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Lifestyle

Don’t Wait to Love Yourself

November 6, 2018

This one goes out to all my girlfriends out there. In the spirit of keeping it real I want to dive right into a sensitive subject. Let’s talk about body image. Gosh even just typing those words sent a shiver down my spine.

You know, most women that I know could instantly point out the things about their body that they don’t like. My hair is too stratight. My hair is too curly. My teeth are not white enough. My face is covered in acne. My butt is too flat. What abs? If I work out a little extra, if I go on this special diet… the list goes on and on.

I was not immune to these lines of thought. As I started learning how to have a better relationship with food- viewing it as fuel for my body, and not something to just munch on when I was bored, or something to avoid to lose weight, I began to appreciate my body a little more. Then I started to work out, and I began to appreciate how strong my body actually was- I was capable of so much more than I thought I was! I was spinning three days a week, I was eating a mostly Paleo diet and I was feeling strong, confident and beautiful.

Right around this time I started gaining this confidence, my husband and I started talking about what it would be like to have a baby (SPOILER: I am writing this post nearly 14 weeks pregnant =p ). I have always known I was made to be a mother. I have known since I was a little girl, pushing bitty twins in a double jogging stroller that I wanted to be just like my mom, raising strong and good people to make this world a better place. So after nearly three years of marriage, this conversation seemed only natural.

But as we started having that conversation, those thoughts that I just had overcome started to come back. What if I gain too much weight? What if all the weight goes to my love handles? What if I get stretch marks? What if I get grey hairs? What if my hair texture changes completely? What if I get acne? OMG what if I get stray hairs on my chin that I have to pluck?

Then we got pregnant. And the first three months were no walk in the park. I was sick every night. I had dark circles under my eyes. I couldn’t use face wash because it turned my face as red as a tomato. I was now going to be doomed to acne (insert major dread here). I was bloated and none of pants fit. I found three grey hairs. AND there definitely are stray hairs on my chin that I have to pluck (LOL). WHAT IF I GET STRETCHMARKS?!

As we’ve gotten further along in the pregnancy, I am carrying all my weight in my love handles and backside. I stopped wearing pants because I couldn’t bear to keep buying bigger sizes. I had to buy all new undergarments because my body is growing in ways I didn’t know it could. I just recently had to take a break from the workout I love so much because the muscles that hold everything together are stretching so much and so rapidly that they hurt when I stand up too quickly.

And you know what the most surprising thing is to me? I am the happiest I have ever been. I could absolutely care less about gaining weight, unruly pimples on my upper lip and the side of my nose or those stray hairs I have to pluck. I haven’t found any stretchmarks yet, but I am sure they are coming, and I am ready to welcome them with open arms.

My body is physically housing another human right now. It not only created a human from scratch, but is now letting it have the space for the next 5 months to grow and get stronger and come into this world as a little human that we can hold and love.

My body is now the body of a superhero. Seriously. It is ridiculously awesome that I am actually growing another person inside of me right now. And if it takes gaining weight, and earning some tiger stripes along the way, I am happy to do that.

I am in awe of my body and all of the ways it is growing and changing. It’s amazing that it took me all these years and a completely life altering event to finally truly appreciate this body that I have been given. I only wish I could have loved and appreciated my body sooner.

If you’re reading this and you’re in the phase of wanting to change something about your body, I want to encourage you to look in the mirror and find one thing about your amazing body that you can love right now. Loving yourself is a life long process, but start today! Don’t wait.

You are amazing. If I am the only person to tell you that today, I hope it sinks in. You are truly, utterly, amazing.

Lifestyle

Happy Halloween! We are Having a Baby!

October 31, 2018

Wow! I cannot believe today is finally here. I feel like I have been waiting for this day for ages.

In August, I threw Sean a surprise 30th birthday party. If you know me in real life, you know that secrets are NOT my forte. I can’t even keep a Christmas present a surprise for very long. But I planned a big ole party and people flew in from across the country, all to celebrate and love Sean! It was a great success, and that love is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Not long after his party, we found out we were going to have a baby! I wish I could tell you that this was all romantic and involved us sitting together waiting for the countdown to end like you see in all those commercials. But actually, I really didn’t think I was pregnant, and the Frontier guy was at my house fixing something for my TV when I took the test (I can see the story now- Once Upon a Time, while a nice stranger was making sure I could watch Grey’s Anatomy, I found out you existed… you know, maybe I’ll actually write that story some day =p). Imagine my surprise when It came up with that tiny life changing word: pregnant. That ain’t no etcha sketch…That’s one doodle that can’t be undid home slice! A side note- due to the fact that I have been charting my cycle for 4.5 years, we knew about this little babe 2-4 weeks sooner than most people even find out they’re pregnant. If you want to know more about this really cool process, message me, and I can put you in touch with some incredible people who really know what they are talking about!

Sean had coincidentally forgotten something he needed at work, so I ran to TJ Maxx and got the cutest little honest company diapers, and the most hipster onesie I could find and I drove down to where he works and told him I had one last birthday gift for him. The look on his face when he saw the diapers is not one I will soon forget.

Every moment has just been such a beautiful blessing so far. Now look, don’t get me wrong- I have been feeling awful. I easily sleep 10-12 hours a night. I was having pretty rough “morning sickness” (ummm hello that’s a really awful misnomer because I didn’t get sick until the late night which made sleeping really hard lol). But thank God for modern medicine, and for the very kind nursing staff at Candlewoood Medical Group. I swear I call them at least once a week with the dumbest questions ever and they do not ever miss a beat and even thank me for calling them. Makes me feel awesome rather than stupid for calling.

As we’ve told family and friends our wonderful news, I have been incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of LOVE that already exists for this tiny peanut that is growing inside of me. My mind is blown. We have had nothing but hugs and tears and big cheers of congrats. Everyone deserves this kind of love every single day.

We were so excited when we found out that we were going to be pregnant during Halloween season because it was on my bucket list to dress up as Juno while being pregnant. Imagine my surprise when Sean actually suggested we announce like that! I was thrilled!

This baby is everthing we have hoped for, dreamed for, worked for and prayed for. Three years ago when we said I do, we knew that this is where our life was heading, and I could not be more honored or excited to start this journey.

Quick stats:

  • Baby has already been to TWO concerts: Sir Elton John and the amazing Joe Pug.
  • Starting at around 5Pm the baby gets all jumpy and when I lay down I swear I can feel he or she moving because something is definitely tickling my completely empty bladder.
  • I have completely given up on pants. They just aren’t worth it. Leggings are my absolute best friend, and thank God it’s fall and I get to wear them with tunics and swearters and scarves and boots. It’s glorious.
  • My first craving was for egg rolls. My second craving was cinnamon dolce coffee. I am currently drinking peppermint mocha coffee and it’s honestly delicious. This is a far departure from my usual dark coffee with plain half and half in it lol.

I am so looking forward to this advent season- to share with Mary the quiet excitement of being pregnant and having a tiny soul to cherish.

If you read all of this, thank you for walking this journey with me. I have missed writing, and now that the secret is out, I can’t wait to start again. And I can’t wait to see how becoming a mom helps me to grow and change into the person I was always meant to be.

 

(Still looking normal)

 

(YES! I still spin- leaving for morning workout here)

 

(Grow baby Grow! I can’t believe I have changed even since this picture just one week ago!)

 

 

 

Lifestyle

A Broken Yet Beautiful World

October 9, 2018

Man. What a time to be alive. I have recently taken to watching Good Morning America every morning as I drink my coffee and do my morning meditation. Depending on what my day looks like, I may fold a basket of laundry while watching live with Kelly and Ryan afterwards.

This new routine helps me to start my day on a little bit of a slower pace, and often points be toward the one or two hopeful news stories that are floating around in the world. Boy do I feel like I need that right now.

All day, every day, my newsfeed is full of people battling each other over incredibly important issues. There is a deep, dark beauty in these feuds as I watch people stand up for what they believe in at all costs. I think there is something really beautiful about seeing the need for change, and the raw, unbridled power that it unleashes in people’s hearts. The storm of change is brewing, and ready or not, this world we live in is going to undergo a radical reconstruction.

But so often in the heated discussions and one terrible headline after another, I begin to lose sight of the fact that this world, though broken and desolate, is still beautiful.

I find it so easy to forget that this world, though scary and imbalanced at times also breeds goodness and hope. I can focus on the negative. It would be easy. Or I can dig my heels in a little deeper and look for the goodness, beauty and truth that lies there just below the surface.

I choose to see the people in my newsfeed as warriors against injustice; injustice that runs ramapant in our society. I choose only to engage when it is something that I truly have taken the time to research and have an educated opinion about. I try always to use kind and non attacking language.

I take heated conversations out of the ring of the newsfeed and in to a real life conversation- over coffee, or dinner or in a private message if only a virtual friend. I keep an open mind, and an open heart, listening for the full story when talking. I am always searching for the truth and when someone has clear eveidence towards the truth that contradicts what I know, I thank them for opening my eyes. It is only in being willing to learn that any change actually happens.

And in each of these encounters, I have become a better person. I have seen the light, beauty and goodness that my friends have to offer. I have grown into a person that I am proud to be. Open, willing to change, willing to learn and constantly striving for a better baseline.

And this, sweet friends is a beautiful thing. Even the darkness and destruction of our current society can give birth to something good. I just need to remember not to forget it.

Keep on fighting the good fight. The world needs more people like you.

Lifestyle

You’re The Only One Who Can Be You

July 24, 2018

In the past three weeks, there has been a dramatic shift in my perspective. My incredibly stressful class is over, I went on vacation for two weeks, I was invited to read and study with a Lay Marianist community, and I developed a deep love for Mr. Rogers.

These four things have changed me in a profound way. But the thing that has had the biggest impact on me, is my newfound love of Fred Rogers.

In a world where we see so much hate, destruction, and death, this calm and gentle soul ushered generations of kids into a safe space, where they knew they were loved and cherished, and they were able to just be kids.

Going back to watch his work as an adult at first seemed silly. Why would I do such a thing? There were plenty of other shows that I could watch.

It all started in May. I had been suffering a wicked bout of insomnia for four months at this point, and I had watched 17 seasons of Law & Order SVU, and every episode of The Great British Bake-off that Netflix had to offer. At this point I knew I needed something different, but I also knew none of my shows (looking at you Eric Kripke, and Shonda) would be back until the fall. I was running on empty. Getting 4 hours of sleep a night because my mind was racing at the prospect of not getting a perfect grade after all of my hard work… or editing papers that just came in so late I had to stay up all night to get it done. How could I possibly find a show that would help me to get even just one more hour of sleep?

I started scrolling through Amazon Prime and saw that kind and familiar face that I had seen as a kid. I chuckled to myself and kept scrolling, but something told me to go back.

I hit play, and those familiar first notes trickled through the speaker… “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood…”. The first night I watched 5 hours of Mr. Rogers and let me tell you what- that dude tackled some real issues in his day. I sat in bed, in awe of his courage and amazed that he could do that all with a slow melodic voice. And don’t even get me started on the puppets- how does one person have that many voices stored up in their imagination?

As the days went on, I slowly made it through fewer episodes- that sweet melody lulling me to sleep, or Fred Rogers’ intelligent and kind voice helping me to face some big scary things that we see in the news even still today (who knew he would be so timeless?). This man gave me back my sanity. I started sleeping 5, 6, and 7 hours a night, worrying less, and making better use of my time.

I got an A in both of those really crazy classes. My hard work paid off, and I then got to go on vacation with my family to celebrate my parent’s 30th anniversary. I downloaded a book on my kindle about Mr. Rogers, and set off to learn more about this person that had already changed my life by helping me to sleep a little easier at night.

I recently turned 26. Roughly 3 days before that happened, I woke up at complete peace in my life. I had established a routine that I was following (morning meditation and scripture, carefully planning my weeks, adding in chores and getting dressed up in the mornings). I was swearing less (not completely… yet, but I’m hopeful lol). I was being far less judgmental. And I finally felt like I had nothing left to prove. I was the most alive I had been in years.

As I reflected on this series of events I realized that for the first time in my life, I have had a deep and profound conversion. Through the gentle care of a television neighbor, I have come to see that God is in the slow moments. He doesn’t want me to rush. He doesn’t want me to be stressed or in emotional pain.

I decided I was going to be like Mr. Rogers, and my life changed dramatically, for the better. My time seems to stretch endlessly, and my days are filled with joy and gratitude. My errands don’t take nearly as long, I forget things a lot less frequently these days, and I am completely at peace.

6 months ago, I would have told you I didn’t even remember what peace was. Today, I can’t remember what it was like to live in a complete world of stress. It is so crazy to me that I would let my need to prove I was the best, I was worthy and I was what they wanted after all, slowly kill my joy.

I was worthy all along. I have gifts and talents that no one else on this earth possesses in the exact measure that I have them. Sure- they aren’t great big magical things, but they are my talents. I taught a one year old how to say cock-a-doodle-doo. I also taught him that if he throws hummus on the ground, we have to clean it up. I lead music for a holy hour that sent chills down my spine as the students I was playing for sang the bridge to the song by themselves. I wrote a thank you note that established what will be a life long connection.

These things are all seemingly small. But in my life- these are ways that I met God in my day to day interactions.

And I never want to stop. I want to take each day as Mr. Rogers would have taken it- with grace and patience, stopping to recognize that sometimes the small things are what make us the best people we can be.

If you had the opportunity to live a life with less stress and more joy would you?

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood of joy and peace. I’ve always wanted a neighbor just like you! Let’s make the most of this beautiful day, since you’re still here reading this, I might as well say- won’t you be my neighbor?

Lifestyle

When the Instagram Feed Suffers

July 6, 2018

An encounter with beauty stirs something deep in my soul. A longing for a continued encounter with the infinite goodness that I have just experienced.

And isn’t this how it is all supposed to work out? WiFi has been limited on this trip, and I have honestly loved every second of it. Sure, my instagram feed has “suffered” but the pictures I do have are unreal. The experience I am having are even more liberating. Time spent with family members, catching up with and learning more about them through chance encounters- a bad sunburn led to my brother and I doing an incredible hike together and loving every second of it. Standing on the back deck with my dad waiting for the ship to set sail and feeling immense, immense gratitude at the first that has been given to me. Sitting at the pool with my mom while we cheer for my sister playing volleyball in the pool.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites with thousands of tiny pieces creating profoundly moving mosaics in a mausoleum. A church with a beautiful devotion to our lady. Sitting on the deck and watching the deep blue water go by.

This is only the first half of an incredible adventure. I cannot wait for the second half, and to share all of the pictures when I get home- keeping this encounter with beauty going for a long time.

Lifestyle

Hello From The Other Side of the Pond

July 2, 2018

Greetings from Venice!

I can’t believe its finally here… this trip we have been dreaming about and longing for for 463 days… is HERE!

Quickly stopping by to let you know that I’ve missed you, and now that death class is over (Hey! I got an A!) I am really excited to get back to our regularly scheduled posting… after this wild adventure with my family.

Now for the fun part: when I was living in Austria, I  kept a blog detailing all of my adventures and it was a really neat, living, breathing journal of all of the incredible opportunities that I had been given,

For the next 9 days, I would love to share the moments great and small that are going to make this trip with my family amazing.

There will be pictures 😉

Lifestyle

Becoming My Best Self

June 5, 2018

As you may or may not yet know, I am a fairly particular person.

I prefer Starbucks coffee. I need a 5 blade razor. I love polo button down shirts. I will never go back to a non apple product for a computer.

I am really conscious of what I put on my skin. Safe, natural, clean beauty products and sun safety.

I am really conscious of what I put in my body. When I am on my A game, I can Primal Blueprint Diet with the rest of them.

One thing I am really not good at? What I do for my body. Let me put it frankly: I hate working out with the passion of 1000 suns. I find it absolutely dreadful. If I am running, you better run too, because something is chasing me!

So… I am embarking on a revamp of my relationship with food, and the way I treat my body.

So many times I have tried to “hack” my body with quick, intense workouts meant to give extreme results. I always give up, more dejected than the time before because I just can’t seem to stick it out. I also have a hard time with diets that give you portion control or sever limits- I am not trying to lose weight, just treat my body better, and feed it better things than chicken nuggets okay?!

Enter The 2b Mindset. Listen. I have tried other Beachbody Workouts (^^^ahem) and I have not been able to get myself to full capacity doing these programs. My sister does CrossFit and is awesome and says then can scale it… but I hate working out remember?

The 2b Mindset seems to be all about changing ones relationship with food and the way it affects once’s body, with emphasis on eating foods that are better for you, and no guilt for that Cadbury Milk Chocolate Caramel straight from England (I’m looking at you babysitting house!).

I am posting this here because I want to hold myself accountable. I want to eat better, and try to get some kind of allotted and specific physical activity in at least 3 days a week- even if they aren’t those body hack workouts that will get me a six pack in time for my cruise =p .

For the next few months (and hopefully forever after that!) I will be spending time to really examine how I treat my body, and how I can treat it better.

How do you do these things? How do you make time for self care? Personal Development? Honestly, give me all the secrets because I really need them here 😉

Lifestyle

Monthly Subscription Planner? Sign Me Up!

May 29, 2018

So it’s not really a secret that I am a big fan of planners.

I live by the planner. If an appointment is in my planner, I will be sure to attend to it, and I will be all sorts of disoriented if I don’t meet you.

I also get all out of whack if I am not able to systematically cross out each and every item on my to do list in my planner each and every day.

Most of this stems from a psychiatrist once telling me that I could manage my ADHD without medication.

And you know what? … It totally worked! As long as I can keep track of my day to day goings on in a planner, I am able to calmly focus each part of my day and with intention get through each task I have planned.

I am always on the hunt for the perfect planner. Each year, this evolves, and I get closer to figuring out what it exactly looks like. For a lot of years, I used a plain moleskin planner (though this did not leave a ton of space for a multitude of tasks- just 5 or 6. I often have upwards of 20 tasks to accomplish in a day!).

I tried Erin Condren (something didn’t sit right) and gave the Blessed is She Planner a try (gosh I wish this had been the perfect planner for me- it is so well thought out, and literally has everything- it just didn’t sit well with me, and what I was looking for to help me manage my ADHD. The new one was just released, and I honestly wanted to buy it so much, but really had to convince myself to give something else a shot- I could always come back if it was truly the best planner for me).

I ultimately decided I would go back to moleskine when something caught my eye and really intrigued me.

Have you ever heard of Silk + Sonder?

This is a monthly subscription service that sends you a new planner each month- but it is so much more than a planner. It’s a habit tracker, a carefully curated bullet journal, a gratitude journal, and a beautiful work of art to boot.

I was skeptical- how could this really be beneficial to someone who needed to book things four months in advance?

You. Guys. This planner/journal combo has been pretty freakin awesome! It has helped me to stop and reflect on not only my day, but also my goals, my current habits, and the habits I want to change. It inspires me, and is honestly a delight to carry around. It is thin enough to fit in my iPad case, and lighter than anything I have ever brought around. It has enough spaces for all of the little things that I have to do, gives me room to be creative and also keeps me focused on mindfulness and gratitude.

I just received my June issue, and honestly? I am obsessed. It is so stinkin cute! So summery, and such a delight to get to put in my bag each day.

Click here to check out this awesome company!

Lifestyle

An Encounter With Beauty: From Where She Sits Podcast

May 22, 2018

I am a big believer in women supporting women. As a woman trying to someday enter a mostly male dominated field, I believe in this notion on a really deep level.

So when my friend from high school announced she would be putting out a podcast, I was over the moon. I couldn’t wait to see what she had to say.

Little did I know that this podcast would be life changing.

In the four hours I have listened to Izzy and Christie share their hearts, something has changed in me, for the better.

It takes guts to be willing to share your down days, or the parts of yourself that you are working on with your insta fam or on your snap story. But it takes a deep and profound courage to speak about these moments, knowing that they are recorded forever and people will be listening to you, often without you ever knowing who they are.

I obviously can very easily relate to Izzy as she shares her story as a millennial just trying to survive this crazy life (after all, we did go to school together, and we are the same age). But I get this really crazy feeling of relief when Christie comes back and shares her input on the situation. It’s like something deep in my soul is shouting “It’s gonna be okay! Look! She did it! She made it happen!”

In each hour long episode, I find myself nodding along, and saying “ YEAH!”, as if Izzy and Christie could hear me saying I am in the trenches with you. You get me! I get you! (Of course, this is not the case at all. They clearly can’t hear me saying these things out loud in my car. And the people driving past me on Route 25 in the morning are probably really disconcerted by my exuberant nods… I digress.)

Today’s episode was one I could really relate to on an incredibly deep level.

Those of you who have been following along since The Full Pursuit started know that I am a full believer in encountering God in my every day interactions. This is most often found in a true encounter with beauty. A flower that my babysitting kids pick up for me at the baseball field. A chapter in a book that I underlined every single line of. A visit with my mom. A linen dress at TJ Maxx. A song that brought tears to my eyes, or a movie that moves me to my core.

As I listened to Izzy and Christie explain their experiences with faith and belief, I saw a constant theme of an encounter with something beautiful- a trip to the ballet, a calming meditation, and a white butterfly.

Faith can look so different for so many people. But at the core of all of these wrestlings of the heart is desire for our world (the people, places and things we surround ourself with) to be beautiful. And I truly think we were designed with this innate desire because these beautiful things point us back to someone greater than us.

I honestly cannot recommend this podcast enough. It is raw and vulnerable, while simultaneously being down right hilarious. I look forward to new episodes, and I hope this never stops.

From Where She Sits is a thing of beauty. And this world needs more beauty.

Click here to listen and subscribe. You won’t regret it.

You can find them on Instagram at:

@fwsspodcast

@fromwhereizzysits

@fromwherechristiesits

Let me know what you think 🙂

Lifestyle

Nothing More & Nothing Less

April 23, 2018

Oh friends. I did a silly thing today.

Today, I told one of my dearest friends that I was finally okay with whatever God had in store for me this upcoming year.

WHY would I ever do that?

Do you ever have that moment, where you feel complete peace and everything seems to be going so well and then BAM out of seemingly nowhere, a self doubt stronger than you’ve ever known creeps in and you’re in tears faster than you can say “I’m okay”.

No? Just me?

Okay, well… that’s where I am right now. There is a pretty big part of me that is really excited for this new adventure- to see what it is exactly that the Lord has planned for me.

There’s also a part of me that is *loudly* shouting; THIS IS NOT A PART OF THE PLAN. YOU ARE RUINING THE PLAN. MAYDAY. MAYDAY. GET IT TOGETHER.

And honestly, I wish I had an answer for you. I wish I knew what the heck I was doing, and if this trusting in God’s plan thing was really going to work after all.

But I have no idea. Right now, I feel like I am stuck between two phases of life. Older than the typical college grad, probably should have a job. Younger than all my friends who have three kids, but married for Almost three years without kids.

I am in no man’s land, and am figuring it out.

How was I so happy and confident this morning, then all of a sudden was doubting everything I was doing by 6PM?

Life.

Happy Monday folks.

Honestly, something tells me I will never not be in a phase of trying to figure my life out.

10 years ago, it was what college should I go to, what would my major be?

5 years ago, it was how would I ever find a guy who wasn’t the worst?

My track record has been pretty good so far in winding up just where I needed to be. 10 years later I am almost done with a Masters in Business Administration. 5 years later I am married to an incredible man.

So maybe I don’t have the answers right now. But maybe I will also look back in 5 or 10 years and know that this moment was the one that launched me into greatness.

I only have to know the plan for tomorrow. No more. No less.

And ultimately?

I am going to be okay.