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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: March 2010

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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

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Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: March 2010

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

March 31, 2010

An aray of thoughts...

Good morning guys and gals.

Hope you are all having a splendid week. It's already Wednesday [did this week go by fast for anyone other than me?] and the weekend is upon us. Normally I am more than ecstatic about the weekend, but the realization that my husband is leaving us in two weeks is finally starting to sink in. I'm trying to keep my head up and I'm doing anything and everything that I can right now to figure out some stuff to do to keep myself busy.

I'm working my photography business' Facebook Fan Page and I'm planning on seeking out some willing people to model for me this summer so I can build up my portfolio. Little Man is adorable, but I'm pretty sure that future clients are going to want to see pictures of people besides him. So I'm going to work on that. My very best friend is pregnant and I'll be driving up to Tuscaloosa to take Little Man to see her one weekend, and then I'll be taking her maternity portraits this summer as well. Not to mention the trips we are going to take to California. By the time I get done booking myself solid, I'm probably going to have more to do that I realized. Which is good. I like it that way.

We got everything done yesterday. The house is almost empty. Except for the handful of tiny things we have to put in the car this afternoon. Everything is in storage and all of the suitcases are already nestled in the trunk of the car. We had the power and the cable cut off, emptied out the fridge and the freezer and spent the night with a neighbor {whose computer I am currently typing this on.} This morning I'm heading off to have a farewell lunch with another neighbor and her daughter. It's starting to get a little sad that we are leaving. There are going to be more people than I thought that I will miss. Ok. Well maybe not that many, but there will be a few.

Ready to start a new chapter. Ready to move on and see where the Good Lord is going to take us. He always works things out for the best. It absolutely amazes me what he does for us and provides for us. Just a few minutes ago I pulled up our banking account online and saw that we were going to have more money in the bank this go around than I had originally thought. Which is good, because Hubby has got to get a new computer before school starts and I didn't want to have to order it on the 15th and risk it not getting here in time [he leaves on the 17th]. Always, always, always such a wonderful feeling to really see God providing and working in our lives.

I took a lot of photos from around our empty house yesterday that I will share with you guys this week. Not exactly sure when I will get around to editing them and getting them posted, but I will. Most likely will I have to do them at night once when get to Alabama. When Hubby's new computer gets here I won't have to share with him and I can get them done quicker. If I have a spare moment in running around this weekend to get them done. Easter is Sunday, which means there will be a lot of family photos to take. Which means a lot of family photos to edit. I'm excited. This is what I love and I can't wait to be able to do this full time.

I am so excited to go see my sweet Little Man tomorrow!! I had to mentally prepare myself for the step back into motherhood this morning. How? I slept until 10:00 and then took a 30 minute shower. Now I'm sitting here typing this and getting ready to eat some Joe's Crabshack. Yummy. I haven't even had breakfast so I'm pretty sure I will over eat and feel like garbage afterwards, but oh well. He's doing some of the cutest things [apparently] at his Grandmothers house and I can't wait to pick him up and love on him tomorrow. I'm relieved that I will have some help this summer. I wrote yesterday about how full time my mom job really is and I am overly excited that I will have grandparents around all summer to help out. It's definitely going to be a weight off of my shoulders for a little while and going to give me the chance to really hone my photography skills and whatnot.

Anywho. That's all for today folks. I am about 85% sure that there won't be a post tomorrow, unless I manage to squeeze one in for you tonight. I've got to take hubby to work in the morning first thing, come back and get ready, go fill the car up with gas and run an errand or two before lunch. Then we're eating with all of the Coast Guard guys as a sort of 'Farewell' lunch. Then we're hitting the road. Hopefully we will make it home before 6:30ish. It's supposed to be a 6 hour drive, but hubby does it in a little less than that. Let me just put it this way, if you ever ride anywhere with my husband, don't drink anything. Because it's like beating a horse with a stick to get the man to pull into a rest station or something so you can pee. Better start hydrating myself now.

Hope you all have a wonderful day and great rest of the weekend if I don't make it back before Monday. Which hopefully I will. I don't like being away from you guys that long.  :)

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March 30, 2010

Being a mom is TOUGH

Well. My house is empty…almost.

Their are suitcases piled up beside the stairs, laundry baskets full of left over junk that needs to go to the storage unit sitting underneath the bar, and a bag full of leftover snacks sitting on my counter. Oh yeah. And there is a couch. And TV, that we can’t watch because we don’t have cable anymore. I managed to get everything done yesterday and this morning and I’m currently sitting in Barnes & Noble working on my photography business stuff, editing pictures and {obviously} typing. And I’m freezing. Seriously. Can’t even really feel my fingers anymore. Crazy cold in here. Brrr.

I’ve got to take a half of a second real fast to say that I got my SheyB camera strap cover yesterday!!! I am so excited. I didn’t think I was going to get it until I got to Alabama because they were forwarding our mail. And just out of habit yesterday, I went to the mailbox [keep in mind I haven’t gotten mail in over a week. Literally.] and there it was. In all of its Crimson and Hounds tooth Beauty. See?

mail

Anywho. I was ridiculously excited.  And wasted no time putting it on my camera. My camera is feeling a little bit lonely right now. I’ll admit that with the house being turned totally upside down and everything else I’ve been up to [trying to get blogs scheduled for the next two weeks, editing pictures I’ve already taken, packing, packing, cleaning and packing], I haven't really taken any photos in probably over a week. That will change when I get to Alabama on Thursday.

I’m really excited about Easter this coming weekend.  Hubby has a LOT of family with a LOT of kids which will make for a LOT of photo opportunities. I’m in the process right now of getting Facebook Page set up for my photography business and I’m hoping to do several portfolio building sessions this summer. I have got to stay busy or I’ll go insane.

I kind of got tickled at Hubby’s mom last night when she called. Hubby’s grandmother requires some extra attention so someone has to stay with her all the time. This past weekend was Hubby’s moms turn to keep her at  her house…and she had Little Man. When we talked to her last night she talked like she was just absolutely pooped from all of the ‘work’ this weekend that Little Man and Mama Nell [hubby’s grandma] required. She wasn’t complaining, more or less just making a generalized statement at how much of a handful they were together, especially when Little Man got in his “I don’t want to get down, I want you to hold me mood.” At first it kind of irritated me, but then I just laughed about it.

I keep Little Man all day, every single day, all by myself. I am mom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Literally. We’ve had no family here in Florida and no real close friends to leave Little Man with, so I quite honestly spend all of my time being mom. Hubby does as much as he can, but he worked a lot of long hours here in Florida so he wasn’t always available or up to being full time daddy so mommy didn’t go nuts. He’s good at giving me my ‘me’ time, but it’s not always possible.

When the MIL started talking about how busy and worn out she was, it kind of crossed my mind, “What do you think I feel like every single solitary day?” And I know that there are a tons and tons of you out there reading this that feel the exact same way. Being a mom is hard, especially when you don’t always have the options to drop the kid(s) off with Grandma or Grandpa and take some time for yourself. I take Little Man everywhere, all the time for everything: Doctors appointments, grocery shopping, bill paying, you name it and we’ve done it. It’s definitely not always easy. Usually it’s a headache and I end up feeling totally and completely overwhelmed and frustrated by the time that I get my tasks accomplished.

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything [most days. Haha. Kidding.] I try to remind myself how lucky I am not only to have a son, but to be able to stay at home with him and take him everywhere with me. A little bit more help would be great at times, but I’m kind of funny about who Little Man stays with and who keeps him. So that’s not always the easiest option either. But I’m thankful that I can be a stay at home mom, that I don’t have to work to make ends meat.

I also salute the Single working moms out there. And the moms who have crappy husbands. I know that sounds rude, but you know it’s true. There are a lot of good moms and wives out there that are married to men who are just really sucky dads. Trust me. I could name several as I sit here. I give much credit to the Military Moms who not only raise their kids away from family because that’s where the Military has put them, but raise them without their husbands around due to deployment. You ladies deserve the utmost credit for what you do. Same goes to working moms who run their homes just as well from the office as they do from home. I commend you for you awesome balancing act. I hope that I can be as good at it when my business gets off of the ground.

Being a mom is a tough job. We should get major props on resumes for it. Not just anyone can be a gourmet [or not so Gourmet…last time I checked McDonalds drive through didn’t fall into the ‘fancy’ or ‘5 star’ category. :) ] chef, full time housekeeper, doctor [taking care of those ouchies and boo-boos], Fitness Queen [for you exercise enthusiasts out there], Writer [Bloggers! Hello?!], Photographers [We all take pictures of our kids], Organizer, Party Planner and Event Coordinator all at one time. It’s rough at times. But it’s worth it.

What do you find to be the toughest part of being a mom in your particular situation? The long hours? The lack of health? Doing it without the hubby at your side?

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March 29, 2010

A Final Post from our Florida Home

Good {late} morning, friends!

This will be last post written at our home in Florida. As I’ve said before this is such a bittersweet emotion I’m feeling. Florida will always hold a place in my heart just because it was our first ‘home’ together, and this is where our son was born. But there was also a lot of harship here. Pain and hurt feelings, struggle and financial stress. Hubby and I learned a lot about marriage these first two years. We learned how to communicate openly and honestly about things that were bothering us. We learned what one another’s expectations were. We learned how to compromise.

Maybe it’s coincidence that our Anniversary falls on the same day that Hubby’s A-School begins. Something of a significance to the beginning of another journey. April 19 marked the beginning of our journey together, and again April 19 will mark the beginning of another path we’ll travel together. Ok. Well not exactly together considering he will be on the other side of the country. But still, it’s a chapter that we’ll be writing together.

There is so much to the next four months. I’m amazed again by the timing of God’s plan and his will. Things have fallen into place more perfectly that I could have ever imagined. I couldn’t have laid things out any better than he did. Hubby got his A-School orders in February…at a time when we were really starting to feel that we had outgrown our time here in Florida. We’d had a falling out with a group of people we thought we were close to, our landlord was starting to become a pain in the rear end with his lack of professionalism and unwillingness to repair things in our home that needed repairing, and I had discovered my passion for photography.

At no other time so far in our lives could we have afforded for me to kick start a photography business. In no other situation would I be able to shadow or assist a professional photographer several days a week because I wouldn’t have had anyone to keep little man during the day.

It’s all working out. And I know that the next several months are going to be hard. I love my husband enough to hate being away from him. Really. I love him more today than I did yesterday, and a million times more than I did the day that I married him. I think that’s why we are so happy [aside from the fact that we were very much created to be together]. We just generally enjoy one another’s company. We love spending time together. The past week without Little Man here has been a wonderful time for us to reconnect with one another and to enjoy just being together without having to play the role of mommy and daddy too.

He’s so excited. Seriously. He’s like a little kid getting ready to go to a big birthday party or something. He is so unbelievably anxious to begin his journey, and I can’t wait to see where it leads him. He’s got some information about a possible future opportunity [and by future I mean, like 2011/2012ish]. Nothing that I’ll really go into because it’s so far off and so up in the air. But I have full confidence that if it’s what God wants for hubby, that it will come to be.

I’m trying to convince Hubby into doing a guest post on my blog. He’s a little iffy about it, but I’m hoping to break him down.  :) He’s pretty hard-headed about things like that, but he’s got such a unique ‘voice’ and perspective on life that I think you guys would really love to hear from him.

Alright guys. I think I’ll sign off now. I was typing this as I ate lunch, and I’ve been finished eating for 30 minutes. I’ve got to get up and get finished cleaning. I vacuumed out from under the cabinets this morning, vacuumed the baseboards & the couch cushions, and scrubbed the bathroom. My tub is clean enough to serve food out of. I literally climbed inside of it and scrubbed like a maniac with grout cleaner. Now off to wipe out my refrigerator. They are cutting everything off tomorrow, so once they pick up our cable stuff I’m going to head to the Barnes & Noble for a little while. Get some posts lined up for the rest of this week.

Hope you guys have a wonderful Monday!

March 28, 2010

Get To Know Me Sunday & Random :)

GettingtoknowYOU

 
I was feeling the need to write this evening after having spent the entire day packing and packing and, well, packing. I need a little bit of a break from all of the junk piled up in the corners of my house waiting to be put into storage. I’ve seen this fun little meme floating around the blogosphere for the past week or two and I decided that I wanted to play along. The object of the meme? To fill in your answers…easy peasy. :)

1 - Why did you start blogging? I started blogging in 2008 for the sole purpose of keeping our family up to date with what was going on in our lives. After Little Man was born, I turned to other mom bloggers for advice, encouragement and laughter on the days when being a mom was wearing me completely out.

2 - Who's the one blog friend that you would want to meet most in "real life"? Geez, I have to pick just one?! I would love to meet each and every single one of you, but I have to say I’d love to meet Mandi, Laura, Beth, and Mary. All uber-cool ladies with whom I know I have a lot in common with.

3 - Why are you always concerned with losing that "extra 10 pounds" when chances are your husband/boyfriend/friends tell you that you look just fine the way you are? I don’t really think I have 10 pounds to lose. I am more or less concerned with toning myself up. I probably have about 3 or 4 pounds of baby weight that I could knock off. And even though I know my husband loves me just the way that I am, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a woman taking pride in the way she looks and wanting to look her best-even if that means losing 10 pounds.

4 - What's the one thing you wish guys could understand about you? I don’t really care if “guys” understand me or not. My Hubby understands most everything, so that’s what counts. However, I do wish he understood why it drives me BONKERS when he doesn’t hang his clothes up after he takes them off, or when he leaves his stuff laying around in odd ball places.   :)

5 - Tattoos. How many do you have and how many are visible when you wear your "everyday" clothes? No tattoos…yet. I want to get one on my foot and one on my wrist. I want a Pink Gerber daisy on my Right foot {we had Gerber Daisy’s at our wedding}, and I want the word “Believe” on the inside of my left wrist.

6 - What was the best year of your life and why? 2008 hands down. That’s the year that Hubby and I got married {April 19}, found out we were having Little Man {May 9}, moved to Florida for Hubby’s first CG Unit {June 16} and the year Little Man was born {October 27}. It was a busy year, a stressful year, and an emotional year…but it was by far the most wonderful year ever.

7 - Name three things you would do if you were a man for one day. Sleep until 10 minutes before I had to leave to go somewhere, because I wouldn’t have to put any effort into getting dressed. I’d love to just understand how the male mentality works. And I’d be lying if I said that knowing how the male…err…anatomy worked didn’t pop into my head.

8 - What's your alcoholic drink of choice that usually raises a few eyebrows? I’m not a real big drinker. And when {and if} I drink anything, it’s nothing that would raise eyebrows. I like Fruity Drinks…basically anything that I can’t really taste the alcohol in…Pina Colada, Daiquiris, Lemonades…

That was fun. I like playing these fun little get to know you games. In fact, I’m thinking of doing a “Get to know ME” post in the next few weeks. So if you have any questions for me, anything you want to know, anything about me or hubby or Little man or military life or whatever that you want me to talk about, send me an email at mrsckirkland@gmail.com. No question is off limits. Make sure to include the link to your blog in the email so I can give you some linky love when I do my post. I’ll leave this up for a week or two so hopefully I can get lots and lots and lots of questions.

On a different note, we have the house finished. Except for the cleaning, which I will be doing tomorrow [Oh joy. Oh Bliss.] Hubby finished up all the painting today; I got everything for the Salvation Army separated and set to the side to be delivered tomorrow or Tuesday. I’ve got everything that we aren’t taking with us packed and either put in storage or set in the garage waiting to go to storage. We are giving our couch and a few odd ball pieces of furniture to our neighbor on Tuesday and we have to box up our TV and then we will be finished. They are coming between 8-10 on Tuesday to cut off the cable and internet, and then they will cut the power off sometimes before 8:00 pm Tuesday night.

We were going to rent a hotel, but opted to just stay with a neighbor for two nights. No need in wasting that money. Thursday the CG Unit is having a farewell lunch thing for Hubby, so we’re eating lunch and then we’ll be on the road to Alabama by 1:00 or so. Should be back at home before 6:30ish [hopefully]. I’m missing my Little Man this week like crazy. I enjoy my time ‘off’, but after a little while I get ready for him to come home…or ready to go get him since technically he is ‘home’ for the next 5 months.

We had a good time at the beach yesterday. It was gorgeous out and we got a lot of sun. I’m a little burnt on my chest and my shoulders, but nothing to be too concerned about. Hubby only got sunburn on one side of his body…weird. We did find out last night that one of the sweet little ladies that worked the nursery at our church passed away unexpectedly. She was only 50-something. Such a sweet lady. She worked the nursery with her mom and loved the kids like they were her own. I always felt like Noah had two grandmothers at church. Then we found out this afternoon that Hubby’s aunt passed away. She’s been doing bad for a while so we were expecting it. We were hoping we would make it home before she passed, but we didn’t.

Anywho. Now that I had to bring you guys down with that unfortunate news, I guys I will leave you for tonight. I’ve got a load of clothes that need drying and there is a pack of Reese Cups sitting on the kitchen counter calling my name. I’ve gone running [ok…well, something like that] a few times this week and I’m planning on going again tomorrow morning after I drop hubby off at work. I’ll have you guys another post sometime in the AM, but I can’t promise when. Got lots of cleaning to do. Hope you all had a great weekend and have a wonderful start to your week tomorrow!

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March 27, 2010

Guest Blog Lineup!

Hello bloggy friends!

I hope this Saturday finds you enjoying the weekend and hopefully getting some sunshine. Us Floridians are enjoying some 80 degree weather, and as you are reading this {because I pre-schedule my post} Hubby and I are probably, most likely laying on the beach, soaking up some sun and working on my tan. [Go ahead…be jealous. Haha. :) Kidding. ]

Those of you who have followed for a little while know that I was seeking some Guest Bloggers for the coming few weeks as Hubby and I leave our home in Florida and get ready to say goodbye to one another for the next 5 months or so. In order to get the most out of our time together, I needed to make sure that all of you were taken care of too. I love ya’ll too much to just up and leave ya’ for two weeks. Sorry. Just can’t do it. So I wanted to make sure you guys had a reason to keep coming back.

And boy do I!

I have some fantastic ladies lined up to post for me during the April 1-April 19 timeline. I’ll still be popping in a few times a week to read your blogs and write one or two of my own. So I wanted to reveal to you the wonderful ladies whose creativity you will be exposed to…I encourage you to head their direction when you get a chance and browse their sites. They are AMAZING! Ok I digress. The schedule is:

Monday- April, 5: Mandi @ Tales of a Recovering Perfectionist

Wednesday- April 7: Amanda @ A Mom and Two Boys

Friday- April 9: Mary @ The Mommyologist

Monday- April 12: Alecia @ Savings & Stewardship

Wednesday- April 14: Melinda @ Living On One Income

These ladies have some fantastic stuff lined up and I can’t wait for you all to read their work! I encourage you to head over and check them out this week, leave them a little comment love and let them know how pumped you are to read what’s coming. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I’m off to sun it up.  :)

March 26, 2010

Finally Friday!

Friday Follow
It's FINALLY Friday! I just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello to my favorite friends, and all of you stopping by from the "Friday Follow" today. I know this isn't the best of posts, but I encourage you to scroll down and read some of the previous posts.

This is our last weekend here in Florida and I will be spending today cleaning and finishing the last bit of packing before we head out on Tuesday. Everyone enjoy their weekend!!

March 25, 2010

Who do you portray?

I’ve been at Barnes & Noble a lot during the day lately. With Little Man gone, and my very first professional photography gig around the corner, I’ve used the extra time ‘off’ to do some studying and some research. I’ve got two scratch notebooks full of scribble notes, techniques, things to remember and rules of thumb. I’ve become enough of a regular that the early afternoon manager at the Starbucks recognizes my face and what drink I’m going to order.

When I arrived on Tuesday morning, I noticed two of the other ‘regulars’ that have been around almost every time that I’ve shown up the past couple of days. Like me, they looked to be drinking the same drink, sitting in the same general seat and reading the same subject of books. So I decided to do a bit of people watching.

First there is the “cat lady.” Seriously. Not making this up. I’ve arrived around lunch or a little bit after every day this week, and each day that I arrive she’s drinking out of a red Starbucks mug and wearing pink. One day it was a pink shirt. One day she had on a pair of pink tennis shoes. One day she had one of those ridiculously large 80’s style hair scrunches around her wrist…it too, was pink. And she sits in the adjacent corner from me. Beside her, on her left, sits a stack of books about cats. I haven’t seen her actually remove anything from the stack, just reading the same book the entire time she’s here.  My hours are kind of similar. I get here between 11:00 and 12:00 and stay till around 3:00. She’s always here when I get here and she’s still here when I leave. Wonder what else she does all day?

Then there is the computer guy. He’s an older man..probably in his late 50’s or early 60’s. Heavy set, bushy white beard. And he has two computers. Both Apple of course. One looks to be a 13 inch and the other is a 17. Not sure what he does all day, but he’s always wearing a tie and he’s always on the phone. Using his blue tooth, because he’s tapping at two keyboards. Of course he doesn’t have room to hold a telephone. That would just slow down mister Computer Wizard. He sits at the counter by the window. In the middle so his cord is stretched out all over the place so no one else can get to the area of the counter beside him. He puts one computer on one side and the other on the other and he has his legal pad in the middle. Then he goes at it. Whatever “it” may be.

I started wondering, what do people see when they look at me? I order a White Mocha Frappacino of some size. Typically a Venti, but sometimes I stick with just a Grande. I sit in the far corner of the Starbucks, next to the wall where there is a computer jack. A stack of photography books to my right, a notebook, cell phone, computer and iPod on my table. I crank up my rock music and let the words come.

You can look at me and figure out that I’m married, by the ring on my hand; that I’m either already a photographer, but most likely an amateur if you take a minute to read the titles of the books that I’m reading; I write, obviously if you are paying attention you will notice the never ending stroke of the keys on my computer'; and rock music stirs my creativity. That much is evident by the probably too loud music coming from my headphones and the constant tapping of my foot or drumming of my fingers.

Other than that, what do you know?

My story is inherently complex. As are most everyone’s. I’m a creative junkie. Fueled by the power to express myself. A love and passion that I have only recently begun to divulge of myself. I’ve always been creative, bordering on truly wanting to be one of those ‘artsy’ people always engulfed in a book or a screen or something. You know what kind I’m talking about.

This photography thing has really kicked my creative gene into overdrive. And I’m so happy that I’m finally reaching a point where I can be who I really am. Without hesitation and without worry of what anyone will think. My mom isn’t the happiest of people about some aspects of it. Like the fact that I’m getting my nose pierced. She told me I had to cover it up if I planned to come to their house. And that I had to keep my shoes on if [well, when] I get my tattoo on my foot. Wonder what she would say if I did something really drastic, like dyed my hair pink or something? Haha. That would be interesting. {Don’t worry Hubby, I have no intention or desire to dye my hair.}

I like people watching. It’s always interesting to see the way that people react to circumstances, and how they act around others. You can tell the people that try to put on and pretend when they are in public. They walk like they are on egg shells and like everyone is watching them. Then you have people, like the cat lady, that just doesn’t care. She wears what she wants, and does what she enjoys. Or I assume she does. She sits and reads about cats all day, so that has to be something she enjoys.

Imagine you were the one being ‘analyzed’ or that you were the person sitting here in Starbucks with me. What would I see? What would I assume? Is it something you are proud of?

That’s the key I think. Are we portraying something we are proud of. In writing this and thinking of how we portray ourselves, I’m thinking about the men I see flipping through the Maxim Magazines or the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions. In our Barnes & Noble in Alabama, those magazines used to be, ironically, next to the Bridal Magazines. When Hubby and I were planning our wedding, I would go in and sit down on the little benches with a stack of magazines beside me and thumb through them for a while. Nine out of the 10 men that picked up those trashy magazines to read, had on wedding rings. And to be quite honest with you, several of them at times would even have their young children with them. Dis.gust.ing.

That in itself is a whole different blog, but that’s what I’m talking about. I don’t know those men, don’t know their wives, don’t know their marriage. But my immediate thought by the titles of the magazines they were reading or the books they were looking at led me to believe they were scum bags. I know I’m not supposed to pass judgment and that it isn’t my place to cast the stones, but that’s what I thought.

So my hopes are that in everything that I do, whether it be sitting in the corner of the coffee shop or standing in the grocery store, that I always, always portray Christ in the best manner. That people see who he is through me, no matter what I’m doing.

Do people see that in you? Do they see Christ? Do they see you living out the life that you have been called to live? Or do they see you saying things, doing things, acting in ways that wouldn’t make Christ proud?

I’m not perfect. Not at all. I let my tongue slip more often than I should and use words that I shouldn’t. I too often judge people and criticize people that I don’t know for reasons that I really don’t understand. But I try. Even though I fail, I try. I’m giving photography everything that I can give it right now, throwing myself into the studying and the practicing, hoping and praying that I’m doing God’s will and begging him to take the passion away from me if it’s not what I’m meant to do.

Take a look at yourself today. Who do you portray?

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March 24, 2010

The Biggest of Dreams & Ambitions

I talked yesterday about dreaming and setting goals for yourself. I brought up the idea that some people seem to think that we should dream and set goals within our “means.” And I do not agree. At all. Not even in the very slightest.

Today I thought I would share with you some of the dreams and ambitions that I have for myself. In every single aspect. For myself personally, for my family, for my growing and emerging business [though as far as my business is concerned, you will have to head over to my photography blog for the more indepth and detailed plans I’m making right now.

First and foremost, I will talk about what my hopes are for my blog. While I’ve been blogging for about a year and half or so, I still have a lot left to learn and a lot of followers left to gain. 6.2 billion people in the world…230 people hasn’t even begun to make a dent. [Ok. Realistically, I know that is impossible, no matter how determined I am.] But I do hope to expand my readership and really get my name and my brand out there. I would love to be as successful, in my own ways as some of the bigger and most well known blogs out there.

But no matter how big my blog gets, no matter how overwhelming and crazy my life may become, I don’t ever want to lose the connection I have with my readers. This is something I am still working on daily, but I think it is essential to growing readership and you guys are what makes me want to keep blogging, your comments encourage me and offer me the extra push I need to keep up the creativity and the blogging on days when I don’t necessarily feel like it.

Personally, I hope to always, always always keep my family first. I know so many moms [and dads for that matter] that get sucked into their careers or other aspects of life and they lose focus on what matters the most. If my business ever begins to take over my life, I hope that I am able to not only recognize it, but step back long enough to reevaluate what’s going on and fix it. Family is too important to me to ever put them on the backburner. I think that’s why I’ve always been more attracted to self employment and careers that enable me to choose my own hours and be my own boss.

I want to always be positive and encouraging to my husband and my son. I want to always  keep their dreams front and center, right beside mine, so that we can all work together, push together and strive together to be everything in life that we hope to be. I never want to put myself or what I want ahead of them. If anything, I would rather put them before me. Never myself first. I want to always lift up my sweet Little Guy and drill into his head that he can do everything and anything he ever hopes to do.

I would love to get into teaching some day. Teaching photography, teaching writing, speaking at Blog Conferences. Anything I can do to implore some of the things that I have learned in life to others. I think that learning comes as much from your own mistakes as it does from taking to heart the mistakes of others. If I can offer my knowledge [or wisdom or whatever you want to call it] to some one else, then I feel like I will be leaving a part of something behind.

I want to write a book. I’ve always wanted to write a book. Right now isn’t the time for it, believe me I’ve tried. The words aren’t there for a book. Blogs, yes. Poetry? Yeah, I’ve got that in me too. But right now, there aren’t enough words or creative ideas floating around the noggin’ to successful write a good book. And when I say that I want to write a book, I mean that I’m anticipating writing something as awesome as Twilight some day.Or perhaps something as great as the works of Nicholas Sparks or Jane Austen. I don’t plan on writing a book and publishing it myself. I plan on making the NY Times Bestseller list. And I will. One day.

Likewise, that book? That best seller? You’re going to see it on the big screen. At the Box Office. Raking in the Number One position. I promise you. One day.

I want to really dive into my photography. I would love to see my photographs in Wedding Magazines someday. Or in some of the big, major photography magazines. Maybe even in National Geographic or Southern Living or something if I get into nature photography. Which I probably will, if for no other reason than because I enjoy it and find nature beautiful.  Like I said before, you’ll have to head over here to read all of my business and photography goals. Gotta drive the traffic that direction some kind of way, right?

When I get started back to school next year, I plan to major in Photography [of course] but I’m also planning to take plenty of classes in Creative Writing {maybe even get a second degree or double major}, Graphic Design, Business, Finance, Religion and probably some Government classes. Surprisingly, I aced my American National Government class in college and I really do enjoy politics. Problem is, I’m one of those people that thinks everyone should believe what I believe. Oh well.

I want to take advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the military discounts offered by most schools. Education is a great thing and I really enjoy school. And class. I’m somewhat of a nerd, if you haven’t figured it out. And I want Little Man to grow up seeing how important education is. I want him to grow up seeing his mom and dad still pursuing their goals and striving to learn.

I want to keep a happy home and healthy marriage. That’s so, so important to me. It’s good for my own mental health as well as for Little Man. It’s been studied that kids who grow up in healthy homes where their parents have strong, communicative marriages are more likely to succeed in life and go on to pursue their dreams. With the way our society is these days, I have to give Little Man the best chance I can. Because he won’t get it in the real world.

I want to always be striving to better myself. Go the extra mile, go the extra distance, finish what I start. I want to reach the point mentally and financially where I can give back to people. Charity means a lot to me, and when I get to where I can give as much as I want to, I will. [Don’t get me wrong, I give to charity now, I just mean that when I can really give as much as I want to, I will.] I have a few ideas in mind in how that will relate to my photography business as well. Just got to wait to play it out.

And I want to always, always do everything that I do to the fullest and to always give every single ounce of glory to God and no one else. Without him, I couldn’t have accomplished the things I’ve already accomplished, nor will I be able to achieve anything else without his help.

What are your dreams? Whether you feel that they are realistic or not…what are some of the things that you would love to say that you accomplished in life? I think God gives us that drive and those dreams for a reason. I truly believe that God wants to see us accomplish the things in life that mean the most to us, no matter what they are.

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March 23, 2010

Dream Big or Dream Real?

I’ve always been a dreamer. I think BIG thoughts, dream even BIGGER dreams. I’ve been told in the past that I should be more realistic in the things that I aim for…the things that I want…the things that I determine myself to accomplish. I always go above and beyond the things that are expected of me and aim to reach what some would determine as totally and completely impossible.

I mean, hello? I’m trying to get a photography business up and running and semi-successful within a 12 month time period. How is that for over-achiever? My question to you today, is should we dream big dreams or should we dream realistically? Should we teach our kids to shoot for the moon, or teach them that there are some things in life that they may never accomplish, so why aim for them?

For me, I think it’s a safe mix of the two.

I am a firm believer that you can do absolutely anything that you want to do. Big or small. After all, we’ve all heard the saying, “Aim for the moon…because even if you miss you will land among the stars.” I think the people with big dreams and big plans and big goals are generally the ones who are happier and more content with life. They have a plan, they have a goal…they have something to work for. Idleness is killer. The sitting. The lack of ambition, the lack of drive, the plan to go, well, nowhere? That’s no lifestyle and I have no desire to ever, ever ever reach that kind of complacency in life.

I think as parents we have to teach our children to dream within their abilities or to hone the skills needed to dream outside of them. For instance, if Little Man grows up and decides he wants to be, I don’t know, a Chemical Engineer, but he squeaks by with C’s and low B’s in Chemistry and Physics. It would be my duty as his mother to try to hone those lackluster skills in order for him to become truly successful. {Keep in mind, the “skill honing” would totally and completely be up to a tutor, because this Mama, though I did pass with an “A” completely sucks at Chemistry and Physics. Blah.}

But other than that, I don’t think we should ever inhibit ourselves or our children in their dreams. It’s a big, big world with lots and lots of opportunity. We just have to seize it. Nothing in this world comes for free or without hard work. I’ve learned that over time. If you want something, you have to have the drive, the determination and the desire to go out there and make it happen. Which is why the photography business and all of the unknown knowledge doesn’t frighten me at all. [Ok. Maybe just a bit, but not enough to slow me down.]

We don’t live in a society where things happen for free. I believe the age of saying that opportunity is at every corner and that when God closes one door, he opens another. But you’ve got to take advantage of that! Nothing is going to just happen because you “want”  it to because you think you deserve it. Chase it. Believe in it. And then do what you have to do to make it happen.

For example, no professional photographer is going to seek out an amateur whose done absolutely nothing other than snap some photos of her son to teach. It just doesn’t work that way. And I know that. So it’s up to me to take to initiative and go for it. Swallow my pride and fear that I may be told no and just ask. And I was told yes. So now I have a mentor and a teacher lined up over the summer, because I wasn’t afraid to go after it.

And I will teach my son to be the same way.

This mama won’t be the kind to hand everything over to my little man just because he wants it or because he thinks he needs it. Uh-uh. Not me. Or his daddy, for that matter. I’m going to teach him that the opportunities are out there and that he can do whatever he wants to in life, if he just sets his mind to it and goes for it.

What about you? What kind of goals and dreams do you have? Do you ever feel that you have let your self expectations slip and that you’ve given up on your dreams? I want to encourage everyone to reevaluate what they want and make a plan to go for it! Let me hear your dreams!

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March 22, 2010

Sucked in,..

Good morning all! Hope you are enjoying  {and surviving} this hectic Monday morning. Well, hectic for some. For me, not so much. My sweet Little Man is in Alabama waiting on Hubby and I to come up next week; Hubby is at work, and I am sitting comfortably at my favorite table at the nearby Barnes & Noble sipping a White Mocha Frappacino and typing this blog.

This is actual the first time I have ever blogged away from my house, so we shall see how it goes. Maybe sitting in the Starbucks at the bookstore will stir up some extra creativity. Who knows? This may have to become one of my “things” if it goes well for me.

I was sitting on the couch this morning when I got up {at 10:00…ahem. Life without my son around…} and flipped over to HGtv. Before I knew it, it was knocking on 11:00. That started me thinking about all of the things in life that suck us in and vie for our attention. We live in such a fast paced, media driven, chaotic society, that sometimes it’s easy to get warped into time and lose track of everything that needs to be done.

There are a handful of things that scream for my time. Things that I get started doing and totally and completely lose track of everything else that’s going on. One of them being Blogging. I admit it. I am addicted to my blog. The writing, the editing, the design, the reading of other blogs, commenting…and networking. Oh the networking. Not so much Facebook anymore, but Twitter keeps me busy throughout the day. Maybe because I’m nosy. Or because I believe that there are people out there that actually care what I’m doing. Oh well. I’m a tweep. And will probably remain one until Twitter dies off or it becomes a lackluster marketing technique for business people and bloggers alike.

Photo editing is another. When I get started working on pictures, I get totally and completely lost in time, in space, in the land of colors and hue and saturation. I can’t help it. It fascinates me. To see a bland, boring, drab photo turn into something beautiful and creative. {Not that I would technically classify many of my photos as beautiful or especially creative, but you get my gist.} I can honestly sit and spend hours upon hours tweaking and editing my pictures. I guess that’s a good thing for a aspiring and hopeful photographer. Let’s just hope that things stay that way in the near and distant future. Post-production is so important in photography these days. I just hope I don’t lose the passion for it.

Ahhh…and HGtv. If House Hunters, Designed to Sell, For Rent or My First Place is on the TV, then you may as well just assume that I will be vegged out for at least 30 minutes to an hour {depending on how many shows are coming on!} I looooove these shows. Maybe it’s because I like to see how you can turn dull to fabulous on such a minimal budget. Maybe it’s because I like to see the occasional person make total and complete fools of themselves on TV as they are searching for their first home [“I have to have this; I can’t live without that, I would never own a house with that paint color…” Come on people, get serious.] And I like discovering new ideas for myself. I have a little bit of interior designer inside of me and I can’t wait to get moved again so I can show you all.

What about you? What sucks up your time, if you let it?

I think these kinds of things are actually good for a person…to an extent…especially when you are a mom. I can’t speak for working mothers {yet}, but I know being at home all day every single day takes its toll on me mentally. These handful of things are my escape into a safe mental health zone. For example, this week and next, I will probably spend most every day inside of Barnes & Noble when I’m not running errands. I don’t really have a lot to do around the house other than finishing up some miniscule packing (you know that junk that gets thrown into a box because you have NO WHERE to put it and no way to label it?) and cleaning.

So I will use the next two weeks or so to take advantage of free wi-fi, free use of photography books, photo shop books, and coffee. Lots and lots and lots of coffee. Ok. So maybe not that much coffee, considering my drink of choice runs about $5.00 a cup. Yeah. Not so cheap when you look at it in the long run. But nonetheless. Here I shall sit, hopefully several days throughout the course of the next week, doing what I enjoy most [next to parenting and being a wife, of course.]

Hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful day! There is a free chocolate chip cookie sample calling my name from the counter. Fresh baked and just out of the oven. Coming here so often has it’s perks. I know the Starbucks manager and she recognizes me. The $5 a piece drinks that I’ve bought over the course of the last two weeks has it’s advantages. Now if they just give me about 15 more to equal up to one cup of coffee, we should be good.

I’m digressing. Have a great afternoon!

March 19, 2010

TGIF

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Good morning to all of my fabulous friends! Welcome to those of you who are stopping by for the first time via Friday Follow. I’m glad you decided to stop by for a few minutes and pay me a sweet little visit. If you would like to know more about me and who I am visit the About Me tab located at the top of the screen. I’m an amateur photographer, and if you’d like to know more detailed information you can visit my photography blog.

This week has gone by insanely fast. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law arrived on Wednesday afternoon and we’ve been going nonstop {as is the custom when people are visiting} since they arrived. We took 3 carloads full of stuff to the storage unit yesterday and have a couple of big things left to haul this morning. I’m tired of moving junk. Blah! I’ll be so happy when we get done. We’re giving a lot of stuff to Salvation Army and Goodwill because I’m buying all new furniture when we move. We were able to rent a smaller storage unit since we don’t have any big stuff, and that’s saving us some money.

Little Man is going back to Alabama tomorrow with his Grandma. It’s a bittersweet feeling as usual. I’m unbelievably OVERJOYED for the chance to relax and take some me time [and finish cleaning this DISASTER of a house before we put it back on the market]. But I always miss my sweet little man when he’s gone. I just hope that his mood changes a little bit and decides that being ok from mommy and daddy for a little while really is going to be alright.

He woke up last night after we put him in bed and laid in the bed with us for almost an hour. I finally had to put him back in his bed though because he is a horrible bed partner and never can get comfortable in the room with us. He seems to be taking to Hubby’s mom again pretty easily. He got scared of something yesterday and ran right to her instead of me. Which is good. Because I won’t be there the next two weeks. I just hope he readapts to being with my family as easily as he has with Hubby’s. Especially since he hasn’t really seen them since November. Ahem. Anywho.

Hubby got a phone call last night from one of the guys that works with him and they want me to photograph their wedding! I said yes, of course, and I’m super excited to be able to be a part of it and to use it as an opportunity to build my portfolio. It’s in April and the timing has fallen PERFECTLY. Little man is leaving so I will have the next two weeks to spend in the bookstores and online studying and reading as much as I can about Wedding Photography. The wedding is the week after hubby leaves, so that will give me something to do immediately after we have to say goodbye to keep me from getting bogged down and upset. I’m going to probably rent an extra camera, flash and lens. Got to stock up on memory cards and extra batteries. I’m going to pull out all of the stops and I’m crazy excited. *So if any of you reading this are or have photographed weddings, I want and NEED any and all advice you can give me. Thanks!*

I guess that will be about all for today. I’ve got to get up and get moving. We’re taking another load of stuff to the storage unit and then I think we’re heading to Tampa to the International Plaza and I know we are going out to eat tonight. Busy, busy, busy. And I want to get in lots of hugs, kisses and play time with Little Man before he leaves us tomorrow.  :(

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and a great start to your weekend!

March 17, 2010

Arrival of the In-laws & such

Whew.

The day has been chaotic. Hubby’s mom and brother came down to visit today, which meant that we had to get up and clean, clean, clean! I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t cleaned the house really good since February when we found out that we had gotten orders and would be moving. It’s been driving me absolutely crazy, but I’ve just let it go because we’re leaving. We’re packing and moving stuff and putting junk in storage. Every time I attempt to clean, something gets moved and rearranged and drug out all over again. So I gave up.

Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, because when I went to tackle it today, it was a disaster. Wow. That’s all I will say. But I got both of the bathrooms scrubbed [including the bathtub, which I hate to do], the floors vacuumed [including the stairs], the kitchen cleaned, all of the tile swept and mopped, Little Man’s room partially packed up and all of the closets cleaned out and ready to take to the Good Will. We started cleaning out the pantry and we’re sending a bunch of stuff back with my Mother-in-law. Things are finally coming together and we’ve almost got everything done.

Hard to believe we’re leaving Florida in just 15 days. Time is flying by insanely fast. It seems like yesterday that we got orders. And now we’re a mere days from saying farewell to our humble abode. I just hope that the summer time flies by as fast as the past month has.

I don’t know if Little Man understands what is going on, with the moving & the fact that his daddy is leaving; or if he is hitting his terrible twos early, but he has been in a mood like no other lately. He is insanely cranky and fussy and just down right unpleasant at times. I think he’s cutting his next set of molars in the back, but I can’t be sure. No fever or anything like he’s had in the past, just ill and unhappy. And we’re battling separation anxiety again. Whenever his daddy walks out of the room, he FREAKS out. Like, totally and completely goes insane. It comes and goes in phases, but when it’s here, it’s horrible.

I am hoping and praying that he gets over it soon. I don’t know what we’ll do if he acts that way when Hubby leaves. Maybe having webcam and flying out to visit will help some.

Speaking of California, Hubby got his travel stuff situated and he’s going to be able to fly out a couple of days early. Which is what we were hoping for so he has a chance to recover from Jetlag before he actually has to start class. We also found out that it’s a non-stop flight from Atlanta to Cali. Thank goodness. Because I think that’s going to be much easier for Little Man when we start to head out to visit. I was a little bit concerned with having to change planes and whatnot. Not to mention, I’ve always been afraid of losing my luggage, and I have the kind of luck that would cause that to happen.

I bought my swimsuit yesterday. I like the one that I picked out, but I’m not in love with it. Which isn’t surprising because I haven’t been in love with a swimsuit since I was in college. But I am d e t e r m i n e d to get myself back in bikini body shape before I go to California. I bought a two piece. I was hesitant at the idea, but I bought one anyway. I found one that looked ok, and I went with an all black one, which is slimming in itself. I get frustrated with myself. I’ve been blessed with a pretty good metabolism, it’s just a matter of getting off of my rear end and exercising. I eat like I want to and the only weight I’m holding onto is those last measly 5 pounds from Little Man’s birth.

And whoever said that losing baby weight was easy, was only halfway true. Losing the weight may not be that big of a deal. But finding the time to do it is a pain in the butt. I just don’t have the energy most days. That’s why I haven’t lost the last few pounds or toned myself back up. Because I don’t feel like it. By the time I do the mommy thing, housekeeping thing and wife thing all day long, the last thing on my mind at the end of the day is whether or not I’ve worked out. Forget it.

Anywho. I heard from the photographer in Dothan I was hoping to work with this summer. They seemed like they were really excited about hearing from me. They told me to get in touch with them as soon I got into town and we’d set up a time to meet and he’d look over some of my photos and we’d schedule a time for me to come to the studio and do some work with him. I’m really excited. His photos are fantastic!

Alrighty folks. I guess that will be about all for tonight. Little Man is in bed for the evening. Thankfully. I’m afraid he’ll need all of the energy he can get with family here. You know how that goes. He’s leaving this weekend for Alabama. And then mommy here has almost 2 entire weeks to myself. If it is warm, I plan on spending my time by the pool reading and sunbathing. Not too much left to do around the house except get everything cleaned really good and finish what little bit of packing we have left.

Hope everyone had a great Wednesday & a happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

March 15, 2010

I’m not going to vent about the NY Times [much]

Good morning, everyone! I hope this post-daylight savings Monday doesn’t have you dragging too bad. I am feeling like I could drink an entire pot of coffee in one sitting. I hate Daylight Savings. Ugh. Not only do I not even remotely understand the purpose and reasoning behind it, but I hate waking up when it’s still dark out.

First things first! Random.org has chosen our “Designs By Jessie” giveaway winner!! I meant to do this on Saturday, but I don’t even think I got on the computer. Soooo….here ya’ go! Random.org has chosen random number…….

41!
Congratulations to Mandi at “Tales from a  Recovering Perfectionist!"
Get up with me sometime today and I will give you Jessie’s contact information and you get get your Gift Certificate!

Thanks so much guys for joining in the Giveaway. I’ve already got another one in the works, so hopefully there will be another one for you guys coming very, very soon!

Have you heard the buzz around the blogosphere this morning? Some snarky reporter for The NY Times wrote a very ridiculous article about mommy bloggers. In fact, the stupid thing is titled, “Honey, Don't Bother Mommy. I'm too Busy Building my Brand.” I hesitated to even link to the article because I’m not wanting to drive traffic that direction, but as a Mommy Blogger, Mommy Networker, and well, just a mom in general, I thought this article was completely off track and not at all researched. Basically it’s one obnoxious woman’s opinion that we can’t be good mom’s and bloggers. And if you remember, I have actually already written a post about this right here. There are a ton of other great posts being written about this article, and I am strongly encouraging my readers [if they are up to it] to write their own. It’s a very inaccurate and unfair article that definitely needs to be addressed. And that’s all I have to say about it. Because if I get started, I won’t be able to stop and my blood pressure will go up.

Ahem. 

On a different note. I’m sorry I was such a bad, bad blogger this past week. Hubby had Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and the whole weekend off work, so we tried to squeeze in a whole bunch of family time. We did the beach and the park and played outside and spent some time with the neighbors socializing and relaxing. We got a few more things around the house done, but we’re going to really get it done next week. The mother-in-law and brother-in-law are coming down on Wednesday to visit and we’re going to get everything else put into storage. We’re packing up Little Man and sending him to Alabama with his Grandma until we make up there on the first. I can’t believe it’s almost time to leave Florida. Time is going by much, much quicker than I thought that it would. It’s kind of crazy. The days just seem to be flying by us and I’m scared that they are only going to go faster as we get closer to the dreaded April 19 departure date for Hubby. I just hope that the summer goes by as fast as the past few weeks have.

But today, I’m back to my regularly schedule antics. Blogging, tweeting, cleaning, paying bills, running errands. You know being a Mom. And a Blogger. {Oops. I said I wouldn’t bring that ignorant article up again.}

I read an old article in People Magazine this weekend that bothered me a little bit. It was one of the ones they did on Heidi Montag after she had her 10 plastic surgeries. It was kind of sad to read that she was so uncomfortable in her own skin that she felt the need to undergo that much at one time. We’re paving a dangerous road for our girls. The Brittney’s, Heidi’s, and even the Miley’s of our culture aren’t setting the best example of what young girls should strive to be.

I used to think that there were a handful of good, modest role models for girls to look up to, but that number is dwindling out very very slowly. After Miley Cyrus’ little pole dance escapade last year at the Teen Choice Awards, I kind of knocked her way down on that list. And did you see the cover of Cosmopolitan with Carrie Underwood last month? Could her dress have been any shorter [or any tighter for that matter]? And some of these music videos are ridiculous. I’m holding onto the hope that Taylor Swift doesn’t lose herself in all of the media garbage. She’s such an icon right now, and whether she realizes it or not, there are a lot of young girls that want to be just like her.

But the part of the People article that bothered me the most was that Heidi said she did what she did as much for her husband as she did for herself. It was for her in the sense that she wasn’t comfortable in her own skin, but she did it for her husband because she didn’t feel that she was beautiful enough for him. How sad is that?! I started thinking about that and how sad I thought it was, until I realized that I had felt the same way…and if you are honest, so have most of you.

It isn’t necessarily anything that our husbands do to make us feel that way, it’s just something we battle. I mean, like I said, do you see the cover of the magazines that sit there on the rack taunting us? Melissa Reycroft is on the cover of this months Shape or Fitness magazine or something, and let’s not forget the infamous Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Addition that is all over the shelves right now. Sex and looks and body image are everywhere; making us feel inadequate and causing stumbling blocks for our husbands. We live in an ‘all about body image’ culture and if you are like me, it makes you sick.

I used to be a size 4. I was in shape and toned and tan. In college, I ran 2 or 3 times a week, worked out, played tennis, walked at least 4 miles a day while I was on campus, swam, tanned…it was crazy. I was physically in shape enough that I could have worn anything and looked ok in it. Then I had a baby. I’ve got about 5 extra pounds around my mid-section that won’t go away and usually no energy to bother trying to get rid of it. So instead, I eat junk food when I shouldn’t and then feel guilty and sorry for myself. LOL :)

In the interview, Heidi said something to the extent of, “How many women would do something like this if they could?” Hmmm. I started thinking about that. If finances, or having someone keep your kid(s) while you recuperated, or whatever the reason might be weren’t an issue, would you have plastic surgery? And I mean plastic surgery to the extent Heidi Montag did. Liposuction, implants, nose job…whatever. Would you pay to have someone fix all of the little things about yourself that you don’t like?

I had to think about that. And as much as I would love to say “No” that I wouldn’t do that, there is a big, big part of me that thinks that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself. I know that God created us in his image and that we are perfect in his eyes. And I know that my husband would tell me that I was beautiful to him just the way that I am. But would that be enough? I doubt it. Because I think most of us, as women, want to be considered ‘as beautiful’ as –insert name of famous female here.-  And most of us, at some point or another, have had issues with our self esteem or been picked on.

For me it was my nose. I have one of those noses that turns up at the end. And not in a ‘Samantha from Bewitched’ kind of way. My family has always thought it was just hilarious to pick on me. I’ve received pig paraphernalia for YEARS: ranging from stuffed animals to Christmas ornaments. In 6th grade, some girls got together and created a “Slam” book [think Mean Girls and the Burn Book]. What was written about me? Uh-huh. My nose.

So yeah, there is definitely a part of me that would like to think that I would be strong enough to say no, but in reality, I don’t know that I could. With beach season quickly upon us and the fact that I’m days from having to buy the dreaded swimsuit, I would LOVE for someone to magically “fix” everything that I think is wrong with me. And then I think to the day down the road when I will (hopefully) have a daughter of my own. What kind of message would that be sending her? For me to teach her and lecture her on being comfortable and secure in her own skin, knowing that I had said yes to a body makeover.

There is such a fine line there. The difference between enhancing your beauty and being comfortable with who you are and fixing things that aren’t wrong to begin with.

What about you? What are your thoughts on this? Do you think you would or could say no to a free ‘makeover?’ What are your opinions on plastic surgery as a whole? What about Role Models for Teen Girls? What makes them appropriate [or inappropriate] for our daughters to look up to?

I think I will write something more indepth about our husbands and their battle with the very sticky issue of physical beauty. And how that effects us. Maybe I can get some great insight from the husband. :)

I’m spending the day with Little Man today. We’ll be running errands and enjoying our traditional “Mommy-Son” Lunch Date. Oh how I look so forward to these days! Have a wonderful Monday, everyone!

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March 11, 2010

The Perfect Day

Yesterday was one of those absolutely wonderful, nearly perfect days. Hubby got up with Little Man yesterday morning which allowed me the chance to sleep in until 9:30. Once I woke up, we got showered and dressed and headed down to the beach for a picnic lunch. It was an absolutely beautiful 78 degrees and sunny out and the beach was pretty crowded for a Wednesday in the middle of March. Especially since we don’t really get a whole lot of Spring Breakers here. Mainly just snowbirds and a few families.

Little Man had a blast playing in the sand. Last summer he wasn’t big enough to really enjoy the beach, so it was fun to watch him take it all in. He rolled around in, threw, and ate-sand. Lots and lots of sand.

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After we left the beach, we came home and sat around outside enjoying the sunshine. Little Man was beat, so he laid down and took a nap {covered in sand, no mind}. I left hubby at home to relax a little bit while I went to the tanning bed, then we went and got a few steaks to grill. We grilled steaks and played with Little Man in the bathtub, and went to bed early. Granted I didn’t sleep well, but it was the perfect day spent with my two most favorite people. We’re expecting temperatures in the high 70’s again this weekend, so we’ll most likely be heading down to the beach again on Saturday.

Hubby’s mom and little brother are planning on coming down during their Spring Break next week, so I know we’ll spend some time on the beach next weekend. I’m going to buy the dreaded new swimsuit on Monday. Blah. I hate swimsuit shopping. We have finished painting everything in the living room except for one or two teeny tiny spots. Most of the big stuff is packed up with the exception of Little Man’s room [which we’ll get packed next week since he’s going back to Alabama with Hubby’s mom]. Then for the next two weeks or so it will just be me and the husband and the last minute stuff to take care of before we leave. I can’t believe we are leaving in 21 days.

I’m going to get around to reading and commenting on all of your blogs today and tomorrow. I always feel bad when I miss a day or two because I get behind. But I will catch up.  :) Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday! If you want to see some more pictures from the beach yesterday, you can go to my photography blog.  I’m posting some before and afters and a few photos that I didn’t put here.

March 9, 2010

Branding myself…

A lot of my favorite bloggy friends went to “Bloggy Boot Camp” this past weekend in Baltimore. I’m so excited because I’m planning to go to the one being hosted in San Francisco. It’s fallen in the same week that hubby graduates from A-School [just outside of San Francisco!} so I was planning on being there anyway! One of the things I read from some of the recaps, is about how important it is to brand yourself in the blogging community.

That got me to thinking. {And no, I didn’t hurt myself, in case you were wondering. :)  }

I was successful in switching over my domain and changing my name. I didn’t lose any followers or anything like that. I’ve found a blog design that I absolutely love, and have received fantastic feed back from. I’ve successfully started up a photography blog and I’m s l o w l y gathering followers there as well.

But I had someone tell me this weekend and had people tell me in the past that some of the things that I write are too negative and not appropriate for someone who is portraying themselves as a Christian. Not to start an argument or anything, but this kind of startled me.

For starters, I’m a very real person. I can’t stress that enough. And to be quite honest with you, I think one of the major problems people on the “outside'” of Christianity are turned off by the seemingly perfect, happy-go-lucky lifestyle some Christians portray. In fact, I know they are. I’ve actually read quite a few blogs here in the past, oh 2 or 3 months, that have addressed just that. That they feel unworthy and not good enough to be a Christian because of the way other true Christians present themselves.

If my negativity on certain offends you, then I deeply apologize. It is not my intention to ever offend anyone, especially not by blogging. However. I do feel that you are able to connect more and reach people on a deeper and more personal level if you are honest and open about the things that you struggle with. Life. is. not. perfect. And the sooner people STOP trying to pretend that it is, the better off everyone will be.

This post caused a lot of controversy over the past couple of weeks. {Sorry that you can’t see the comments. Disqus is working on bringing them all back where they got lost in the midst of me changing my domain name.} I have been told that I am cynical, depressed, too negative, and that these kind of posts portray Christianity in the wrong light. To be completely honest, I think all of that is a load of poo.

I grew up in a family where problems were thrown out on the table. There was no pretending. There was no hiding or shying away from things when they went wrong. If you had an issue, then you confronted it. Head on. Dead in the face. And you worked through things until you got them fixed. That’s the way my parents dealt with their problems, though they did leave the more serious stuff behind closed doors-as they should have-for the sake of my sister and me. That’s the way that Hubby and I deal with our problems. We confront it. We don’t hide things, we don’t cover things up, we don’t act like we are happy.

When people see us and we seem like we are happy and in love and totally content with life, it’s because we are. Because we deal with whatever issue is bothering us right then and there and don’t throw problems on the back burner. And that’s the way that we are raising Little Man. That’s the way I have been blogging, and the way that I will continue to blog.

People have bad days. Contrary to popular belief [on some peoples behalf] Christians have bad days. Christians struggle. Christians fail…sometimes miserably. Christians sin. There are Christian men and women who struggle with alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual sin, ‘potty mouth’, gambling addictions, depression, anger management issues, and the list goes on. Just because you are a Christian does not mean that you aren’t going to sin. For the sake of those who have created AA:

My name is Courtney Kirkland. I am a sinner.

It depresses me and frustrates me when someone who is a devout Christian has a bad day, slips and says things or does things that maybe aren’t ‘Christ-like’ in behavior, and their Christian brothers and sisters want to persecute them. {Note: this is a generalized post, not directed at anyone in particular, just for the record.}

I’m digressing a little bit, but I do have a point. And that point is in regards to my blog.

I know there is a lot of speculation and run of the mill rumors about MckMama. I’ve talked about her blog here before, and did a post several months ago where I invited others to pray for her son Stellen. While I know there is gossip all over the internet about their family, I have to say I admire her writing, as well as her husbands. She is a devout Christian and is very open and honest with herself and her readers about the things that she [and her husband] struggle with. Do some of their problems ever make me question her Faith or her relationship with Christ? No. In fact, quite the opposite. I am more reassured by it, encouraged by it and admirable of it because of her honesty.

It has never been my intention to sugar coat my life here. This blog was started with the intention of using it as a public journal. I have found it to be much easier to open my heart up to all of you and admit my mistakes and short comings. Because you are always there to offer support. I’ve made it through more of the struggles in my life because I was open about them, than I ever would have if I would have kept it to myself.

My faith in God is what it is.

I believe. I pray. I study my Bible. I feel God’s spirit convicting me when I sin. I feel led to write and do work in photography. And in each and every aspect of my life-be in my family or our finances or whatever-I am always quick to recognize that what I have has been given to me by God and God alone, and that he can take it away in a moments notice.

Now with that being said, I also say this:

I’m a sinner. I have days where I struggle significantly with a low self esteem and self doubt. I worry sometimes about stupid things, like the fact that I may ‘run my husband off'.’ {Not that he has ever given me a reason to think that. Just my own selfish sin and worry.} I can be greedy and materialistic. I can be selfish. I have been known, in the past, to have a terrible temper that at times can not be controlled. I have a wild streak that was excessively prevalent during my college days. I battle depression off and on [though haven’t dealt with it in months because of my growing faith.] I have been told that I can come across as arrogant, when in reality, I am just shy. There is a whole entire list of things that I struggle with every single solitary day.

Some of my posts may read as ‘negative’ or ‘un-Christ like.’ And if they come across that way to you then I am sorry. But I won’t change my style of writing. I won’t change the fact that I believe I am doing more people a favor by being myself and being open and honest about things that hurt me, bother me, frustrate me, make me mad and cause me to stumble. As someone said to me earlier, I have a lot of followers. And I care about each and every single one of you. And I feel like God has put me in the position to impact, influence and encourage you. And frankly, I would be lying if I made out like my life was perfect. Like I didn’t struggle. Like I was the epitome of Christ. Because I’m not. I strive to be. But I’m human. And I fail. Sometimes miserably.

This is my blog branding. While you are here if you feel that you aren’t alone in a situation, or that maybe you aren’t the only one who has ever questioned yourself or your marriage or your whatever, then I have done my job. I have created the sense of unity that I intended to create. Life is too short to pretend every single day. I won’t do it. I won’t sit here and blog about my perfect life or my perfect marriage or my perfect child or my perfect whatever. Because they makes you resent me for being so obnoxious, and it’s a lie.

It’s my hope that people who aren’t Christians read my blog and realize that they can have what I have. The certainty and the promise that no matter what they do, no matter what they’ve been through, no matter how lonely or scared or depressed or miserable they are: there is HOPE for a better tomorrow. Because I’ve been there. And to be honest with you, the people that I looked to the most during those rough patches and during the darkest moments of my life, were people who were real. People who admitted their mistakes and their short comings; who openly talked about the things they struggled with and the sins they battled. By doing that, by putting it out there, we are opening ourselves up for encouragement and support from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

You’ll always get the ‘real’ of me. I can promise you that. We’re all sinners. And I have no intention of ever hiding that.

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March 7, 2010

Super Fantastic Giveaway!!

I love all things Etsy. I love buying mom-made, I love owning cute and unique items. And if I could, I would shop from some of my favorite etsy shops all day, every day. {But I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t be really happy about my spending money like that. :)  }

DesignsbyJessieI have recently had the privilege of ‘meeting’ Jessie- the super creative and super sweet owner of "Designs By Jessie." I was so in love with her shop and the amazing things that she had to offer, that I had to contact her and see if she would offer me a chance to do a giveaway of one of her products. 

Fortunately for me [and all of you!] she agreed! Jessie and I have gotten together and she will be giving ONE lucky winner a gift certificate to her shop-for any item you choose!!!! Look at some of this awesome stuff she has:

Brown-and-Blue-IPC Looking for something to put your iPod/iPhone in? Jessie has it!

multi-lg-polka-nbc 

Looking to jazz up that plain, old boring notebook? How about a cute, snazzy, stylish notebook cover?!

Hot-Zebra-CD-Visor

Too many CD’s? Kids DVD’s taking up too much space in the car? Here’s your solution!

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These are my favorite…LOOOVE her adorable camera strap covers [with a lens pocket!] and they are super affordable!

There is sooo much more over at her shop! You have to go check it out!

So. I’m sure you’re wondering now how to enter this fantabulous giveaway. Easy-peasy!

**Mandatory Entries**

  • Head over to Jessie's shop and look around. Then come back here and tell me which product you are just dying to have!
  • Follow “Make Me a Blessing” publically {*You must be a follower to win*}

*Additional Entries*
{Worth one entry a piece}

  • Head on over to Jessie’s Blog and give her a follow.
  • Follow my Photography Blog publically.
  • Follow Jessie on Twitter.
  • Follow Yours Truly on Twitter.
  • Head over to Facebook and become a Fan!
  • Follow “Make Me A Blessing” via Network Blogs {See button on sidebar!}
  • Send me a FB friend request. I’m always looking for new friends :)
  • Tweet this entry [once per day each day=1 entry per tweet]
  • Blog this giveaway [worth 3 entries!!]

This giveaway will run from today {Sunday, March 7} until Saturday, March 13. Winners will be chosen via Random.org. Please leave a separate comment per entry. Good luck everyone!!!

Happy Sunday!

March 6, 2010

There’s this guy…

I really, really love my husband. He’s a great guy and he’s so good to me. But you see…there’s this other guy. This really, unbelievably cute guy that I am sort of crazy in love with, too. He’s not necessarily tall dark and handsome. But kind of short, with a little pudgy belly, and to be quite honest with you, he’s kind of sloppy sometimes. But :sigh:: he has my heart too and I’m torn. What’s a girl to do when she’s in love with two different guys?! I have a few pictures of him. Want to see?

Photography 228 Ok. So he doesn’t have the best fashion sense either. Unless wearing your sunglasses upside down suddenly becomes hip.

Photography 231

I mean. Look at those eyes! Who wouldn’t love looking at them?

Photography 237

See what I mean by sloppy? Look at that chocolate all over his mouth!

Photography 247

What? Your guy doesn’t eat sitting on top of the stove with his fingers? Hmm. Guess that’s just him then…

Photography 240

But look at that smile! Doesn’t it just melt your hear?!

Photography 232

Photography 189

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I’m so in love.  :) What’s a girl to do?!

Oh yeah. And for those of you looking to make blogging just a wee-bit easier…if you don’t it already, I strongly encourage you to go download Windows Live Writer!! I am in LOOOOVE with what this can do and how much easier my blogging is now. I can update both blogs from the same place and actually see what it looks like on the page before I post it. And all of the rounded edges you see on these pictures? Yeah. Totally did that using only Live Writer. And there’s a place on here where you can add a watermark to your pictures without having to do it through photo editing software {And all of the Kevin & Amanda fonts work with this too!! I can even type my whole post using a Kevin & Amanda font!!}

Hope you all have a great rest of the weekend. I have a great giveaway for ya’ll that will start tomorrow!! Think super cute Etsy shop, lots and lots of color, and very useful & adorable products!!!!

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March 5, 2010

All Things Friday...

Friday Follow
This week, I'm going to add all of my Fun Friday meme's into one post that way there aren't several for everyone to scan through. I had a whole different post scheduled for today all about everything that hubby and I have been dealing with. But after writing it last night and looking back over it this morning, I decided I'm going to be the better person in the situation and just let it go. No sense in beating a dead horse. So....I'm just letting it go. Ignorance, immaturity and harsh, unkind words need no more of my time. So instead, I'm linking up with Friday Follow and hoping to meet some wonderful new bloggy friends today! For those of you who are new here and want to know a little bit more about yours truly-I encourage you to click on the "Meet Me" tab at the top of the page. Then, look around and explore a bit. There is a lot here and I hope you find something to suit your fancy!
My Little LifeMama M also does her super fun "5 Question Friday" every week, and I usually always join in with her. This week she's asking:

1. What's your guilty pleasure? I really like watching "The Bad Girls Club" on Oxygen. Mainly just because I think it's so stupid. Watching a bunch of drunk, promiscuous girls make fools of themselves on TV just cracks me up. I don't watch it all the time, and mainly only watch the reruns during the day if Little Man is napping....but still. So funny.
2. What is your favorite TV series? Anyone who's been reading my blog for a while should know the answer to this one. I'm a "Grey's" girl all the way. Look forward to it every single Thursday night and I'm beyond disappointed when they play reruns. During the Spring/Summer season, I watch Army Wives next to religiously. Another favorite. :)

3. Can you speak any foreign languages? Sadly, no. I took French in High School for two years but can tell you nothing more than, "Hello. My name is Courtney." And count to 10. That's about it. French is actually a beautiful language and one day,  maybe down the road, I will take it up again. Not like I will really ever need it. Apparently we all need to learn Spanish.

4. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Not as many as you would think. I probably own 15 pair, but only actually wear about 6 or 7 of them. My Rainbows are generally my shoe of choice during the summer and sping [ok, and the fall since I live down South], my boots or my Wallabees during the winter and the cooler Fall days, and then I occasionally wear heels if I'm going out and my Sperry's if I'm feeling up to it. That's about it. I used to have about 40 pair before hubby and I got married, but then I decided it was time to clean them out because I only wore a handful of them. Now purses and handbags...that's a whole different story. :)
5. What's your favorite kind of M&M's...peanut, almond, straight up regular, etc.? Love the Almond ones, but can't find them usually. So I end up going with Peanut. I occasionally get the Peanut Butter ones if I really have a sweet tooth. I do not like the Plain M&M's at all. Too much chocolate. Blah!

Anywho. Think that's the only two I'm joining in with today. Hubby has duty this weekend so he'll be at work most all day every day. Fortunately this is the last duty week in Florida! We're down to less than 30 days until we get to leave and I'm more than ready to get out of here. I'm heading over to my photography blog to do some serious work. It is in dire need of a makeover and I've got to get that going. It's getting a new header, layout and I'm in the process of creating my own custom logo. I'll do a big "reveal" post when I get it all up and going. Hope everyone has a great Friday!!

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