Thursday, November 27, 2014

Random Thoughts

First of all Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  It's been a while since I've written a blog post and on my way home from spending time with my family I was thinking.  I started thinking about something I had told my husband on the phone and then it led me to remember this past week's message at church.

So, I call my husband on my way home from my family's Thanksgiving.  Side note, typically we do holiday gatherings together but this year was a unique situation that I'm not going to get into.  I was telling him about our family and I mentioned to him "I forgot to tell you, the other day while at QT some guy called me babe and it caught me off guard and then tonight at dinner, my uncle's brother in law told me that I'm a very pretty girl."  It was weird that in the last week I've encoutered strangers say something like this to me twice.  I've always struggled with believing that I'm beautiful or pretty or whatever.  Since I've been a Christian, I've tried to see myself through God's eyes.  Unfortunately I'm human and honestly I think Pat is the only person that's told me I'm pretty or beautiful besides my grandpa.  I've always found it hard to believe Pat when he tells me I'm pretty or that I look nice.  I've assumed he's just saying it out of duty or because he thinks it will make me feel good.  Then tonight, it hit me.  The reason I don't believe him is because I put my views and thoughts of myself on him and assume he feels the same way.  Especially after having two kids and a desk job…it does some things to your body.  It's not fair to him that I don't believe him when he tells me this and why do I find it flattering or easier to believe when a stranger says it?!?!  The more I thought about it the more I realized that when I don't believe Pat is being genuine and telling me the truth it's like I'm calling him a liar every time he says that.  It creates a little disconnect every time.  This is by no means fair to him at all.  This brought me to think of our church message last week.

The pastor was talking about putting others before ourselves and how that creates joy in our lives.  Joy is something we choose where happiness is caused by our circumstances.  I agree with this 100%.  He went on to talk about pride and not forgetting where we came from.  This message has really stuck with me this week as this is something I struggle with daily.  I honestly love to help people and I love doing things for other people, however, people that really truly know me know that I love to be right.  This is something I have to be very conscious about when discussing things, especially with Pat.  I hate that I have this quality and I'm always trying to get better about not always having to be right and I would love to say that I'm getting better but honestly, I'm not sure that is true.  Nine times out of ten, Pat will be the first one to say sorry.  He's the one that smiles and let me go on and on about why I'm right.  Even though he lets me go on and on, sometimes it drives me crazy because I know he doesn't believe that I'm right even though I know I am.  Oh and apparently I'm a control freak, too.  Can you tell?

So to tie everything together, I was thinking about my views about myself and how I'm right and Pat shouldn't think that I'm beautiful.  After all my body doesn't look anything like it did when we started dating 13 years ago and I certainly am not as energetic as I used to be.  Through it all though, I need to remind myself that he loves me for more than just my outward appearance.  Even if I don't believe I'm beautiful, I need to believe him when he says I am.  I need to trust that he's being genuine and sincere and honest.  I'm not in control and I can't be "right" about something that's his opinion.  So, for all you ladies out there that feel less than beautiful but have a loving husband that tells you that you are, believe him.  Make sure you accept the compliment and let him know that you appreciate him, his honestly, and his sincerity.  It will change your life and your marriage and possibly even the way you see yourself!

Proverbs 31:10-31 (msg)
A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it…
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
bt you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the fear-of-God.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Yesterday was a difficult day for our family.  We said our final goodbye to Pats grandpa.  First of all I would like to say that my husband did an amazing job speaking during the memorial service.  He kept his composure and really painted a lovely picture of who his grandpa was as a person.  Having lost my grandpa 10 years ago, I quickly adopted Pats grandparents a my own.  I imagine if my grandpa would have lived to see my children he would have been very similar to Pat's grandpa.  They both loved being outside, had a love of life, and everyone they knew was a better person for knowing our grandpas.  Ken was such a genuine, sincere, kind, and generous man.  I remember one semester when I was going to school and Pat was working nights and we only had one car, without hesitation his grandparents not only drive to our house once a week (45 minutes one way) to stay with our kids, and let me use their car to get to and from school.  I loved how Ken enjoyed the presence of our kids, helped them swim, let them "drive" his tractor, loved hiding the Easter eggs for the hunt every year, and all the tidbits of knowledge he instilled in my kids.  He is definitely going to be missed but his love, generosity, friendship, and kindness will live on through those lives that he has touched!

Monday, August 18, 2014

My testamony

A few weeks ago I went out to breakfast with a friend from church and while we were talking she said something that has stuck with me since.  I was talking about my life and how I came to know Christ and she said "you should really write that down somewhere, that's a great story."  So here I am, to write out my story and how God has changed my life.  I can honestly say since I've given my life to Christ, I hear people say they know exatly when God came into their life, the moment they were saved or the exact date of their salvation.  For me, it was more of a process.  I don't know the exact date, but there were different instances that are extremely clear in my mind that were shaping me into when I would finally choose to live for God.

It started when I was about 6 years old.  I hung out with a family that lived across the street from me and her family and I would sometimes go to church with them.  I was raised Catholic and although I don't have anything against Catholicism or people that are Catholic, for me, it was B O R I N G.  I loved going with my friend to her church and going to a "class" with a bunch of other kids our age.  I found myself counting the colors on the stained glass windows of our catholic church on Sundays or just make sure I was quiet enough so I could ask my mom if I was good afterwards.  I don't remember ever listening to a single "message".  I learned my first Bible verse when I was 6 at Vacation Bible School with my friend that I went with.  It was John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life".  At age six I can honestly say that I had no idea what that meant.  I didn't think too much about it after vacation bible school.  When I was about 7 a new girl moved in up the street from me.  I liked going to her house to play because she had just about every barbie you could think of and the HUGE barbie dream house.  I remember going up to her house one time and her mom asked me if I had Jesus in my heart.  At the time it kind of scared me thinking someone was in my heart but I answered her and said no.  She prayed with me and I asked Jesus into my heart and repeated the prayer after her.  I didn't feel any different and nothing seemed to change so I went about my way.

Many years and things happened between that time and my next "encounter".  When I was 11 years old I got invited to an event called Acquire the Fire with a friend from school.  There were a few people I knew that were going so I decided what the heck and I went along with her and some people from her youth group.  I remember feeling really uncomfortable and not knowing anyone.  Anyone that knew me when i was younger, I was EXTREMELY shy.  I felt incredibly anxious being around people I didn't know.  Everyone was very nice and friendly and that night I remember making my own decision to follow Jesus.  The leaders that went with us bought a bible for me that I still use to this day, it's one of my favorites.  I specifically remember the speaker talking about living for Christ meant giving up "worldly things" whatever that meant.  He talked about getting rid of the non-glorifying music that led to sin.  Whether it was the ambiance, emotion, or anxiety, I left there feeling different and determined to change.  Throughout middle school I went to my first concert: Audio Adrenaline and DC Talk, went to a weekend music festival that was SO MUCH FUN, and meeting different friends and christian people that I went to school with.  By this time, my family was no longer attending church at all.

Getting into my high school years, I drifted away and hung out with different people.  It wasn't until my senior year of highschool that my parents had found a new church, a small church, and told me I should visit.  I decided to give it a shot and once again at the age of 18 I prayed the prayer of salvation.  This time I was ready to live for God, I was ready to give up the things I didn't think I could.  I stopped cussing, I stopped listening to certain music, I was no longer hanging out with certain people.  And then came a boy.  It once again derailed me from the direction I was headed.  I got caught up in what I wanted instead of what I should have been focused on.  Thankfully I had a dear friend that came along after that relationship broke me.  I decided that was it.  I was young, I was going to live for God, I was no longer going to chase after boys.  I didn't need guys to make me happy I only needed God.

For a solid year I was reading my Bible, faithfully going to church, tithing, and living the kind of life God would have been proud of.  Then I met Pat!  He was the only guy that ever just flat out asked for my number.  I went out with him a few times and he was not saved at the time and many people told me it was a bad idea to stay with him.  I chose to not listen to anyone and dated him anyway.  After a year we were engaged and two years later at the age of 21 we were married.  I would like to say it's all been a fairytale but it hasn't.

A month after we were married I found out I was pregnant.  We were excited to start our little family but we were both working part time jobs.  We still had so much growing up to do that we weren't even aware of.  Thankfully he had gotten saved when he was 18 as well but like me, it was a process.  We had baby #1 and he was a breeze, so laid back, rarely cried, slept anywhere.  We thought we had it made.  I wanted 4 kids and he wanted 3.  So when Declan was about 19 months we found out baby #2 was on the way.  Things were going well, Pat was now working full time and I stayed at home with Declan while babysitting for a little extra income.  We were attending a new church, another church plant, as the one we were members of previously had dissolved.  We started skipping church, we were fighting a lot, we weren't really spending quality time together and we started growing distant.

After Alaina was born we had some really rough marital patches that nearly tore our marriage apart.  Thankfully I have a dear friend that speaks truth and life into me and doesn't just tell me what I want to hear.  I was ready to walk away from the marriage and move on but I knew that God didn't want that.  I knew that God was about forgiveness, mercy, love.  He loves all his children the same and even though I tend to rate sin, he sees it all the same.  After many tears, pleading, and begging with God, I finally gave in to what I knew in my heart he was telling me.  Was it easy, no way but where I am now, I can honestly say that it one of the times in my life that I have felt the closest to God.  I believe that out of that difficult time in our marriage I learned more about forgiveness, grace, and mercy than I ever thought I would know.

We decided to turn a new leaf, start our marriage fresh, and that included finding a new church (that we didn't want to skip).  We started going to Element when Alaina was about 9 months old.  We have been going ever since and although it wasn't completely Element church that saved our marriage, once we started going there our lives changed.  It truly changed our marriage, our parenting, and definitely made me more hungry for God's word.  I started reading my bible more and started reading books that would inspire my walk with God.  Here we are, married 9 1/2 years and I would say that the only reason our marriage has been blessed is because we decided to make God the center of our lives.  He is the center of our marriage, our parenting, our decisions.  Yes we still make mistakes, yes we still have struggles, but we don't focus on the problems because we know that God will always have our backs and no matter what we go through, we're never alone.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What is Beauty….really?!?!?!

After reading this article the other day on Facebook, I've been thinking about this a lot.

This woman talks about how her kids took a picture of her laying on a beach and how mortified she was when she was flipping through her photos and saw it.  I can totally sympathize with her.  When I met Pat I was a size 8.  I was comfortable with the way I looked and I felt great.  Now, after being married 9 1/2 years, having two kids, and working a full time job, I find little to no motivation to work out and keep my body looking slim and in shape.  Yes, I want to be healthy and be an example for my kids but after reading that article, I'm wondering how many kids would say their mommy is super beautiful just the way she is.  I find myself sometimes not wanting to play with the kids or get in the pool because I've gained so much weight and I'm no longer attractive.  On the other hand, they're going to remember me doing things with them more than me watching or me being thin.  I feel like I've done a huge disservice to my children by talking about myself and how fat I have become and then taking it a step further and not playing with them or spending as much time with them because I'm worried about me and how other people might see me.  This is a reality check for me to know that I am made in the image of God, I'm beautiful regardless of what society says.  Who am I going to choose to listen to, who God says I am or what the world says I should be?!?!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reflecting Back

We're nearing the end of summer already and I just wanted to write a quick update about what's on my mind.  I started doing a discipleship class at church the second week in April and it's been amazing.  I've met some new ladies and I'm learning more about myself while being stretched and grown just a little more.  I have been busier at work than I was this time last year, but not as busy as two years ago.

This morning I was thinking back over our life since we've been married and I am overwhelmed with an attitude of gratefulness and gratitude.  One of the questions for my "homework" this week was to think of a time when I listened to the voice of God and how the situation went because I/we listened to it.  I was thinking very hard about this since Thursday and I'm having a hard time coming up with something.  I think I tend to unfortunately be more of a Jonah.  I'm so very grateful that God is a God of many chances!

So anyway, that along with doing pictures for a cousin that just got married, it has me thinking about mine and Pat's past and everything we've gone through and that has happened over the years.  When she first called me to ask me to do pictures of her wedding I thought to myself, "man she is so young".  DOn't get me wrong, she is, she's only 21 but then I reminded myself that's how old I was when we got married.  We are coming up on our 10 year wedding anniversary this December and I would have to say that this past year has probably been one of the best of our marriage.  Now, don't get me wrong, I've always loved Pat and we've had good times.  It was very difficult in the beginning.  We were both still growing up and learning how to live with one another.  We didn't ever really fight much but when we did he'd get the good ol' silent treatment until I was ready to talk.

Anyway, looking back at all we've been through, most of which no one really even knows about.  I was thinking of how far we have come, by the grace of God, how much we have learned and grown.  When standing at the altar saying "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,"  we're so smitten we don't fully understand the seriousness of it.  Without going into details, there was a situation a while back that almost destroyed our marriage.  Thanks to an amazing friend and the Bible, we were able to move past the circumstance.  Previous to that particular situation, I would have never imagined being able to go through something like that.  I have learned so much about forgiveness, grace, mercy, pride, and love.  Yes, our marriage has been tough, yes, we've gone through more than I would have liked, but through it all we have drawn closer to God and closer to each other because of it.  So here we are 9 1/2 years later (13 years later from when we first started dating) and Pat is my best friend, I tell him everything, and I enjoy doing things with him more than anyone else in the world.  We have two amazing and beautiful kids.  Their personalities are so fun and Declan's is much more like me where Alaina is so similar to Pat.  I am anxious to see what the next 10 years hold for us and our family.  Below I have listed a few things that I've been able to keep track of throughout the years:

9/9/01 - Pat and I went on our first date
12/24/02 - we got engaged
12/18/04 - we got married, we had all hand me down furniture, lived in a 2 bedroom townhouse in O'Fallon
1/15/05 - we found out I was pregnant with Declan
We were both working full time retail jobs at this point making a little over minimum wage
8/29/05 - went in for a dr. appointment, got admitted into the hospital due to preeclampsia while Pat and Crystal packed and moved our entire apartment
8/31/05 - Declan was born
We lived with my parent's until October 2005, in October 2005 we moved in with our Pastor and his wife at the time
2/2006 - we moved into our own 2 bedroom apartment
4/2006 - I quit my job to be a stay at home mom and babysit
03/2007 - we found out I was pregnant with Alaina
09/2007 - Pat started back at college to get his business degree
12/31/07 - Alaina was born
early 2008 I started dabbling in photography and reading up on the technicalities of it
2008 was a very rough year in our marriage, a few different events almost caused us to end our relationship, but by the grace of God and his love and forgiveness for us, we were able to move past the rough patch and come out stronger.  Thankful for Crystal coming over every Tuesday night to help me with Alaina while Pat was at class.  She was such a difficult baby.
Pat worked at Pappas Toyota from 2006-2008
4/2009 - I started back to college to get my business degree
7/2009 - started working part time at Sams while Pat was at Total Hockey
2/2010 - Moved into our current house in Wentzville
4/2010 - started doing photography as a side business/hobby to earn a little extra money
1/2011 - Pat got let go from Total Hockey
7/2011 - I had quit working part time at Sams because I was tired of working weekends
5/2011 - Pat graduated from Lindenwood with his bachelor's degree
8/2011 - I got a job as a lunch lady working at one of the elementary schools in the kids' district and Pat got a job working as an HR recruiter.  Both of us were working part time, trying to make ends meet and decided to both start applying to full time jobs. Declan started Kindergarten
11/2011 - the week of Thanksgiving, it was a Tuesday afternoon and I was sick as could be, sleeping in the recliner and got the call from Citibank offering me the job I have still.  Two days later Pat got a phone call offering him the position in HR at Express Scripts
12/2011 - I started working full time and put my kids in daycare for the first time ever
5/2012 - I graduated from Lindenwood (I finished my degree in 12/2011 but didn't walk until May)
7/2012 - We took our first family vacation to Legoland Discovery Center in Kansas City, MO
8/2012 - I was able to go to Jacksonville, FL on business to help train some new processors and went with a colleague who became a close friend.  Pat quit working at Express Scripts and started at Monsanto, the same week I was out of town.
10/2012 - Pat's contract expired at Monsanto and he was unemployed until March 2013
3/2013  - He started working at Ascension as an HR coordinator
8/2013 - Alaina started Kindergarten
1/2014 - Took a week long family vacation to FL to Disneyworld and Legoland and the kids got to see the ocean for the first time
6/2014 - Pat was hired on full time/permanent to Ascension as a vendor data coordinator

So much has changed and things have gradually gotten so much better!  I am so very grateful for where we are today!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It's been a looooooooong time

Hello There!

I know it's been quite a while since I posted back at the beginning of the year.  A lot has happened since then.  We went to Disney back in January and it was our first official family vacation.  We had so much fun and it was such an awesome family time that we got to spend together.  Since then, the time has just been flying by.  I've been busy with my photo shoots and Pat has been working a lot and they've been really busy.

The kids have finished another year of school (Alaina finished Kindergarten and Declan finished 2nd grade).  I was so proud of Alaina for getting the "super pal" award for her classroom.  The teacher said that she like to befriend everyone and make sure that no one was left out and everyone was included and having fun.  Declan's classmates all wrote something about him and about 95% of them wrote about how funny he is.

Declan was having some issues in school listening and focusing so we made a trip to the pediatrician only to find out he has ADD and was put on a form of ritalin.  Deep down I knew this day would eventually come, but I kept putting it off and making excuses for his behavioral patterns at school.  Finally when he had a break down during a homework assignment I realized it was more than just him "acting up".  The first day after starting the medicine, he came home and said, "it was so easy to be good today at school".  It made me feel bad for not trying to help him sooner.  As parents we want the best for our children and I think sometimes we're extra hard on ourselves in these kinds of situations.  After he started taking his medicine I received numerous emails and phone calls from his teacher saying how focused and sweet he had been recently.  She stated that she loved how involved and calm he was and that he was no longer afraid to ask for help.

Now that the kids are finished with school, Alaina is super excited to start her first year of summer camp.  The owner of the daycare they go to has a large amount of land with a swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball court, and hiking trails.  Everyday they get to swim, play games, hike, and play sports.  I love this time of year because they come home exhausted and don't mind going to bed even though the sun is still out.  Our kids go to bed so early compared to most.  Alaina is in bed around 7:30 and Declan at 8:00 and we still have to wake them up every morning at 6:30.  Of course they pop right out of bed at 6:30 on the weekends all by themselves when it's a struggle during the week.

Other than that, we're just chugging along.  Pat was offered a permanent position with Ascension and starts as their employee on 6/16 and he is so very excited.  This will be the first time in a looooooong time, if ever that he gets more than a couple days PTO for the entire year.  For those of you that are unaware, he's been a "contractor" for the last three years with no paid time off.  We are so excited for this new chapter of our lives and look forward to what opportunities it brings in the future.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

More than Blessed

With the new year comes new beginnings, fresh starts, and a chance to do what you didn't accomplish the year before.  I am so overwhelmingly happy with the heart my children have for others.  There is a specific teacher at the daycare that is there in the afternoon to watch the school-aged kiddos.  She is not the friendliest, and I swear she has something out for Declan.  She loves to tell us when he gets in trouble without giving him a chance to explain himself.  Pat and myself have had some difficult authority issues with her, nothing bad, just her telling our kids to do things when we're trying to tell them it's time to go.  Anyway, Pat was telling me that the other night when he went to go pick up the kids, Declan started walking out of daycare and said, "OH WAIT".  He ran back in and told this particular teacher to have a nice night and a great weekend!  After doing so, he told Pat that his New Years Resolution is to tell her that every night before he leaves because it just might make her happy.  You have no idea how incredibly happy and humbled this made me feel.  Sometimes I feel as though we're given children to teach us what no one else can.  Declan definitely has compassion and at the young age of 8 knows that a smile, compliment, or encouragement can totally turn around someone's day!  I am so proud to call him my son!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


So I totally slacked on the days of thankfulness in November.  Here we are, at the beginning of a new year where everyone makes resolutions that typically are given up on about 2 weeks into the new year.

As most of you know, I fell on Christmas Eve and REALLY hurt my foot.  I am just now starting to really be able to walk without a walker.  Before that, I was planning on walking daily as we now have a treadmill in our room along with eating better and cutting out soda.  All of these things together are goals for the new year.  I thought I'd jump on the resolution bandwagon and so here it goes:

1. I am going to quit drinking soda for an entire year.  Water, milk, tea, and juice will be my drinks of choice.
2. I want to run a 5k all the way through by September 30, 2014.  I am going to start walking on the treadmill once my foot is healed and gradually work my way up to running.
3. I am going to focus on eating smaller portions and making wiser choices in the foods I put into my body.  I have a HUGE sweet tooth so this is going to be difficult for me.
4. I want to spend more time with my kids sans electronics.  Whether it's playing games, coloring, making things, I want them to know that I love them and love spending time with them more than I love my computer and phone.
5. I want to lose 50 lbs between 1/1/14 and 12/31/14.

I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful 2014!  I am looking forward to GREAT things this year!!!