Grace Makes Me Brave

Grace. That’s my word for this year, this season. Grace. It’s a word that I thought I knew the meaning of, but only knew the surface of before this season. Grace, I’ve found, gives me strength. Grace, I’ve found, provides joy. Grace, I’ve found, makes me brave. Grace is a firm foundation I can stand on.

This season has been one of rocky, wavy, stormy waters. It has been one of trial after trial after trial. And it has been one where multiple times I’ve had no idea how I could continue on. I’ve shed more tears than I have in a long time. I’ve wondered if I could handle anything else, right as another storm was blowing in. And I feel like my day to day life has been a dream because so much has been going on.

As I sit here in the room that I’ve called mine for over 3 years for my last Sunday morning in it, I’m feeling a lot of different emotions. Thursday I opened my e-mail to find the copy of the announcement of the person’s who’s place I’m taking’s departure and my arrival with a bio about me. And it hit me. This is really happening and this is a really big job (and a job that I was wanted for). In some ways, this move has been a pipe dream for many years. In other ways, this has been something I thought may never happen, because the door had been shut so many times.

But as I sat in the HR office on Friday and kept hearing “the team is so, so excited to have you!” And as I walked around the apartment that I would be calling home in less than 1 week – I realized, this is really happening.

Grace and faith in those moments – I grabbed and clung onto them.

And I sat there and reflected on and I clung to the moments a few days prior where I looked at my little brother and gripped onto truth that he is a walking miracle right now. You see, a few weeks ago as I hopped in my car to head to the interviews that would potentially bring me closer to family,  I was teetering, because leaving the place I’ve called home for 5 years wasn’t going to be an easy decision. I had heard that morning that there was an increase in 20-30 year old having strokes. I’m medical, so this caught my attention, but little did I think that night my family would become part of that statistic that very night.

As I was driving down the highway to these interviews and heard my brother couldn’t move and was having severe dizziness and was in the E.D. with a new diagnosis of something I had never heard of, but knew it didn’t sound good. I started to cry. Full on sobbing as I’m driving down the highway screaming at God “I get it, I’m supposed to move, just let him be ok.”

You see, I learned, that sometimes my life has to fall apart from all directions for God to catch my attention. Sometimes I get so comfortable, that He has to allow things to get uncomfortable to get me where He is leading me. I’ve learned just how He can use things of pain and hurt for His glory. Because without those many hurts and deep deep pains, I wouldn’t be headed where I am right now. And as my stubborn bull headed self got in the way throughout this process, He gave me grace upon grace upon grace. When I slammed a door shut, He gently re-opened it and whispered “I’m opening this, don’t close it”. I learned the freedom in true forgiveness. I learned who will be there for me in the storms and who won’t. I learned once again, just how important family is, no matter how much they drive you nuts.

I’ve learned that I will cling to the grace from above to make me brave in the toughest moments of life. And here I am, diving head first into facing the immensity. I’m headed towards dreams that were not developed by me, but by the life God has dreamt up for me. And those are the sweetest dreams of all.

Ready or not, here this goes.

#Chase2015: Finding Balance

The older I get, the more I realize that life truly is a balancing act. We are always balancing work life with home life, healthy eating with “cheat days,” or hours at the gym with “couch potato status.” Now that I’m a mom, I’m also juggling kid time with chore time, mommy/daddy time with sleep, and my list goes on. However, despite this circus act, I have resolved to make a change in my life. And even if it doesn’t end up being a physical change, I have resolved to make an attitude change, but more on that later.

#Chase2015: Finding Balance

First off, if you have been reading our blog for the last couple months, you will have seen my posts about completing the Whole30 challenge and the diet changes we made in the months following it. Here we are in September, and for the most part we still eat a diet that avoids grains, legumes, dairy, and sugar. We love the way we look, and feel, but when it comes down to it, eating this way is just plain pricey. If you’re like us, and most other young adults these days, student loans are in repayment and money is tight. Throw a couple kids in there and a mommy who stays home, and pennies get squeezed a little tighter. So we have found a balance for our diet; if we have dairy or grains, we try to stick to one serving in a day. That not only helps stretch our budget, but it also keeps those grains in moderation for us. Sugar is limited to when we go out or the weekends when we get a craving for something sweet. Peanut butter is one thing we have made a firm decision on though: it is definitely a staple in our house. And we love it.

Secondly, I have been trying harder to really be present with my kids lately. By that I mean, putting down the phone and staying off the phone/iPad/computer unless absolutely necessary or its nap time, being selective with what chores really need to be done while kids are awake, scaling back my DIY hobbies, and making simpler dinners that don’t take one-two hours to prepare. One day I realized that I wasn’t truly giving my kids the attention they need and deserve, instead I was saying “hang on a minute” way too often as I searched Pinterest for another recipe or toddler activity, or checked another status on Facebook.

Chase 2015 ruth

Writing all this makes me feel like such a horrid mommy, but if you are a mommy then you know exactly how it goes. When you spend all day and every day with little ones who can’t communicate at your level, it’s all too easy to get enveloped in worlds (aka internet or texts) that actually do. I thought about what my kids would remember me as when they were older and realized that if I was honest, it would be a mommy who was always distracted with other things.

I don’t want to be that mommy. I want to be involved and interested in my kids’ lives! I want to be remembered as a mommy who took time to look at the bug that was on the windowsill instead of saying “uh-huh, that’s cool honey” with my nose buried in my phone. So my first step to being the “new” mommy I desire, was to take Facebook off as one of the tabs in my browser. This way, when I open my browser, I’m not immediately sucked into reading about a friend’s adventure that leads me to a distant cousin’s wife’s brother’s fiance’s bridal shower pictures (know what I mean?).

The third area is balancing my personal time; what do I do when it’s just me? I don’t get a lot of time to myself but there are moments for sure. I’m aiming to include a small work out into my days a couple times a week, and my husband usually wants to join so that doubles as “hubby” time too. I also have joined a MOPS group which so far has been wonderful for my overall well-being. It’s quite amazing what some adult time can do for a mommy’s brain. I have been more focused on getting chores done in a timely manner so that I do have bigger chunks of time that I can choose to do what I want with. I am a big crafter/sewer and so that is usually what I spend my time doing. However, lately I have been striving to reduce stress in my life. And sadly, a lot of my unfinished craft projects cause me stress because I’m trying to “schedule” them into my personal time to get them done. I have been learning to say “no” a lot more and have been reaping the benefits of not feeling rushed or stressed all the time.

Overall, I have been striving to change my attitude towards all aspects in my life. If a day doesn’t go as planned, it’s okay; life will go on, and I can try again the next day. My house is a mess? It’s alright; we LIVE here. Baby didn’t sleep well last night so now mommy is tired and toddler is asking for milk….again….and again…and again….? I choose joy. I am choosing to smile and to live a life full of joy and involvement and free from “mommy guilt.” “Mommy guilt,” if you didn’t know, is this ugly thing that makes you feel bad that you didn’t give your child the perfect lunch, or have the house sparkling clean when daddy comes home and you’re been chasing 2 -year-olds all day. It is also a nasty weed that will grow and grow if you don’t catch it before long and deal with it. Avoid it like the plague.

I want to live a life of purpose, one that is filled with things I chose to do, instead of things I ended up doing because I wasn’t paying attention. What about you? What things have you found a balance for/need to balance in your life? Let’s make the rest of 2015 a great one, and learn to balance our lives. No one is perfect, so lets stop expecting perfection from ourselves and live with joy.

Healthy Eating as a Family

When I began losing weight three years ago, I warned my husband that it (the weight loss and the changes I was making) would affect him and our family. I would be cooking and eating different meals and needed his support. The whole family was going to have to go along for the ride, including our then one and a half and six month old girls.

Looking back, I am extremely grateful that I changed how I ate when my kids were very young. When kids are under two, they pretty much have to eat what you give them. While they have preferences and are starting to know what they like, they can’t make anything for themselves or open their own fruit snacks yet, so as parents you have most of the control still.

Healthy eating as a family

Healthy Eating as a Family

Now don’t get me wrong, they still ate then, and do now, normal kid food. We enjoy chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, and peanut butter sandwiches as much as the next family, but they had to eat what I made or not eat. That’s an important lesson to learn early.

For those with kids that are older and are looking to make healthy eating changes, it’s possible! I have had to use different techniques on our kids to get them to eat healthy and accept that they are in fact going to eat what I make. Here’s how:

Introduce new healthy foods slowly.

Don’t go from making chicken nuggets and French fries to all vegan food overnight. That is a recipe for disaster. Take the healthy foods they already enjoy and include them at meals and slowly introduce new fruits and veggies.

Make healthy food fun.

Our 4.5 year old, doesn’t like bananas, but if I put chocolate chips on it and call it a banana ghost, all the sudden it is delicious. Try peanut butter on celery or ranch on carrots. The same thing you may do to get yourself to like a new healthy food. Another way to make it fun is cut food in cute shapes or use fun names to get them interested in it.

Try growing your own food.

We just (literally today) started our own little backyard garden. We have strawberries, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and carrots. My husband and I decided to let each of the girls plant a seed they wanted, so we are growing a pumpkin and watermelon, hopefully! I do not have a green thumb, but the girls were so excited to try planting and growing things that I thought okay, we can give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen?

Stop eating off their plate.

If you’re an adult and are trying to lose weight, don’t snack with your kids! I am very guilty of going out to places and packing lunch for the kids, but nothing for myself, so I end up eating a few bites of a sandwich and a couple carrots. By the time I get home, I’m starving so I eat a full meal and then some. It’s not healthy. Pack yourself a salad, a healthy sandwich, a smoothie or even just a protein bar so you aren’t getting overly hungry and binging at home.

Yes, losing weight with kids around is tough. But you can do it! Get them eating healthy, and make healthy eating a way of life for everyone. And don’t forget a piece of cake every now and then, never hurt anyone.

How to Build Positive Relationships

I’m sitting on an airplane, drinking a gin and tonic, contemplating what makes for a healthy relationship. My husband, whiskey in hand, looks over my shoulder, raises his glass and chimes in with, “lying, sarcasm and alcohol. You’re welcome.” You wouldn’t know it by his suggestions, but he is actually pretty good at relationships.

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There are a million and one things to read on healthy relationships – so many so that contributing without being trite or formulaic is a struggle. We’re in relationships with people every day. From our coworkers and neighbors to our family and friends – everyone we encounter on a consistent basis. Everyone is different; what works for some does not work for others. All too often, we know what we don’t want in relationships with friends and family because we recognize what unhealthy looks like, especially in relationships outside our own. Unfortunately, too often in our own lives, even if we know we are practicing unhealthy relationships (which a lot of times we aren’t even aware), we don’t know how to do otherwise. Continue reading “How to Build Positive Relationships”

Tie A Knot and Hang On

“When you come to the end
of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

I still remember the night in exact detail. I was visiting my parents for Christmas in Indiana, Steven was on his 2nd deployment within our short 17 month marriage at that time. He had been gone only 4 weeks. I was 17 weeks pregnant with Madelynn (our first) and headed back to San Diego the next day.

My mom and I had gone to have our haircut, but before we left my dad called. He had been traveling which is not unusual. After the call my mom was much quieter. When we got home my mom snatched their laptop and went to her room. I thought nothing of it and I sat down to watch tv before bed. My dad came home about half hour later and both of them came to the living room and turned off the tv and sat in front of me. That’s when I knew something bad had happened.

My brother-in-law Geoff had been killed in action in Afghanistan on January 13, 2010. My heart broke. Geoff was 21. Just 21. It was too soon. He was going to be an uncle. He wanted to be an Army Ranger. He was smart, funny, entertaining and always reminded me he had my back. I wanted it to be an awful joke. But it wasn’t. What it was, was the beginning of an awful week.

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The Never-ending Journey of Budgeting

With the new year comes many resolutions that cover a variety of topics. From weight loss to organization…to eating better or quitting bad habits; every where you look there are people who are determined to make their life better once and for all! My husband and I did not make resolutions this year, rather we shared what we would like to see happen in 2015. Our discussion included finding more time to truly relax, making an effort to be healthier (eating better and exercising more), trying to be present in our interactions with others (aka put down the electronics), and a lot about money.

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Budgeting seems to be a never-ending mountain that we are climbing; there are some months where we do great and others where we completely botch our plan and then continue to botch it for a few months before we wake up and realize we are totally off course. It’s awful, and it seems to keep happening. With a new baby coming this year, Continue reading “The Never-ending Journey of Budgeting”

I’ll Be Home

I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me…

It is a familiar song and one my Grandma always said made her sad as an adult. I didn’t fully understand why, until I was unable to be “home” for Christmas.

My first home and the place I will always think of when asked about home is Indiana. It’s the house where I grew up with my parents and two brothers. My heart aches for that home during Christmas. That comfortable place where so many memories are. I can picture the tree, the stockings, the decorations and all the love that exists. Continue reading “I’ll Be Home”

DIY Gifts For The Whole Family

When it comes to Christmas, I am all about making gifts for my friends and family. Not only do I like saving the money, but I also like to make their gifts extra special and personalized. For those of you new to the DIY scene, do not fear; there are so many gifts that are super simple to make. Today I will share just a sampling of my favorites, but definitely search on Pinterest for more ideas (just a warning: you will most likely get more results than you ever dreamed of and therefore want to make them all).

RuthDIY

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Full of Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope each and every single one of you have a very blessed day full of family time, turkey and other goodies too.

Here at Anchor Drop, we wanted to share a bit about what we are thankful for…

How I Learned What “Thankful” Means

It was just a short three years ago that I experienced it for the first time, and I was one and a half months into my nursing career. Since I was still on orientation, I was lucky enough to have Thanksgiving off. I did however work that Wednesday prior. As I wrapped up my shift at the end of the day,  I noticed the sullen, quiet lull that took over the halls of the hospital. Everyone who could be discharged, was. Patients who were still in the hospital were there for one of three reasons: they were either receiving chemo that required them to be there, they were unstable, or they were actively dying. After my shift concluded I jumped in my car for the three hour drive from Michigan to Indiana.  During the car ride I began to understand what being thankful truly looked like.

morning drop, anchor drop, inspiration

Continue reading “How I Learned What “Thankful” Means”

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