The Heart

NeedToBreathe is one of my favorite bands right now. Just about every song speaks to me in some way. I love the style of the music and the lyrics have so much depth. If there’s ever a time when I’m needing a “pick-me-up” I will put on one of their songs.

Today I’m sharing with you their song, The Heart. The band NeedToBreathe are from South Carolina and their banjo and mandolin playing just make me tap my foot along with the music and I love it. The song Brother just moves me like no other. I can play it over and over. And Multiplied makes me just drop to my knees. So. Good. Plus, their entire new album is just fantastic. Check out Rivers In The Wasteland. You won’t be disappointed.

by NeedToBreathe

“Got’sta make hay when the sun is shinin’
Can’t waste time when it comes time to dance”

The Happy Housewife?

So, remember when I was talking about trying to get pregnant this year? Yeah, so, one of the things that I struggle with is the desire to be a SAHM. I feel like the best person to spend day-in and day-out with my future child is myself. I have half a graduate degree dedicated to early-childhood education and I feel like no one else could do a better job than myself.

BUT… Could I really hack it as a stay at home mom? Would I be a “happy housewife” if given the opportunity? I can barely keep up after myself, let alone my husband and dog, add another human to the mix and I’m just not sure. I’ve mentioned before that my husband is a former chef and he does most (read: all) the cooking. I’ve tried to take a more active role but I just suck at it and it’s not fun for me but I know that once this baby comes I’m going to have to step up.

I even tried Blue Apron (total fail… that’s a post for another time) and it kinda helped out but mostly just reminded me of how bad I suck at cooking. I’m not creative in the kitchen and I have no idea about flavor profiles and, well, any of the “rules”… I once used red wine instead of white wine in a dish because that’s what we had on hand and didn’t know that was not going to work.

I definitely didn’t get the training my husband did. My mother is really good at frozen vegetables and plain chicken. We ate a lot of meatloaf and mashed potatoes growing up. In her defense my step-father had a terribly picky palate. I also didn’t get any cooking skills from my biological father’s side of the family. I mean, let’s be honest, my grandmother makes Jell-O salads with her dinners and considers them a legitimate side dish. Lettuce on the plate cafeteria style and all. It was what you did in the 50s and besides, my grandpa loves it.

A recent study shows that working moms have healthier, more successful kids (Psychology Today). I believe this is because many people over-parent and do more harm than good. Working outside the home will keep my brain engaged in higher-level thinking and will keep me from getting over-invested in my child’s well-being. I know that I tend to be a smother-er with my affection (ask Craig) and I would hate to over-do it with my child.

So, I’ve started looking into high-quality day-care facilities in the area and really preparing myself for the reality of being a mom who works outside the home. My working mom friends talk endlessly about the “juggle” you maintain when there aren’t enough hours in the day. Thankfully I have a great job with a lot of flexibility. I am grateful for the ability to get away as needed and I think that will help. Overall I’m excited about the future. Having a full-time job will keep us in a position financially to travel often and to expose our child to the great wonders of the world and that’s a good thing.

 

So, what about you? What are your thoughts on the subject? Any SAHM’s out there? WAHM‘s? Full-time workers? How do you maintain a balance? Help me out here… I want your advice!

P.S. Here’s an interesting take (Being a Stay-at-Home Mom is not a Job). I tend to agree with this article. I mean, as a full-time worker outside the home I will still have to find time to cook and clean and maintain the home but I’ll also be gone for the majority of the day. Thoughts?

#lucky

Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all!

Are you wearing green today? Evidently green isn’t even the right color. We’re supposed to be wearing blue. Also, in Ireland, for many years, St. Patrick’s Day was a feast day that traditionally shut down the pubs. The American version of St. Patty’s Day is quite different. Well, Americans do a lot of things different so I guess that really isn’t a surprise.

So, anyway, I’m dropping in to send my best wishes and to talk a little bit about luck. Traditionally St. Patrick’s Day has been associated with the four-leaf clover as a symbol of luck. Interesting word, luck, closely intertwined with the word, chance. Luck, by definition, is “the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.” Luck is associated with situations beyond your control. Luck is often attributed to either good fortune or bad fortune. Sometimes I consider myself lucky. Sometimes I remember to use a more appropriate word, blessed.

So, what does it mean to be blessed? According to Merriam-Webster, being blessed involves “bringing pleasure, contentment, or good fortune.” So there’s that word again, fortune. Good fortune or bad fortune, we are all fortunate. No matter the circumstances in life there is some aspect of “receiving some unexpected good.” Even when life knocks us down there is something good to be found. Even when life is hard we are still lucky. Even when we feel like life is too difficult there is something for which we can be grateful.

This past weekend we celebrated the life of my late step-father, Norman, by caravan through “the loop” and over to Crescent Lake. Many of his friends and family rode their motorcycles and others rode in their vehicles and the weather was just perfect. It was sunny but not too hot. The breeze was nice and cool and the ride was a lovely tribute to him. Despite our loss we still can consider ourselves lucky. We had a father, husband, brother, uncle, cousin, friend… and shared great memories together. Good stories were shared and I know that’s the way he would have wanted.

Being blessed does not mean that your life is perfect. Rather, being blessed means that you find the fortune in the imperfect. We live in a fallen and sinful world but God’s grace shines blessing down upon us even in our darkest times. The sisters were able to grow closer this past weekend in a way we hadn’t before and for that I am grateful. The blessing we have in each other is not to be overlooked. We are fortunate to grow in relationship and in love.

Life will go on. We will get busy with life again. Time will pass. However, we will always count ourselves fortunate to have the relationships we do because of Norman Walker. The good, the bad, the ups and downs. Together we count ourselves blessed. Today, on this lucky holiday, I will remember just how good we have it and just how fortunate we are.

New Year – New Goals

Hello everyone and I hope that you’ve had a wonderful extended holiday. Craig and I were able to spend some time with our family and were able to start on yet another construction project so I’d say it was a pretty good holiday in my book. I’m back today with a post on, what else, new year goal setting.

January is typically a time of year in which we take a moment to reflect on the past year, the good and the bad, and make new goals for the coming year. I’ve decided to set 5 goals for the year 2015. I feel that by keeping these goals broad I’m better able to make them a reality. I know myself and I know that I routinely fail. Instead of focusing on the challenges negatively I’m going to use them to my advantage. So, here goes:

  1. Focus on Christ – First, and foremost, I plan on really renewing my relationship with Christ. Through daily reading, my small group, and church attendance I hope to make some new habits that have a life long effect. Starting this month I have been daily reading in an app called She Reads Truth. This app makes it super easy to stay in the word on a daily basis and it has a wonderful graphic at the end of each reading to share through social media as a way to hold yourself better accountable and to share God’s goodness and grace. I really enjoy the format and I pray to make this become habit. In addition to She Reads Truth, I’m leading my small group (aka Life Group) in the Beth Moore study of Esther. This is a study I have done before years ago and I’m looking forward to doing again with my group. I pray that God uses me for these women and their hope in Him. Also, I’m still involved in the Disciple study that goes through May this year so I’ve got a lot of ways to really make my relationship with Christ more intentional.
  2. Nurture Relationships – I feel like this goal really goes along well with my number one goal this year. In 2015 I really want to work more on strengthening my relationships with my husband, my family, and even more so, my friends. It is so easy to get caught up in daily life that I let my relationships fall by the wayside. Like I mentioned with my first goal, being more intentional means that I’m really making time for what is important. Last year, the deaths of both of my fathers really brought home the importance of relationships. I’m going to work harder on strengthening my relationship with my husband by daily making time for his needs. Whether it is as simple as being more diligent with my cleaning or making more time for physical affection, I plan on making him a priority. I want to be sure that we are setting ourselves up for success with a long and healthy marriage. In addition, Craig and I have talked at length about focusing on our friendships this year and making time to clear our schedule for our friends. We can get so busy at times that we’ve gone a whole month and haven’t spent time with anyone but ourselves. Well, this year we want to change. I want to make sure to take more time for my mom this year and I want to visit my grandparents more. Hopefully this goal will make a lasting change in our lives.
  3. Healthy Living – This past December I started taking classes at my local Pure Barre and I’ve really enjoyed the workout it gives me. I’m enjoying the classes and their varied but yet consistent nature. In addition to remaining in a workout routine for 2015 I am going to continue my healthy living by really working on my diet. I’ve decided this year that I will no longer be drinking soda (specifically dark soda). I know that if I eliminate Coca Cola Classic completely from my diet I will need something to wean me off it’s deliciousness so if I find myself somewhere (like a drive through) where I feel the need to order a soda I will order a Sprite. If y’all know me it’s how much I love a good Coke. The real thing … no diet! I drink them rarely because we don’t keep soda in the house. We know how bad sodas are for you so we treat them as special occasion drinks. With that being said, this year I plan on eliminating them entirely. Craig and I are going to try and get pregnant this year so my health is even more important now. We already do a pretty good job with our health but I plan on stepping it up with diet and exercise and regularly taking my prenatal vitamins.
  4. Better my Budget – Okay, so this is a tough one. This year I’m really going to work on my saving and spending habits. I like to think that Craig and I are pretty good at this already (at least he is) but I know that with a baby coming we really need to step up our game. I’m one of those people who really HATE to budget. Not that I can’t live with a budget, just that I hate tracking and dealing with all the math! It’s easy for me because Craig and I took a look at expenses and we have put me on a cash diet to keep my spending in check but I still find times that I’m swiping my Amex or not really knowing what I’ve spent my money on that past month. This year I want to be more conscious of the whole process and to be more active in pursuing better spending habits. We want to make sure we’re setting ourselves up financially in the best possible way, especially with a future child in the picture. Seeing as my husband is an accountant this goal is a very real one for us.
  5. Personal Development – Finally, I really want to work on myself both professionally and personally. I don’t have time to re-enroll in graduate school this year but that doesn’t mean I can’t make time to pick up Fluenz again. I want to keep my brain sharp and focus on that passion I have for life-long learning. I hope to make more time this year to really keep my mind active and engaged and less focused on trivial pursuits. I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time on Facebook that could be better used by completing a Spanish lesson or even just reading a good book! Also, I want to make more time for this blog. I find that writing is a good outlet for me and I like to share my life with y’all. It’s not a matter of finding time but of making time. This year I want to really make more time for the things that make me a better person and this is a good place to start.

So, what about y’all. What are your goals for this year? Do you have any do-overs from last year that you’d like another shot at? Are you setting just one big goal or many small goals? I’d love to know what’s in store for you for 2015!

MissCaron

#IRL

“Is this real life?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txqiwrbYGrs

Well. I figure I should catch you up on my life and unexplained absence. This year has been full of ups and downs and will go down as both one of the greatest and also the worst year of my life. I don’t even know where to begin.

First, we finished our kitchen renovation just before the new year and have spent this year rearranging and beautifying the space. We are really loving the makeover and spend a lot of time in that space.

Also, we adopted the most precious pup, Jethro, in April. He was born January 31 and he’s an apricot standard poodle. He has the best personality. He loves us fiercely. He’s definitely daddy’s boy. He’s a protector and a love bug. He will bark loudly when he wants to warn us of “danger” but then will spend all afternoon spooning on the couch. We couldn’t ask for a better addition to our family.

IMG_4091

We built a shed for our backyard in the heat (and rain) of the summer. From scratch. I’m not kidding. Craig and I set the foundation, framed the walls, etc. It was a true labor of love. One day I hope to have a post on the process.

We went to Michigan to visit some good friends and went wine tasting around several wineries around Traverse City. Our favorite was Brys Estate. We highly recommend their Pinot Noir and my favorite was the Cab Franc. Then, in September, for Craig’s birthday, we went out to hike around the Olympic Peninsula. We did the Hoh River Trail and I lost 5 toenails from having terrible boots (didn’t know they were bad until about 10 miles in).

IMG_3780

Finally, we had some tragedy hit our family. My biological father passed away suddenly at the beginning of September. In the span of dinner with friends he had stopped breathing, entered the hospital, and then passed away. The doctors tell us it was a pulmonary embolism. It was very sudden and although he was not in good health none of us expected him to be gone so soon. It is especially hard on his parents, my loving grandparents, who in their early 80s have lost a child.

In addition, my step-father (and the man who raised me with my mother since I was 5 years of age) passed away suddenly on Halloween night. Again, a sudden and tragic and unexpected loss. Norman was in the backyard with friends when he just collapsed and was alive no longer. We did not have a chance to say goodbye. My sisters and I are finding the adjustment to life without him rather difficult. My mother is having the most difficult time of all, as one can imagine.

IMG_4050

Life is both wonderful and terrible right now. Every day I feel conflicting emotions. It still doesn’t seem real and yet it is. How can this be real life? How are we to manage it all? This holiday season is both a blessing and a yet reminder of our loss. I pray everyday for my mommy and for my sisters that we are somehow able to continue moving forward while keeping his memory alive. It is very hard.

So, that’s where I am right now. That’s what’s been happening with me and mine. I have more to say. More stories to share. But for now, I will wish you seasons greetings of love and happiness and great blessing upon your life. Hold your loved ones close tonight. I pray that you remember to cherish every moment you are given on this earth.

I’m hoping to really dive back into posting here on this blog. I like the journal aspect and since Craig and I are looking to try and get pregnant in 2015 I feel like this will be a good way to document the journey. I’d love for y’all to continue to follow along. Thanks for your support.

XO – Caron