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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: October 2010

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has been moved to new address

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

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

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

October 29, 2010

YES! I can Blog and Parent at the same time!

At the age of 21, I went from being a single, fun-loving, do what I want when I want kind of girl to an Active duty military wife and mother of a newborn. Oh yeah. You read that correct- marriage and motherhood in one year. Marrying into the military meant a move…a BIG move to somewhere I had never been; somewhere that would take me 450 miles from my mother, my family and all of the people I called friends. And it was here in this new place that I would have to make my own way, discover my own maternal instincts and figure out how to raise my newborn son.

I’m proud to say that I learned a lot from what I know, through blogging.

Yeah, yeah, I know. There is this huge hype right now about how “inappropriate” mommy blogging is and how we “mom bloggers” spend all day on the computer being bloggers instead of parenting our children. While I cannot speak for other mommy bloggers out there, I can speak for myself and state that the supposed and completely inaccurate assumptions do not apply to me.

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Let’s look at it from this perspective. Say I had been at home, nestled in the quiet little countryside of Southeastern Alabama where I grew up. Say that I had given birth to my son there, with all of our family around instead of 450 miles away at a very large and sophisticated Magnet Hospital with entire wings and floors devoted to each medical specialty (I worked in the medical field for two years. Please overlook any medical jargon). Had that been the circumstance I was in, I would have turned to my friends and family at home to give me parenting advice and listen to me whine and cry about how bad I was at motherhood in the initial months of parenting.

But that wasn’t the case.

There were no friends living next door; no parents or grandparents within 10 minute driving distance. It was just me and a baby…and thousands of other women who were dealing with the same things that I was dealing with.

My blogging “career” really began in college. Back when MySpace was the cool thing and they offered a teeny tiny little space above the “About Me” box where you could write to your heart’s desire. Then, in late 2008, a friend from church turned me on to blogger- this big, huge online journal where I could say what I wanted and keep record of my thoughts. So that’s what I did. When our son was born, I turned to blogger to keep our families and friends back home posted on what he was doing, how much he weighed, and it was the place where I uploaded current photos so that the Grandparents didn’t feel as if they were missing as much of his life as they really were.

Then, when the colic and the teething set in, my blog turned into something more. It turned into a haven-a place where I could just be me for a little while. It was somewhere that I could let out my anxiety, my worries, my fears, and my excitement without feeling like I was alone. I slowly began to discover other mom blogs and found that I wasn’t alone in everything. I wasn’t the only mom out there attempting to successfully raise a newborn with no one else around. My husband and I weren’t the only military parents who were stationed away from home that had just given birth to a child and had no ideas on how to deal with some of the everyday baby issues.

I’ve been a mommy blogger for a little over two years now. And there is a lot that has changed. When I got started, there were very few “professional bloggers” and I had never even seen a Proctor & Gamble ad on a website, much less on a blog. The rules have changed and so have the players. There are mommy bloggers now who are bringing in a steady income from writing about their children and letting the world in on their lives. There are mommy bloggers who turn their homemade recipes into NY Times Bestselling cookbooks. And they all got their start from blogging.

So my question is the same as that of many, many others: When do we reach the point where mommy blogging actually begins to take away from our “mommy-ing?”

Again, while I cannot speak for other bloggers, I know what works for me. It’s about scheduling, prioritizing and making time for what matters the most to you. I consider myself to be a semi-professional blogger and a semi-professional photographer on the side. I sell prints online through Etsy; I offer advertising opportunities and do product giveaways on my blog. The income I bring in through these two markets is not much, and definitely would not be considered a steady income, but it’s there. And most of it goes into savings.

I have a very detailed schedule that just seems to work for me. I am a wife and mother over everything else. My husband and our son come first no matter what else needs to be done. Blogging and photography are two hobbies that enjoy thoroughly. I have always been a creative mind and these two passions allow me to pursue and practice my creativity whenever I please. To me, blogging is no different than painting or running or whatever else there may be that someone enjoys. It is an outlet.

To make sure that I keep things in order, I have designated blogging time. This usually falls during the times that my son is napping, watching his TV shows, or when he’s in bed at night. Over the past nearly 7 months, I have had a little bit more blogging time because of my husband’s absence for school, so I blog a lot at night, usually late, when our son is asleep. However, when my husband was home, my time varied depending on what we had planned. Sometimes he had work or studying and I would blog beside him on the couch. Or if we were having one of our movie date nights, the computer would sit silently on the desk and no writing would be done.

I also use my “me” time to write and schedule posts for future use. Most everything that goes up on my blog is written a good three or four days before it’s actually posted. I keep a notebook in my purse all the time and when an idea comes to me, I take it out and jot it down. It isn’t as though I spend all day every single day on the computer just hoping that I can come up with something to write about. If I am low or completely empty on creative juices, then I don’t post. I also reach out to other women often to guest post so that I can take a little blogging vacation if I need to.

Mommy Blogging doesn’t have to be either or. You can have your cake and eat it, too. It’s just a matter of prioritizing, organizing and keeping your life in order. Next time I’ll touch on the debates of blogging content and how social media and networking can affect our children later in life.

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October 28, 2010

Headfirst

It’s been a week since we received the news that we are moving to Kodiak.

I’m going to be quite honest…it’s taking some time to settle in. We aren’t talking a move to somewhere relatively close by. We are talking a major life changing move. A move that so few others have the courage or the opportunity to make. And we diving in head first. When we made our first PCS* back in 2008, we only went a little over 400 miles from our home. We were within driving distance of our families and everyone was able to make the trip when Little Man was born.

*permanent change of duty station to those who aren’t familiar with military jargon

But this…this is much different. With talks of adding to our family up in the air, the realization that visiting friends and family here in the “lower 48” is not going to be so simple, is beginning to sink in. Our parents, friends…everything we have known is right here in the little comfort zone we have built for ourselves. We are stepping out blindly. The only thing keeping me moving? The knowledge that God is in control of our future. He is paving our journey. We had our assumptions about where we would be when school was over [Connecticut, New Jersey, or maybe Virginia], but we didn’t anticipate this.

However, despite the shock and the surprise that has washed over me in the past several days, I am abundantly excited for the journey. The night Hubby told me that our destination was chosen, I admit that I spent several hours that night rolling the idea around in my head over and over and over again. And without me even asking him, God granted me a sense of peace that I have only felt a few times in my life. He assured me that we were going to be okay and that this path, is the path he has chosen for us. I’m not sure what’s in store, but I know that the journey begins soon. I feel like he is teaching me and showing me that there are some pretty BIG things in our future; what those things are, I don’t know.

I’m standing on the edge right now, just waiting to jump. Doing my research on everything we need to make the trip; preparing myself emotionally for the impending goodbyes that will come sooner than we want; and getting all of our ducks in a row. The only thing scarier to me than not jumping in head first, is turning away and not jumping at all. Ignoring God’s plan, choosing our own path and making our own choices. Selfishness and stubbornness have led us down those roads before and I speak from experience when I say that ignoring God’s plan…is not a good idea.

Life is changing. And all I know to do is sit back and change with it.

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Truth #2: What is something that you love about yourself?

I don’t want to sound arrogant or sound like I’m tooting my own horn, but I am a really good wife and a really good mom. I love how much I adore my husband and my son. I love that I a somehow able to forget entirely about myself and take care of them. And I love that I don’t mind doing it. I have a passion for being a wife and mother that goes unmatched. From the time I was a little girl, the only things I have ever wanted to do was to be a wife, a mommy, and a writer. And through the help of this blog, I am currently able to do all three.

I love that most always, I am able to see the good in situations. I am able to walk into the unknown with a smile on my face and embrace what is ahead. While I get nervous and jittery, I am usually pretty collected and maintain my composure in circumstances that may not be so easy to handle. I am calm and thrive under pressure. During my school days, I always intentionally waited until the last minute to study for tests or write papers because I did better by waiting.

I love that I am organized and obsessive compulsive anal about how things are done. Not with everything, but with a lot of stuff. Color-coding, neatness and tidiness are important to me and I almost always know where everything is. I make my own systems [sometimes I’m the only one that understands them, of course] and I’m particular about how things are done.

I love my hair. I love the color of my hair, the texture of it, and how easily it {usually} styles. I love my skin, too. I’ve never had a big major problem with Acne. And the only time I break out [and by “breakout” I mean a few small bumps] is when I’m stressed…which seems to be often these days. I love my eyes…sometimes they are a really deep emerald green and others they are a deep chocolate brown; and sometimes they are a bit of both. They change color with my mood and my clothing.  And like truth number 1, I love that I am able to come up with so many things that I love.

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October 27, 2010

TWO

I can’t believe

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this little boy

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is turning TWO today…

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Where

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has time

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gone?

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Happy Birthday Noah!
We love you so much and are so proud of the little boy you are turning into!
You are the light of our lives and we are so blessed to be your parents. You amaze us every single day;
and our lives wouldn’t be complete without you.
We love you more than words will ever, ever say!!!
Happy, happy birthday sweet baby boy!

Love, Mommy and Daddy

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Sometimes I sit and watch him. Watch him learn things…experiencing everything through the innocence that can only be found in a child. I watch him become amazed at the tiniest of things and wonder when those things will stop surprising him. I worry that one day, that simple grin, that heartfelt love for life will fade. I worry about what the world will teach him…what my husband and I will teach him. Will we raise him to be a man that both fears and praises the Lord? Will he see God’s love and mercy through us? He’s only two today…but I worry that I am going to turn around and tomorrow he’ll be 20.

I can honestly say that my life wasn’t complete until I became a mom. I never, ever knew how much love you could have for someone. I adore my husband and love him to the depths of my soul. But the love between a mother and her child…it is unshakeable. There is nothing I would not do for my son. No place I wouldn’t go. No thing I wouldn’t sacrifice…just to keep him from ever feeling one ounce of pain or sorrow or hurt. And it’s when I think of how big this love I have for my son; how much love my Earthly and Mortal heart has for this tiny person…I am blown away and brought to my knees at how much my God loves me. And how much he cares for me. And what kind of sacrifices HE made so I wouldn’t have to feel sorrow and pain. Wow.

My heart melts at the sight of this sweet little boy. If I leave to go somewhere without him, I’m greeted when I return with arms wide open and a smile that brings tears to my eyes every single time. His simple “Hey Mommy!” when I go in his room in the mornings to get him out of bed; his excitement when he sees a car go by or a sports commercial on TV; the kindness and tenderness he displays when playing with animals {real or stuffed}; how much he loves me…all of it takes my breath away. I go to bed every single night thanking God for making me a mother. I know now why my mom made the decisions that she made when I was growing up…and many of them are the same decisions I would make for my son now.

Two years old. Wow. I can’t believe it. My baby is not so much of a baby anymore. He’s getting to be a big boy. But for now, while I can, I will hold him in my arms, hug him every chance I can, wipe away his tears when he cries, dance and act silly just to see him smile, kiss his boo-boos, and promise him the world.

Because that’s what mommy’s do.

13313_577064576252_45103423_33003462_6402641_n{pardon the horrible photo quality…camera phone.}

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October 26, 2010

10 Reasons I am cut out for life in Alaska

Being told that you and your family are to be uprooted and moved to Alaska is a lot to take in. It is overwhelming and quite frankly, almost unbelievable. For us, Alaska has been on that ever famous list of “Places we want to go before we die.” And it was on our “Places we will accept duty while we are in the Military.” But needless to say, we didn’t think that a set of orders there would come so soon.

So, while I was feeling overwhelmed at trying to allow everything to sink in, I thought of 10 Reasons why I will fit in with life in Alaska.

{ONE} When I start taking college classes again in January and forget my homework…saying that “A bear ate it…” would actually be a believable excuse. Whether it was a lie or not, my college professors would be forced to stop and consider whether or not I was actually lying. The only way they would know if it was false, would be if it was winter and bears were hibernating. Oops

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{TWO} I never have to worry about my clothes being out of fashion…because everything from the waist up will be covered by a jacket or a parka anyway. Last season’s sweater? Who will know!?

{THREE} If I start feeling a little bloated or over-weight, I can simply blame it on the layers. Wanna lose 4 inches in less than 60 seconds? Lose the overcoat and the fleece jacket. BAM! You’re a size 6!

{FOUR} During the summer, having a tan would make me the odd-ball.

{FIVE} Not shaving my legs will no longer be called laziness. It will be called prevention…hypothermia prevention that is. {Don’t worry hubby, I hate not shaving, so you don’t have to stress over this one!}

{SIX} Think of all the money that I will save on manicures and pedicures. I won’t have any reason to keep my nails done because they will be inside of boots or socks and my hands inside of gloves or mittens.

{SEVEN} Same thing goes for clothes. I’ll save tons on clothing because most of the year I’ll be wearing boots…and who really needs 4 or 5 pair of snow boots?

{EIGHT} I will never have to worry about missing out on a “White Christmas.”

{NINE} I’ll be able to use the excuse, “Well, we had a blizzard last December. That’s why we didn’t make it home for Christmas…” and know that I’m not even lying.

{TEN} I will never again have to worry about my husband kicking off all of the covers at night or wanting to sleep with a fan going wide open. It’s Alaska. It will be cold. Blankets will be a MUST and fans won’t be necessary!


Seriously though, in all truthfulness, I could not be more excited about this move. I feel calm-though overwhelmed-that this is the right path for us right now. The adjustments will take time and it isn’t something we will fall into naturally, but it will definitely be worth the experience.

And lastly, I want to say Thank You again to those of you who have shown and are continuing to show your honest and heartfelt support of our move. To those of you who aren’t making up excuses about “how hard it’s going to be,” and “how cold it is” as if you are trying to rain on our parade, we appreciate it. So, so much more than we could ever voice. We are very aware of the sacrifices we are making, the things we are leaving behind and the huge array of changes that are coming to our lives. But we are willing and ready to embrace them and take advantage of all of the positives that are in store with this change. So thank you for you support and most importantly, your prayers.

You. guys. rock.

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October 25, 2010

No Mom Talk Monday-Truth One

If you are here for No Mom Talk Monday…WELCOME! Grab a button, some coffee and go sit in the corner {or on the couch or wherever you can find a quiet space…if anywhere} and get some YOU time! This is the time during the week where you leave the motherhood and the parenting behind for a few minutes and just talk about YOU. Whatever you want. I’ll even let you talk about your husband…but this is meant to be a time for you to get back to the aspects of you that sometimes get pushed to the wayside.

**Don’t forget to check out the new Live Beautiful Community! Join in, leave an intro and get to know some of the fellow “no mom talkers.”

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For me today, I’ll be writing out one of the “truths” from my 30 Days of Truth Challenge {for more information about the challenge and to join the community…click here}.

Like many of you who have already started the challenge, I’m a little intimidated by the bluntness of the first question…something you hate about yourself.

Hate is a strong word. I don’t use hate…well, ever. There are, however, several things that I truly dislike about myself.

I don’t like that I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s a good thing that I’m so passionate and that I feel things so deeply…but it’s really a bad thing most of the time. Growing up, I got my feelings hurt really easily. And even now, sometimes I still do. I let things that shouldn’t bother me. When Hubby and I first got married, everything he said effected me. If he didn’t show just the right amount of enthusiasm over something, it broke my heart. If he showed too much, I assumed he was lying. If he said something the “wrong way” it made me cry. This is a nasty, nasty habit that I work hard to control. I still struggle with it sometimes but with the husband being gone for the past 6 1/2 months, it is something that I have had to force myself to keep in check. If I allowed this to over power me, our marriage would have really struggled.

truthbutton1And by being so passionate about things and wearing my feelings so close to my heart, I get hurt a lot. When something happens or when we get good news, I jump all in. Like with this move to Alaska…hubby told me that’s where we were going and I’ve dove into it head first. If things were to change {and, if you know how the military is, they very well could}, it would really upset me. If things don’t go like I plan them sometimes, it tears me up. Which leaves me feeling [and looking…yikes] like an emotional basket case most days.

I also dislike the fact that I am insecure. Sure I may seem all bright, cheery and bubbly on the computer…but if I were to meet you in person, I would be hesitant, shy and maybe even seem standoffish. I worry about what people think. I am slowly but surely getting over this habit-with much help from my flippant husband-but it is a work in progress. I don’t like that I let me fear of what others think of me hold me back. I worry that when people look at my photography they secretly think I should throw in the towel. If I wear a cute new outfit and go out to eat or something, I am constantly worrying that people who walk by are thinking or whispering that I look ridiculous. I have an uncanny fear of becoming “that mom.” You know…the one who wears clothes that don’t fit or clothing she obviously pulled from her teenage daughters closet [Think the Tide Stain Release commercial with the Green Shirt…] ::Shiver:: I never want to be her.

I dislike that I allow insecurity to keep me from doing things that I know I would excel in. When I was in high school, I never ran for Student Council or anything because I always just assumed I wouldn’t win because I wasn’t part of the “in” crowd and I was terrified of rejection. These fears overtook me and I used my insecurity to seek out really unhealthy relationships and do things that I am not proud of.

I dislike that I am self conscious about my body but won’t make time to fix the things I don’t like. For starters I allow myself to make comparisons to super models and celebrity moms who have nannies raising their children so they can hit the gym 6 million times a day or pay oodles of cash for tummy tucks and breast implants. That isn’t reality. But I do it anyway. And then, when a free moment comes and I could squeeze in a cardio DVD or the 30 Day Shred, I would rather sit and watch TV…because  I never do. And then I feel lazy. Which I also dislike.

I dislike that I was able to come up with so many things that I dislike.

Make sure that you include the No Mom Talk Monday button in your post as well as a 30 Days of Truth button [if you are doing a truth for No Mom Talk…] You can also find the full list of ladies doing the Truth Challenge in the Community!

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October 22, 2010

And now I bring you…

When I first started thinking about the idea of participating in the 30 Days of Truth challenge, I never realized that there would be such an outpouring of encouragement and eagerness from all of you to join. I haven’t even written a post on an actual “truth” yet [one from the list] but I am completely and totally humbled by the comments that some of my recent posts have gotten. You guys are…amazing.

I turned to blogging in 2008 to help me sort through my emotions as a new mother. Times were completely overwhelming and most of the time, I felt alone and isolated from the rest of the world. It has taken me almost 5 years of sorting through feelings and emotions and underlying issues within myself…but I finally feel like am on the path to doing what God has always intended for me to do.

After I became a mom, I would have given almost anything to have a little bit of my old self back. Let’s just face ladies, marriage and parenting take it out of you. By the time we are done tending to our husbands needs, our children’s needs and the unending list of duties around the house, there is little-if any-time to just be ourselves. To be women. To be who we were before we started wearing the different “jobs” that life has bestowed us. Blogging became an outlet for me when I started feeling like I was losing myself. There are numerous posts on my blog {a recent and more favorite of those posts can be read here} where I talk about my desire and my passion to figure out how to balance being a wife/mother and staying who I was outside of that role.

It’s taken a lot of thought…a lot of time…a lot of prayer, patience and support, but I am finally realizing that I am not alone in this desire. There are tons and tons and tons of you who have emailed, messaged me or just left comments about how encouraging my honesty is and how you all are striving and struggling with the same things. Add in the response that I got from the 30 days of Truth and I knew that God was hinting to me that he wanted me to create some sort of network so that all of you could come together and we could meet and discuss and challenge and lift one another up in one place. There are tons of communities out there, I recognize that. But I want this one to be a personal, close knit group where you can feel comfortable to discuss anything.

And the sole purpose behind this community is to encourage honesty in our lives…within our marriages, our families and toward ourselves. And to encourage ourselves to find that balance we so desperately seek. To get back to who we were before we were moms…that little part of us is still there. She’s buried behind the laundry and the diapers and the play-dates. And it’s up to us to find her again. SO…that being said, I would like to present to you:

livebeautifulcommunity-largeIf you look to the top-right between the Life Projects and the Contact tabs, you will see the brand spanking new Community button. Notice there is an About the Community tab and a 30 Day’s tab. The linky for all of my beautiful 30 Day of Truth participants can be found under the 30 Days tab…and the Introduction tab…well, you will just have to go there to see what you are supposed to do!

I am really excited to get this community off the ground and going. If you want to come together and mingle with other moms who-just like you-want to get back that little piece of themselves they feel they have lost, then join us!! This community is always, always open! Can’t wait to start connecting with you all! You guys rock!!

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Christianity and Social Media-Can we have both?

Let's face it.mediacloud

Whether we like it or not, the media is easily the most influential aspect of our society. Television, internet, "Smart Phones" and Social Networking have overwhelmed our culture and taken the mainstream society by storm. And it's not looking like it's going anywhere.

With the seemingly never-ending array of technological advances, it seems that we are destined to live in a culture with screens, buttons, and 'apps.' Walk through the mall or through Wal-Mart and try and keep count of how many people you pass that have their noses stuck in a screen. Or make the "mistake" of telling someone that you don't have a Facebook account, or a Twitter account, or that you don't blog. You get the sideways, "Where have you been? Why in the world not?" look. And while I grew up in the days where AOL 2.0 and Instant Messaging was 'the thing' and cell phones were as big as bricks, I too am intrigued and fascinated by the gadgets of this day. Fail to watch an episode of "American Idol" or "The Bachelor" and you will, unfortunately, be completely lost
in conversations the day after the shows airing.

My husband and I were in a complete debate when switching cell phone carriers as to whether or not to use AT&T or Verizon, all on account of the fact that AT&T had the iPhone and Verizon didn't. We ended up with Verizon and nearly wrecked the car when they put out the Blackberry Storm {which was a complete bust and total waste of money, in case you were wondering}. The minute that Twitter became a sort of 'must have' advertising tool for bloggers, I created an account. I joined Facebook with bells on when it was created for college students back in 2005, and I've never looked back. I am a fan of "The Bachelor" and "America's Next Top Model." And I've even been known to watch an episode or two of "American Idol." And When I don't know the answer to something, I google it.

For many out there, this would make me a 'keeping up with the trends' kind of person. The kind of girl that has to 'follow the crowd' or lives according to the 'ways of the world' in contrast to the ways of Christ. Someone who is being 'influenced' and maybe even 'brainwashed' by the media. I have to disagree, though I can't say that I don't understand why they would think that.

With so much trash and garbage floating around in our world, it's easy to believe that someone involved in networking and media trends could be up to no good. Reality shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians and Bad Girls Club are the epitome of trashy television; portraying women in a very negative light. Revealing clothing, intoxication, and filthy language ooze from these shows like slime. Shows like Jersey Shore and The Real World give the idea that homosexuality is morally acceptable and that promiscuity has no consequences. Music lyrics brag of drug habits and prostitution. Profanity is termed as "slang" and generally accepted in all settings. And teenage role models such as Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan are on and off of tabloid covers sporting headlines such as "Pole Dancing" and "I miss my Girlfriend!" And lets not even start the discussion on Tiger Woods (and now apparently Brett Favre) and his (their) choice of "extra-curricular activities."

We live in a time where we turn to the internet for answers, the TV news station for information, and social networking for personal contact. Gone are the days where we sit at the table and drink coffee while reading the newspaper. Days of meeting up with girlfriends at the mall to chat and catch up have been replaced by Facebook messages and 'tweets.' Rather than patching up friendships after an argument, we choose the most painful of punishments-the "un-friend" button on Facebook. Quite frankly, it's insane.

But despite the negativity and the bouts of immorality that float around out there, social networking and media are really an essential part of our culture. One that I, and if you were brutally honest, you wouldn't want to live without. Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter make communicating with distant friends and family a breeze. For my husband and I, being a military family, our families would be lost without the easy access of internet. Through Facebook and Twitter updates, they are able to keep track of what we are doing and where we are going {tweets}. They are able to view new photos of our son on the internet with just the click of a button. And they are even able to download and save them on their computer for easy printing and framing-idealistic for first time grandparents.

We have both been able to get in touch with long lost friends we haven't talked to in ages. We have connected with former teachers, coworkers, and relatives that we didn't even know that we had...simply through Facebook. I, personally, have found a string of great friends through the 'mommy-blogger' society-sharing deep conversations with people that understand what I’m dealing with, and receiving advice on everything from baby formula to sleeping habits. While my husband has been off in California for the past 6 months, Social Media has allowed us to stay in touch throughout the day. Like many of our other military men and women and their families, web-cams and Skype have allowed my son to talk to his daddy from all the way across the country. My husband hasn’t felt like he has missed quite as much because we can carry him with us.

Media is only an influence if we allow it to be. If we choose to live in accordance with what society says is okay, then we are in for a world of hurt. But we can't blame the media for our downfall. Rather, we have to turn to ourselves. To our own convictions, to our own morals, to our own values. We have to know what we believe, and we have to equip ourselves to take the stand against what we know is wrong. So what if I have Facebook? So what if I tweet? So what if I blog? Does that make me any less Christian or make me any worse of a person because I enjoy social media? No. It doesn't. Because I know what I believe. I know what is right in God's eyes...and what is wrong.

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October 21, 2010

It’s a Love Story…Part Two

{If you didn’t read the first part of mine and my husband’s love story, you can find it here!}

I don’t think anyone really and truly believes that life after the “I do” is going to be a fairy tale. I think that we like to try to convince ourselves of that, but who really ever believes that it is possible?

Josh and I honeymooned in Saint Augustine, Florida. We spent hours walking through the little historic town, lounging by the pool, and eating by candlelight. It still feels like yesterday; and I can remember vividly waking in the mornings and eating Toaster Strudel while we sat on our balcony. We were in love. Still are. But, I can honestly say that the love I feel for him now compared to then, is completely different and much, much deeper.

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We knew when we decided to get married that our lives together-especially the initial years-were going to be a test. His re-enlistment in the military meant moving…and definite separation, though how long was unknown. We knew he would be gone for at least 30 days for his Prior Service Training in New Jersey, but the rest was still a mystery. We also never anticipated that I would find out I was pregnant during week number three of our marriage. We didn’t realize that when we found out that I was pregnant, that I was already almost 4 months along [that in itself is an entirely different story…]. We didn’t realize that when Josh returned from New Jersey that he wouldn’t be coming home to a slim, toned young wife. Instead, he’d be returning to a pregnant wife who was showing early.

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The first six months of our marriage went by in a blur. We moved 400 miles away from our families; he started his new job; we found out we were having a little boy; and in October we became parents. We also quickly went from the anticipated newlywed romance to a day-to-day, barely getting by, and stale marriage. Things were dull. The romance dwindled, and I quickly became more wrapped up in my new duties as a mom than I did in being my husband’s wife. I lost sight of the idea that it was thanks to him (and God, of course) that I even had this beautiful new blessing. I was now mother to his child, but I was putting him last.

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We started to argue a lot, over everything. I went through bouts of serious post-partum depression that went untreated because I thought I could handle it on my own. I became bitter to the fact that he worked and wasn’t at home all day taking care of our child. I was angry with myself for giving up my dreams of becoming a writer and dropping out of college 3 years in so that I could get married and move away. I had a lot of built up tension and frustration that was taking its root in our marriage and causing more problems than I ever imagined. It was my bitterness that pushed my husband away, causing him to become bitter as well. We both picked up bad habits- habits that slowly drained the pureness and simple love that we had shared in the initial months of our relationship.

I remember vividly when God broke my heart and showed me that I needed to mend my marriage. I was watching some chick flick on TV during my sons nap time. I was broken-hearted and crying because I didn’t have that type of ‘love’ that they were so proudly showing in the movie. I began to feel Christ tugging at my heart…whispering softly that I had more than that. I was married to a real man with real love for me. Someone that God himself had chosen to be my soul-mate, my partner, my best friend. But it was my own selfishness and stubborn nature that was causing the pain that I was feeling. I was the one pushing against what God had intended for my husband and I to share.

I picked up my bible and was directed to 1 Corinthians 13. For the first time in a really, really long time, I read and digested what those verses meant. God reminded me right there on the couch that love and marriage were not intended to be easy. It wasn’t created for the faint hearted or for those who didn’t want to work daily at building a relationship; at building trust; and at simultaneously building Faith. I realized that not only were Josh and I drifting from one another, but we were drifting from God as well. And that was the root of our marital downfall.

Over the course of the next several months, we got back in church and began forcing ourselves to make time for one another. We started going on dates (as much as we could with a newborn). And when time didn’t quite allow for dates away from home, RedBox became our best friend. I learned to revamp my idea of marriage and romance, realizing that while flowers, candy and handwritten poetry were fabulous ideas and nice touches for Valentine’s Day, they didn’t exactly coincide with a daily life. I started learning to appreciate the simple things my husband did do-letting me leave for a few hours in the afternoons to go sit at Barnes & Noble and drink coffee; treating me to a mani/pedi after a long week; and allowing me to choose the movie on our movie nights.

When I decided to step back from my idea of what a “perfect” marriage was and embrace God’s idea of a marriage, I saw a huge turn-around in how we loved one another. This same turn-around and mindset is what is getting us through the trial period we are in now. Josh has been in California since April attending HS School through the Coast Guard. He won’t be back with us until the weekend before Christmas. It’s been hard. We’ve had to learn to balance his classes, my being back in Alabama living with family (rather than in a home of my own…which has been a HUGE adjustment), my growing Photography Business, being parents to a two year old, and remain as in love as we can. Again I say that it’s been hard. Our Faith in our marriage, our God, and each other has been stretched and re-stretched. But we persevere. We continue on. Because we’ve learned that the best kind of love and the strongest kind of love is one that was created and placed in our lives by God. And it’s one that is worked at daily.

You see, our love story is one that is continuing to be written. It’s nowhere near complete. I am living with this idea daily when I wake up, hear his voice and am reminded of what a lucky woman I am. And we all know he’s a lucky man. ;-) The love story we choose for our lives, is one that is written by the Master Author himself. And I would not have that any other way.

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October 20, 2010

Home is where the Coast Guard takes you…and it’s taking us to…

God amazes me.

He always, always has a way of doing things that shock me, surprise me and send me to my knees. It seemed appropriate last night when I was typing this post that I had nothing scheduled to go up today. I spent countless hours yesterday morning trying to come up with something to write about. Even my 30 Days of Truth plan wasn’t working for me. Something just wasn’t coming together. Then Hubby called me at 10:45. He wasn’t excited; I could tell. His news wasn’t what I was wanting to hear and quite frankly I was really upset. I spent most of the morning crying on and off and I finally just hit my knees in the middle of kitchen floor and told God that only he knew what was best for our family and for him to take control and do with our future whatever he wanted.

About two hours later, Hubby called back saying that they had gotten the list of new duty stations today. Everything we assumed would be on there and were anticipating choosing from, was there. We had previously discussed and talked about taking orders to New London, Connecticut or to Cape May, New Jersey. There are lots of things to do there, and I had already started checking out housing for out there. God seemed to have other plans.

Still stressed out, anxious and all around frustrated with the day, I got out to go get something to eat. On my way back from Zaxby’s the hubby called again. I could tell he was in a much, much better mood and that something had made him happy. But the first words out of his mouth were, “Are you sitting down?” My thought? If this is more bad news or something else that is going to give me a headache and stress me out, then it can wait until tomorrow.

It wasn’t.

It was our soon-to-be new home he was calling to tell me about.

We have gotten orders to Kodiak, Alaska.

Oh yeah. You read that correctly. Most definitely is that NOT Connecticut or Jersey. But we are so unbelievably excited!

I was thrilled when Hubby told me! Not disappointed in the slightest; and probably overly eager to get there! We both spent last night reading all about Kodiak online-checking out the base we’ll be living on, the Cost of Living difference {which isn’t as high these days as people seem to think it is}, looking at a new vehicle that can withstand the ice and the snow, and shopping for new “Alaska Clothes.” (Ok. So maybe that last part was just me.)

It will most definitely be a change for us. I’ve only ever lived in Alabama and Florida…so living in the Frozen Area of Alaska will be a BIG adjustment for me. Hubby seems to have been everywhere with the Navy, but he’s just as excited for the change as I am. We’re planning this really great cross-country drive for our trip out there and we’re hoping to make some great sight-seeing pit stops along the way. And I’m hoping to have a bright, shiny, sparkly new camera to document and video the entire thing with so you can all join in our journey.

If moving to Alaska does nothing else, it should certainly make for some interesting reading to those of you who follow my little blog!

I have to say, too, that I am so unbelievably grateful to those of you who offered words of encouragement, prayers and congratulations yesterday and this morning. You guys are amazing and the community that is being built here makes my heart happy! I hope you guys will continue to keep our little family in your prayers over the coming weeks. My trip to California is rapidly approaching; Hubby still has several weeks of classes left that he has to get through; and there are a lot things that need to work out for us before we move in January. So please just remember us, if you don’t mind!

You guys are great!

KODIAK-here we come!

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October 19, 2010

It’s a Love Story…Part One

This was recently my Guest Post over at From Here to Eternity. A lot of my readers ventured over to read it there, but there were even more that didn’t. So, because I love you guys so much and because I love to share my story, here ya’ go! Part Two will be up for you to read on Thursday, so be sure to check back and catch the end of our story!

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Every little girl dreams of being a part of a love story. Of being whisked away by a handsome prince on a white horse. We read Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty & the Beast with a glimmer in our eyes and lightness in our hearts that such love and beauty will eventually makes its way into our lives. We set false hopes. We set unrealistic goals. And time after time we are disappointed in the outcome of our relationships.

Ours is a true story about a boy and a girl who made the choice to spend their lives together. It’s a tale of love at first sight, of separation, of heartache and a story that is still being written. So as all good stories go, I’ll begin our story this way:

Once Upon A Time…

There was a girl who dreamed of being in love. Who dreamed of finding someone to care for care the way she longed to be cared for. Someone to love her, to tell her she was beautiful, someone to just simply love her irrefutably and without end. That girl…was me.

My husband and I officially met at the local hospital the summer of 2007. I took a job at the local hospital as a Patient Care Assistant [which is a downgraded version of a Nurse’s Assistant…all of the ‘glory’ of the job without the pay or the certification] in the Intensive Care Unit. I spent two week training on day shift and heard constantly about this guy named Josh. All I heard was how good he was at his job and that I needed to stick with him when I started training because he was thorough. Truthfully, I was thinking he was going to have a Big Fat ego because he was “so good.”

My final day on first shift came and I watched a guy walk into the unit. He was tall, somewhat lanky, and wearing the same awful green scrubs I was wearing. I hadn’t seen him before, but I assumed automatically that he was “the one” everyone had referred to. When it was time for the next shift to start he came rambling in, checking off our pre-shift to do list, and propped up on the counter to introduce himself. I won’t lie. He had the most amazing bluish gray eyes I had ever seen. I knew to begin with, just by looking at him, that there was something about him that I liked. Something more to him than most people realized.

He introduced himself and the next day I started working side by side with him, training, learning and watching as he worked. He took his job seriously and went above and beyond what was required. We didn’t talk about much other than work really, and I was secretly disappointed in that. I wanted to get to know him. I wanted to know who he was-who he really was. I had picked up bits and pieces about his past through scattered comments and conversation. He was an ex-Navy boy. He was as Southern as the day was long [this I learned from catching a glimpse of the Confederate Flag tattoo that adorned the inside of his arm]. His parents had divorced and his mom was currently married to a guy that he did not like or get along with.

At some point, and I’m not sure when, our relationship began to change. I started feeling nervous around him. It was an excited nervous, with a stomach and heart full of butterflies. I can’t pin point what it was that made me start to see him differently, but something did. I think it was the way he went about asking me for my phone number the first time. Pretending he needed it to bring me a book I needed for work…as if I didn’t know that he could just bring it with him on our next shift. Once he had my phone number, the phone calls began and the conversations turned to things that went beyond medicine and hospitals.

I lived 45 minutes away so I did a lot of driving at night. Our shift ended around midnight and he started staying on the phone with me until I made it to my house. It was during these long drives that we learned who the other was. He liked rock music-Tom Petty being his favorite; he had spent countless hours in the OR with the heart surgeons and aspired to be a doctor; he was sure of himself in many ways, but unsure of his worth and what he had to offer. These conversations started out lasting until I made it home, and then began lasting for hours and hours; sometimes until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. We had so much to say. We seemed to understand each other in ways that others did not.

Our first date came on November 4, 2007. {Ironically that would later become the due date of our little boy.} We went to the local fair. Jeff Bates-the country singer, for those who don’t recognize his name-was in concert that night. It was unnaturally cold. I mean 28 degrees cold. And this tiny little corner of Alabama doesn’t reach those kinds of temperatures. Naturally, both of us were unprepared. I was wearing a ¾ length shirt and a jacket. Josh had only a pullover. It was freezing. Neither of us had gloves. No hats. Nothing. We were halfway through the concert. Josh was nervous. He would swear that he wasn’t, but he was. And I loved that. I loved that I made him nervous. I loved that he was too much of a man to admit that he was nervous.

A song, and for the life of me I don’t remember what song {because it’s not on any of Jeff Bates’ cd’s} was playing when Josh wrapped his arms around me. One of the lyrics was simply something along the lines of, “tonight two people are falling in love.” It was then that Josh pulled me close and kissed my cheek. Right then I knew, really and truly knew, that I had found the man that I was going to marry. I knew right that moment that I was in love in a big way. Love like I had never felt. And I was terrified.

Josh told me he loved me a few weeks later; sitting on his bed, looking at his Navy Scrapbooks. He told me that he had never felt the way he did about me with anyone. I met his whole family at Thanksgiving, he met mine that Christmas, and he gave me a Promise Ring on Christmas Eve surrounded by his family.

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We decided that same December that we wanted to spend our lives together. I had a promise ring, and didn’t expect anything more. We just knew we were in love and that we wanted to get married. But, being the sometimes romantic that he is, and knowing how much a genuine proposal meant to me, Josh took me to the beach on February 23, 2008 and officially asked me to be his wife. We got married on April 19, 2008.

groom weddingdress

Our wedding was simple and elegant. We said our vows in front of about 150 close friends and family in the church where my Grandparents went. “Amazing Grace” played as my baby sister set roses in the seats of where my two late grandmothers would have sat. I wore a simple and antique style gown and Josh cried when my daddy walked me down the aisle. Rather than the appropriate “Her Mother and I response” when asking who gives this woman, my daddy replied with {and I am not even joking} “Me and Her Mother does.” We played “When God Made You” by Natalie Grant and Newsong during the ceremony and we laughed at all of the wrong times because we were so happy. Because we could.

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We met with friends and family afterward and spent our first night as husband and wife in Tallahassee, Florida. We honeymooned in Saint Augustine.

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It was perfect. I was happy. I was in love. Unfortunately, people don’t tell you when you are saying your vows that the honeymoon doesn’t last, and life is not always sympathetic to the fairy tale wishes of a girl wanting a love story.

Make sure to come back Thursday to read the rest of our story!

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October 18, 2010

No Mom Talk Truth

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Welcome back to another edition of No Mom Talk Monday! Just a quick run-down of the “rules” before we get started! I’m not a big stickler for rules, so if you slip up, then that’s ok. I promise not to delete your link or anything overly ridiculous like that. :-) The object of this little meme is to simply STOP spending every single waking moment of our lives being moms and talking about our children. Not that I don’t love being a mommy and that I don’t absolutely adore my son and revel in talking about him every time I get a chance. However, there are things outside of motherhood that I enjoy. And Monday’s are my days to talk about things that don’t involve my son or motherhood or parenting in anyway.

Now. If you read my post on Friday, you know that I have decided to take on the 30 Days of Truth challenge. I’m not promising that every Monday will be a truth, or that I’ll even post one every week, but you can keep your eyes peeled because these are going to serve as back up ideas/fill-in posts when my creative tank is on empty. And because so many of you seem to have loved this idea; and several of you even asked if I was going to open a Linky, I created a button and I’ll be posting a linky in the sidebar of my blog so you can participate. Wanna see the button?            

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You can grab this button and my No Mom Talk Monday button from the sidebar. Just a little disclosure: I do not in any way, shape or form take credit for the idea of 30 Days of Truth. I didn’t come up with the questions and this was not originally my idea. I am not posing these as my own. I’m simply answering them in my own way and offering the opportunity for my readers to link up their answers in one place and receive some feedback. You can find the list of questions HERE.

I’m not going to answer any questions today.

Instead, I’m just going to open up and share some things that I sometimes feel like I don’t necessarily…tell the whole truth about. I’ve never lied on my blog. Ever. Everything you read here, is true. Don’t believe me? Go check out my testimony. You don’t more real than that. I try to be as open and as honest as I can here. But I will also admit that there comes a point when you have a growing blog readership that you start to wonder if maybe something you say will drive away readers. My little post on the Toy Story t-shirt with the improper grammar lost me two followers. But, I’ve gained about 6 back in their place, so I guess I still win. Anywho that’s not the point. I just want to clear the air about some things that maybe I have underplayed a little bit here.

I don’t go to church. And the reason I don’t go to church, is because I’m not comfortable in church. I feel judged in church. I feel like everywhere I have ever been to church at, that I have been criticized and condemned and judged because of things I’ve done in my past, or even because of superficial things like what I wear. I don’t like to go to a church and feel like I’m not welcome and that I’m not wanted there. Or, honestly, to feel like all anyone in the church wants is your offering.

I worry that sometimes I give the wrong idea about my Faith and my spiritual life. I am a devout Christian. I serve Christ whole-heartedly and believe with every single ounce of my being that he is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. But I struggle. Every single day I struggle. I don’t pray like I need to; I don’t study my Bible like I should; and I already mentioned that I don’t “fellowship with other believers” as the Bible says that we should. I am imperfect. I question God. I doubt God. And there have been times when I have just been down right angry with God. But I’m a sinner. I’m flawed. And as much as I love my Lord and as certain as I am that when I leave this Earth that I will be in heaven, I fail every single day.

That being said, I pull away from God because I’m scared. I know what the Bible says about how God tests people to strengthen their Faith. And the stronger your Faith becomes, the more he continues to test you. I’m scared. I read about people who’s children have cancer or who lose their husband/wife and they write/blog about how much stronger their Faith has become because they’ve had to lean on Christ to get them through. I know what that’s like because I’ve done it during some of the rockiest and worst parts of  my life. But I’m terrified to the depths of my soul that if I allow my Faith to grow to a certain point that I’m bound to have something horrible happen to my family. And just the thought of losing my husband or my son or of either of them getting sick-makes me physically sick to my stomach. But God always calls me back to him. Even when I try to pull away and try to push against what he wants for my life and push against his desires for me to be the kind of person he created me to be-he’s always there dragging me back. And that’s what I love about God. He never gives up on me no matter how hard-headed I am.

I cried off and on all day yesterday. I was trying to get some things together for Little Man’s birthday party…the guest list was pathetic. Everyone I invited except for a handful of people, seem to have better things to do and wouldn’t RSVP to my calls, emails, or Facebook messages. I was frustrated with everything because the only person that I really even care to be there for his birthday party, is his daddy. So I threw my hands up and basically just said screw it. I called Hubby, then my mom, and talked to Hubby’s mom and we decided to not even do a big birthday party. Everyone is just going to do their own thing. My parents, Hubby’s mom and then Hubby’s dad are all just going to have little small family get togethers. It’s so not worth the headache. Because I don’t care. And Little Man isn’t old enough to understand. All I know is that my son’s father won’t be here for his birthday. And it breaks my heart. If he were older, I would do a party anyway. But since he doesn’t “get it” yet, I’m not even concerned.

I hate being away from my husband. Absolutely, totally and completely 110% HATE IT. I’ve done well with keeping it together, but since I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I despise A-School. Every freakin’ thing about it. The only thing getting me through is this blog, my camera, my son and the fact that I need to continue to hold it together for my husband a little bit longer so that he can finish doing what he’s doing. And knowing that this road is going to take him where he needs to be…where he wants to be career wise. And I’m so unbelievably, makes-other-people-sick proud of him. :-) I could brag and brag and brag about what all he is doing and how awesome he is. {Don’t worry, I won’t!}

I’m beginning to revisit my former obsession with fashion and high heels. I don’t know where it has come from or why it’s suddenly his as hard as it has, but I am tired of looking and feeling like a rundown mom. I’m tired of going to my closet and being absolutely disgusted by what’s in there. I hate having to pull out a bunch of plain t-shirts and the same ole jeans day after day after day to put on. I’m tired of running out of the house looking like and feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck. I’m not superficial by any means, so I don’t want it to come across that way. But I don’t want to feel like just because I’ve got a child now, that I can’t be…attractive and sexy and fashionable. Because that’s just garbage.

I’ve spent the past…oh, two months maybe? watching Sex & the City in it’s entirety. I love Sarah Jessica Parker & I’m a HUGE fan of Carrie Bradshaw. I think she epitomizes who I once dreamed of becoming in some ways. A successful writer, living in and loving life in Manhattan, fashionable & stylish with her fabulous closet full of unbelievable shoes {yes. I’m a shoe person}. I won’t exactly vouch for her estranged love life and various sex partners…but job, the city, the clothes…yep. I could totally be Carrie Bradshaw.

Alright. I think that’s enough truth for now. If I keep going you guys will get sick of reading this ridiculously long post won’t have anything to read when I get to answering the actual questions.

Don’t forget to spread the word about No Mom Talk Monday! If we reach 15 entries there just might, maybe, may be a sweet little giveaway…And if you decide to join in on 30 Days of Truth grab the button and link up! Happy Monday all!!

 

{PS- If you are planning to link up with a 30 Days of Truth post, please label it accordingly and link just to your 30 Day of Truth posts…not to one post in particular or to your blogs homepage. That way, all of your posts will be labeled and everyone can find them all in one place. This will cut down on having to come back and re-link over and over and over again every time you post a new “truth.” I’m leaving the linky open until December 31, 2010. It’s under the 30 Days of Truth button! Hope to see some of you joining in!}

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October 15, 2010

30 Days of Truth

I will admit, I don’t blog hop around very often. {hangs head} I visit the readers who visit me and leave comments, a few close bloggy friends that I check every single day {sometimes more than once}, and a few “guilty pleasure” blogs that I check a few times a week. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy finding new reading material, because I really, really do. I just don’t have time most days like I would like to sit and read and search and seek out new blogs. That’s why I’ve found a lot of my readings through those who follow and comment here. If you are looking for a new reader, or a new follower, most likely you’ll get it from me if you leave me a comment or two and let me know you’re around…you know, in case some of you want to leave me lots and lots of comment love and make me feel cool were wondering.

Noah-2 years 299During one of my guilty pleasure reads, I discovered this fun little
Writing Prompt that I have so earnestly decided to take on. With everything in life going topsy-turvy these days, I figured a good outlined writing prompt would do me some good. The Project is called 30 Days of Truth. In theory you are supposed to write about one prompt for 30 consecutive days. Well, being the rebel that I am, I’m just going to do 30 Days {or fewer, because some of these prompts I’m not quite sure I’ll blog about…} whenever I get around to it. These are going to be my backup themes, if you will. But they are certain to be interesting. Definitely will you learn a few new things about me that you might otherwise have never, ever known. I’m opening up the door to all (okay, well some of my little secrets) and letting you guys in.

So…if you think you might want to join in, feel free! I won’t do a linky or anything because, like I said, I’m not going to designate days. But if you need a little writing encouragement, a few prompts to get you out of your creative rut, then feel free to snag this idea. It wasn’t mine to begin with, anyway.  :-)

So here you go. The questions I’ll be answering for my 30 Days of Truth Project: {like I said, please ignore the designated days because I'm very liable to jump around and write on different ones at different times…}

Day 1: Something you hate about yourself.
Day 2: Something you love about yourself.
Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 4: Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 5: Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 8: Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 9: Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11: Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12: Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14: A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15: Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16: Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18: Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19: What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20: Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21: (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22: Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23: Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24: Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25: The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26: Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27: What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28: What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29: Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30: A letter to yourself: tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

I’m not starting today…my first truth is set to go up on Monday! I’ll be using it in addition to my No Mom Talk Monday meme! I can’t wait to get started, and I hope some of you will join in with me on this journey. It’s going to be interesting and very exciting. Especially when I get around to the politics and religion question. I think I know my readership well enough to know where most of you stand on Religion, but Politics could be interesting.

Don’t forget to continue to spread the word about No Mom Talk Monday! If we can get 15 people to link up, there is a Giveaway in store!! So go…spread…share…

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I’m planning to enjoy the Crimson Tide’s Homecoming Game against Ole Miss and looking forward to a girls night with my sister on Saturday. Ohhh and keep your eyes peeled for Little Man’s two year portraits at the Pumpkin Patch!! Excited!

::HUGS::

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October 14, 2010

The one where I complain about a Children’s T-Shirt

I was an OUTSTANDING English Student-both in college and in high school. While I make no claims at speaking in grammatically correct jargon all the time, there are some things that drive me absolutely insane.

“Ain’t.” Double Negatives [I haven’t never…or worse: I ain’t never]. Misuse of the there, their, and they’re. Or misuse of your and you’re. Basically just using language that makes you sound like an uneducated imbecile. Sorry. But there is no reason to speak to people and carry on a conversation like you’ve just walked out of a barn or something. Or is there?!

I was in Walmart the other night picking up a few groceries and browsing for a few birthday gifts. I moseyed my way over to the toddler clothes to check out the PJ’s {little man loves his jammies} and THIS is what I saw:

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SERIOUSLY?!
Recess don’t last forever…which breaks down into Recess do not last forever which is completely and totally incorrect.

Last time I checked, we weren’t teaching Ebonics in schools. We aren’t teaching our children to speak and spell and word sentences incorrectly. But we are selling it to them on Kid Friendly t-shirts and allowing them to assume that it is okay.

I was irate.

Maybe I am acting somewhat…ridiculous…about this, but it floored me that after all of the years and years and years that have been spent trying to force the idea of a better education-a quality education-on our children and youth and THIS is what we are marketing to them.

We complain about the Government and what they are doing to help the Educational Crisis in this country, but we sell these kind of things. And what’s worse is that people buy them. Not this mommy.

Call me crazy, call me ridiculous, call me whatever you want. But I absolutely refuse to allow my child to wear something like this. To support this kind of mentality-that it’s okay to speak however you want.

I know that he may not understand, and that the children who can read these shirts may not understand what’s incorrect about it, but I do. And I would hope that most semi-educated parents would. It just sends the wrong message. At least to me it does.

What are your thoughts? I would really love your feedback on this one. Is it just a kids t-shirt…nothing to be annoyed or frustrated about? Or does it send a frightening message that we’ve allowed improper jargon and slang to infiltrate our culture to the point of broadcasting it on children’s clothing?

Let me know what you think!

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October 13, 2010

Happiness is…

Happiness Is...

  Happiness is…

  I’ve played along with this only once before {you can find it here}and I really enjoyed it. I think we sometimes get to wallowed down in the day to day things that can make us utterly miserable and cranky. We forget the small things…the good things…and thrive on the bad. I’m guilty of it. I’ve been especially guilty of it in these past 6 months or so with my husband gone.

  But today I’m going to embrace the happy.

We are getting closer and closer and closer to the day. You know. The one that I’ve been anticipating for the past 6 months. Graduation. The end of A-School. The return of some sort of normalcy. Hubby will be coming home. Happiness is watching the little countdown ticker I’ve got set up on my phone [yeah, I’m a nerd like that] tick down day after day after day. Today, we are at 63 days until I see him again [a few more till graduation-but I’m more eager for the other]. I was somewhat bummed a few weeks ago when we found out that Little Man and I weren’t going to be able to fly out there to visit him at the end of this month like we had planned. But, now I’m over it. Because I’m reminding myself of how much better it will be to see him and know that when we leave, he’ll be leaving with me. Coming home again to our family and that we’ll be getting ready to head to wherever we will be stationed and resume a relatively normal existence.

My little boy…my sweet, tiny, seems like he was born yesterday little boy will be turning TWO in exactly two weeks. Where on EARTH has the time gone?! Happiness is being able to share this birthday with our family, knowing that he probably won’t have many more with so many relatives around. Happiness is knowing that even though his daddy won’t be here in person to celebrate with us, that we are blessed enough to live in a tech savy world which will allow for a birthday party via Skype.

Noah-2 years 031 Noah-2 years 153

Happiness is seeing him grow and develop and knowing that I have a hand in that. That God blessed me with this beautiful little boy because he knew that I was going to be the best mother for him. Happiness is knowing that God also put a wonderful man in my sons life-a man that he will be lucky to call “daddy” and a man that I am beyond blessed to have as my best friend, partner and husband.

Happiness is what I find behind my lens and behind this computer. The joy I find in turning something like this:

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Into this:

Day28 
is vast and completely unexplainable to someone who just doesn’t get it. Some people can’t comprehend the feeling and the surge of emotion that comes into play when you turn something dull and ordinary into something exquisite and beautiful. And that’s ok. It’s not there for everyone to understand. And to some, what I consider beauty, may not be anything close to beauty in their eyes. But in mine…the detail, the simplicity, the ordinary turned extraordinary is part of my happiness.

Reading your comments and resonating with so many of you in different areas and aspects of life, is what happiness is about. I’ve found a voice through blogging, like so many of you out there have. And by finding my voice, I have learned more and more about who I was and opened myself up to an abundance of friendships and relationships that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Happiness is…

Choosing your life. Letting God guide you into your destiny…and sharing the journey with people who matter most.

Happiness is choosing to see life in whatever light you wish-

ColorDaisy Kaufmann 108

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October 11, 2010

No Mom Talk Monday

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  Good morning! Sorry that this No Mom Talk Monday post is going up a little bit late. I’ve been absolutely, totally and completely swamped this weekend. No posts have been scheduled, few photos have been edited and I have been exhausted.

  We had a GREAT trip to Florida…made the 6 hour drive in good time and got to spend some time with my mom alone, which is rare. And she got some one on one time with her grandson…which is also rare. We got locked into the Storage Unit, and hit up Build-A-Bear on Saturday. And we got to catch the sunset right here:

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It was a busy weekend, but a lot of fun. I did learn that, although the Sessions I had while I was there went great, Event photography is not for me. Weddings-probably, but not just regular events. I don’t feel like I was free to explore my creativity as much as I would have liked. But oh well. You live and learn, right?

Ok…so be watching for some BIG news this week. The List with our next duty station options has arrived in California to Hubby’s Station. Apparently everything is on the East Coast, but hubby hasn’t gotten it yet. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they are going to let them take a peak and we’ll know where we are going by the end of the week.

I’ve sold two prints from my Etsy shop-the 16x20 Canvas I mentioned last week, and another 8x10 print. Excited! My shop badly needs updating, so I plan to do that this weekend. And to the two of you won my Giveaway-your prints are being mailed to you this week! I got them in the mail last Thursday, but with my trip to Florida and all, I haven’t had a chance to get them sent out. But they’ll be on their way in the next day or so!

Hope you guys are enjoying your Holiday!

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{If you’ve never played along with No Mom Talk Monday, let me give you a quick rundown of the rules. I’m not a big stickler on following these perfectly…so if you make a mention or two of your kids, I’m not going to kick you out or anything.  :-) All I ask is that you write a post about anything you want-as long as it isn’t about your kids. Mentioning them in passing, as I have done once or twice, is ok. But I don’t want an entire section or a whole post about them. We are individuals…let’s get back to that. The Linky will be open till Friday!! Make sure you visit around to the others who link as well!!}