Friday, January 24, 2014

RE: You are enough.

This post started as a comment,
then a short email,
then I decided it was something that I should just share with everyone.
Because I think we can all learn from these three words.
You are enough.

I've been wanting to write you this ever since your post on September 20th.
I feel like we should all read that beautiful post
every. single. day.
We all need to be reminded that we are enough
& that comparing ourselves to others is only going to make us miserable in the long run.
I find myself doing it far too often.

I find myself comparing my chaotic cluttered house to someone's not-even-a-crumb home.
I find myself comparing our budget to other people's ability to spend freely without thinking.
I find myself comparing my singing abilities to someone who sounds even more beautiful.
I find myself comparing my blog with blogs much better & more successful than mine.
I find myself comparing my life to the Pinterest-perfect ones.
I even compare myself to you from time to time.

You helped me remember that I'm not the only one doing the comparing.
The grass isn't always greener on the other side.
Sometimes, the people we are comparing ourselves to are doing that as well.
We may not even realize that they may be comparing themselves to us.

Maybe the woman with the spotless home wishes she had kids that were still in diapers.
Maybe the person spending money carelessly wishes they weren't so far into debt.
Maybe that beautiful-sounding soprano wishes she had a mostly smooth tone rather than so much vibrato.
Maybe the successful blogger wishes that things were simple again like when they first started.

Then I realize that I am truly blessed.
I am blessed to have a wonderful family & extended family.
I am blessed to have happy, healthy little children
that someday won't be so little.
I have the chance to stay at home to help them learn & grow.
To watch them reach for the stars & follow their dreams.
To watch them become the amazing grown-ups that I know they will someday be.
and when I count my blessings I feel a thousand times better.

I just wanted to say thank you, Kimmie.
You are wonderful.
You are enough.

There are so many other inspirational posts by Kimmie at Hello M[ess]
& by other bloggers that I sometimes want to write more than a mere comment on.
I think I may do this whole commenting on their blog through my blog thing more often.
We'll see...
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quirky Mailboxes

Some people collect stamps.
Some people collect coins.
Some people collect pictures of spiffy mailboxes.
I am one of those people.
Here is some of my collection...

Carmel, IN




Desert Hot Springs, CA


coyotes w/ cactus


palm tree



steel flame



Hemet, CA


Laguna Canyon, CA





Palm Springs, CA



Sky Valley, CA

 doll house

 giant black

 giant yellow


Yucca Valley, CA


 bread box

 miniature See's candy
(I wish I would have taken a picture showing how tiny it was)


If you're ever around any of these cities,
you should keep an eye out for these different mailboxes.
Maybe turn it into a scavenger hunt or something.
I can assure you that you haven't seen the end of my quirky mailbox collection.
You know, since it's still growing & all...
I've actually seen quite a few around here that I haven't stopped to take pictures of yet.
Mainly because Hubby doesn't always feel like stopping to let me snap a quick pic.
Oh well...
I'll get around to it someday.
I keep tabs on where they are so I can always go back later.
I know.
I'm weird.
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Service

I started this post back in October,
but for whatever reason couldn't get myself to finish it until just now.
I feel that it is important that I still post it even though so much time has passed.

This post is about 2 different kinds of service that we experienced within the past few months.
Gram's funeral service
& also the service that has been provided to us by the community here in Northeast Indiana.
If you follow me on instagram you probably have already seen some of these pictures.

Gram's funeral was held on Friday, October 25th.
The viewing was the night before at this really cool old building in town.
It was 120 years old & had really neat architecture that she would have loved.

At the funeral,
we had an opening song,
"Nearer, My God, to Thee"
followed by an opening prayer.
My sisters gave talks on the Plan of Salvation
then sang "I Am a Child of God" with Little Dudeman & Little Princess.
Hubby read a memoir that one of Gram's friends that couldn't make it sent to him,
then he read an absolutely beautiful eulogy that he wrote.
After that, I was supposed to sing her favorite hymn,
"How Great Thou Art",
but I got tonsillitis & lost my voice a couple days before she passed away
most likely due to stress, fatigue, & such little sleep.
My singing voice hadn't fully recovered by the date of the funeral
(it took about a month to completely come back),
so we changed it from a solo to an intermediate song last second
that way everyone would get to sing it instead of me straining my voice
& sounding like a frog going through puberty.
The closing remarks were given by our bishop,
then we all sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again"
& had a closing prayer.

This entire time we were extremely blessed
to have such great support from our friends at church,
& also from some wonderful ladies from MOPS.

When Gram went into the hospital for the mystery abdominal pain,
we went as a family to visit her every single day.
But Thursday when she went into cardiac arrest & was moved over to the ICU,
the kids weren't able to go back to see her so I stayed home with them.
As things progressed, I realized that I needed to be at the hospital with Justin.
He had been there almost every second of every day since Thursday
& it was hard for him to see his mom like that.
He had so much to deal with & we both needed each other.
I called a few people from church Sunday morning
to see if I could drop the kids off that afternoon after church
(our ward at church meets from 10-1)
Nobody picked up because they were probably busy getting their kids ready.
So I called Heather, my wonderful friend/neighbor on Sunday morning
to see if there was any way that she could watch our kids.
She said that she had church obligations in the morning & other things going on that afternoon,
but that she would call around & figure something out.
A little while later she showed up at my door just to talk.
I was crying, stressed, & I must have stunk pretty bad
because she offered to stay a while to watch the kids so I could take a relaxing shower.
While I was in the shower, she played with the kids & cleaned up a bit.
She's the best.
We are extremely lucky to live next door to their sweet family.
She found someone from MOPS that was willing to come over & watch the kids for me,
but I also got a call back right after I got out of the shower from someone in the bishopric at church.
I had called to see if there was anyone that could swing by the hospital to give Justin a priesthood blessing.
He had found two brethren that were available to head there before church.
He was calling me to get the room number
& to see if I needed someone to watch the kids so I could be there with Justin.
He said they could stay there as late as we needed.
It's like he was reading my mind.
He was definitely being guided by the spirit.
He said if I could drop the kids off at the church building
they could go to nursery & then they could go home with a family in the ward.
Then they could give me a priesthood blessing while I was there.
I came downstairs to tell Heather the new plan & to tell her thank you.
While she helped me get the kids dressed for church,
she told me that she would talk to some people at MOPS to get meals set up on
When I mentioned that people from my church would probably want to bring meals too,
she gave me info to pass along about the site so that they could sign up if they wanted to.
That way everyone could see when meals were being brought & what meals they were bringing.
Such an awesome site!
I gave her a hug & left to drop the kids off at church.
My friend Randi was waiting by the door to help me in with the kids,
as well as two brethren that helped with the carseats
& then gave me a priesthood blessing so I could be on my way.
A couple sisters from church stopped by the hospital later that evening
to see Gram & to see how we were doing.
I spent the rest of the day at the hospital with Justin,
then picked up the kids late that night.
Monday morning I dropped them off with another friend from church,
who was willing to watch them all day as well.
That morning is when we found out Justin had to make the hardest decision of his life.
My stepmom flew into town later that night.
I stopped by the house to pick up a change of clothes for Justin before picking my mom up at the airport.
When I pulled into the driveway I noticed that our neighbors had mowed our lawn for us.
Have I mentioned that we have the best neighbors in the world?
While I was there, a member of the bishopric from church that lives near us
stopped by to check on us to see if there was anything we needed.
After talking for a few minutes & thanking him for the generosity of our ward,
I went to pick up my mom.
She was able to watch the kids Tuesday & Wednesday so I could be with Justin.
On Tuesday before I headed to the hospital,
a couple of sisters from church stopped by unannounced to bring us lunch & see how we were doing.
Our bishop came by the hospital on Tuesday night to visit Gram & see how we were holding up,
then assisted while Justin gave his mom a priesthood blessing.
After she passed away,
friends from church offered to watch the kids so we could go through some of her belongings.
Ladies from MOPS & church came by on Mon, Wed, & Fri for a few weeks to bring us dinner.
Our ward at church provided a small luncheon for family & close friends after the funeral services.
People from our ward that had never even met her attended her funeral.
Everyone's kindness and generosity warmed my heart
& brought extra comfort and peace in that time of need.
There are so many good people out there,
& I am still overwhelmed by all of the caring people in our community that I encounter each day.
I really want to be able to pay it forward someday.
My heart is full.
I feel so blessed.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy 2014

Happy {belated} New Year!

I know I'm a couple weeks late,
but how did you ring in 2014?
My mom (Nani) was in town, so we got to enjoy our holiday traditions with her!
We stuck with our tradition of eating cheese fondue & chocolate fondue,
then playing/eating Candyland,
but things were a little different this year...
You see, we couldn't find our Candyland game.
It's still packed in a box somewhere.
I don't know why I thought I had already unpacked it,
because clearly I didn't.
We ended up playing the Dora the Explorer version online instead.
Little Dudeman didn't seem to mind one bit though.
It was a memorable end to one year,
a great beginning to a new one,
& we loved having Nani there celebrating with us!

Let's take a look at last years resolutions, shall we?

2013 Resolutions:
1. Read scriptures daily (Need to work on that daily part)
2. Kneel for daily personal prayers (I did okay, but need to work on kneeling every day)
3. Create a better budget & stick to it (YNAB has been amazing, but we need to be more disciplined)
4. Keep our home clutter-free (Fail.)
5. Have family home evening every week (Again, we did okay for a couple weeks then slacked off)
6. Exercise & play together as a family (That whole exercise thing? Yeah, it didn't happen.)
7. Have more park days (It helps having a "park" in the backyard)
8. Read at least two books ("The Host" & "A Memory Apart")
9. Invite people over (Need to work on that.)
10. Be a better me (wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, leader, etc...) (I'm not the best person to ask, because there's always room for improvement in my opinion, but I did my best.)

2014 Resolutions:
1. Read scriptures daily
2. Have family home evening every week
3. Get out & enjoy nature as a family
4. Use YNAB phone app often to stay on track with our budget
5. Get unpacked & keep our home clutter-free
6. Invite people over
7. Have date night once a month (at home dates are fine if we can't get out)
8. Write at least five blog posts each month
9. Read at least four books
10. Have more patience with the kidlets

Wish me luck!
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Day, New Start, Happy Heart

My sweet Grandma came up with this wonderful saying & said it often...
"New Day, New Start, Happy Heart"

I remember that saying not only when I think of my Grandma,
but I think of it whenever I have a rough day,
when I get frustrated with the kids,
when I'm feeling down or discouraged,
when I see the cluttered mess that my home truly is,
when I realize that I haven't blogged in over a month,
or simply at the end of the day when I feel like I wasn't as productive as I had hoped.

It's a sweet reminder that each day I can start fresh.
I can have a positive attitude & decide how my day will play out.
If it doesn't end up playing out exactly how I wanted at the end of the day
(it usually doesn't)
There is a new day ahead of me to try again.

I want to apply that saying to every aspect of my life this year, including my blog.
I want to try to remember that
I have the power to make that day better than the last,
& in turn have a better week, month, or year than the one before it.
I firmly believe that this positive attitude & outlook on life
can work miracles,
brighten days,
form good habits,
heal a broken heart,
create self-confidence,
help someone realize the hidden blessings in their day-to-day life
& make every day truly count.

If we start each day with a clean slate & a positive attitude,
we can accomplish so much more
than when we are dwelling on the negative
& thinking of the things we wish we would have done differently yesterday.
You can't change the past,
but you can most certainly change your future.

Have a positive day & remember:
"New Day, New Start, Happy Heart"
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