Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell 2013

When 2013 began, I wasn't sure what the year would hold. We had just suffered a major loss and living day to day (sometimes hour to hour) was all I could handle. And my blogging certainly reflected what I was feeling and how little words I had to share:

January - I started the year writing down a few of my 2013 goals {that I actually accomplished}; I shared the gift we were given through Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep; began posting Friday bullets; and talked about Charlotte - one month after meeting her, never forgetting her, and the reminders of her all around me.

February - I continued posting Friday bullets {an easy way to get my thoughts out}; I shared a story my husband posted on Facebook about Charlotte & having hope; on what would have been C's two month birthday, I talked about anniversaries have helped me heel & meeting with the genetic counselor; and posted the video we shared at Charlotte's memorial.

March - I received {& blogged about} my first Stitch Fix and fell in love the company's concept; the month was filled Friday bullets/thoughts; I joined the Influence Network & attended my first classes; and I shared about a series about life after Charlotte.

April - after sharing about the desire to talk about life after Charlotte in March, I posted about the holidays, being a mother without a child, and questions I've received; I updated my blog with a new design & address; and I ran walked a 5k with my sister-in-law.

May - 2012 was the year of the photo-a-day and in May I shared the book that I made to compile all of my photos in one place; I saw Sara Bareillis again, up close & personal; I celebrated my first Mother's Day without Charlotte, which was bittersweet; and I ended the month visiting Austin & the Heater family.

June - another Stitch Fix box arrived and yet again I was exctied to see what my stylist picked out for me; due to an Influence Network prompt, I shared what home means to me; I couldn't believe six months had already passed since meeting & saying goodbye to Charlotte; and we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary.

July - my Friday bullets transformed into '5 on Friday', where I shared five of my favorites from the week; I was offered a chance to review a Float Wrap from Printography; I featured five blogs that have helped me through the grieving process; and Sam & I got away for a peaceful weekend.

August - more & more 5 on Fridays {apparently that's the way I got myself to post throughout most of the year}; and Sam built me a headboard.

September - this is the month where my posting drastically slowed down... but not before I posted about my excitement about the Influence Conference & my 2013 scarfs swap.

October - I could barely find the words to describe my time at the Influence Conference {because it was amazing!}; and we finally announced our new addition coming in April.

November - after announcing my pregnancy, I reflected on how different this one feels in comparison to the one with Charlotte; and we found out we would be welcoming a baby boy {and announced it on Instagram}!

December - we honored Charlotte's first birthday; I reviewed Stitch Fix while being pregnant; and rounded out the year reflecting on one year after Charlotte.

As I reflect on the year behind us, I'm grateful God gave me hope, especially in the darker times.  And next year already holds a lot of hope, which I'm also thankful for, but what I am really hoping for in 2014 is that I find my online voice again. Between remembering our baby girl, preparing for our new little guy and continuing to be involved with the Influence Network, my mind is swirling with inspiration & posts; I just need to to take the time to write about it all, for you, my readers, and myself.

So until then... Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

One Year #babycharlotterene

365 days...
12 months...
One year...

No matter how you say, it's all the same --- one year ago today, we said goodbye to our precious baby girl after nine days of life.

It's still hard to believe this actually happened to us. I've spent the last year trying to understand why and yet I still have no idea. It's not fair, but then again life isn't fair, right?

To all who have prayed for us, sent us messages, or simply sat & let us cry on your shoulder - thank you! This year hasn't been easy, but we couldn't have gotten through the last year without all the love & support.

We love you Charlotte René! We miss you with every fiber of our being and I hope you never forget that!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stitch Fix Review: Pregnant Edition

When I scheduled my latest Stitch Fix, I knew I was going to be in the middle of my second pregnancy, so it felt like sort of gamble, but I really wanted to see if I could find some unique items for now & later.  I anticipated this fix going one of two ways: I could either receive items that would magically fit me at 20 weeks pregnant and transition after pregnancy, or the items would just not work now {and therefore not be what I'm looking for}.

Unfortunately, I felt like the latter ended up being true, but I'm still glad I scheduled this fix.  Because I specficially asked for looser items, I ended up getting items that might fit my bump, but were too big elsewhere or items that fit everywhere else, but were too tight on my bump.

BUT... this experience certainly isn't going to keep me away from trying another one after the baby is here. {It's already scheduled!}  And I definitely have to give my stylist credit for trying to dress my bump sight unseen.

If you've been thinking about trying Stitch Fix, but you still have questions, let me know.  I'm no expert, just a fan of the concept!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

Everything I wrote in this post {eleven months ago} still rings true today.

Happy birthday baby girl!  
We love & miss you more than words can ever say!

Friday, November 15, 2013


As you've probably noticed, this pregnancy has been different.  Not good or bad necessarily, just different.

When I was pregnancy with Charlotte, I couldn’t wait to share our news with everyone I met; this time, I pray someone else will tell them because it’s hard to get the words out without feeling the need to explain our whole story.

When I was pregnant with Charlotte, I diligently took a bump picture every week in the same spot of our house; this time, I have yet to take a single one anywhere.

When I was pregnant with Charlotte, I counted down the weeks until we would meet our little girl; this time, I can barely think ahead past my next doctor’s appointment.

Another difference I've noticed is in the way people have treated me in comparrison to when I was pregnant with Charlotte.  Sure, it could be said that I don't need as much advice since I've been through it before, but I think part of it is due to what we've been through.  I know it's not easy knowing how to act/what to say when someone has lost a child & the fear of the unknown feels like it's hanging over their heads like a dark cloud.  And personally, I just have to stop, take a deep breath, & hope that cloud doesn't swallow me whole because I really do want to be excited about this little one, just as I was for his/her sister.

As we're nearing the twenty week mark {again}, people have started asking more about this pregnancy, such as what we think we're having, how I'm feeling, etc., and if I'm being honest, the only thought going through my mind is, "I would give anything to have this pregnancy be different from the last...” 

And my hope is that next Friday some of that "unknown" will fade away when we see a glimpse of who's growing inside of me & what lies ahead for us*. 

*Regardless of what happens or what news we receive, this child is loved just as we loved Charlotte & I'm thankful I can care for him/her for as long as God decides to grant us with.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Romans 12:12

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Influence Conference 2013

Because I'm still processing through everything #influenceconf related, I thought a little top 5 list of things from The Influcence Conference would suffice for now:
  1. My awesome roommates!
    • I couldn't have asked for two better women {Ashton & Tanya} to room with and sincerely hope this isn't the last time we all stay up until after midnight laughing & crying together.
  2. Meeting bloggers whom I have followed for years.
    • One of the crazy things about blogging is feeling like you already know someone without ever meeting face-to-face.  And yet, the friendships that can come through emailing and social media still amazes me every day.  As my twitter began to fill up with talk of the conference, I was both excited & nervous to meet some of the bloggers I had been following for years and I am so thankful I actually tabled my nerves & actually said hello some of them {Lindsey of The Kubly Girl, Erin of Blue Eyed Bride, and Lindsay of Hello Hue to name a few}. 
  3. Listening & learning from such passionate speakers.
  4. A beautiful night of worship.
    • On the last night of the conference, we all gathered together to worship and sing together.  To be honest, this was probably my favorite part of the whole conference because I could feel the Holy Spirit in the room and I knew there was a reason I had attended this conference.  And not to mention, the sound from that room was just breathtaking!
  5. Watching The Influence Network core team love on, pray for, and engage with all the attendees.
    • I honestly believe these six women could be called "the dream team". J Not only did their gifts & resources come together to bring us an amazing conference, but they also support a beautiful network of like-minded women all year long.  I've been a fan of each of their work with the network and individual blogs for at least the last six months and I can tell you that each of them writes just as they would speak to you in person, which I admire greatly.

Many times throughout the weekend, I found myself wondering about how this whole network & conference specfically came together and if I ever get a chance to be apart of the behind the scenes, I will consider myself lucky to be among such doers & dreamers! 

As I returned home on Sunday, my mind was swirling {and still is!} with thoughts & plans and my heart both blessed & wrecked in the best possible way.  I'm sure it will take some time to fully see the effects the conference had on me, but for now I am just grateful for the opportunity to attend.

Monday, September 23, 2013

2013 Scarf Swap

I've participated in a few swaps over the years, but Meredith's annual scarf swap is one I've looked forward to the last couple years.

Sure, I probably don't need another scarf in my closet, but I love the idea of picking out a scarf for someone else and then seeing what they will pick out for me!

So when Meredith posted about this year's swap, I think I might have signed up on the first day :) 

I was assigned to shop for Jenny from Hoesli House and after a few emails back & forth, I felt like we both had a good idea of the style of scarf we generally liked.

I can't wait to see what Jenny thought of her scarf, but I have to say, I was not disappointed when I received mine last week!  Not only had Jenny shopped at one of my favorite stores (Gap), but she picked out a scarf that was different than anything I already owned, yet went with a lot of things in my closet. (I've already worn it once and can't wait to wear it again!)

Thank you for my scarf, Jenny!  And thank you Meredith for hosting the swap for another year!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

#InfluenceConf 2013 linkup

When I bought my ticket for the Influence Conference back in April, it felt like it was SO far away.  But here we are, two & half weeks away from and I can hardly believe it's (almost) here!

So to pump myself up a bit, I'm linking up with the Influence Network blog to answer a couple short per-conference questions...

First, the two things I will FOR SURE have packed in my bag are as follows:

[one] my iPhone

(because lets be honest, not only is it my phone, but it's my calendar, my camera, my lifeline!)


[two] my new blog cards 

(which is a little weird to me, but apparently the thing you do :))

And since this is my first blogging conference, the two things I'm most looking forward to about the Influence Conference are:

[one] meeting some of the women I have come to know & admire via the Internet

(and I really hope I don't freeze when I meet some of my favorite bloggers in person)


[two] to take it all in!

I don't feel like I have a lot of expectations going into the conference, but I just pray that I can take away everything God intends me to.

So, will I get to meet you in a couple weeks?  If so, please leave a comment.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Five on Friday

It's Friday again so you know what that means...  I'm linking up with Darci + friends for five on Friday!

Eat, Live, Run's blueberry almond sugar cookies had me at blueberry.  They've been a pretty consistent staple in our fridge this summer, so finding new ways to incorporate this seasonal fruit has been pretty fun. And deep down, I wish I could be Jenna's personal recipe taste-tester...

After a particularly heavy week, Ashton's post on letting it go really encouraged me.  She reminded me (through scripture & her beautiful words) that we are not alone, but that God is here to carry our burdens and lift us up when we can no longer do so.  Not an easy thing to accept, yet incredibly comforting at the same time.

So remember that network of amazing women I can't stop talking about? Well their annual conference is just a couple weeks away and while I am looking forward to this experience, I am still pretty nervous.  But seeing the posts pop up in my feed from other bloggers saying they'll be there too has actually put my nerves at ease a bit. Plus, I had a chance to chat with my roommates (Ashton & Tanya) last week and now I really can't wait to meet them in person next month!

I may be a little biased, but I am really happy with how my husband's latest photo shoot turned out! I was able to tag along & be his "photo assistant" for the day, which is not as easy as I thought it might be.  But thankfully we had good weather, a fun & unique location (McMenamin's Edgefield Hotel) and a very cooperative subject, which was the perfect combination!

Speaking of Edgefield, we're actually on our way back up there this weekend to see Death Cab for Cutie! It's my first time seeing the band & attending a concert at this venue, but as long as there is nice weather (fingers crossed) and good music, I think it will be a fun night!

Any fun weekend plans?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Power of Prayer

My heart is hurting today.

Diana Stone, a blogger who's story I have followed closely over the last year and a half, had to say goodbye to her newborn son, Kaden, today (just after she said goodbye to her twin boys last May).

Why would this happen? Haven't they been through enough?

I'm so sad & confused and can only imagine what Diana and her family are feeling.

Yesterday, when the Stone family could no longer lift their arms to God, the selfless women of the Influence Network came along side them to pray on their behalf. It was chilling to participate in the 24 hours of prayer and I'm thankful to be a part of this God-fearing network. Needless to say, the power of prayer (no matter the outcome) is real!

There are no words that can make this situation better, but I'd still like to ask for two things: (1) that you hold your loved ones a little closer tonight and (2) if you're the praying kind, say a little prayer for peace for the Stone family and what they have ahead of them.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pinterest Inspired: DIY Headboard

I'm going out on a limb here, but you've heard of Pinterest, right? 

If not, it's a lot like an online bulletin board in which you can "pin" your favorite finds from all across the internet in one, convenient location for future reference.  And I have been a fan since day one!  I can pin all day long if I had the time, but my biggest downfall... actually following through with trying some of my favorite pins.

Well, I can finally cross another pin off my {always-growing} Pinterest to-do list!


I can't remember when I first saw this DIY headboard, but I do recall thinking "this actually looks pretty easy!"  So when we bought a new {bigger} bed this Spring, I approached my husband with this pin in mind.  Honestly, I thought he'd shoot me down or steer me another direction, but to my surprise, he thought it was pretty cool and got to work right away planning what he'd need to get this done.

This is where my blogger fail comes in.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the actual process because it went a lot faster than I anticipated (seriously, by the time I thought to go get the camera, my husband had cut, sanded, and stained all four boards and they were just waiting to be put up).

But I am here to confirm that it was really as easy as 1-2-3!

Step 1: Pick up the supplies from your local home improvement store (wood, stain, Velcro strips)
Step 2: Cut boards down to size, sand, and stain.
Step 3: Once the boards are dry, adhere them to the walls using Velcro strips*.

*You might be wondering whether the Velcro strips would actually hold the boards up, but I'm here to tell you that our "headboard" has been up for over a month now and the boards haven't moved at all!  A plus?  We can remove them any time we want without damaging the walls!

So if you're looking for a headboard that is simple, customizable, and pretty cheap ($120 total), give this one a try!  I'd love it if you shared it with me after you do too :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!

I'm a little late in posting my five on Friday, but better late than never, right?  I'm linking up again with Darci & friends again this week.

With summer wrapping up, I'm loving all the vacation recaps that are popping up on my feed!  While we didn't have any big getaways this summer, I've been enjoying reading about other people's.  Two recaps that stood out this week were Bower Power and Blue Eyed Bride.  Both went to the beach with their families, but what I loved most was they both went with their best friends + families as well, which is such a fun concept I hadn't thought of!

I'm not sure if it's the longer days or the nice weather, but summer just feels like the perfect time to get things done around the house!  One of the items on our to-do list this summer was to re-stain our deck, which has definitely seen better days, but it hasn't happened yet.  But just as I was thinking this task might have to wait until next summer, Young House Love came to the rescue and shared step-by-step instructions on how they stripped, cleaned, and re-stained their deck in just a couple days.  I'm definitely motivated, so we'll see if I can motivate Sam...

One of my Influence Conference roomies celebrated seven years of marriage this week and she wrote a post on seven things she's learned since getting married and I sat their reading her post and agreeing with every suggestion she shared (even if Sam & I have only been married for five years).  Sure, marriage isn't easy, but when you invest the time & energy into your spouse and relationship, it is so worth it!

I consider myself an avid reader of blogs.  (I love posts like this where other bloggers share their favorite blogs to read because it usually directs me to a blog I add to my feed.)  One blog that I have enjoyed over the last year or so has been Emphasis Added, which is written by Emily who lives in Chicago with her husband and two beautiful little girls.  Her posts aren't usually long or in depth, but it's her descriptions and stories that capture my attention and keep me coming back to find out what new adventure they've had.  If you're looking for a blog with great stories and fun pictures, check out Emphasis Added!

This last link is just one that I found funny when it popped up on my Twitter feed.  If you know me, I am a fan of Instagram.  It's a fun way to share your life with your online friends through a picture & short caption.  Well, this week, I found a post titled "If Disney Princesses had Instagram, the World would be a Better Place" and I couldn't stop laughing at the pictures & captions that fit perfectly with some of my favorite childhood memories.  Too funny!

Hope you have a good weekend!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five on Friday

Tap, tap, tap... Is this thing on?

I apologize for the radio silence and really hope the desire to write more returns soon.  But until then... I'm linking up again with Darcie's five on Friday.

On Monday, I took a class presented by Kate of The Small Things blog on her top five blogging mistakes and, like the other Influence Network classes, it was great! As I listened to her share what has and hasn't worked for her, I thought about how even though I'm not a big, consistent blogger, I can still learn from all of her mistakes and better my blog even a little.  (If you stick around, maybe I'll put some of her tips to use...)

A couple of weeks ago, Sam introduced me to a show called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and now I'm seeing it pop up all over the Internet. So when I came across The Big Mama's thoughts on the show, I knew it was worth sharing in the case you hadn't heard of this show yet.  Seriously, if you like to laugh, check it out!

Are you a fan of scarfs? If you're anything like me, you love scarfs, but feel bad buying them because you already own quite a few. Well I think I've found a way where it doesn't feel so bad - Meredith's annual scarf swap!  You can read about my past swaps here and here.

Lately, I've been hearing a lot about the topic of living simply.  Whether that's downsizing or just living off the land, it's definitely a topic I'm hearing a lot.  And just this week, while scrolling through my social media, I came across a video that a news outlet produced about the Prouty family and I couldn't help but share with others.  I can't say I could do what they have done, but their story is very inspiring and something I definitely admire.

You can probably tell by the way I talk about them weekly, but boy do I love the community I've found in the Influence Network!  They lift me up without knowing it!  Just this week, Hayley from The Tiny Twig shared her experience with bringing her first two sons into the world and what kind of feelings came along with them.  It's not perfect, but it's honest and that's what I appreciate most when it comes to interacting with her and the other women I've met through the network.  I feel like a little bit of a crazy fan, but Hayley is definitely one I can't wait to see next month(!) at the Influence Conference!  Maybe I'll even get up the courage to say hi :)

Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Last weekend, Sam & I got away.

We didn't go far (just an hour west of us), but we went with one thing in mind: we just wanted to get away, to take a break from our normal routine, even if only for a couple of days.

With no agenda, the whole weekend felt pretty low key.  We ate at some of favorite places and spent a little time talking about our goals & dreams, but ultimately we were just quiet with our thoughts as we walked along the beautiful coastline.

As much as I didn't want to return to reality, I knew we had no choice.  Thankfully, I not only came home feeling refreshed and relaxed, but I also returned with a sense of peace that I haven't felt in almost a year now.

And that makes the whole trip worth it in my opinion!

"Please I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."  John 14:27

Friday, July 26, 2013

5 on Friday

Honestly... this week has been kind of tough as I think about where we were last year at this time...

The two words that keep coming to mind are "life changing" because at the split of second, our lives went from happy & excited to devastated & confused with very little warning. 

For those who are new to this space, our baby girl was diagnosed with a fatal form of skeletal dysplasia last July and while I carried her until 39 weeks, she is sadly no longer with us.

So I decided that instead of writing about 5 random things from my week, I would share 5 blogs* that have helped me immensely after losing Charlotte:

Megan from In This Wonderful Life

Casey from The Wiegands

Raechel from Finding My Feet

Diana from Hormonal Imbalances

Heather from The Spohrs are Multiplying

While none of their situations are exactly the same as mine, the comfort that each of their blogs has given me leaves me speechless.  I really wish I could find the words to share how they have helped (and thank each & every one of them in person!), but all I can say it THANK YOU God that I found these women and have felt an reassurance that I'm not alone in this and while this is something you'd never wish on anyone, it's really nice to know that someone understands, even a little.

*None of these bloggers probably know who I am or have asked me to share about them, but all of their stories have touched my heart and comforted me & given me hope as I walk this new path ahead of me.

Friday, July 19, 2013

5 on Friday

Have you ever felt like something was written or said just for you?  Actually, I probably think that about once a week - sometimes it's a song on the radio or an idea for the next best invention or a blog post I just stumbled upon.  This week, however, was FULL of these moments and I just want share five that touched my heart this week:

Lindsay, of The Kubly Girl, wrote a beautiful reflection on finding community that was just what I needed to hear this week.  For years, I have been timid about buidling a community where we're at because it's hard to be the new person, but over the last couple weeks, Sam & I finally decided to get involved in a small group at a new church we've been attending and Lindsay's post felt like a message from God that this is what He wants for us right now. 

Have you heard Sara Bareilles' song December (from her new album The Blessed Unrest)? I think maybe it was written for me... 

(For those who don't know me that well, last December was both the best & worse time of my life, which you can read about here.) 

It's easy to get in the mindset that no one reads your blog or cares about what you write, but Kim from oh, sweet joy! wrote a simple, yet true post this week about how we (as bloggers) are not alone and should all write for where we're at right now, because no matter what the impact may be, someone is listening.  Her words weren't new to me, but sometimes you just need to hear something again to remind yourself of the truth.

I attended another amazing Influence Network class by Susie Davis this week called Hearing God Speak in your Everyday Life and just like the ones before, Susie knocked it out of the park!  She shared ideas that I hadn't thought a lot about - like God speaks to us every day, but we still need to be willing to listen and accept what he's saying before we'll here Him - and gave us a few ways to hear Him.  Such an eye opening class for someone who doesn't listen to God enough...

Have you taken an Influence Network class yet?

Last week, I shared how Natalie from The Busy Budgeting Mama has helped me in my search for why I blog and this week she shared a book she's been working on called "Mommy's Has an Angel", which is a story told from the point of view of her four-year-old daughter about her mom's best friend in Heaven.  While processing the grief and pain that goes along with losing a loved one, I have also thought a lot about the future and how I'm going to share with our future children (God willing) about our little angel, Charlotte, and why she's no longer with us here on Earth.  I'm incredibly inspired by people like Natalie who have decided to share their grief to help others and I only hope my words could help someone one day like her's have helped me.

Hope you have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Printography Float Wrap {Review}


If you were to take a tour around my home, the common factor in each room would probably be the personal touch we've created using some of our favorite photos - both of family & friends and some of our favorite locations.  I'm always looking for a new way to share my favorite photos, so when Printography reached out to share their Float Wrap with me, I couldn't say yes fast enough!

As someone who's tried various company's canvas prints, Printography's Float Wrap instantly grabbed my attention because of it's light weight, padded feel, and the "floating" look that it creates as it hangs on the wall.  Not to mention it's something I've ever seen before!

Besides being a unique concept, the ordering process was as easy as they come.  After downloading the provided design tool, it was simple & straight forward to upload my chosen picture and edit until just right. Then with the click of a button, my completed wrap order was sent off to be created and about seven to ten business days later, a package was waiting on our doorstep.

With the completion of our new headboard {details to come}, I knew my new Float Wrap would complete the look I was going for. The ease of ordering, receiving, and hanging of my Float Wrap already has me dreaming of other areas I can update with new photo products.  If you're in the market for some a new way to display photos, be sure to check out what products Printography has to offer.

Disclousre: while I received a code for the Float Wrap in exchange for my review, all opinions expressed above are my own.

Friday, July 12, 2013

5 on Friday

Hello Friday, it's very nice to see you :)

Beware: this post is a very random assortment of 5 on Friday today...

My husband posted some awesome shots of the firework show we caught last Thursday on his blog this week and I can't help but share.  I love getting to see his creativity through his camera lense and the beautiful images he captures!

While my husband is posting several times a week on his photo blog, I've been feeling at a standstill with mine and spending some times searching for my 'why'.  Thankfully, there are other bloggers, like The Busy Budgeting Mama and House of Rose, who are providing wisdom to help new bloggers get started and while I may not be a new blogger any more, I'm finding their advice very beneficial in search for my 'why' right now.

I've raved about it before (check out my 1st & 2nd fix), but I'm a big fan of Stitch Fix!  And this week, I received my first referral credit because someone signed up after reading my reviews!  Honestly, my initial excitement wasn't about the credit, but the influence I had on someone else - that I was able to introduce an unique company to someone else that they may not have heard of otherwise.  Chock it up to another reason I love the Internet and social media, I guess :)

If you're a frequent reader of this space, you might know how much of a 'dates' person I am.  For the last seven months, the 12th and 21st are sacred days in our house because of their association with our daughter Charlotte.  And not only does today mark seven months since she was born, it's also my 28th birthday.  Talk about mixed emotions, right?  To be honest, I'm finding it really hard to be in the mood to celebrate, which is kind of sad...

And to end things on a positive note, I've decided to take the advice of one of my recent pins and go find myself a cupcake and smile today.

Hope you have a good weekend!

Friday, July 5, 2013

5 on Friday

The combination of a short work week + beautiful summer weather has automatically made this one a good one in my book.  An added bonus: these five things.

A common phrase you may hear from Oregonians is "summer doesn't actually begin until July 5th" and sadly that is usually correct.  However, this year the usual Oregon weather (i.e. rain) has taken an early hiatus, which I will not complain about one bit!  And since we missed last year's festivities due to being in Nova Scotia last, I'm so happy we were able to spend this year's holiday with the three F's: family, food, & fireworks!

Last week I mentioned I was starting a new job this week and although I'm only a few days in, my first impression is that I think I'm going to like what I'm doing and who I'm working with.  I'm sure I'll have more to say once I have a few more days/weeks/months under my belt, but so far so good :)

Remember me talking about the Influence Conference (about a hundred times already...)?  Well, this week everything felt just a little more real because I booked my flight AND my hotel this week!  Yay!  If you want more information, check out my sidebar or this post by Ruthie Hart.

Speaking of the Influence Conference, the whole idea has had me thinking about why I'm blogging and who I'm blogging for.  This week, I came across a post by a blogger I have been following for years now and really respect.  Kerri's post about her blogging notebook wasn't anything groundbreaking (I know a lot of other bloggers use a similar idea), but it really pushed me to pull out an old notebook and start writing down some potential blog content.  Now we'll see if it helps me post more and work on my direction...

Maybe my lack of posting has been partly due to the life changing event that took place in December.  With six months under our belts, we still have hard days intertwined with the good ones.  I came across an article with some helpful ideas for those who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss and thought I'd share for anyone else out there who may know someone who has gone through a simliar situation as we have.  The suggestions aren't difficult, just simple and thoughtful, both things that people need during a difficult time.

How was your week?

Friday, June 28, 2013

5 on Friday

I'm trying something new this week and linking up with Darcie from The Good Life Blog for five on Friday!

This week has been full of memories, celebrations, and today, an end of a chapter.  Next week I will start a new job and while I'm excited for this change, I'm also nervous for the unknown of it all.  I'm praying for peace, a smooth transition, and patience for all!

I'm a fan of Pinterest!  Well, let me rephrase that, I am a fan of pinning on Pinterest :)  I love to pin great ideas, but as far as actually trying them out, I don't usually follow through.  So last weekend, Sam had the great idea to take one of my Pinterest pins and turn it in to a anniversary gift.  And a plus: it falls in line with the five year traditional anniversary gift of wood!  Win, win!  I'll definitely post about it when it's complete.

This week, I found myself, on a number of occassions, feeling extra thankful for the friendships in my life.  Whether it's conversations via text, Twitter, or in person, my "friend-tank" was filled this week.  Now, if only there was a way we could all hang out in real life whenever we want without the need to travel all day...

Even though life seems pretty good at the moment, I have to be honest and say I still have times where I wish my life was different and envy the lives of others.  Erin of Blue Eyed Bride wrote a beautiful post sharing her similar thoughts and I loved this line she shared from the book A Beautiful Purpose: "Can you honor the Me in her?”  I immediately took a step back and found myself thanking God for where I'm at and for those He's placed in my life at this time.  These feelings & questionings aren't easy, but I appreciate God putting reminders like Erin's post out there for me to find.

With my birthday coming up, I find myself wanting to keep it low-key & quiet, but I'd by lying if I didn't say I'm looking forward to seeing what this next year holds for me...

Thursday, June 27, 2013


It's that time of the year again... time to be mushy about my marriage and thankful that Sam has stuck it out with me for yet another year :)

But in all seriousness, I'm feeling incredibly blessed that we made it to this anniversary.  For some reason, #5 has always felt like a big one and after the year we've had, the significance of this milestone seems just a little greater.

Last year, I said "...this year will be one to remember!" which seems ironic now after all we've been through.  My first instinct is to say this year will be different, but I am trying my best to be patient and remember to pray for whatever God has in store for us & our marriage this next year. (Romans 12:12 is a good reminder for me - "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.")

Happy Anniversary Sam! 

 (Related posts: #1, #2, #3, & #4)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Six Months

Back in December, I remember meeting with a doctor at my follow up appointment after my c-section and she was talking about what the future might look like after what we’ve been through.  She shared her thoughts on what six months, nine months, and even twelve-eighteen months from then might looks like for us.  And to have actually reached one of those “months” after saying goodbye to Charlotte feels like an incredible accomplishment in my book.  In fact, I distinctly recall leaving the exam room and saying, “we are never going to make it to six months!” because at the time, I wasn’t sure if we would…

Has it been easy? No way!  Some days are harder than others --- it will probably always catch me off guard when people who don't know about Charlotte's story ask how she is going, or someone new asks how many kids we have, and when I see a little girl who is around the same age Charlotte would be my heart will always skip a little beat.  But knowing that we have the love, grace, and understanding from our family & friends has really made a huge difference in my opinion.

Many people still ask me how I'm doing and although I don’t really know any differently, I would say I’m doing alright.  There are still tears and a bit of anger, but after all is said and done, works can't describe how thankful I am that we got to meet and hold our bright-eyed baby girl six months ago, even for a short amount of time.

December 21, 2012 feels like a lifetime ago and yet, it feels like just yesterday in a lot of ways too. And regardless of how much of a blessing and curse these memories can be, I pray we can continue to remember our sweet baby Charlotte as often & much as possible!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Thoughts

Whew!  I made it to Friday!

(Yes, I really said that aloud this morning :))

It's been a crazy week at work, which means as soon as I get home, the only thing I want to do is veg out on the couch.

So with little to write about my own happenings, I thought I'd share what has made me think a little harder, reflect a little deeper, and smile a little bigger this week:

  • My Influence conference roomie, Ashton (who I cannot wait to meet!), wrote a beautiful post last week on finding the heartbeat of her blog and ever since I read this post, I've been thinking a lot about the reason(s) I continue to write in this little space of mine. Maybe Ashton's post will push me to share some of my reasons too...
  • Megan from In This Wonderful Life has been someone I have admired for a few years now because of her transparency, especially around the life of her first son, Cohen. This week she shared about how her, her husband, and their toddler twins celebrated Cohen's third birthday and as I read about their day at the zoo, I prayed we'd be doing something similar in the future to honor & celebrate Charlotte's birthdays. I wouldn't wish the loss of a child on anyone, but I'm thankful for other moms who feel called to share what they've been through and offer hope with someone like me.
  • Finally, I wanted to include this post from Alexa of He and I of her and her adorable baby girl dancing. It's fun & carefree and I hope it brings a smile to your face as it did mine.

So that’s what I’m thinking about this week.  What's grabbed your attention this week. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Today I am linking up with the Influence Network to share a little about where I'm from & where I lay my head each night.

Home has taken on a lot of forms over the last twenty-some years...

For the first two years of my life, Santa Barbara, California was home.

Then due to a new job, my dad moved us up to central Oregon and over the next sixteen years, Bend was home.  There were ups & downs - the good: receiving an younger brother; and the bad: my parents divorce.  While I learned a lot while I lived in Bend and it will always hold a special place in my heart, after my mom moved back to California after I got married, it never held the same "home" feeling.

After Bend, I went on to attend college at in Newberg, Oregon.  For the next four years, I called Newberg home and my new friends family.  I've said it before, but I have no regrets about my time at George Fox University and the best part, hands down, was meeting my husband, Sam!

Between college and getting married, I moved back to Bend for a year to work & plan my wedding.

After our wedding day, I moved to Salem, Oregon to finally be in the same city as Sam! (Sidenote: for the whole time we were dating, we only lived in the same town for a couple months)

And that's where we've been for the last five years.

Looking back on all the homes I've had throughout my life, I've come to realize what so many already have - it's not the place that makes a home, but the people you share it with.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Thoughts

Happy Friday!

Every year around this time, I remember how much I enjoy the warmer weather.  The cool morning breeze, the cloudless sky, and the evenings where it's just the right temperature to take a walk around the block.  Actually, my favorite time of year (in regards to weather) is around the late spring & early fall, so YAY!

Speaking of weather though, I'm off to spend the weekend with my mom and when I looked up the forecast for the weekend, I was a little stunned with Sacramento's predicted 106* day tomorrow... Good thing we're heading down to the bay area for part of the weekend, where it (hopefully...) will be a bit cooler for this Oregon girl.

Other than the weather, life has felt like it's going pretty fast.  Maybe that's partly due to my heavy traveling schedule, but even during the week I feel like things are go-go-go.  So it's really not a surprise that the three links I have for this week have to do with some internal feelings lately, because when life is speeding by, it usually means my mind is going a hundred miles a hour too...

  •  This week, Lindsay from Lindsay Ladon reintroduced her Little Life Lessons link up, where she invites others to share lessons that will "encourage and challenge ladies who may be in similar seasons of life".  Right off the bat, her post on being a young pastor's wife struck a cord inside.  Ever since I joined the workforce, I have been one of the youngest employees which has ultimately made me question my thoughts & judgements.  I loved how Lindsay shared that God wants her to "walk confidently on the path He has set before" her, which I just what I need to remember every day!
  • AP from ILYMTC posted late last week on asking for grace and it was so refreshing!  No, I don't enjoy reading about others pain & struggles, but I do appreciate honesty and those who feel like they can openly share with the whole world.  As I read her words, I wished I could swing by, give her a big hug, and hang out with her boys for a few hours so she could getaway & regroup (I hope that doesn't seem too creepy...).  Once thing is for sure, this mothering gig isn't for the faint of heart!
  • Lastly, Diana shared her thoughts on envy after reading past loss posts on The Spohr’s Are Multiplying.  Diana's post really hit close to home because envy has been a major feeling I've been wrestling with lately.  See, while I'm so happy for my friends who either have welcomed a little one in the last year or expecting one soon, I can't help but feel super jealous that I'm not going through the same thing.  I commend Diana for being so open every day with how she's feeling after the loss of her twin boys and once again, knowing that I am not alone in my thoughts of "why me?" really takes some of the weight I have been carrying off of me.

So that’s what I’m thinking about this week.  What's grabbed your attention this week. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stitch Fix #2

It's Stitch Fix time again! 

As a refresher, back in March when I received my first Stitch Fix, I instantly fell in love with the ease of having someone else shop just for me.  From the delivery of the box, to trying everything on, and even the return back to Stitch Fix (in a prepaid envelope!), everything was just so easy!

So when I received my latest Stitch Fix this weekend, I immediately opened it up to see what had been picked out for me this time around.

 Brooke Dot Print Tab Sleeve Blouse by Ellison & 
Freddy Sleeveless Chriffon Dress by RD Style

 Natalia Stripe Draped Front Cardigan by Staccato

 Jasmen Ikat Embroidered Sheer Tank by Daniel Rainn

Rizzo Skinny Ponte Pants by Sanctuary

Besides being incredibly easy, I really like the fact that Stitch Fix lets me try everything on in the comfort of my home and see how the pieces would work with my current closet.  A big plus this time?  My box actually contained four complete outfits (minus the shoes), which made things that much easier!

Ultimately, I was pretty fond of the items I received.  Sure, they weren't all pieces I would have picked out for myself, but they were just what I had asked for after my last Fix - tunic-style tops to go with leggings.  I even received a pair of black pants to wear instead of leggings!  

Since I couldn't justify purchasing my whole box (even though I would have received a 25% discount off the total of all the items), I stuck with my gut and went with the black & white striped drape cardigan by Staccato.  I loved the drape detail, the stripes, and how many things I could instantly think of to pair it with!

So, have you tried Stitch Fix yet?