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!!!