February 8, 2016

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Welcome back to the weekly grind, y'all!
Who else stayed up way too late watching the Super Bowl last night? Please tell me I wasn't the only one d-r-a-g-g-i-n-g this morning! If I could get an IV of coffee right now, that would be great.

How was your weekend? Do anything fun/noteworthy? 
So glad you are here, glad you are you... let's mingle!


   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a little social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** What plans do you have to celebrate love day this week? **





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In Case You Missed It...

+ 10 Valentine's Day gifts for your guy

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February 2, 2016

10 Valentine's Day Gifts For Your Guy

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I wanted to help take the stress out of surprising your guy with something extra fun and thoughtful.

Check out some of the coolest and unique finds for your guy, whether he's a coffee loving hipster, an outdoorsy manly man, or a sci-fy geek (may the force [of love] be with you!).

Chemex Coffee Brewer - $47
How cool is this brewer? Chic meets rugged in this popular design, and the best part... Chemex brewed coffee will make you want to do the macarena! SO good.




Funny Love Card by Emily McDowell Studio - $4.50
Hahaha! Someone please tell me I'm not alone, but isn't this funny? #guiltyascharged

There Is Nobody Else I'd Rather Lie In Bed and Look At My Phone Next To / Valentine Love Card No. 208-C


Dean & DeLuca Whiskey Stones - $26
Nothing is more fun for your man than when he has some fun bar accessories! Pair is up with his favorite bourbon or some fun glasses, and you will knock this one out of the park.




Star Wars Pancake Mold - $10
I'm not going to lie, Adam happened to glance over my shoulder when I posted that and told me, "Those are hilarious! I need those." And there was some seriousness involved. Possibly even a threat, but who wouldn't want to eat a Yoda pancake? Yeah, nobody.




Flipped Hearts Boxers by JCrew - $13.50
Yes, I know, they're underpants, but they are just so cute. And they'd be even cuter on your man's tushy, right?




Personalized Wet Shaving Set by Miri Hardy Pottery - $92

Handcrafted pottery with a cool purpose that you can personalize? I mean I want this for myself and I don't have any facial hair [that I can see...].

Personalized Wet Shaving Set: Black Badger Brush, Shave Mug with Initials, Husband Gift - Custom Made in 6-8 Weeks See Item Description


Beer Cap Map by Home Wet Bar - $35

If you love a beer lover like I do, you know how much they would geek out over this ultra cool collectible. What a fun way to remember all of the craft brews sampled.





Handmade Leather Coaster by Sandlot Goods - $35

I freaking love every single thing Sandlot Goods makes. In my eyes their ultra buttery handcrafted leather with cool stitching can do no wrong. And if you love these coasters, you will really love their wallet selection!




Modern Bottle Opener Keychain by Design Unsanctioned - $32

Because every guy wants to be THAT guy who can open a beer for his buds. Bonus points if their opener is as cool as this one.

Bottle Opener Keychain Tool - EDC - Modern Keychain - Brass & Walnut - Husband Gift - Boyfriend  Gift- Valentine's Day Gift


Vosges Bacon Chocolate Bars - $7.50

Because chocolate + beer. Duh, this one's a homerun!




// What funky gifts are you eyeballing for your favorite dude? //


Happy shopping, y'all!


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February 1, 2016

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Happy Monday to all of you!
I am so glad to be back to the regular grind after spending last week in my hometown celebrating the life of my cousin, whom we lost in a very tragic accident. Thank you all for your kind words and messages - it means more than I can say.

How are you all? How was your weekend? So excited you are here, so please link up, share, and answer the fun weekly question! Can't wait to mingle!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:

** What organization projects are you dying to tackle? **





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In Case You Missed It...


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January 31, 2016

Remembering Aaron

It was a normal Sunday morning lounging around, sipping coffee, and getting ready for church when my phone rang. These few minutes were a blur with my mom's tear-filled voice telling me my cousin Aaron passed way in a tragic accident. He was out with his best friend doing what he loves - duck hunting - when their hunting canoe capsized. Weighed down by his heavy clothing, Aaron unfortunately did not make it back up to the surface.

I couldn't believe it. Complete shock. I just had a special breakfast date with my cousin and his wife Amber last week while in town. How great it felt to laugh at their stories and spend time together. Oh how I had missed them both. Aaron and I were 16 months apart and we were lucky to all grow up so close together that my cousins feel like my siblings.

As you can imagine, our family is completely devastated. As we read the many stories flooding in from many of his best friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family, it's just another reminder that Aaron didn't know a stranger. He was the guy that would stop to help a stranger in trouble. The guy who always had a smile on his face and a funny story to tell. The guy that fiercely loved his family and wrapped anyone in a bear hug every time he saw them. 

We grieve for the awesome man we were so lucky to know and love for 30 wonderful, but our hearts aches for his sweet wife Amber, whom we love so much. After years of trying to conceive Amber is finally pregnant with their firstborn baby girl due in May. We are wrapping her in our love and support.

But Aaron was the life of any party. He wouldn't want us to cry one tear while he's looking down on us, so I had to dig up some of the funniest, warmest memories of him. An older brother, buddy, accomplice in trouble, comedian, and one of the kindest people I've ever known, we will never forget you - continue to party up in heaven, while we keep it going for you down here!


Flower girl and ring bearer - 1989

Aaron and Amber's wedding - 2011

My high school graduation - 2005

Aaron's college graduation - 2009

Double trouble - 1989

Water parking it up - 1990

Aaron and Amber's wedding day - 2011


The family has opened a Go Fund Me page for baby Summer's education fund and to help his wife Amber with funeral costs. The service yesterday was so difficult and heartbreaking, but yet so beautiful. So thankful to have been there celebrating my cousin's life with all of our family. We sure will miss my cousin Aaron! In the word's of Amber's dad, "We are so blessed that Aaron lives on in Summer". 


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January 27, 2016

Get 'em While They're Hot!


In case you've never swung by my Etsy blog (or even known it existed!), you totally should stop by. Especially now! All of my Cozy Couture Handmade headwraps are only $15 (lowest price all year!).

I'd love to make you an extra cute and super cozy accessory to keep you warm and stylish!
>> Check it out HERE!


Happy shopping my friends!


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January 25, 2016

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

You will have to excuse my tardiness today.
I typically prep posts the night before, but I found out we lost my cousin in a tragic accident yesterday, and I didn't feel up for doing much of anything. Just heartbreaking.

So without further adieu, let's get mingling... 

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** What are you thankful for today? **





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In Case You Missed It...


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January 18, 2016

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Welcome back to the weekly grind... unless you are off in honor of MLK, and then I hope you are snuggled up with hot chocolate and watching chick flicks! It's freezing here in good ol' KC, with a whopping high of 5 degrees. Brrrr!

So glad you're here to link-up and mingle! Thanks for making networking so fun!
Let's hop to it!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** What's your favorite way to spend a day off? **





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In Case You Missed It...


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January 15, 2016

Currently Loving

Happy Friday, lovelies!
Is it just me or do these normal 5 day weeks sure hurt after working short weeks during the holidays. I swore from Wednesday on that I thought it was Friday when my alarm went off. Woof!

But the good things sure kept me going this week, including the reminder that TGIF means more than lounging in PJs and binge watching Netflix. It's girls weekend! I'm going to snuggle babies and spend much needed time with my best girlfriends (we've been friends since elementary!).

And on that note, a little snapshot of what I'm loving lately...

Invest in a really wolly pair of socks for indoors when you're chilly, wrapped up in bed with a cuppa coffee:
Currently...

dreaming//
...up a new adventure. You know when you get in the groove of traveling, the second you get home you are already dreaming up your next adventure. Well, I've got the travel bug (and finally new PTO days!)! We had an insanely incredible last year of traveling to Nashville, Seattle, Portland, Orlando, Jensen Beach, and New York City and I'm ready to go again! Where to, my friends?

hoping// 
...I don't get a speeding ticket this afternoon as I gun it down the highway - while belting out Adele in my jeep - on my way to see the besties 3 hours away. Girls weekend! #leadfoot #tooexcited

confessing//
...I completely nerded out yesterday. I went to the local library, got my library card, and felt so excitedly geeky. I even sent a text of my new library card to my family, who was slightly less enthused for me than I thought (ha!), which leads me to the next point...

reading//
..."It Was Me All Along" by Andie Mitchell. After sharing a small snippet of my journey and how up and down this last year was for me in this post, I am on the up & up and this book is so good for my soul.

watching//  
...The Bachelor and trying to pick my jaw off the floor after every crazy/rude thing Lace says. Yes, I know their names and my obsession has reached an all time new (shameful) high. Who is your favorite? Hubby and I both like Caila... and yes I "make" him watch it with me (read: It's totally voluntary and I think he is more into it than I am!).

admitting//
...that my Christmas tree is still up. I have a problem. I just couldn't bring myself to do it the last few weeks with the twinkle lights and general holly jolliness, but we've reached an embarrassing level and I finally need to break up with my Christmas tree. *sigh*

thinking//
...my newest beauty buy - Olay Regenerist Recovery Night Cream - is a miracle in a jar! The cold winter months always seems to really suck all the moisture out of my skin, but in just a few uses my skin is SO much softer and ever looks better. No joke... in days. Somebody should pay me to be their spokeswoman!

indulging//
...on documentaries. I totally love them so much and my latest faves have been Iris, The Short Game, and Chef's Table (completely in love with this series and ready for season 2!). Do you nerd out on docs too? Any recommendations?

sipping// 
...homemade lattes left and right. Adam got me a Nespresso machine for my bday/Christmas last year and I love that thing. When you are trying your best to be a responsible adult and have limited to only treating yourself to a fancy latte from a coffee shop twice a month, you gotta get your fix somewhere! I especially love making mochas with this Fairlife Chocolate Milk that my nutritionist recommended (almost twice the protein and 50% less sugar!). So good. So "thrifty". I feel like such a successful adult.

loving//
...every second of this hilarious Carpool Karaoke with Adele & James Corden. So much yes.

using//
...my Plum Paper planner. I seriously happened upon this life changing planner on Etsy and for the last 3 years my type-A, OCD heart has been in planning heaven. I love it so much that 3 co-workers and numerous friends have bought one too. Game changer.


What are you currently loving?

.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


In case you missed it...

(travel, food, movies, memories, etc.!)


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January 11, 2016

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Busy, crazy manic Monday already... who's with me?
Thank goodness you dropped by so I can put my cold shower, spilled oatmeal, almost late morning behind me and have something GREAT to look forward to you!

Stay tuned this week! LOTS of photos and recaps coming your way from my trip to NYC, Disney World, etc... so much fun to share!

Let's hop to it!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** What's your go to way to turn around a rough morning? (read: help!)**





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In Case You Missed It...



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January 4, 2016

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Happy New Year!
We'tre kicking off 2016 with some blog hopping and networking! So glad you stopped by to join us, get your blog out there, and meet some inspirational bloggers.

Let's jump right in!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** Do you have a New Year's resolution? **





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In Case You Missed It...



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December 30, 2015

Hands Down The Best of 2015

Wow, what a year! Am I right?
I can't offer a more heartfelt thank you to each one of you this past year for sticking it out with me while I was went through one of the hardest years! It was really hard to keep up with this little blog on a regular basis, but I am so thankful to be better and back to blogging like I love to do!

Looking forward to a great New Year, and a fresh start in all categories of life. But before we ring in 2016, I wanted to look back at my favorite parts that 2015 offered! Cheers!

Easy Last-Minute DIY New Year’s Eve Party Ideas:

This Year's Highlights:
1. Starting my dream job and making some killer work friends
2. Opening a $5.1 Ronald McDonald House
3. Making homemade pizza on Love Day
4. Going to my first blog conference with my KC blog buds
5. Getting my first blow out (champagne in tow) 
6. Dancing the night away at a fancy family wedding in Houston
7. Celebrating our 2nd anniversary with a little staycation & a love letter
8. Learning how to fine tune my inner green thumb
9. Eating our way through Nashvegas while searching for T. Swift
10. Daytripping to Lawrence for strawberry picking with my mom + dad
11. Adventuring at the dog park & post Beast bath pics
12. Sampling beignets at the Saturday morning farmers market
13. Visiting my best friends in Wichita and laughing so hard I cried
14. Attempting to conquer red lipstick
15. Having the courage to go through counseling & growing so much
16. Visiting Portland and eating the world's best donut... twice
17. Hiking Multnomah Falls
18. Roadtripping to Canon Beach with the hubster
19. Experiencing and being in awe of Seattle's Chihuly museum 
20. Playing board games in Director's Park while in Portland
21. Walking through Pike's Market
22. Singling along to every word at the Taylor Swift concert w/ mom + sis
23. Cheering on our KC Royals winning the World Series with 800,000 of my closest friends
24. Traveling to Disney World as a pre-Christmas present with my boo
25. Witnessing the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
26. Going to Florida over Thanksgiving with my awesome in-laws
27. Taking a sister trip to NYC and getting on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
28. Celebrating my brother's engagement on Christmas morning and gaining a soon-to-be new sister


Favorite Movies:

1. The Intern
2. Bridge of Spies
3. Cinderella
4. Divergent: Insurgent
5. The Age of Adeline
6. Avengers: Age of Ultron
7. Inside Out
8. Minions
9. Joy
10. Hotel Transylvania 2
11. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
12. Sisters
13. Concussion


Favorite Songs:
1. Hello - Adele
2. Spirit Cold - Tall Heights
3. Downtown - Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis
4. See You Again - Wiz Khalifa
5. Cheerleader - Omi
6. Fight Song - Rachel Platten
7. Hold My Hand - Jess Glynn
8. Shut Up and Dance - Walk the Moon
9. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran
10. Four Five Seconds - Rihanna and Kanye
11. Stay With Me - Sam Smith
12. Watch Me - Silento
13. Budapest - George Ezra
14. Renegades - X Ambassadors
15. New Americana - Halsey


Best Albums:
1. 25 - Adele
2. Beneath the Skin - Of Monsters and Men
3. 1989 - Ryan Adams
4. A Heart Full of Dreams - Coldplay
5. Purpose - Biebs


Favorite Live Events:
1. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (New York, NY)
2. Matilda (New York City, NY)
3. 1989 Taylor Swift (Kansas City, MO)
4. Wishes at Magic Kingdom (Orlando, FL)
5. Musicians Corner (Nashville, TN)
6. The Book of Mormon Musical (Kansas City, MO)
7. Adele Live at Madison Square Garden (via TV - New York, NY)


Favorite Books: 
1. Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps - Kelly Williams 
2. The Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown
3. It Was Me All Along: A Memoir - Andie Mitchell



Favorite Eats:
1. Ibis Bakery - Gourmet Toast with Almond Butter, Local Honey, & Sea Salt (Lenexa, KS)
2. Barista Parlor - Whiskey Caramel Latte (Nashville, TN)
3. The Pancake Pantry - Sweet Potato Pancakes with Cinnamon Glaze (Nashville, TN)
4. The Pharmacy - Pharmacy Burger & Hand-cut Sweet Potato Fried (Nashville, TN)
5. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams - Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream (Nashville, TN)
6. Parkville Coffee - Blended Mocha Coffee (Parkville, MO)
7. The Upper Crust - Coconut Cream Pie (Kansas City, MO)
8. Happy Gillis - Biscuits & Sausage Gravy (Kansas City, MO)
9. Blue Star Donuts - Blueberry Bourbon Basil Donut (Portland, OR)
10. Voodoo Donuts - Maple Bacon Longjohn (Portland, OR)
11. Pine State Biscuits - The Reggie Biscuit Sandwich (Portland, OR)
12. Deschutes Brewery - Fresh Squeezed IPA (Portland OR)
12. Marination Ma Kai - Aloha Pork Sliders & Pickled Ginger Slaw (Seattle, WA)
13. Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant - Pulled Pork (Franklin, TN)
14. Brooklyn Diner - Chicken Pot Pie (New York, NY)
15. Molly's Cupcakes - Blueberry Cheesecake Cupcake (New York, NY)
16. Dolce Bakery - Sweet Potato Scone (Prairie Village, KS)



Looking forward to 2016 because...
1. A fresh start after a tough year
2. Hopefully going to Michigan for a family friend wedding
3. Lots of cabin road trips
4. More brunching with my girlfriends
5. Trying to become a 'regular' at a coffee shop
6. Renewed health after lots of health issues
7. Hoping to plan some great adventures with the hubster
8. Spending more time with our families
9. Sister graduating from college



// What were your favorites of 2015? //



Alright, 2016, I am ready for you!
Bring on the new epic adventures!



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December 28, 2015

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up

Ahhh!
Better late than never, right? I got extra lazy last night and went to bed so I could get up extra early to fight the impending winter storm during my commute. Hence why it's my lunch break and I'm just now posting Mingle Monday!

A very special thank you to all who left me encouraging notes after I shared a vulnerable insight to where I have been for the last 6 months. Thankful to have such loyal blog friends through the times of struggle - I can't thank you enough from the bottom of my heart!!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** Any fun New Years Eve plans? **





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December 23, 2015

This Will Be Me Before Our Company Arrives...



The struggle is real, my friends...


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December 21, 2015

Real Talk: Where I've Been the Last 6 Months

I have written this blog post a thousand times in my head.
I've had so much to say, but it seemed so daunting to actually start. And more so? So scary and draining to actually be vulnerable.

Many of you have so kindly emailed me to check and see if I'm okay, noticing my number of blog posts dwindling down to once a week. Nothing original or inspired to grace the wall of this humble little blog, and for a very good reason.

This past year has been one of the hardest years in my life.
My heart has been heavy and my mind distant, full of some many other things.

Important things.
Heavy things.


In this past year, I was given my dream job at Ronald McDonald House Charities, which both incredibly inspires and excites me, as well as sometimes making my heart hurt at times. Broken kiddos going through cancer and awful diseases, and their burdened families who all simply need so much love and kindness, but as you can imagine... sometimes it's hard not to take work home with me, but I'm working on it.

I've also had lots of health issues beginning in the late spring - bone spur and feet problems (read: walking boot of death - ha!), herniated disk in my back, and skin cancer removal surgery. As a result, I haven't been able to workout and de-stress after work like I so badly need. I never knew how much I would miss those sweaty grueling [read: awful!] workout sessions until I gained 20+ pounds, and my self-esteem flew out the window.

On top of that, I have felt extra tired and achey, as exercise is the main way I manage the side effects of my fibromyalgia pain - a chronic auto-immune disease where the nerves tell your body you're in pain constantly - and it leaves many feeling like they have the achey flu most days. Exercising was my life line to stay healthy, feel good about myself, and mentally decompress. I so badly wanted to feel like me again.

Aside from my personal struggle, many of my closest family members and friends have been suffering with so much this year: depression, job loss, health issues, infertility, death of a loved one, overwhelming anxiety, miscarriage, eating disorders, heartbreak, work worries, waiting to receive a transplant, divorce... and the list goes on.

Now that's heavy. And real.
Just heartbreaking.

From the end of the earth will I cry to you. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. - Psalm 61:2:

Finally, without knowing how to cope with my own stress (disordered eating, self-acceptance, personal development), as well as being a caregiver for my hurting family and friends, I finally began counseling this summer. It took me forever to get past the stigma of counseling and be able to go, but once I did I've never known such freedom. Finally a healthy outlet where I could vent, cry, share victories, get help, and simply breathe. And breathing is so very important, especially when you feel like you are drowning. So thankful I had such a kind and loving counselor confidant full of wisdom and help (thanks for being you, Lindsey!).

During that time I really struggled with posting on my blog, especially light and fluffy things - like fashion, recipes, and cool gift ideas for the holiday. I've also missed reading other friends' blogs too. In my world, all time and space slowed down with every moment feeling fragile and occupied... no room for extras. Being a prisoner of worry and sometimes hurt while feeling overwhelmed quite simply left me empty and uninspired.

I was angry, sad, mad at God, felt alone, confused, overwhelmed, and lost all at once.
That's when I realized it's okay to pull back. It's okay to not post on my blog, or question what was happening, or not cook a gourmet meal each night, or have a perfectly clean house, or say no to meeting up with friends. And the truth is, it's okay to simply be present and take care of yourself (and not feel obligated to apologize for it)... and that took a long time for me to realize.  It also taught me to identify who my "safe" friends/family are - those who have unwavering trust and will walk with me every step of the way, navigating uncharted waters.

So thankful for the unconditional love and perseverance of my incredible husband, the care and gentleness of my best friends, the support of my family, a great counselor and nutritionist, and for each and every one of you who sent what may have felt like a very little note my way. On countless occasions, just the simple "checking in!" brought tears to my eyes and meant more than I can truly express. Thank you for caring.

After months of repair and healing, I feel brand new! Back feeling like myself again and I cannot wait to jump back into what I've missed so much. I've so missed connecting with each of you, reading your wonderful blogs, and feeling inspired to share as well. Although I may have lost some readers over the past 6 months or so, I am so thankful that you are here reading this post and letting me share this journey with you.

I know in some weird way God will use my story and struggles in a special way to someone who maybe needs to hear they are not alone. That someone else has been there too and I can possibly understand a small piece of what you may be struggling with.

And maybe that someone is you?
If so, you should know...

You are stronger than you know, and so deeply loved.
It's okay to not be okay.
You will get through this... so take heart, my friend!
It is not the end of your story.
This is your new beginning.
Everyday, God is still good, in heartache and triumph.


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December 14, 2015

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up... I'm Back!

Wow.
Anyone notice that this humble little blog was a wee bit abandoned for a few weeks? I promise... I am alive and have a very heartfelt blog post coming your way on where I've been, and why stepping back is good and necessary sometimes.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the many emails checking on me. I felt very much showered in love and support, and made it easier to get back in the groove. Anyway, glad you're here, glad you're you... let's mingle!

   

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) Share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or give a social media shout out.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below:
** Favorite holiday tradition or food? **




_________________________________________________________

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