Thursday, October 25, 2012

Be Still......


For me, there is just something about that cup of coffee each morning.  Usually I sneak my first cup in (leftover from the day before and nuked in the microwave) while I am making breakfast each morning. I move quietly but quickly around the kitchen scrambling the eggs, packing lunches and taking care of dishes.  A new pot of coffee is gurgling in the background and the inviting smell of coffee beans fills the air.  Some days I remember my coffee and get to enjoy it nice and hot, while others I am in too much of a hurried state and am startled when the cold coffee hits my lips.

I used to drink my coffee full of sugar and cream.  And then for awhile I just drank it black.  But there was just something so lovely and inviting about the way a cup of coffee looked with just a splash of cream, that I just couldn't resist it anymore.  It's warm and cozy and it soothes my soul.

The mornings are dark here now and I have been feeling the nudge to rise earlier which is such a bizarre notion for me as I usually long to sleep in.  But I feel like my days are so rushed and busy and full of noise that I need to find time for quiet.  Time for me.  Time to just be still.

Pat and I are part of a Lifegroup at our church and last year we talked about how the world is now so full of noise that it's hard to listen.  And that most of the time our prayers to God include requests or probably more accuratly, just telling Him how we would like our lives to play out.  "God, we are ready for that baby so if you could just make that happen that would be great!"  "God, I'm gonna go ahead and take that new job ok?  Just make sure it all works out for us."  "God, we really want this new house so if you have a sec, could you make sure we get it?"  We are always  talking, talking, talking.  But when do we ever just listen?  When are we ever still?

God tells us "Be still and know that I am God".  He wants us to listen.  He wants a connection.  He wants that closeness with us.

So I think this girl who loves to sleep is going to attempt to be an early riser. To have that warm cup of coffee in a quiet and sleepy house.   To be still.  And to listen. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Messy: An Influence Recap

Sooo....first of all, this is probably not the last you will hear me chat about Influence.  And quite honestly, I feel like this is only a tiny piece of everything that the conference was.  At any rate, you should all be at the conference next changing!

Messy.  My daughter HATES to be messy.  She completely will freak out if her hands get messy while she is eating or if she accidentally spills some of her food and it lands on her tray creating a mess.  Truthfully, she comes by this honestly.  I was the exact same way as a kid.  And while I have mellowed out on the cleanliness factor through the years, my husband very much prefers things nice and tidy....and not messy.

Yesterday at breakfast I was watching her eat her cereal when she ripped off her bib to hand to me.  "Wet" She said.  "Messy.  New one"  She wanted a new bib because her old one was messy and wet.  So I hurriedly (when are mornings not a hurry at our house?!?!) handed her a new bib and she was immediately joyful.  "New one!  Pretty!"  Yes baby girl, the new one is pretty.

It wasn't until later in the day when I was thinking back to my time at the Influence Conference that her messy bib weaved into my mind.  Messy.  It was a word I heard a lot at the conference.  I have never been to a blogging conference before, but I LOVED this one.  Not only because there were incredible speakers who were motivational, educational and, dare I say, influential.  But because most of them were so brave to share their messy lives.  From affairs, to depression, to lost babies to the way a mama can feel so overwhelmed by her babies.  They shared it all and proved God's grace.  And redemption.  And love.

My very favorite blogger, Casey Wiegand spoke at the conference and said, 'Our mess is our ministry'.  This really resonated with me.  I often ponder what I can possibly offer others when I can barely make it through the day myself.  How can I be influential to other moms when some days parenting is just so hard and I feel like I am doing a terrible job?  How can I be an encouragement to eat healthy and nourish your bodies when I am still learning?

But then one by one, the speakers started pulling the pieces together for me. Barrett Ward told his story and in it, he stressed one thing.  He said to Be Bold.  Something I am terrified of.  Then he told the story of their miracle baby who they thought they had lost, but because of his wife's boldness were they able to find her and bring her home.

Jami Nato exposed raw and private parts of her marriage that only God could redeem.

Jessi Connolly talked about almost losing her forth baby and the realization that without God, we will literally, spiritually and emotionally bleed out.  And God has no use for our blood.  He only wants our hearts.

It was heavy.  And messy.

So I start to think that maybe Casey is right.  Our mess IS our ministry. And that it's OK that I don't have it all together.  They reminded me that I am created in the image of God and so if I tend me be emotional or fearful or's ok because He made me that way and God doesn't make mistakes.

I learned about grace and the power of forgiveness.  I learned about redemption and that even the biggest messes we face can be redeemed by God.

I was so nervous to go to this conference, especially since I was going alone.  But I truly believe that is exactly where I was supposed to be.  God made sure he kept putting the right people in my path and making sure I chose the right speakers to listen to.  On the final day of the conference I was chatting with a new friend and finally told her, "You know, I came to this conference ready to learn how to be a better blogger,  but the truth is, I am learning how to be a better person."  And that right there is worth far more than any number of readers or sponsors or ads.  Thank you Influence for the most amazing and life-changing weekend!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Checking in!

I feel like there is so much I want to share with you but I am still processing everything from the Influence Conference.  It was amazing, inspiring and a wonderful reminder of grace.  I will be back soon after I get caught back up on life, but wanted to leave you with an image that sort of sums up the weekend!  Hope you are all having a fantastic week :)

Source: Pinterest

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm doing it!

A few years ago, shortly after Pat and I got married there was a 5K in our town to raise money for our local community foundation.  Pat had just completed the Indy mini a few months prior and I had been running on and off so we decided to run in this little 5K.  I talked two of my girlfriends into running with me since I was nowhere near fast enough to run with Pat the whole time.  My friend Brooke had just started running and this was her first 5K.  She was slow but steady and every time I would fall back to check on her she would smile and say, "I'm doing it!"

That phrase keeps running through my head lately.  I feel like I am doing things that are new to me.  Things that I may not be the best or the greatest or the fastest at....but look(!) I'm doing it!  And not only am I doing it...I'm smiling!  There have been times in my life where I have let fear completely cripple me.  Or there are times where things seems so impossible that I just don't even attempt them.  But now, here, I'm doing it!

I'm blogging more.  I'm opening up more.  I'm working on being more creative.  I'm attending a Christian women's blogging conference this weekend that I am beyond excited and beyond terrified about.  I started classes at the nutrition school I have been dying to attend.  And I have been trying to be more joyful.

I remember a line from the Sex in the City movie (the first one...the good one!) where Carrie is talking about how she changed when planning her wedding to Big and she became a different person.  At one point she is referring to her past self and says, "If I met me now, I wouldn't even know me."

Sometimes I feel that way about myself which is so surprising.  I got all the things I had always wanted.  A husband, a baby girl, a beautiful house, close friends and a great family.  But something changed after I had Lucy and to this day I'm not entirely sure what the exact shift was.  Maybe it was losing myself to another person who depended on me for everything.  Maybe it was the fact that marriage is Hard with a capital H after having kids and no one prepares you for that.  Maybe it was exhaustion and never taking just 5 minutes to remember who I used to be.  At any rate, I became very serious.  Kids bring lots of joy with them into this world, but they bring a lot of worries as well.  And I am pretty sure I lost sight of the joy and only saw the worries.  I could play the "what-if" game like a boss!

But that's really no way to live life.  And so I'm trying to grow.  I'm doing new things and I'm not letting fear have a hold on my life.  I am working on being more loving and more joyful and finding the good in situations where I only saw bad before.  And honestly, it's so refreshing.  It's like I woke up.  Now granted, even with my new view there are still tricky days and moments where I would love a do-over.  But for the most part, I'm putting myself out there and learning to grow.

Who would have known on that cold October day three years ago that my friend would have given me the mantra to chant to get my life back on track?  I'm doing it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Things are lookin' up!

I feel like the sun is starting to shine again and the air is beginning to clear.  I am ready to move forward and feel so at peace with that.  I will never forget our lost babies....but it's time to move on.  And God has provided the most amazing reasons to move forward.  First up is the awesome Influence Conference, just days away!  I can't even believe it's coming up so fast!  Sure I'm nervous, but the closer I get, the more excited I am!  I can't wait to meet all these amazing women and join together!  I am going to miss my little family like none other...but truth be told...I am so looking forward to sleeping through the night!  Lucy was doing so good with her sleeping and then she flipped the switch on us and is up multiple times again.  We tried bringing her to our room to sleep on the floor and she is hysterical and the only place she calms down is our bed.  So I've been sleeping with a head buried in my back and Pat has been kicked all week long.  Awesome-sauce!  And yes...I am fully aware she shouldn't be in our bed and we are aggravating the problem....but alas, I am terrible at the whole "cry-it-out" thing and when she is sobbing to the point of almost not breathing and has red blotches on her face, yeah, I'm gonna let the poor kid sleep with her mama and daddy.  And at 2am...I'm in no mood to battle a toddler :)

The second awesome thing I mention in the last post is that I have received my materials and started early classes at IIN!  It's fantastic!  And amazing!  And revolutionary!  And just what I needed.  I can't stop thinking about what I am learning and am so excited to share all this info with others and help others.  I feel like this is my own little personal miracle that it worked out for me to attend the school right at this time.  Once again...God is in the details.

I have so much to be thankful for and grateful for!  I am opening my eyes and looking at my life differently with new appreciation.  It's easy to say those things...but sometimes it can be hard to feel them.  And right now...I truly do feel them!

Something I have been thinking about for the past few weeks is this little blog of mine.  It started out as a food blog because I LOVE food, and always will.  But then, I had a baby, and things changed.  It sort of became a baby blog.  And then it sort of became neglected because working full-time and being a mommy and a wife leave a person pretty drained.  Thankfully that season passed and I am feeling more like blogging again.  But I am struggling with my name.....I'm not really a food blog all the time and I love sharing baby and family and life stories.  I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but I am thinking in a few months this little blog could/should be getting a facelift of sorts.  And I bet I get LOTS of ideas this coming weekend :)

I don't have any recipes to share today, but I do have a recent favorite picture to share.  My mom snapped this a few weekends ago because Lucy needed a family photo for daycare and we didn't have any recent ones of all three of us.  It was pretty exhausting getting her to sit and smile, but we finally (amazingly!) managed a pretty great one.  Oh, how I will miss those two this weekend....but I am so looking forward to this conference!  See all you Influencers soon!!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I feel a little guilty.  I am gearing up to attend the Influence Conference next weekend and I am SURE it will be amazing.  All of the girls have been connecting and blogging about how excited they are and I just can't make myself do it.  I am excited, I really am deep down.  But I am dealing with the aftermath right now and I just can't seem to focus on anything else.

Here's the thing, and I realized this earlier while emailing my cousin almost the same thing I'm going to put here, I am a rock in a storm.  I am strong and tough and determined to make it through the crisis at hand. In the weeks leading up to ultimately losing the pregnancy I was really fine.  I was trusting God and focusing on the blessings in my life.  I was busy being a mom and a wife and working full-time and while I was worried, I mostly let myself get lost in the busyness of life.  I enjoyed Lucy's wonderful distraction kept repeating, 'I trust God. He has a plan.  I trust God.  He has a plan".  I honestly didn't even pray for him to save the baby as I just wanted to fully commit to trusting Him and I didn't know if that was in His plans or not.

And then we lost the baby.  Even then I was ok.  I was a bit emotional sure, but after the procedure I went home and helped Pat make dinner and played with Lucy.  I was surprised at how well I was coping.  Right up until I couldn't cope at all anymore.

It was a day or so after the procedure and suddenly I couldn't stop crying and everything made me sad.  I felt like a constant cloud of sadness had wrapped it's arms around me.  I prayed for peace.  I prayed for comfort.  I prayed for acceptance.

And I am still praying for all those things.  I am still in the aftermath, trying to find my way back into the world again.  Sometimes I get frustrated with myself and don't know why I can't just "buck up!" and be fine.  People suffer far worse losses in their lives and are ok so why can't I be ok?

A lot of what sets me off is other people and they don't even know they are doing it.  Lucy is almost 2 which means to the world that we need to have another baby.  I can't tell you how often lately I have been asked when we are going to give Lucy a baby brother or sister.  I usually just laugh and tell them we'll get there.  But inside....inside I want to scream and cry.  I want to tell them that giving her a sibling is ALL we want to do, only we can't.  We keep having babies taken away.  But I don't say any of that as I don't want to make anyone feel bad for asking an innocent seeming question.

After the first miscarriage I was so eager to try again.  To move forward and feel like we were working on growing our family once more.  But this time, I'm not sure when I'll be ready for that.  I want another baby in such a bad way I don't even know how to explain it.  I want to feel that baby swim around in my belly and hold a tiny newborn in all their perfection.  I want to smell that new baby and rock that sweet baby to sleep, and yes, stay up all night feeding and changing and singing to that baby.  But-I am just so scared right now. 

But, God in all His glory knew I was at the end of my rope and in the midst of my sadness He opened a door and threw this girl a bone.  I have been dreaming about attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in order to receive training to become a Health Coach and now that dream is coming true. My husband and I had talked and talked about it, but we decided to put it off for the time being as it's a bit expensive and we wanted to focus our efforts on starting a family.  Last Friday, just days after losing our baby I received an email from the school with a limited offer on a tuition discount and now I am signed up to start classes at the end of this month.

So maybe the plan isn't to have a baby right now.  Maybe the plan is to count my current blessings and expand my knowledge in nutrition so that I can help others feel healthy and good about themselves.  And even in my sadness, I am grateful and know that while the plan right now might not include a baby, it's still a pretty great plan.  And I have a lot to be thankful for.  So if you see me around and I look a little sad...just know I'm dealing with the aftermath.  But also know that I will rise above this because I am strong and I am tough and I believe in a God who loves to love.

Shrimp and Lemon Skewers with Feta-Dill Sauce

Ok I know that grilling season is basically over, and I'm sorry I didn't get these to you before now.  But the fact of the matter is, this meal is too awesome to not to share!  So toss on a coat, throw a scarf around your neck and get grilling!  Or, you know, use an indoor grill pan.  Way less of an adventure...but you will be sure to stay warm. 

Shrimp and Lemon Skewers with Feta-Dill Sauce
Source:  Food & Wine


1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used Fage yogurt)
1 scallion, white and green parts, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 Tbs finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
2 lemons, cut into 12 wedges each
Salt and Pepper to taste


Start your grill.  In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt, scallions, 1/4 of the garlic and 1/2 tbs of the dill.  Stir in feta, mashing it slightly.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining garlic, 2 tbs of dill and olive oil.  Add the shrimp and lemons, salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Thread 4-5 shrimp and 2 lemon wedges onto a skewer.  Season with salt and pepper and grill over medium-hot grill, turning occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the skewers to a platter and serve immediately with feta sauce.

I served this with a side of Angel Hair Pasta with Chile Lemon & Arugula but cut way back on the spices as a certain little girl of ours does NOT like the spicy!  Hope you enjoy this super simple and yummy meal!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Snake goes in the potty

So I know it's coming.  And I know I should be happy about it and proud or something.  But truthfully.....I want to just lie down and take a nap even thinking about it.  Yes, yes, I'm talking about potty training.  Ugh...makes me tired even typing about it.

I'm sure you get what is happening here....Lucy has become VERY interested in the potty and I know that is a good sign.  However, she only seems to be interested when we are running late and trying to get out the door on time.  She can go hours without even remembering we have a potty in the house and then suddenly its time to put on our shoes and coat and go bye-bye and she starts running around 'Potty!  Potty!  I do it!  Potty!' all while pulling her pants off and attempting to climb right into the toilet.

Ahhh the toilet. Along with potty training and all that entails, the toilet itself brings it's own set of problems.  So here's the thing and I'm going to be completely honest here--I am not a great housewife.  And when I say that, what I really mean is I hate to clean.  Totally not a fan.  There are way more fun things to do in the world besides scrubbing toilets and showers. But now that my daughter is trying to get all waist-deep in our toilet, not only do I need to make time to supervise, I better get my butt in gear and actually clean the sucker because apparently one year olds aren't aware that toilets are yucky places and she probably doesn't want to be touching it all over the place.

Lucy's potty preference really consists of taking off pants and diaper (which she insists on doing herself) and then me sitting her on the potty.  She will sit there for about 1.5 seconds and declare "All done!".  Then we battle for one full minute on how much toilet paper she can use when she didn't potty at all.  She normally wins and 3 yards of toilet paper end up in the potty.  Then she likes to flush, by herself again.  And spray.  And then wash hands for 10 minutes straight.  Don't even think about cutting hand washing time short either.....she is prepared to throw a full on tantrum.

We did buy her a small training potty which occasionally she shows some interest in, but like any strong-willed toddler, she wants to do everything how the big people do them.  But keep in mind that while we may spend lots of time talking about the potty, we are yet to actually "potty" on the potty.  And really, I'm not pushing it or working with her on it yet because she is still only 1 and conceptually, I'm not sure she "gets" it all yet when it comes to the potty.  We are making some progress however as she will notify us (only sometimes) when she has a poopy diaper.  She will run up to us and point to her bottom and say "Poop.  Butt.  Stinky" and then demand she take the diaper off herself so she can help.  Yes, that totally "helps" when she takes off her own poopy diaper :)

One day I decided to show her where the poopy goes so that she might make the potty connection.  So we took the diaper into the bathroom and as I was shaking her poopy into the toilet I thought, "wow....that's a LOT of poopy".  And I was right.  We had to get Pat to use the plunger and unclog the toilet.  So ya, basically my daughter clogged up the toilet.  And we have refrained from putting anymore diaper poopys in the potty since then.

We have had some pretty humorous potty moments however. This past Saturday morning I was heading to take a shower and when I walked by Lucy I spelled the familiar aroma in the air and told Pat she would need a new diaper soon!  I was in the middle of my shower when Pat came racing in to tell me he looked over at Lucy and saw her naked from the waist down, walking around holding her poopy diaper.  He was freaking out, but I'm pretty sure I have never laughed so hard!
While I feel we are getting close on understand poop goes in the potty, I often wonder how to explain that tinkle goes in the potty too.  We have made "ssssss" noises while she has been on the potty before and run water at various times to sort of encourage the process but so far nothing has really clicked.  Until a few weeks ago when she kept pointing to her little potty and shouting "Snake! Snake! Snake!"  Honestly I just through she was making stuff up and sort of ignored her and walked out of the bathroom so I could continue getting ready.  But as I heard her continue to shout I figured I better check out the situation again.  As I walked back into the bathroom she shouted "Snake" one more time and then lifted the lid, sat down and said "sssssssss".  Hmm....making we are making progress after all :)