposite and built a house out in the country far away from everything. 

I love that we go to a church where we see the same people every week. 

I love that it’s a safe community. 

I love that I have cows in my backyard. 

I love that there’s lots of road with so little traffic that we can safely go on walks. 

I love that my closest friends are nearby.

I love that I can lay on my hammock on the back porch and watch the sunrise and sunset with the constant, peaceful breeze rushing through my ears loud enough to block out my all of my thoughts. 

I love watching the thunderstorms roll in from miles and miles away. The lightening always paints a beautiful yet terrifying picture in the sky. 

I love that I now have a really big yard that gives me lots of space to plant flowers and have a garden. And THIS is why I’m visiting home for a few days. 

We need to finish seeding the yard. I need to lay down mulch, plants bulbs, build some structures for the garden area, plant the garden, etc. I will also mention it’s my best friends’ birthday and I wouldn’t miss that for the world. 

Yes, I probably could get this all done in May when I go home but nothing will grow in time to produce any fruit, and our rainy season comes and goes very quickly. Once the summer hits, it gets very hot and dry so I would love to work with nature rather than against it. 

While these 5 days will also be very busy, I plan on taking this time alone with Lily to connect with her more and focus on teaching her things I haven’t been as consistent in teaching her. 

As I’m sitting here, brushing the hair out of her face while she sleeps, I can’t help but get emotional. There’s so much love in my heart for her.

 Its true what they say, you know? When you have more children, the love you have to give is not divided, it just grows exponentially with every child.

Like my love for my husband, it only grows stronger with time.

Just when I think I can’t fathom the concept of how big my heart can get, moments like this prove me wrong. Both of my babies are so different and I have realized that my love for them is the same but my relationship with them is different, and thats okay.

I am looking forward to using this alone time with Lily to get to know her on another level and continue to develop that special bond that I only have with her. 

So what’s the hardest part about having two? 

Time. 

It goes by too quickly, and there’s not enough of it. 

What brings me peace is knowing that although my time may be divided between both babies, my love for them will never be. 

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Gatlinburg Trip 2016

This trip started out as a surprise for Blair. Our family lied to her and told her it was just going to be a trip with our family to Tennessee like the old days. We used to go every year in the fall and we would meet up with our family from Ohio for the weekend. We have not been able to do this for years. My husband is deployed, Nathan told Blair he was going on a hunting trip with his dad and my brother was single so it really was a perfect excuse to vacation with just our family again. Blair didn’t know that Nathan had already made plans for his family to stay up there that weekend as well so everyone could be there when he asked.

Of course, Blair started guessing and suspecting things, ruining it like most girls do when they think about how and when they will be asked the “Big Question.” Plans changed and Nathan decided to do it the Sunday before after church. That story is a whole different post.

Since we all had planned to stay in TN that weekend anyway, we decided to make a celebration trip out of it. My mom rented this huge van, actually it was kind of embarrassing. haha. We thought SURELY we would have enough room but it still ended up being cramped on the way up there. It was only a 4-5 hour drive so it wasn’t too terrible.

We arrived at our cabin really late. Apparently there were two streets with the same name up there so we drove around these mountain roads, I should say CLIFFS, for like legit 30 minutes. We had no service so we couldn’t use our GPS. It took us forever to turn around because we have this HUGE van and the roads are the size of a bike path up there. We finally made it back to the main road and to the correct street. Our cabin was beautiful. It was two stories, slept at least 15-20 people. The large glass windows backed right up to the best mountain view I have ever seen. I decided to stay upstairs with the kids and Blair. Mom and Dad and Blake had their own rooms.

The next day we went site seeing. Drove around the mountains for a while. Then we decided to go to the outlets. It took an hour to get down the main street because traffic was so bad. Apparently there was this huge convention going on that weekend. I bought a new pair of jeans, and some cute NIKE tennis shoes for Luke. After that we met up with Nathan’s family for dinner in Gatlinburg. We chose to eat at Dick’s. It’s a restaurant where they are mean to you on purpose. The food was okay but I definitely recommend everyone go there at least once for the experience.

After dinner we walked around town and looked in all of the little shops and candy stores. I think Morgan (Nathan’s sister) and I went wine tasting at like 3 different places. Blackberry and Strawberry didn’t disappoint. We walked past the Ripley’s museum and there is this big marble stone out front that floats on a thin layer of water. That thing is still spinning and I remember that was always my favorite thing to touch every year. Luke thought it was cool too. It was just neat to think of all the times that I had touched that rock and now my son, 16 years later, got to see it and touch it too.

We found this mountain rail ride my sister really wanted us to go on. She said I would like it because it had breaks. I HATE roller coasters. I don’t like the feeling you get in your stomach and I don’t like that I can’t stop it when I feel uncomfortable. Some people live for that stuff but I’m boring and I just can’t do it. BITE ME. Anyways my sister swore I would like this one because I could control it. Well my dad and I decided to double up because it was cheaper and he had to ride in the back where the breaks were because he is bigger than me. We fought over who got the back seat for like 5 minutes, I was being kind of ridiculous. HE won. He promised he would stop if I didn’t like it and he did. We only braked a few times but it was fun! I would definitely go back and do it again!

We finished the night by walking through a few of the old candy stores; I always loved watching them make the candy. I bought a caramel apple for my mom and we headed back to the cabins.

The last morning we woke up and had a big breakfast. Blair and I took some pictures after packing up our things and loading the car. After we left the cabin we were on a mission to find “THE WILD WOODY.” The legendary go-kart track of our childhood dreams!

When we got there, we all bought our tickets for one ride and hopped in our cars. I was last to get out of that long line. As I was ascending around the tracks with the wind on my face and car engines drowning out everything else, I was taken back to a time in my life of pure joy. The brief few months I raced real go-karts in HS, came alive and my competitive spirit got the best of me. I was determined to beat my siblings. I lapped Blake, then Blair and Nathan along with everyone else on the track and ended up finishing first.

One would say,” Ah, Who cares? It’s just go-karts…” BUT IT’S NOT. Winning that race meant EVERYTHING!

JK, it did feel pretty good though….And I was a little bit of a sore winner.

After the race we figured there had to be a fun place where little kids could ride some rides. We found a little park and pulled off to let Luke have a little fun.

He really enjoyed the Merry-Go-Round with me.

Then it came time to ride the cars, the ones that bounces up and down in the air and spin in circles. Again, I hate rides like that so I backed out and Aunt Blair took one for the team. Turns out Luke has my likeness for crazy rides and immediately clung to Blair and screamed. He was so scared. It was kind of funny but I also felt bad because I knew exactly how the poor kid felt. You’d think he would have jumped straight out of that car when the ride stopped but he was upset he couldn’t sit there and drive it. He was cute.

I wish my husband could have been there to share those memories with but soon enough we will make memories again as a family. I’m just glad I got to re-live my childhood and spend time with my Mom and Dad and my siblings. It’s not often that it’s just “us” anymore. We all had a great time and it was a very relaxing weekend. I hope we can travel together again soon!

View our Vlog from the trip HERE

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I’m Okay With Not Being Equal

I’m okay with not being equal to my husband. He is a MAN and I am a WOMAN. We were not designed by our creator to be equal. We have specific roles. When you break it down and expose the bigger picture, you realize that we are all on this Earth to serve the ones next to us.

A Doctor serves by taking care of his patients.

A Teacher serves by helping others learn.

A Custodian serves by keeping our schools clean.

A Park Ranger serves by protecting wildlife and nature.

A Soldier serves by giving their life to protect our freedoms.

A Barber serves by helping you have a good hair day or days…

A Real Estate Agent serves by helping you find a perfect house.

A Stay at Home Mom serves by raising her children and hopefully turning them into decent human beings that will someday be released into society to serve others in the manner they choose.

Humans serve in many different fashions and every single job serves somebody, someway somehow. We have learned to live symbiotically ( yes, men and women are entirely different species) together in this world because of this.

Now I can tell you from personal experience that I have never been held back by society. I have never been told I can not serve in the ways in which I have wanted to serve. I have been a babysitter, a lifeguard, a gas station clerk, a student, a college athlete, a coach, a dental assistant, a CEO, a wife and a mom. NOBODY told me I had to do those things. Nobody gave me those positions. I’ve held every one of these job titles because I have wanted to AND… most importantly because I EARNED IT. I worked hard for it.

I do not want any position in life because I am a woman and that company is just trying to fill in the gaps so statistically they look good on paper for not discriminating. I want my boss to look me in the eye, shake my hand, and say “Congrats on the new position” because I am truly in his or her eyes the most qualified for that job.

Guess what? Women will not always be the most qualified. There will be men that deserve those positions more than me. I honestly do not even know why women are marching. Especially women in America.

Because Trump said something disgusting? There are women that sit around at wine nights, or in the locker room at school, or at concerts or in a movie theatre (50 Shades) that say far more disgusting and crude things about men than Trump said about women. Neither are okay, but quit acting like this is new. “Locker Room Talk” is a two way street. The only difference is when a guy hears it, it boosts his ego. He does not complain. Most of the time guys are flattered. When a woman hears it, it is sexual assault or sexual harassment and that man deserves to sit in jail for years to rot and die for one dirty thought. Everyone has done it, whether you’re a middle school kid with raging hormones or an adult with raging hormones.

Hypocrisy at its finest but biblically it’s a sin, regardless of who does it and we each have to answer for that one day.

Are we marching for Roe vs. Wade?

That’s a whole different argument and the sad reality is that it will never be over turned. Again, those individuals will answer to God for their decisions one day.

Including MYSELF! We have ALL fallen short of the glory of God. We are ALL sinners.

I felt compelled to write today mainly to say, biblically, God’s job for me is different than the job he gave my husband and I am 100% okay with that. I am okay with not being equal. God designed me as a woman to make babies and love my husband. I think I’ve done a good job in that roll so far. What’s wrong with that? No where in the bible does it say I can’t learn or better myself professionally or do what I want to do.

I am proud to be a  woman and I am glad that I was designed to be different. I am emotionally strong. I know that because, among other life changing events, I’m now on month 4 of 9 in this deployment and I haven’t jumped off a bridge. I may or may not have thought about it once when I had 2 hours of sleep for a week straight, crying babies, tantrums and family drama but that is besides the point.

I’m physically strong. I can dead lift 235 which is way more than most MEN. I can run faster than most men. I am a better athlete than most men. I can shoot a gun better than most men.

I as a WOMAN can do a lot of things better than most men because of the way GOD designed me to be different:

I can love better than most men. I am more empathetic than most men. I can multi-task better than most men. I can handle a cold better than most men. I am more sensual than most men. I am cleaner than most men. I can handle pain better than most men (2 c-sections later… come at me BRO!). I can handle stress better than most men. I am more organized than most men.

AND I EMBRACE IT! I am proud of it.

I will add that my husband is a much better athlete than me, he is stronger than me, faster than me, he can shoot better than me, he is more level-headed than me, calmer than me, probably smarter than me in a lot of areas- he thinks more logically than I do, a better cook than me (not a better baker) but he makes the best steak dinner in the world! He is better at reading his bible than I am. He’s a better spiritual leader than me- he’s seriously overall a great leader. And that is OKAY. He makes me proud to be his wife. I want him to be better than me in most of those areas. These are some of the things that attracted me to him in the first place. Are there some couples where the roles are reversed. Sure! And that’s fine too. Whatever works for you.

My point is being a woman in AMERICA has not held THIS WOMAN back. I have been able to do anything and everything I have dreamed to do. I do not make excuses. As long as I worked for it, I achieved it. I do not feel limited. I do not feel belittled. I co-exist with my male humans peacefully and I love them for everything that they were designed to do better than me. If I am not qualified, fine. I work harder. I am not ENTITLED to anything. I do not fit the status quo for most women and there are men that do not fit the status quo for men. AND IT’S FINE!

Will there always be a sexist man? YES. They suck.

Will there be sexist women? Yeah, there thousands marching right now. They suck.

Will there be racist fools? YES. They suck.

Will there be rapists? Yes, they suck.

Will there be murders, thieves, liars, cheaters, abusers, adulterers, or any human of sinful nature? YES, AND THEY SUCK! We all suck!

Unfortunately, being a feminist does not mean what it used to mean. It’s all about man shaming. I’m all about equal pay but I’m not disgracing the opposite sex because it’s a movement. I respect the men around me and the men around me respect me. Our great- grandmas were the real feminists, they fought for the equality that we currently have!

This woman does not want to be thrown on a band wagon for a problem in this country that in my opinion DOES NOT exist. It has never existed for me. The only person holding you back in this life is YOU. Regardless of sex, race or whatever else that makes us different.

America is not sexist. You have rights ladies. Let’s march for the women in other countries that do not. Someone always has it worse than you. Reflect on that.