Friday, May 30, 2014

A Really Big Test

Its been pretty quiet over here on the blog front, and even though I stand firmly behind my decision to blog when I have words to say, my quietness in this space has had more to do with this REALLY BIG TEST coming up then me not having words to say. I'm taking the PHR exam tomorrow which is a certification for HR professionals.

I've spent the majority of my evenings and weekends cramming my mind full of Human Resources laws, court cases, theories and vocabulary. My brain is basically mush at the end of each day, and even if I had thoughts other than "OH MY GOSH I AM GOING TO FAIL", I don't have time to write them! This test is basically consuming every part of  me, and I even dream about it at night and sometimes even wake up panicking that I failed. I've literally turned into a crazy person.

Luckily, or unluckily, depending how I am feeling in any given moment, my test is tomorrow. I hope and pray I can report here next week with two words: I PASSED. In the mean time, if you think about it I would so appreciate your prayers that I do in fact pass this test. I take it tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM and probably am going to need a few glasses a bottle of wine if I want any chance of sleeping tonight.

Anyway, I say all this to say: I hope to be back with great news and regular posts again next week. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

10 Summer Date Ideas

I think Summer is officially here in Idaho if the sunburn I have from one hour of being outside this past weekend is any indication! My favorite season is Fall, but summer makes me happy too because I love to be outside.

With Ronnie starting school this fall, we are working hard to stick to our budget and not spend money frivolously. The nice thing about summer is there are a ton of fun things to do that are free or really inexpensive, so we can still have date nights without breaking our budget! We are committed to staying debt free even while he is in school, so I figured I would share with you some of my favorite summer date ideas!

One// Have a picnic at the park

Two// Go on a hike

Three//Watch the sunset together

Four// Go get snow cones at the closest snow-cone shack and sit in the grass and enjoy them

Five// Go to happy hour at a restaurant with a rocking patio

Six// Roast smores in a fire pit

Seven// Go swimming at the river/lake/apartment pool

Eight// Go for a bike ride-in Boise we have an awesome greenbelt along the river that is awesome for bike rides!

Nine// Search for hidden treasures at yard sales

Ten// Be a tourist in your own city-go visit and explore the sites that you'd want to show out of town guests!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Long Blissful Weekend

Today is my favorite kind of Monday. The kind where I wake up slowly, sip coffee in bed while reading, and don't feel rushed to go anywhere or get anything done. The kind where my husband just delivered me breakfast in bed while I type. There's a special joy that comes with starting your day off in a slow way, am I right?

 Its easy to forget the real meaning behind this glorious day off, but I hold a special place in my heart for the men and women that have served our country. So today-I say thank you. Thank you for your bravery and service. I remember those that gave up their lives for our country, and say a special prayer for all the military spouses who sacrifice so much.

This weekend has been a long one for me and extremely relaxing. We went on a breakfast date Saturday morning, along with some cleaning and laundry, and I have finally started the process of redoing my office. I have big plans for that office but it will be a long slow process. As much as I wish I could run out and buy everything I want to decorate and furnish it, its more like one purchase at a time. Dang those pesky things called budgets.

On my agenda for the rest of my day is some serious studying for my PHR test-I take that on Saturday. I'm also going to put on that next coat of paint on my desk and hopefully put the clear coat on too.  Don't worry that we had to sand off my first layer of paint because it looked like a five year old painted it.

Finally, today I'm having a flash ad sale! 
50% of all ad spaces! Ads start today!
Code: USA

Thursday, May 22, 2014

10 Facts About Me

Happy Thursday! This is a especially happy Thursday because its actually my Friday, and I don't have to go back to work til Tuesday. Thank you Jesus for comp time and paid holidays. 

Thank you all for your kind and encouraging comments on my post yesterday-seriously they had me in tears. I love all of you. Anyway-today is as good of day as any to give you ten random facts about me. Enjoy!

1. I absolutely have to have a glass of ice cold water on my nightstand when I go to sleep at night or else I am anxious. 9 out of 10 nights I don't even drink it, but I can't go to sleep without it.

2. I give myself a shot once a week to manage my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

3.I go over my data plan on my phone every.single.month.

4. I love fresh flowers and new office supplies.

5. I eat lunch in my car alone every day and read my kindle and its the best hour of my day, every day.

6. I met my all time favorite band, the Eli Young Band last month. They sang Crazy girl to me, my friend Stacey and about 4 other people in a small room and it was a dream come true.

7. I met one of my best friends at the worst job ever a previous job.

8. I would choose staying at home over basically any activity in the world.

9. My husband is funny, selfless and he cooks. Basically, he's a real catch. He makes marriage easy.

10. I keep a bottle of fingernail polish at work because theres nothing worse to me then having awful chipped nails during a work meeting or interview.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Overcoming A Silent Disease

In October 2012, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic autoimmune diseases that caused my immune system to attack my joints. I spent months in so much pain I couldn't wash my own hair or turn my door knob to get into my apartment. I remember vividly sitting in the doctors office listening to my doctor gently break the news that I might not ever run again.

Its been quite the journey, but I wad determined to run again. In the spring of 2013, I tried every week to run. Somedays, I barely took 10 steps before I had to walk because I was in so much pain. But slowly, I was able to run farther and farther. I cried the day I ran a mile because I was so afraid I'd never get to do it again.

Saturday I ran a half-marathon. I overcame the odds and did what many believed I could not. I pushed through pain and fatigue week after week to finally say I did it.

Its impossible for me to go on a run and not feel grateful that I have the ability to run. I am also so thankful for my wonderful friend and running buddy, Molly, who reminded me what I was fighting for each week during our brutal long runs. She pushed me, encouraged me, kept me company and didn't ever let me just give up.

I am so proud to say I ran a half marathon. It was hard-especially the last four miles. I wondered if I'd ever finish. But I did. I am not fast, and might never be as fast as I was before I got sick, but I am so proud to say that I have RA, but I am still a runner.

Hope is never lost, we are never too far gone for Jesus to restore us. His ways are far better than my own, and He is always good. This trial in my life threatened to stop me in my tracks, to leave me angry and hopeless and restrict the life I lead. But instead, its made me more thankful of all the ways I've experienced healing. Its made me appreciate the body I have and the things it can do. Its made me realize that my identity is not here in anything in this world, but soley in Christ.

We did it. And I'm not stopping here. I have goals and plans and am going to continue to fight against my RA by staying active and healthy. I plan to keep running and hopefully beat my half marathon time in the next year! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring Cleaning Project: The Garage

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Rubbermaid, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FastTrack

Next month will mark a year since Ronnie and I bought our first home. We got engaged and put an offer in on a house in the same week and well, life has kind of a been a whirlwind ever since then. We both also started new jobs that summer, and then wedding planning took over our my life and all of a sudden, its been a year and our garage is still as terrifying as it was a year ago.

When we bought our house I had lofty dreams of having it decorated and organized and ready for pictures of it to be featured on pinner's dream house boards all over the world, but alas, we still have a lot of bare walls and a lot of clutter.

Now that the weather is finally getting nicer and we are out of our winter hibernation, I have been begging, pleading, harassing and bribing Ronnie to finally get the garage cleaned and organized and this weekend, we decided to tackle it. Becoming a home owner means you also become owners of all. We have so many things I never even thought of ever needing when I was an apartment dweller, and storing them in the wheelbarrow really just wasn't cutting it for me.

I came across this fancy garage organizer, the Rubbermaid FastTrack at Target for less than $40 bucks and immediately snagged it up. It looked easy to install and I knew it would be the perfect solution in helping us get and stay organized in the garage. 

The FastTrack was a win win for us both: It only took Ronnie about five minutes to install it, but it created a organized and visually appealing organizations system for me. If there's one thing I hate, its clutter. I need everything to have its rightful space and home. While Ronnie was hard at work, I was busy snapping pictures and deciding what we should hang on the FastTrack first. I seriously would like to go buy a few more now to hang the rest of of our yard and home tools.

We can actually now fit two cars in our two car garage, and find what we're looking for instead of scrambling around searching everywhere. Spending a couple hours in the garage this weekend cleaning it up and organizing it was so worth the time. I am the type of person that feels like when something in my house is out of order and chaotic, my whole life is out of order and chaotic. Spring is the time for spring cleaning, and I am so happy we were able to tackle this massive project and be done with it!

If your garage is as scary as ours was, you should run, not walk to your nearest Target to pick up one of these FastTracks to help you get organized. It is on sale for $28.99 (regularly $33.99) but the offer is only good from 5/18-5/24.  

Behold, a clean and organized garage! 

My next spring cleaning project is going to be our pantry, and I also really want to redo some of the furniture in my office. What is on your spring cleaning list?

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Coffee Date

There's something about sitting with your legs curled up under you, a cup of coffee in hand while someone sits across from you, asking you how you're really doing and really caring about the answer. There's something about coffee dates that brings courage to be real with the person across from you that I personally am hard pressed to find elsewhere. Coffee dates are comfortable, they're inviting, and they feel like a safe place.

Today, I'm participating in Rachel's from Oh Simple Thoughts coffee date linkup. If I had my way,  we would really be sitting across a small table in a coffee shop from one another, talking about life and marriage and ministry and God's goodness, but as goes with blog friends, they're just simply too far away.

Today, if you asked me how I was really doing, I would tell you I feel heavy. I feel like I am carrying so many burdens, fears and anxieties around that I just can't seem to sit down. I cried on the way home from work today, asking God when we could just catch a break. And immediately after that, I felt guilt and even shame that wants to ttell me that its wrong for me to complain about circumstances in my life when really, we are beyond blessed. Our life is not one that is hard, but I realized I don't like to be uncomfortable. But I think its important to note that God is not offended by my complaints, my questions, or my requests. He longs for us to pour our hearts out to Him, even when our hearts need His gentle pruning.

I see the areas of my heart that God is so lovingly pruning. I've been getting a lesson in patience, about surrendering my own desires, and about releasing that tight death grip of control and truly trusting God with our future. God is so patient with me, gently whispering to my heart that He will take care of me, that His love covers me and is enough, that He is in control so I don't have to fight so hard to try to be in control. I hear his call to set down my burdens in His loving hands because He is trustworthy. I hear His reminders to stay close to his loving voice, to direct every thought to Him, to just take one step, and then another after another, to walk the road He has carved for me.

Friends, whatever burden you might be trying to carry on your own, you can set it down. I know how hard this is, especially if you are like me and have spent years trying to prove to yourself that you have it all together, that if you just worked harder, you'd finally get it. Today, I am setting down the things that weigh on me in the loving hands of our father who wants to carry them for us. He is faithful, even when I am faithless.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Few Wishes for the Graduates

Its graduation season, and the girls I have had the pleasure to lead through the last four years of high school are seniors this year. I met them at the end of their freshman year, and have watched them grow into bright, talented, passionate, and loving young women who are closing one chapter of their lives, and turning to the next. I've been thinking a lot about the advice I'd give myself, if I could go back into time and talk to 18 year old me, and thought I'd share that today.

If you are one of my girls graduating this month reading this, you are lovely, you are brave and you have impacted my life in a unique and incredible way. If you are graduating yourself, maybe from high school or college or just beginning a new chapter in your life, this is for you.

You are valuable. Your life means so much more than wearing the right brand name jeans and fitting in with the popular crowd.

Embrace the things that make you different, that make you weird. Your quirks, your flaws, the things that make your eyes light up and your heartbeat faster-these things matter.

You don't have to put down roots right now-you are free to take chances, to travel, to change your major a few times and change your mind.

Do not waste your time trying to convince people to love you-you are worth loving and your worth does not depend on another person's ability to love you.

Do not be afraid to feel what you feel. Its okay to cry, to be angry, to be hurt, and to be full of joy.  Take down those barriers you have so tightly guarding your emotions, and let yourself feel. Its okay to not be okay sometimes.

There's a difference between giving someone grace and forgiveness and giving them permission to hurt you again.

Wait for the nice guy. The guy that opens your doors and calls you when he says he's going to. The guy who brings you soup when you're sick and picks you up for a real date. Those guys are the guys you want to spend your life with, and they're worth the wait.

Figure out now what gives you life, and make time for that every day.

Always be kinder than necessary to everyone you meet-the person who sits next to you in your Biology class, the grocery store clerk, your waitress. Look everyone in the eye, smile at them, and ask how they're really doing. Your attention could change someone's life.

You are going to mess up-and its okay. Failure is never the end. Let it humble you and press you into greater things.

Your story doesn't have to unfold the way you have planned out so carefully. Hold things in your life with open hands because Gods plans for us are often wilder than we ever imagined.

Don't be afraid to use your voice. Be brave and be bold.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Do you know what I love to do? I love to travel. Traveling is one of my all-time favorite things, and even though we don't get to travel as much as I'd like, we have been planning a big trip since we got married-an "anniverarmoon". Because lets be honest, our honeymoon to Mexico was so amazing, I am already longing to be back on the beach with a fruity drink in my hand.  So, as soon as we were back in the United States, I was convincing my husband why I think an anniverarymoon to Hawaii was a must. Also, I think I made up that word anniversarymoon-and I give you full permission to make it a thing.

[One] Hawaii is on our bucket list, and I firmly believe if we don't go now, before babies come into the picture, we might not get the chance to go for YEARS. Of course, you COULD take an infant to Hawaii I suppose, but I can imagine that my trip wouldn't be as relaxing, spontaneous and care free if I had a child to take care. Not to mention I hear babies are money-suckers. I mean that in the nicest way possible-but I knew that once kids come into our lives, we will always find a reason why we don't have the money to spend on vacation.

[Two] Vacations, and even vacation planning, boost happiness. Did you know that just planning a vacation can boost your happiness and mood for up to eight weeks? This is definitely true in my life. Nothing gets me more excited then knowing we have a dream vacation coming up.

[Three] Having something to look forward to gets us through the long winter and those brutal days at work and school. Ronnie is going back to school this fall, and it will be a nice break for us both from the everyday demands of life.

[Four] Adventure is good for the soul, and marriages. I love exploring new places with my husband, I love getting out of Idaho and doing something completely different. I love the new people and food and scenery, and getting to do that with my best friend creates memories that last forever. I'd rather forgo new clothes and a few dinners out in order to save for a vacation. Traveling gives me a fresh perspective and time to connect with my husband in such a unique way.

[Five] Laying on a beach with sun beating down on me, a drink with an umbrella in one hand and a book in the other is seriously one of my favorite activities, and I need more of that in my life.

So you're wondering about the finances right? Vacations aren't cheap, and they're not possible all the time. We were blessed enough to get a decent tax return back this year, and saved that entire thing for our upcoming trip this October. But, theres a few other things you can do to make a trip happen:

  • Plan your vacation during off season when tickets and hotels are cheaper.
  • Plan out the total cost of airline tickets, hotel reservations, food/spending money, and divide that up by the number of months until your trip. If you want to go in a year, you have 12 months to save the amount you need to go, and a year flies by faster than you think. We started planning our anniversary trip last November or December, and its already only 5 months away!
  • Cut out the unnecessary spending-maybe give up dining out, or your daily Starbucks trip, or your online shopping habit. Its amazing how fast that money ads up if you are diligent about saving it!
  • OR, Enter to win a Dream Vacation through RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange! And go on your dream vacation for FREE.
Win a dream vacation you ask? YES! Its true! Through RCI's "Win Your Dream Vacation Sweepstakes," you have the chance to win a dream vacation worth up to $25,000. A total of 40 vacations will be given away in celebration of RCI's 40th anniversary.  People, if you haven't already left my page to go enter, you're crazy. I've already entered, and made my husband enter too because I want to win this trip more than anything. Can you imagine a $25,000 vacation? It sounds like a dream come true to me, and 40 people are going to WIN!

To enter just visit and plan your dream vacation.  You have until June 18th to enter the sweepstakes,and the more you share your dream vacation through social media, the higher your chances of winning. I planned mine to Hawaii, complete with a rental car and all inclusive beverages-now all I am doing is waiting for that phone call that I won. ;) Planning the trip took less than 5 minutes, and I already am feeling happier just thinking about our anniversary trip this October.

Would anything make you happier than winning a dream vacation? Go enter and take me with you when you win! So tell me, where is your DREAM vacation?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lessons from Half Marathon Training (the hard way)

I am less than a week away from a half marathon and I don't feel like I should be the person you go to for advice for half marathon training, since I broke all of these rules at least once, but probably much more. But, I've always been the type of person that had to learn lessons the hard way, so I'm going to share my lessons with you, and hopefully if you are training for a race or want to start running, you can take my word for these things.

1. Figure out your fuel-its quite the balance, figuring out what to eat and drink before a run and when. I learned the hard way that eating peanut butter at any point before a run does not end well for me. I also figured out what I like to eat (toast and fruit) with my coffee, and that I need to give myself two hours between breakfast and my run.

2. If you buy new shoes, break them in. I would suggest NOT buying a new pair of shoes 3 weeks before your race and only running in them three times before your last long run. In fact, I probably won't be running in my new shoes this weekend because my shoes definitely don't feel right just yet. Buy your new shoes early enough to get a lot of running in them, but dont try breaking them in on a twelve miler one week before your race. If you want to learn this lesson the hard way, your knees and ankles and hips and back probably will not be thanking you.

3. Do not experiment with workout supplements before a long run. I definitely wouldn't recommend trying a new pre-workout for the first time (especially if you dont usually use pre-workouts) before your last long run before your race. It is not ideal to have your heart beating rapidly and being unable to catch your breath. Figure this stuff out early, my friends, not late in the game. Every supplement, every food, every drink affects people differently and you definitely want to know this before race day.

4. Invest in running socks-cotton is not your friend. I spent weeks dealing with terrible blisters before I broke down and finally tried socks specifically for running. They are worth the investment. Trust me.

5. Find a running buddy to hold you accountable. If I hadn't had my friend Molly running with me week after week, I would've skipped far more runs than I did. If she hadn't been by my side each week, I would've taken walk breaks whenever it felt hard and shortened my miles. Even if we have our headphones in the whole time and rarely speak, having someone next to me is really helpful when I am trying to push through a tough run.

6. Don't skip your long runs-especially not two weeks before the race. Speaking of skipping runs, just don't. Its a terrible idea, and if you have to do it, make it up within a few days.

7. Do not let a bad run get inside your head. I've had some awesome runs during this training, and some terrible ones. But, one bad day doesn't mean you have a bad life right? One bad run doesn't mean you're a bad runner. Running is largely mental, so if you have a bad run, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out there as soon as you can and know that runners have bad days too, but they are usually followed by AWESOME runs. Its like science or something.

8. Charge your electronics the night before your run. I don't know why I still am having to learn this lesson, but I run with my garmin and my phone and I seem to be scrambling the morning I am going running to find the chargers and hope that 25 minutes is going to give me enough juice. Its much simpler when I just put them on the chargers the night before, but this proves to be much too hard for me often.

9. Hydrate well, especially the days before a long run. I've read somewhere that staying hydrated during a long wrong is dependent on what you drank the day BEFORE your run-so fueling up on water a few hours before your run might help, but its best to drink up the days upcoming your long run/races. Half of my performance when I am running is dependent on being properly hydrated-I usually can tell when I didn't drink enough water because I feel like crap.

10. Be consistent. Running gets better the more you do it. YOU get better as a runner the more you run, so the best thing you can do is be consistent. Schedule out your runs and don't skip them. This is crucial!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Letter to My Mom on Mothers Day

Dear Mom,

Today I want to say somethings to you that I regretfully, do not say enough. You are truly my best girlfriend, and it is not lost on me that not everyone has such an incredible bond with their mothers like we have. You are incredibly strong, completely selfless, and full of love and grace. With each year that passes, I treasure our bond even more, and today, I just want you to know that you have been the singlehanded most important person into helping me become the woman I am today.

I don't know a lot, but what I do know is you are someone I have been able to count on for as far as I remember. From the big, scary tough things like when I was battling health issues as an adult and you fought for answers with me, to the times you have dropped everything to go shopping with me for an outfit for an interview. Thank you for always knowing exactly what I need, it is true that mom always knows best. You know me like no one else does, sometimes even better than myself.

You've been nothing but a picture of Christ's love for me the past twenty-six years. You've loved me, pruned me when my heart was full of weeds, and given me grace after grace, even when I didn't deserve it. Thank you for doing your best to protect me but for allowing me the freedom to spread my wings and learn life's lessons the hard way. You know me well enough to know somethings, I just have to learn for myself.  Thank you for sacrificing everything for us, as kids and now-I admire your strength and selflessness constantly. Thank you for never giving up on me and helping mold me into who I am today.

You've taught me invaluable lessons-how kindness is always better than harshness,  to use what we've been blessed with to bless others, to never settle for less than God's best for me, to work hard at everything I do, to never lose heart because God is trustworthy, and that I am never too much or not enough. Mom, someday, I truly hope I can be half the mom to my future children as you were to me.  Someday, I am going to have my own children and will look to you for advice, encouragement and wisdom on how to raise a child with as much grace and love as you did.

I love you Mom. Happy Mothers Day!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Social Media, I can't quit you

But, I am trying to have a less dependent relationship with you. Last weekend, I watched this video, and then I went to church and heard a sermon on being "Stuck". And I realized, I was stuck in a few things that were not honoring to God and were not helping me on this journey I have been on to be content. Its painful to admit, but I really do think I have (had?) an addiction to social media.

I love social media as much as the next person, and I don't think there is anything wrong with it. But personally, checking all three forms of social media, putting my phone down for five minutes and checking it again just wasn't okay with me.  Seeing happy news about someone I followed and feeling bad because I didn't have that thing (that job, that house, that car, that body) wasn't okay. Being envious and wanting more, more, more was watering a nasty seed of discontentment in my life that I wanted to yank at the roots.

So, I deleted the social media apps on my phone. And while I was thinking about this, I gave my self a long list of reasons why I shouldn't. Such as how I needed to promote  my blog posts, give my sponsors their shootouts, and interact with my friends and blog readers. But then I realized, this can all be done on a computer, I can schedule tweets in the evenings, I can still be active on social media without it consuming every hour of my day.

I decided I needed a break. I needed to stop obsessively checking what everyone else was doing, and engage in my own life. I needed to take pictures for the sake of capturing my own memories that I was okay with not sharing for the world to see what I was doing. I needed to put boundaries on the time I spent on social media and stop let it distract me from what I get paid to do every day, and thats work at my job. I needed to lay in bed at night and talk to my husband instead of scroll instagram. I needed to wake up in the morning and spend the first 15 minutes of my day reading my Bible instead of scrolling through each social media app on my phone.

I don't know how long I will not have the apps on my phone-maybe just the month of May, or maybe longer. I do have to say, if one of them gets brought back soonest its Instagram because I do love sharing moments of my life, and seeing moments of your lives too. But, I definitely needed a detox from being so attached to my phone. I'm still on social media, but not on my iPhone. Crazy, right? I am learning what else to do with my hands now-like read. And work uninterrupted for more than a 10 minute time frame. I haven't given it up, but I am intentionally trying to scale back my usage and be more present in life's everyday, small moments.


Mrs. Laura Beth is a country girl who lives on a farm with cows right in her backyard, but is gorgeous and classy and charming as they come. She is such a sweet hearted soul who is pretty good with a camera, and made me laugh when she taught some young girls about photography who were wondering, "How did you have to post to instagram if you had to wait for your pictures?" . So appropriate for today's post, right? She also recently posted a Mother's Day Gift Guide that if you're like me, might come in handy two day's before Mother's Day! Laura enjoys the good life-reading a good book with a glass of wine in  hand, which is probably my favorite way to spend an afternoon. Go check out this girl, and tell me you don't want to go on a coffee date with her. I do!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How to find True Contentment

Hello to all of you Happy is a Choice readers! I know you were probably expecting to find Brittany here, but surprise! I am getting the opportunity to take over today, and I am so excited. My name is Rachel, and I blog over at Oh, Simple Thoughts. I write about newlywed life, Jesus, food, and the DIY projects we always seem to be working on. I am really grateful to Brittany for allowing me to write this post. I have had these thoughts swirling around in my head for quite some time now, so I am eager to share and process this together! 


Can I just be really honest with you guys for a minute? This is such a struggle for me. I find that I am always looking onward to the next thing, and the next thing. Stopping and dwelling in the here and now is difficult for me. Once I graduated from high school I could not wait to get to college. Once I was in college I could not wait to get involved, pledge a sorority, and meet my best friends. Then my mind was on graduation, and marriage...I was so ready to be a wife. Then I became a wife, and now I find myself longing for a baby, a house, a new car, a permanent place to call our NEVER stops. So as I have become more and more aware of this perpetual struggle I have found myself setting out on a quest to find true contentment. I long, deep inside of my heart, to rest, and not want for anything. So here are some thoughts the Lord has given me, through his Word, and the words of others that have helped me in this journey of finding contentment. 

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." 
Lamentations 3:25-26

"Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments always be white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. "
 Ecclesiastes 9:7-8

"But godliness with contentment is of great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." 
1 Timothy 6:6-8

I read these verses and find myself viewing the world through a different lens. We are only on this earth for a little while, the Bible says our lives are but a vapor... here today and gone tomorrow, so why spend our lives chasing one thing after another. I am seeing that happiness can only be found in the the stopping, the slowing down. Happiness is found in today. I love this quote by Shauna Niequist about this idea...

"Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you have been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you're having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This life, in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted...You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells in you, the true culmination of super and natural. 
You are more than dust and bones.
You are spirit and power and image of God.
And you have been given today." 

Y'all. I cry every time I read that quote. How do we find true contentment? We choose to live this way. Fully alive and partaking of the material world...enjoying the provisions the Lord has given us of bread, good wine, friends, and the littlest of things. We stop throughout the day, and breath in life. We smile at the birds, and little blooms on the trees. We spread joy, and live in TODAY...not tomorrow, or 10 years from now...we stop and live now. That is where contentment is hidden, behind the to do list, and 5 year plan. Contentment is tucked away, waiting to be taken hold of...we must stop and slow down in order to find it, but friends let me tell is there. 

Jesus Christ longs for us to live full lives, that show the world the abundant life he grants us through salvation and adopting us as his child. We were not called to live limited lives through becoming believers!! We are called to live full, content, and joyful lives! 

Let's rest in this truth today, and live fully in joy and contentment! Thanks again Brittany for letting me take over your blog today and share my heart. It was a joy! I hope to connect with some of you over at Oh, Simple Thoughts! Also, I have attached a free printable for you to enjoy and hang up somewhere as a reminder to live for today, and not worry about tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Words To Say

One of my intentions of this space is to write when I have words to say. Somewhere along the way, I think a lot of us bloggers/writers get tripped up with some burden of having to have a post up every day. It becomes something we have to do, an obligation, a job. And though there is something to be said for consistency, for writing even when you don't feel like it, I have been pondering the difference between writing through a writers block and writing when you just don't have anything to say.

Because sometimes, I don't have any words to say. Sometimes, they're just not there for one reason or another. But other times, I have so many thoughts and feelings that only writing will help me process and find the words. There is a difference though, isn't there? The difference is throwing together a quick post for the sake of having a blog post because you feel obligated to, and writing all your thoughts and feelings out into this blank screen and being surprised at where those words came from. Or maybe thats me.

But my intention for this space is to write when I have words. I desire for my words to be intentional, not thrown together. To bring out some emotion in those that read, to give that "Me too" opportunity to one of you experiencing something you feel alone in. To make you laugh or maybe make you cry, to inspire you or just maybe you'll feel like you know me a little bit better. That's the purpose of this place, at least according to me.

I desire to be consistent but I also know the reality of my schedule, and the way my heart processes life. Sometimes, writing is all that helps and others, I need sort out all my feelings and thoughts internally before I can publicly share them. The best part of this blog to me, besides the relationships I've formed, is it gives me a new perspective about each experience I face day to day. It reminds me to stop, to appreciate the moments, to reflect on what works in my life, and what doesn't work so great. It pushes me to step out of my comfort zone in order to have something to share with all of you. But, it does at time feel like a burden, and I don't want it to become something I have to do.

 My schedule this month has two really big events that I am preparing for currently: A half marathon on May 17th and my PHR certification test on May 31. Both of these things are not only SUPER important to me, but also come packaged with a nice big anxiety bow on top. The anxiety is something that I am working on letting go of, knowing that my performance on both events, the race and the test do not determine my identity or my worth.

So thats where we're at-I am going to make a valiant effort to write here when I have words to say. And even to push myself to find words to say when I don't feel like I have any. But, to give myself grace because sometimes, we don't have any words and thats okay too. I'm going to give myself a pass on writing a blog post when my schedule gets crazy or I just want to veg out on the couch in front of netflix with my husband. And I'm going to be okay with that. I'm letting go of the pressure, and going to write when I have words. Because its as simple as that.

What do you think is more important to you, in your writing and blogging? Being consistent and pushing yourself to find the words, or being okay with the silence and writing when you have something to say? I don't think there is a right or wrong-writing and blogging is personal and the beauty of it is we get to do what we want with our own space on the interwebz. I'd just love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Meltdown

Last night, I had a meltdown. A full blown crying on the floor of my closet because I had nothing to wear. Scratch that, the thing I wanted to wear for this important event didn't fit me anymore. Granted, it is a size two and I admittedly haven't been a size two since I was in a very unhealthy place coming out of a nasty breakup. I am not naturally that small and for all of you who are, I am extremely jealous right now.  I tend to fall into sizes four to six on good days. Today though my friends, was not a good day.

So there I am, being a crazy irrational person over this outfit that didn't quite fit right, and my husband, bless his heart tells me "You look great. You're not fat. You're beautiful." He was trying, but nothing in the world was going to fix the fact that that size two outfit used to fit, but now it doesn't. Well, nothing short of buying a new outfit that fit and made me feel and look fabulous.Thank the good lord for moms who always know best because she text me and asked me to meet her at the shopping center near our house. I found a new outfit and stopped being so dramatic, but I thought to myself: What other events do I consider meltdown worthy?

[One] When I get Pikes Place Coffee instead of Blonde Roast at Starbucks

[Two] When I don't get to take a lunch at work because I am too busy

[Three] When our dog breaks out of his kennel and destroys something expensive to repair

[Four] Unexpected car maintenance costs like having to buy new tires

[Five] When I have a work meeting and I've picked off the nail polish off five out of my ten fingernails

[Six] When the laundry mysteriously goes from the dryer to a basket and sits there getting wrinkly for days

[Seven] A dead cell phone

[Eight] Delayed flights that cause you to miss your connecting flight

[Nine] Five PM Traffic

[Ten] When I am forced to parallel park

[Eleven] Being stuck behind the crazy coupon lady in the checkout line at Wal-Mart

[Twelve] Costco on a Saturday afternoon

[Thirteen] When my computer freezes and I have to reboot in the middle of something

[Fourteen] All the job board sales reps calling me constantly wanting to set up a time to "discuss how their products can help make my life as a recruiter easier"

[Fifteen] When Netflix keeps flashing the same error message over and over and I can't watch my Gossip Girl rerun

[Sixteen] When Chick-Fil-A puts pickles on my original chicken sandwich

[Seventeen] Finding something I must-have-or-I-will-die and my size being sold out

This is in no means an exhaustive list. I just thought I'd stop before you, my coworkers, and church friends read this and think I am an unstable person. Tell me, what causes you to meltdown?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Dance

Each week, I open up my blog to one of my Venti Sponsors and allow them to completely take over my blog. They have freedom to write whatever their heart desires, and I am constantly blown away by the amazing content my sponsors and friends have to share with you. Its nice for me to take a night off of blogging knowing that I still get to post a quality piece for you, courtesy of one of my friends on my sidebar. I am especially excited about Amber's post today. She is one of my blogging besties, and she encourages me often. Her heart is pure gold, and her writing is never short of amazing. Today she's sharing a little bit about marriage which you know is one of my favorite topics!

Howdy Happy Choosers! I'm Amber from Mr. Thomas and Me. I'm one third of the Thomas team. Sweet Brittany let me come over and share my heart about marriage and the delicate balancing act that is life spent with another soul.

The honeymoon period is characterized by love and happiness and romance abounding. Ours was that plus deep guilt riddled with pockmarks of resentment. A marriage whose face looked more like the hormone-filled acne central of a teen than a joyful, sky-looking romantic.

Six months after our first date I knew he was my person. I knew we'd spend our lives arguing, loving, laughing, reproducing, enjoying. I knew and it nagged. That little thing in my head -nag, nag, nag.

I dreamed of all those things happy, loving couples do -engagement, marriage, houses, kids, puppies, sports, travel. Those dreams like little ballerinas dancing gracefully across the tides of my mind -beautiful, soft, wondrous. Then, the nag. The ugly little nag. 

We wed; those inklings and thoughts realized on the front lawn of my childhood home. Kissing under that alter he made and I covered in burlap and cotton. I knew he was my person. Yet, I heard the nag. 
We honeymooned like couples do. Complete with sandy beaches, poolside cocktails, tacky kissing pictures. Oh how we honeymooned. But that nag. That little nag. That guilty nag. 

That nag, it said, he doesn't lead.  It reminded me of all those high school sermons that preached about a man leading the home. He's the head. I'm the wife. Oh how I hated that nag. But I was deep in it, we were married, I said I do and he echoed it. What now? Was our new marriage doomed?

From that first night in our apartment filled with laundry and gifts to our second wedding anniversary I harbored that nag. I let it blossom a little seed of resentment. It bloomed in soils frustrated by the need to be quiet, gentle, subservient. It quickly blossomed as the heat of the "biblical model of marriage" poured down on us at church. I felt heavy under the yolk of the gentle wife. He burdened with the expectations of leading it all. Us, young, newly married, confused how this works.

Then, He came in. He said, no dear children, you are unique. Each made specifically by my for a purpose, a love, a family. Two unique parts joined in one sweet marriage births a single, more powerful union unlike any other. 

And I understood. I understood, my husband is a leader and so am I. I'm powerful and opinionated and not good at being a follower -He made me this way. Jason, he's mellow and even keel and prefers to be a teammate -made perfectly so by Him. Decisions are made in the context of conversation after we've both come to just the right answer for us -though, at times. that answer is a compromise.

No role is the husband or wives in our home -other than me girl, him man. I mow the lawn, he does the dishes. I always make the bed, he washes the cars. We're normal in our own right, way, marriage. Our normal doesn't look like the traditional model of biblical marriage, but it's founded on Him. On His grace in our short-comings, on His mercy in trials, on His love in our daily.

Like dancers, we hear the tune life happens to play and share the role of leader. Sometimes it's him, other's it's me. Mostly, we hold tight to one another swaying in the beauty of the music. All the while, He looks on, proud, sure, lovingly.