Saturday, February 10, 2018

It seems to be a trend for me that I forget my blog exists.  Lately I have been working on updating it, and have used the excuse of "I haven't figured out the links at the top of the page" for why I am not writing.  So, here I am!  Stepping past my excuses, broken links and all, and writing what's on my mind (and yes, I will eventually get those links figured out). 

I digress ...

More than two years ago, this saying danced its way across my computer screen and took my breath away.

Every single piece of this phrase excites me!  The moment that I first read it, I claimed this as my own - I was going to be fearless.  I wanted to figure out what it was that I was most passionate about and to pursue it with fervor. 

The more time I spent trying to figure out what it is that sets my soul on fire, the more bummed I became.  I truly convinced myself that I was passionate about nothing.  I didn't have any idea in mind as to what it was that I would want to pursue.  I didn't know if I was searching for a career that made me feel this way, or if it were a volunteer opportunity, or if it should be my family, or ....

I drove myself crazy trying to figure it out!

Thankfully, I was able to let it go and stopped giving it any thought.  I knew I would figure out what my passion was, and I knew (like most things in life) I had to stop trying to control the outcome to really understand what it was.

Fast forward more than a year later and I've come to realize that I am discovering those passions and starting to pursue them.  Health and fitness is definitely one of those avenues, and I'm excited to follow this new journey and see what direction it takes me.  Helping people is another passion.  Church/my relationship with God yet another.  Personal development makes the list as well.

There are so many things that excite me about life, and I cannot express my thankfulness for the passion within me that chooses to live each day with vivacity!  I do my best to set a goal for every day, even if it's something incredibly small like making my bed, I feel so accomplished when my goals are achieved.

I challenge you to go out and find what you are passionate about and start pursuing it, little by little, day by day. 

Life is such a gift and I am grateful to be living such a blessed and amazing adventure!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It feels a little strange to be writing a new blog post when I haven't been blogging for over a year, but this is something I want to share with the world, and my blog is a great venue to do so ... so - I'M BACK!

In the past year, Claire (our oldest) has graduated high school and moved on to college, our family has moved to a new home to be near extended family, our kiddos have enrolled in a new school, I left my job to be home with the kids during this transition, and Monte has continued to be a rockstar in keeping us all sane through these transitions.

While all of these things deserve a blog post of their own, the thing I am focusing on today is our new home - more specifically, decorating this home!  It is no secret that decorating is not my forte.  My mom, Sharon, and my sister, Tanya, are amazing decorators and seem to have this crafty eye that comes naturally to them.  I, on the other hand, was not blessed with this gift so it is no surprise that I turn to mom and Tanya when I need help in this area!  After finding a feature wall idea that I loved on Pinterest, I started purchasing items for my own wall.  Two years and a new house later (no joke), I decided it was time to get these things hung up!  So after a full day of shopping at some of the fabulous stores and sales that we have in the area, I was able to pick up some more pieces to make this wall complete, and Tanya and mom made their magic happen.

I went from this:


Mom and Tanya - thank you SO MUCH for your help on this transformation.  I am IN LOVE with this new space in my home and can't wait to have people over to see it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Recently on Facebook my friend, Yolonda, posted this picture:

After reading through this list, it stirred up a lot of thoughts within me.  You see, I am an extrovert - and quite an extreme extrovert at that!  I have always thought of my extroversion as a great thing, almost as if I was given a gift, but it wasn't until I married Monte that I realized my extroverted personality can also be the very thing that made me a bully.

A bully.  Wow, it hurts just to type that.

It's true, though.  The more I learned about Monte and his introverted personality, the more I realized that I have not at all been accommodating or understanding of the introverts in my life.  One of the things I realized I have always done, but maybe never saw that I was doing it, was that I misinterpreted an introvert's need for down-time and quiet as them being sad or sullen.  I was bound and determined to cheer them up, when in reality the very thing they needed from me was to be left alone!

When I look back over my life I realize there have been so many times that I have disrespected other people, though it was quiet unintentional, entirely because I didn't understand them.  There are so many times that I remember flat out steamrolling Michelle, my best friend in high school, which is likely a huge part of the reason that our friendship didn't withstand the years.  If someone was not extroverted, I flat out didn't understand them and didn't find a way to truly show them that I cared.  I'm not saying that I was a jerk to people who weren't like me (at least not on purpose), but I am saying that I wish I had a deeper understanding of how to truly show love and respect to introverts in a way that they could receive it.

So, to every introvert I have ever known in my life, please take this as my formal apology if ever I have dismissed you or made you feel less-than-amazing.  It has never been my intention to hurt anyone.  I'm sad that truly learning the differences between introversion and extroversion, and learning how to respect and care for the former, was not something that happened early in life for me.

In a house with seven people, I feel as though part of me is growing into a need for calm and quiet.  Introverts, I tip my hat to you ... it may have taken marrying one of you and having five kids to get me there, but I respect and appreciate your need for solitude!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

10 months.  That's how much time has passed since I last updated my blog.  It is completely amazing to me that I have let that much time slip by, but it seems to have passed in just a mere moment - not in ten long, dragged-out months.

It's not that I haven't had things to write about (I have, a lot actually), or that I have lost my passion for writing (I haven't, not at all).  It's more that I think I've been caught up in a game of trying to find myself, so much so that I lost myself completely.

Let me rewind.  My last update (that post I wrote 10 months ago) told you that I was back at work managing a salon.  Now this update will tell you I'm back at home being a stay-at-home mom!  While I truly enjoyed having a job outside of our home and having an identity outside of "wife and mom", my household just does not function as well when I'm not here during the day to put the pieces in place.  It was SO hard to not be available to be here when my kids were sick (or to have to call in to work because my kids were sick).  It broke my heart that I wasn't immediately here when Claire had her very first (and extremely minor) fender-bender (I can't really even call it that - neither vehicle had any scratches or dents of any kind ... it was just her first experience driving in a nasty snowstorm).  As Iain began the baseball season and Ellis started soccer, I was realizing more and more the importance of me being here and being available for my children in this season of life.  So with that realization (and a LOT of discussion with Monte) I made the decision to leave my job at the salon.

There I was, six mere months later, back in the place I started.

Isn't it funny?  The very thing that I was running from in life was the fact that my identity had become "just" a wife and mom, and yet the very position where I am the most needed in this life is to be Monte's wife and to be my children's mom.

The problem I have with that is the fact that I am an extreme extrovert.  I need to be with other people!  I need to communicate and to socialize and to just be allowed to be an adult who doesn't have to wipe her child's nose once in awhile.  :)  The irony is that I have always known that I wanted to be a wife and a mom -- this is something that my high-school friend, Anna, confirmed to me the other day.  She remembers me saying that I didn't care to choose out a career - I didn't really WANT to go to college (even though I did go), entirely because I knew my biggest calling in life was to be a wife and a mom.

The irony is the fact that I got just what I wanted, and yet I still seek to have an identity beyond this dream-come-true life that I live.

Here's the funny thing - it was a movie that changed my perspective.  I'm not joking!!  Monte is hunting this weekend along with our two oldest boys.  Claire is at a two-day cross country meet (so the team stayed overnight in a hotel).  That left me home alone with my two youngest boys.  We decided that we were going to have a movie night, so I rented three movies.  One of them happened to be "Moms' Night Out".  I started watching it when I crawled into bed and fell asleep in the middle of it (I'm known for not being able to stay awake for a movie if it's started after 8pm!).  The next morning I decided to finish the movie - and the part of the movie I missed was exactly what I needed to hear.

Even though sometimes I feel like my work isn't important, even though I feel like I don't contribute to our family as much as I could or should - the only person that I'm letting down in all of this is ME.  I have set such high expectations for myself, and they're just not realistic.  Being a wife and a mom is a HUGE job.  The only person who expects perfection out of me in this position really is ME.

Isn't that ironic ... I am my own worst enemy sometimes!

Through this wonderful (albeit a little cheesy) movie, I was reminded that God designed me specifically to be in this place.  He equipped me with what it takes to be great, and by first allowing me to fill myself with His word and His spirit every single day I am equipping myself further to love my family the way that God intended me to love them.  I'm not perfect.  I make mistakes.  I screw up more things than I care to admit - but that's okay.  My family doesn't love me any less.  God doesn't love me any less.

I'm perfect for this position, and I need to start truly being present in the place that God put me - because then I can thrive and do my best right where I am!

[Side Note] For those who were asking, I did find something that lets me get out and be with other ladies for a bit!  I am now an Independent Advisor for Lia Sophia.  I have always LOVED their jewelry (I truly have pieces in my jewelry box that I purchased YEARS ago) and now I get to earn tons of free jewelry while spoiling women with great deals on it, too!  Take a look at my website here and contact me if you want to host a party or place an order!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's no secret that I'm not good at updating my blog.  I really, truly am sorry for that.  I wish I had the passion for writing and the time to do it that I used to have ... but I just don't!  I don't think that's a bad thing, though.  Here are some of the great things that are keeping me busy:

- I went back to work almost two months ago.  I am managing a salon in a town near me and I absolutely LOVE it!  My life is a little more chaotic, and trying to balance it all out doesn't always work out the best, but at the end of the day I am a much happier wife and mom because I have this job!

- Ethan has been in daycare since I started my job and it has been SO good for him.  Miss Holly (his daycare provider) is completely amazing!  He is learning so much and he loves the other kids at his daycare.  Plus, he's REALLY happy to see mommy pick him up at the end of the day, which makes this mama's heart SO happy!

- Claire will be 16 next month!  She currently has her learner's permit (for driving) and is doing her best to figure out the chaos of controlling a vehicle.  She's doing pretty well, though I do wish we had more time to dedicate to letting her drive more frequently.

- Monte and I will celebrate our 5th anniversary in a few weeks.  I can't believe that we have been a family for five years already!  Those years have flown and our kids have changed and grown so much - it's almost unreal!  I am hoping that the next five years slow down so I can truly enjoy the time that my kids are still living at home with us!

- I'm starting to wish that I was a little less of a morning person!  Days like today are great days to sleep in a little bit, but my eyes popped open at 5:30am and there was no going back to sleep.  My family and friends make fun of me that I go to bed right after I put Ethan in bed at 8:30pm, but it is so nice to be awake and refreshed in the morning!

- Ethan and I have started a bedtime routine that I love!  After I put him in his crib, he wants me to crawl in there with him and snuggle.  We will snuggle, make airplanes out of our hands, play "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" and pretend that his crib is a ship.  The other night he wanted me to get daddy to climb in there with us ..  he doesn't quite get the fact that there's just not enough room!

- I attended Women of Faith in St. Paul again this past October and it was SO wonderful.  Great time with amazing friends, wonderful music, phenomenal worship, great speakers.  I LOVE it!

There are lots of other things going on, too, but those are the highlights!  I hope to blog more regularly, but unfortunately I can't make any promises.  For now, now that I'm missing you!! :)

Peace out, girl scout!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

This past week we were up north at a cabin on a lake in central Minnesota - just the seven of us, with nothing on our agenda but relaxation and time to spend together.  It really was a wonderful week away - we spent a lot of time fishing, swimming, making meals and taking walks among other things.

Ellis, Colin and Iain proudly display their morning catch!

It was during one of our walks that I learned a parenting lesson that I felt all the way down to my toes.  We had been walking for a couple of miles and I really had to use the bathroom, so we stopped in to a local resort and Monte and the kids played in the game room while I headed to the lobby in search of a restroom.  On my way back out through the lobby I was caught behind a family of three, slowly meandering their way through the hallway toward the exit.  Since I didn't want to be rude and rush around them I, too, slowed my pace and drifted through the hallway toward the door.  I watched the couple in front of me, listening to their accent that hinted the obvious fact that they were not originally from Minnesota.  I watched their little boy who moved back and forth through the hallway, not really paying attention to where he was walking, but instead being distracted by all of his surroundings, as little boys often do.

Then it happened.

I saw the easel sitting nearby that was displaying a large sign promoting the various activities the resort was currently offering.  I saw the little boy walking toward the easel, all the while looking the other way.  I saw his foot get caught on the easel leg.  I saw him trip and I saw the sign begin to shake.  The boy's dad very nonchalantly reached out his hand and steadied the sign while the boy's mom reached down to the ground and extended a hand to help him up.  A very familiar fire of frustration began to burn inside me, and I expected to immediate hear the boy's mom scold him for not paying attention.  What she said left me speechless:

"Oh dear, that must have hurt.  Are you okay, sweetie?"

The fire inside of me immediately was quenched as I watched this display of a mother's love.  Instead of being frustrated with her son for not paying attention, she was concerned that he may have hurt himself.  She was filled with love for him and that love was her only reaction.

How many times has it happened in my life that I have scolded my children for not "being good"?  How many times have they been distracted and I have allowed that to frustrate me?  Too many.

This is a lesson that has stuck with me and one I am deeply trying to put into action in my own life.  I want to be a mom who first loves in all things.

So while this felt like a major Mommy FAIL, I know that it is going to lead to Mommy Victories, too.

I'm grateful for this lesson, grateful for being humbled.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I haven't been great at updating.  In all honesty I haven't been great about keeping up on most things - when did life get to be so insanely busy?!  We're in the full swing of summer at our house and are staying busy with baseball, soccer, cross country, driver's education (for Claire) and a new job (also for Claire)!  At this point in life, my main job is chauffeuring my kids to the many different activities we have going on.  I am often so busy with our schedule's craziness that I find I'm not sure what to do with myself when I get some downtime.  Like right now, as I'm sitting in the waiting room at a local car repair shop, I'm realizing that I can't handle just sitting and watching "The Price Is Right" ... I need something else to keep me busy, thus this blog post is being created!

The issues with my truck are minor - my air conditioner just needs a little love so it can operate correctly, and with this amazing heat wave we're experiencing in Minnesota, I'm okay with having to wait to get it fixed!

I recently realized my need to update when I had many of you asking if we had sold our house.  The answer to that question is a big fat NO!  We had received an offer that came in significantly lower than our asking price, but beyond that we had a lot of showings that didn't result in anything more.  I don't think that would have bothered me so much if we didn't have five kids to get out of the house every time someone wanted to see it!  So, after much discussion, we made the decision to take it off the market.

I was initially a little frustrated that we won't be moving, but we have since found a church right here in our little town that we really like, and I'm believing that this is a great thing for our family.  Being we enjoy the church so much, I think that takes some of the sting away from not selling!

So that's where we're at - moving forward and walking together in life, enjoying the heat of the summer and looking forward to some milestones that are coming up soon!

Through it all, we are moving forward together and choosing to Keep On Keepin' On!