Gratitude Prompts Days 15 to 31 (oops)

Sooo…I’m behind with my gratitude posts for the month. Honestly, I cannot believe I allowed two weeks to go by without a post! No excuses. I dropped the ball there, and today I’m catching up in a big way (with the remainder of the month). Can we just talk about how great I did the first week-and-a-half? It’s not an excuse, but I will share with you why I completely failed the second half (three quarters) of the month.

I was in a wedding planning haze! My husband and I had a beautiful trip to St. Kitts and Nevis planned for our 15th wedding anniversary. We booked a Nevis Peak Suite at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour. A beautiful suite with a massive private balcony with its own infinity pool overlooking the beach and the mountains across the way. We were excited…and then COVID-19 happened. Cancelled. Refunded. No trip.

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So, during one of our quarantine weekends with our favorite quarantine crew, we had the amazing idea to plan a vow renewal for our anniversary. It’s 15 years! We couldn’t go anywhere and celebrate, so we decided that we’d put the River House to good use and renew our vows on the dock using the river as our beautiful background. It was very last minute, very thrown together (have you ever tried to cater anything during a pandemic, even when things are opened back up and you can go out again, when there’s an apparent meat shortage, the florist can’t promise to have flowers here in time, and you have to just do it all yourself?). Needless to say, the week prior to our May 15th anniversary was hectic, and I was busy meeting my regular deadlines for my clients, helping my kids with their distance learning, celebrating with my husband, and planning our second wedding.

You guys…it was the most beautiful day! We were surrounded by the people we love the most, and we definitely had entirely too much fun! There is something so special about standing in front of the man you’ve loved for 18.5 years, to whom you’ve been married for 15, and stating new vows to grace your original vows. I can’t even describe the feeling, but it was more exciting than the first time we wed. To know that after all these years, I still love him – but better yet, I still like him – more than ever is an amazing feeling. It was a good, good day.

Once that was over, I was going to catch up on my blog posts…I was. But, I woke up that Monday morning sick. No, it’s not the coronavirus. I’ll leave this right here for anyone confused or slightly misinformed – but other illnesses do still exist. Not every sore throat, cough, and general feeling of malaise is the corona. Things like the common cold, the flu, bronchitis, and strep throat, and other things, well, they’re still here. They’re running rampant, as always, but it’s not newsworthy, so we’re ignoring that, right? Anyway, I spent the better part of the week sick and staying in bed to rest, so I wasn’t doing more than I needed to do.

Of course, I’m out of excuses now. I felt good enough Friday to take my oldest to a birthday party at Hammer and Stain for her sweet twin friends while I went to lunch and shopping with two of my very favorite friends (whose kids were also at the party), and good enough to go on date night with my handsome husband and our best friends that night, and good enough to pool party it up on Saturday, and host Sunday Funday at home, and have a Memorial Day pool party with our favorites.

Soooooo…I just dropped the ball there. Sorry.

I’m catching up. Today. I promise. Here’s all the prompts for the rest of the month. It’s still possible to be filled with gratitude with me, even if it’s a bit late, right?

Day 15 What activities bring you joy?

Too many to count! But, I will say that reading is a favorite. Our customary Wednesday night dinner with our best friends brings me joy. Playing board games with my families on rainy evenings. Rainy day movie days. Traveling. A good cup of coffee on my back deck while the sun is rising. Working out. Yoga and running. It’s so many little things.

Day 16 How is your life more positive today than it was a year ago?

This is a tough one. A year ago we were celebrating the last week of school with our littles coming off of a long few months of traveling – so fun, but exhausting – and my husband and I were getting ready to travel to Washington D.C. with our oldest daughter and her friends and their awesome parents for a week of Safety Patrol tripping. That was…an experience.

This year? We are coming off a long few months of going nowhere, doing nothing, being forced to slow down. But, at the same time, it’s been the best few months. We’ve really bonded with the people we love the most as we quarantined together. We’ve learned to appreciate the simplest things. This time last year, I was fresh into an adventure I thought would be so much fun and so enjoyable, and it ended up being the most toxic situation that brought so much negativity into my life. This year, that’s done, gone, and in the past – thank goodness – and I’ve learned that not everything is worth my time. That’s a freeing feeling.

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Day 17 What did you accomplish today?

This is going to sound silly, I know. I’m such an early riser. I’ve always been a 5 am riser. I like the quiet and the solitude. I like to sit down with my husband when it’s still dark outside and enjoy a cup of coffee while everyone else sleeps, and I like to get into my office and start working before the kids wake up, but quarantine life has changed that. Today, however, I was out of bed at 7:30 and in my office by 7:40 and it felt really good. Not that sleeping until 8 every day isn’t good, though!

Day 18 When was the last time you felt lighthearted?

These days? It’s every day in those little moments. It’s still really early, though, and I haven’t had a conversation yet, so I’ll go back. Last night, during dinner with our best friends we were having one of our infamous inappropriate conversations and laughing so hard at the dumbest stuff, and I just felt so lighthearted. Not many people get to have friends like ours and a relationship like ours, and it’s so special to know that we can have the deepest conversations and the most motivating conversations and then turn around and literally laugh at the most asinine stuff a second later. It’s good times. That makes my heart feel light.

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Day 19 What Inspires you to keep going when it’s hard?

This is a good one. Life is hard sometimes. Sometimes, it’s just plain dumb and stupid and hard. But, what inspires me to keep going is my husband and my kids. My husband is strong, and very little affects him negatively. He’s just magic like that. Things always seem so effortless and easy to him, so he’s always the ‘strong’ one as I’m the over-reactor and the panicky one and the freak out in the moment before I have time to realize it’s not a big deal one. So, I’m inspired by him and his ability to see that things really are never as bad as they seem. Also, our kids. I’m always inspired to keep going on hard days because they’re watching. I don’t want them to be quitters or learn to give up.

Day 20 What sounds make you happy?

Easy – the sound of the twins laughing. I love to hear all the kids laughing, but Carter and Charlotte were blessed with the best laughs. Both of them. It is physically impossible not to smile, laugh, and feel elated when you hear their laughter.

Day 21 What makes you feel alive?

Running. I feel so strong and so alive when I run. It’s such a liberating feeling.

Day 22 What makes you unique?

This is tough. I don’t know what makes me unique. I think it might be my ability to find the right words for anything, and to see through the words of others to figure out what they really mean even though that’s not what they are saying. Does that even make sense? Probably not, but it’s just a thing. Someone can say something, but their eyes and their body language, and the words they choose to use, their inflections, their mannerisms, their tone…all of it says something, and it’s not always the same as their words. It might be why I’m so empathetic to people, even when I don’t particularly care for them.

Day 23 How do you show love to yourself on a daily basis?

I workout every single day. I also get myself ready each day. Makeup, hair, and a cute outfit; every day. It’s not for everyone, I know, but it’s for me. I find that being put together helps me feel more put together, which helps me have a better attitude, a better mood, and a more productive day. I can’t stand the idea of feeling lazy and un-put together. It’s not for me. So, I show myself love by appreciating my body each day.

Day 24 What are some things you are really good at?

Being efficient. I never fail to cross everything off my to-do list each day even when I don’t know how I’ll find the time. I’m also exceptionally good at letting go and enjoying when the time is appropriate. I’m very good at baseball. I’m a good mom and wife and friend. I’m really good at keeping a clean house and car (you guys, it’s not that hard or time-consuming, I swear).

Day 25 What are some things you’d like to be better at doing?

I would love to improve my patience. I find that it’s very easy for me to lose patience with people, and then literally blame them for every moment of it. For example, my patience is tested when I’m driving (or passenger-ing) because I cannot handle people who don’t know how to drive. I mean, how hard is it to use the left lane to pass the slow right lane drivers, merge over when you’re done, and let the rest of us continue to pass until we can merge into the right lane? How hard is it to at least drive the speed limit rather than 15 miles under the speed limit? How hard is it to walk off to the side of the aisles at the store so people can continue to drive down the aisle and find a parking spot? How hard is it to just keep driving to park a few spaces back rather than sit in the aisle blocking traffic for 898 hours while you wait on someone to finish loading their car, answering their text message, calling their mom for a chat, and buckling their kids in the car before they depart so you can park two spots closer to the door? Honestly, is the extra 10 foot walking distance going to kill you? I could have been in the store, purchased everything I need, back in my car and gone in the time it took you to sit there and save yourself 10 feet. Clearly, I have rage, right? So, I’d like to have more patience.

Day 26 What is something money can’t buy that makes you happy?

Let’s be honest here – I’m a material girl living in a material world. That will never end, but what brings me the most joy in my life are the things that money can’t buy. Like the feeling of peace knowing that at only 36, I’ve already accomplished more in life than younger me thought I’d accomplish in my whole life – and I still have all these years ahead of me! My family brings me so much happiness. Our friends. Our freedom. Our love. The feeling of knowing that the little things are the ones that matter the most. Something that money can’t buy is this amazing feeling that I’m not defined by things. I don’t feel the need to compare myself to others or to care if mine is bigger or better or more expensive or more whatever. I love that feeling of knowing that what I have is what I want, not what society or other people make me feel that I need. That, my friends, is a powerful feeling.

Day 27 What is something in nature I’m grateful for?

Okay, so when we bought our dream house five and-a-half years ago, it had everything we wanted. The space, the number of bedrooms, the character, a massive covered front porch and a beautiful back deck and all this outdoor living space, and a corner lot, and did I mention all the character? But, honestly…the magnolia tree in our front yard was the kicker for me. I’ve always wanted one, but I was too afraid to buy one and plant it at our other house because I do not have a green thumb. This one is already established and mature, and I literally fell in love.

And then that motherf*cker never, ever bloomed. Okay, that’s a lie. It had three magnolia blooms on it one year, three years ago. Three flowers. My magnolia was a dud. But, guess what? Not anymore! I don’t know what changed, what happened, whatever. But, my beautiful baby has been showing out like a champion for weeks now! She’s got a minimum of 10 blooms open and fragrant at a time, and always 10-20 more buds ready to bloom at the same time. She’s a beauty, and I walk outside every single day now to watch her in action. I’m in love, and I know that I’m a dork, but this tree brings me all the feelings of joy and happiness and excitement. Am I showing my age yet?

Day 28 What is something that comforts me that I’m grateful for?

Aside from the obvious, my family, a good book. Beautiful words put on paper bring me so much comfort. I’m guilty of downloading most of my books on my iPad and reading them in that light, but I keep a collection of my favorite literature in actual book form in my office. The weight of the book. The smell of the paper. The feel of the pages on my fingers. I find so much comfort in words, but especially in book form.

Day 29 (that’s today, you guys) What is something you are grateful for today?

Today, I’m grateful for adventure. I am beyond excited to be headed off on an exciting adventure this weekend with my sweet family and our best friends.

Day 30 Where is your favorite place to go?

I can’t pick just one. So, here we go. Home. Our home is my favorite place in the world. I’ve never felt happier than I do here. The way the light pours in our family room doors and windows when the sun is rising. The way the sky turns the most beautiful shades of pink in the evenings while we sit on our front porch. The attention to detail, the character. It’s so light and bright and filled with windows and natural light. I always feel so sad and down when I walk into a home that’s dark and dim and has solid doors and few windows. It’s my favorite place.

My second favorite place – New York City. Over the past 13 years, my husband and I have made it a point to have at least two date weekends a year in the city. We have our favorite hotel (the Omni Berkshire on 52nd between Park and Fifth Avenunes), our favorite restaurant with our favorite bottle of Sangiovese (Il Tinello), our favorite place to watch the sunset over the city (Salon de Ning rooftop at the Peninsula) and our favorite place to have brunch and enjoy the view (the BoatHouse in Central Park) and our favorite place to have the best glass of champagne and the best service (the Champagne Bar at the Plaza Hotel). I could go on, but the city is my home away from home, and I love to be there. I love that our hotel doorman is always excited to see us when we arrive because we’ve become friendly over the years. I love that the staff at Il Tinello has never changed, and they always remember us. I love so many things about the city.

And then there’s SoCal. Orange County is another of our favorite places. Some of our very favorite people live there, and we love to visit. We have our favorite hotels (the Montage in Laguna Beach and the Surf and Sand) and our favorite restaurants (I’m looking at you Javiers in Crystal Cove) and the views and the smell of bougainvillea and so many other things.

Hawaii – We haven’t been in years (because I’m not willing to be that far away from our kids, but we also weren’t willing to take on a 12-hour flight day with the twins being so little, either) but we think the twins are finally at an age they can handle the flight with us, so we’ll be back soon. I mean, hopefully. Right now, we don’t even know what’s open and what’s not. But, we loved everything about it here, and we cannot wait to go back. Some of my fondest memories are from here.

North Carolina – it’s just the simplest, friendliest, most beautiful place, and we always feel so at home here.

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Day 31 What is the best gift you have ever received?

Hmmmm….I love all the gifts I’ve ever received, honestly. Okay, well, most of them. I love the things the kids make for me. I love everything my husband has ever given me. It’s hard to pick a favorite. Nope, let me stop myself right there. I have two favorites.

When I was pregnant with Addison Grace, my husband gifted me the most beautiful Tiffany & Co. Necklace with a small circular charm on it with a simple “A” engraved on it at our baby shower. Then, on my first Mother’s Day, he gave me a matching Tiffany & Co. bracelet with a charm on it that says “Mom”. Since that day, he’s filled that bracelet with the most beautiful charms, all meaningful in some way.

My other favorite gift is the one he just gave me for our 15th wedding anniversary. It’s the crystal anniversary, so he gave me a beautiful crystal vase. It might not seem special to some, but I’m obsessed with fresh flowers. I always have a fresh bouquet on the fireplace, on the island in the kitchen, on the dining room table, on the breakfast nook table, on the formal living rooms tables, and in our master bedroom. I refresh them weekly so we always have fresh flowers. So, to go along with my beautiful vase, he bought me a flower subscription. I’ll get fresh flowers delivered weekly for the rest of my life (well, year, I think, but he’ll renew it every year knowing him) to put in that vase so it’s never empty. I thought that was the most thoughtful, most beautiful gift.

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What’s important as we round out this month with gratitude is that we are thankful and appreciative of the beauty in our lives. Every day may not be the best day, but every day is a good day.

Gratitude Prompts: Days 12, 13, and 14

I know, I know…I missed a few days of gratitude this week, didn’t I? Oops! Well, let’s be honest. I’m not perfect, and sometimes things slip through the cracks, and this was just one of those weeks…and it hasn’t even reached crazy capacity just yet! I can’t wait to share more with you guys next week, but I will tell you that right now, this is one crazy, hectic, amazing week!

So, to catch up on day 14…I owe you days 12 and 13, too!

Today, my husband and I should be on a plane. We should be on our way to St. Kitts and Nevis to spend 4 days in a Nevis Peak Suite at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbor Resort. We were so looking forward to it, but the Coronavirus said no. We are disappointed, but trying not to let it get us down too much. So, that said…here are my gratitude prompts for the past few days and today.

Day 12: What keeps you grounded?

My husband, for sure. He is the exact opposite of me. He’s calm and cool and collected to my very temperamental hotheaded kind of crazy. He is always reasonable when I’m emotional. He doesn’t panic. He is calm, and there is always a logical answer to any situation. He keeps me grounded in every manner of speaking. When I’m mad, he reminds me that things aren’t that big of a deal. When I’m sad, he reminds me I have so many more things to be happy about. When I’m overwhelmed, he reminds me that it’s my choice to be overwhelmed and I should let go of my obsessive compulsive need to do everything myself and ask for help (well, he’s nicer about it than that, but you see what I’m saying). He’s my rock, and I love that about him.

Day 13: What is the biggest miracle of your life?

Honestly? Once again, I’d say my husband. How I managed to find someone who is so good to me and so kind and such a good father and such a strong person is beyond me. Especially at such a young age! We found one another when we were only 18. That was more than half our lives ago. The biggest miracle, to me, is that even after almost 19 years together, it’s not boring. We share an office. We have four kids. We are together like 98% of our lives, and we aren’t tired of one another. I’m still so attracted to him. I still love him so much. I still need him and want him even more after so many years together. I can’t explain it, but it feels like such a miracle to not only get to spend every day with someone I love so much, but someone I just plain like a lot, too. I don’t take that for granted.

Day 14: What does it mean to be free and fulfilled?

Can I just stop for a moment and tell you how much I love this question? It’s such a good question! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: for me, freedom and fulfillment go hand in hand. For me, being free means living life on my terms. It means not answering to someone else every day of my life. It means making my own schedule and my own choices and my own opportunities. It means not being on someone else’s terms every single day. It means going to the store and never worrying about price tags. It means being free of fear and the mundane.

Fulfillment is so similar to me. It’s that feeling of going to bed at night with a full, happy heart knowing that I don’t dread the following day. There is something so fulfilling about knowing each day, each season, is my own choice. It’s knowing that I can create all I want in life, and that I can do it around the things that are most important to me, like being present for my kids. It means knowing that I have everything I’ve ever wanted, and so much more is just an added bonus. It means loving where I am, and being excited about where I am going.

Gratitude Prompt Days 9, 10, and 11

I love when I get to go into a long weekend worth of gratitude…though I wish I had the time to do them all one day at a time! No, that’s not true. I love that I don’t worry about things on the weekend. I focus on having fun, making memories, and living my best life. That brings me to days 9, 10, and 11 of gratitude.

What’s a moment in your life that was pure joy and light?

The first night both of the twins were home from the NICU and we were able to put them into their sweet little bed in our bedroom, together, for the first time. Carter was discharged a day before Charlotte, and we had to leave her behind. They were in the NICU for a week after they were born, and we lived in the hospital with them – even after I was discharged, they let us keep our room.  We were in the NICU every three hours, 24 hours a day, to feed them, cuddle them, and spend time with them. When Carter was discharged, we made the decision to stay as late as possible, go home and be with our older girls, take them to school in the morning, and then come back. I cried all the way home with a broken heart. I never imagined being in a position where we’d take one baby home but not the other.

My heart was broken all night long, and I couldn’t wait to get to the hospital to be with our girl the following morning. When we got there, they were so excited to tell us that they were sending her home with us. She had a very rough night – as did Carter – which wasn’t something they’d ever had. They were both so upset and inconsolable for the first time since they’d been born, but when they were together again…they both relaxed, calmed down, and were happy and content once again.

The moment we got home and had all four of our babies together, the twins together, was the sweetest moment of pure joy. It was the first time the girls got to hold Charlotte (they held Carter the night before when we got home) and see the babies in person because of NICU rules. It was the most magical moment.

What season are you grateful for?

When we had Addison, we knew immediately we wanted all the babies. When we decided to have number two, we were shocked, crushed, heartbroken, and horrified when I suffered two miscarriages before our sweet Ava joined us. That season was the single worst thing we’d ever been through in our lives separately, together, and in our marriage. Losing babies is debilitating – even when you never got to hold them.

I would never wish that season on anyone, ever. But, it is the season I think that I am most grateful for in hindsight. We’d never been through anything difficult in our marriage or life until then. To go through that was a moment that hurt more than anything in the world, but to see how much stronger it made us, how much closer it brought us, and how much we leaned on one another during that time…that’s strength, and I cannot tell you how much more we appreciate one another, love one another, and how much less we taken for granted in life as a result.

I hated that season, but I’ll never forget our sweet Ava the day she asked us a question that made me realize that God’s timing is flawless.

“Do you think Carter and Charlotte are our angel babies we never got to meet that went to Heaven? Because I think they are. God decided we needed them,” and that’s when I realized that our season was awful, but she’s right. We did need them. If we’d had them before, we never would have known Ava, and what would life be like without her? God knew what we needed, and He provided.

What was the best thing that happened today?

Well, I’m writing this in advance, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what the best thing is that happened to me on the day that I’m writing, so it’s not specific for the day this blog is going live (full disclosure and stuff).

It’s still early in the day, but this is the moment that delighted me beyond measure already today. Per usual, I was awake and enjoying a cup of coffee while working in our bed. Charlotte woke up, woke Carter up, and went into the kitchen to ask Craig to make their breakfast. I could hear Charlotte telling daddy all about her dreams from the night before, and Carter came into the master to say good morning. He never misses a morning of coming to see me when he wakes up before I have a chance to put things down and come out to hang out. He walked over to me, he reached his hand out for mine, and I put my hand in his. He then pulled my hand up to his sweet little face and kissed the back of my hand very gently and said, “I love you, mommy,” before he told me he had a dream about chocolate muffins the night before.

That little moment just melted my heart. What could be better than that?!

Gratitude Prompt Day 7: Personality Traits

How’s everyone doing with their gratitude prompts? It’s hard to keep up with all that needs to be done each day. Some, in my opinion, require a little more thought and a little more time – there’s more to say. Others, still, are quick and easy. This is one of those for you.

What’s one of your personality traits that you’re grateful for?

This one is so easy for me, but I do have two that are right up there.

Number One: I am so grateful that I have an open mind and the ability to entertain thoughts that I don’t necessarily agree with. I find one of the least attractive personality traits in the known universe is a know-it-all. You know what I mean – the kind of person who is always right, whose opinion is always superior, who is never wrong, who becomes immediately defensive if your opinion or thoughts differ from their own. The type that makes you avoid certain topics of discussion at all costs. I love that I can have an opinion, I love that I can carry on a debate and still remain calm and respectful even when I disagree with others. I love that I can see things from other points of view not my own, and that I am generally not an asshole about things.

Number Two: I am so grateful that I don’t feel the need to compare myself to others. I feel a profound sense of sadness for people who compare themselves or try to one-up everyone. I imagine it’s an awful way to live, and it must suck so much happiness out of life to feel that way rather than to feel the desire to celebrate the victories of everyone around you. I am so grateful I feel happiness and pride when people accomplish things, or when good things happen, or when people are killing it. I also love being invited to the celebrations mainly as an excuse to get a babysitter, dress up, and have some champagne – so call me if y’all are celebrating anything. I mean, literally, anything – because I’m thrilled for you and ready to raise a glass!

What is something about your personality you’re grateful for?

Gratitude Prompt Day 6: My Proudest Accomplishments

As I sit here writing this, it’s still the weekend and it’s early. I have my coffee in my office where I’m watching my husband water the flowers around our front porch. Our hibiscus is growing vibrant pink flowers that make me smile every time I see them. Our gardenia is overflowing with fragrant white blooms that we can smell from the driveway on the far side of the house and along the walkway all the way from the driveway around the garage and to the front door.

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The French doors are open to the lanai. The picture windows along the front of the house downstairs are all open letting the cool air in, and the girls are playing quietly on their own. Our son is following daddy around ‘helping’ him with the watering. I’m reminded that these are the mornings I have always pictured in my mind when I thought about life as a grown-up. I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and of gratitude and of calm happiness. Life is messy and loud and chaotic and crazy most of the time, but it never fails that those moments are fleeting in the midst of the simple things that mean the most. Which brings me to today’s gratitude prompt – the sixth this month.

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?

That is the single most loaded question in the world, isn’t it? What are you most proud of that you’ve accomplished? What is an accomplishment? Are we talking personally or professionally or something different? I feel a great sense of accomplishment in knowing that I began a successful business doing something not even remotely related to the educational path I chose – something I love with a passion – when I was 25. Something that’s grown so much over the past 12 years that I never would have imagined happening.

I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment that I was able to birth four beautiful babies, but especially two at the same time, and that we have raised (mostly) well-behaved, polite, kind, funny, silly, intelligent little humans who are a lot of fun. I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment at the fact that we didn’t follow the ‘standards’ or the ‘norms’ when it came to our life in any capacity. We don’t have ‘traditional’ lives by any means. Growing up, our generation was always taught you go to college, you get a degree, you go to work for someone else Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 and you bring home a paycheck and you go on a vacation every year with your family somewhere okay, and you raise kids who play sports, you go to church, you donate both your time and your money to good causes, you buy a nice, normal house and you dream of ‘one day’ living in your dream house, and you sit around waiting on raises and retirement and ‘the golden’ years to show up.

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I feel a tremendous amount of accomplishment at the fact that the above scenario is not our life. I can’t imagine working for someone else. I can’t imagine being required to be somewhere and do for others what I do for myself. We both work from home. We share a home office. We were 29 and 30 when we bought our dream house in our dream neighborhood after already building our first home when we were only 20 and 21. We don’t wait around and think about ‘one day’ having what we want and doing what we want – we live that every day. We travel. We have fun. We enjoy our lives and our time, and we don’t fall into the norm. That’s an accomplishment to me.

But, at the end of the day, are those the accomplishments I’m most proud of? I don’t know. I can say that I feel a profound sense of accomplishment in things that are a lot smaller…simpler might be a more appropriate phrase.

I feel so much accomplishment being almost 37-years-old and surrounding myself with the same core group of friends I’ve had my entire adult life – almost all of whom are living life on their own terms working for themselves and running successful businesses and have made their dreams come true. People who are so like-minded that there is no negativity. It feels like an accomplishment to find people to do life with who are always interested in what’s going on with you, and who always cheer for you and celebrate successes with you, and want to be part of every detail of your life. People who just want to see you succeed and aren’t worried about comparison or keeping up with anyone else or trying to outdo one another. For many years, I thought this was normal – but it turns out, after being exposed to some other groups of adults, this is apparently not the ‘norm’ and it’s rare to find people like that.

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To have a group of people who are so close that our kids were born together, have known one another since before they were born, and whose successes and accomplishments I feel I’m part of. When they succeed, I feel like I succeed, too. Watching them grow from the time we were young adults through now and seeing them killing it makes me so proud and so happy, and it’s because I love these people so much. We love them so much. Between my family and my friends, I am surrounded by the greatest people in the world, and that is the most amazing accomplishment. The kind of friendship where you spend multiple days/evenings together every week and always look forward to it because there’s nothing better than being with people you love making memories with your family, with them, with the kids…that’s what life is all about.

I feel a tremendous amount of accomplishment in the fact that I get to live my life according to my own terms. It’s a powerful feeling to embrace a Monday while the rest of the world detests it. It’s a powerful feeling to know that I’ll never have to dream of the weekend or live for Fridays (I mean, they’re great and definitely the best days, but I don’t have anything to escape from, and that is a big feeling). It’s such an accomplishment to know that if I think it, I make it happen. So many people spend their lives talking about what they’re going to do, discussing ‘one day’ and how they’re ‘going to’ year after year until they one day wake up and realize that one day was that day and talking about it isn’t the same thing as acting on it. I feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I didn’t settle for anything.

I feel a great sense of accomplishment at being comfortable with myself. In knowing that no one else’s opinion matters nor does it bother me. In knowing that if you love life, it loves you right back. In knowing that I can honestly say I’m living my best life every day, even when the day isn’t the best one.

So, what’s my biggest accomplishment? It’s living a life I love in every aspect. Balance is hard, but we make it work, and that’s a gift.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Gratitude Prompt Day One: What I’m Most Grateful for In My Life

Happy first day of May!

And, happy first day of our 31 days of gratitude journaling! I’ve been working on this for a month now. I began working on it when we were somewhere in the first few weeks of our quarantine, and I wanted to get it just right. (Fun fact: I use social media to post things all the time, but I rarely take the time to scroll through. I know, I know…) But, I did notice that when I did take the time to scroll through social media, when I received texts from my loved ones, when I paid attention to the articles I was reading online so many people are unhappy.

I get it. I do. I’m not always happy. Sometimes I’m downright cranky. Sometimes, I’m a raging bitch. But, at the end of the day, I don’t have many reasons not to feel good about my life and where I am, and those are the things that bring me back to my reality when I’m in a cranky mood (didn’t get enough sleep, I’m hangry, my monthly visitor is making me bloated, which automatically makes me cranky…etc.).

This whole life situation we are all living right now is weird, and that’s all right. It just took me a moment to realize that not everyone was happy to be home, and not everyone has spent their entire adult life working from home, and not everyone has spent the past four years sharing a home office with their spouse, so this is an extreme change for many. It just wasn’t for us, so we don’t relate to everyone whose entire lives have changed.

However, I’ve always found that gratitude is the answer. When I make the decision to appreciate life, it appreciates me back so much more so than I ever could have imagined. However, many people forget to be grateful. So, I wanted to take the time to create a challenge for all of us – 31 days of gratitude. I’m beginning with our day one prompt – and I hope you take note, write it down, and join me.

Gratitude Day One: What are you most grateful for in your life? (Choose just one thing)

Health. First and foremost above all else, I am grateful for good health in our lives. Above all else, I am so thankful that when we go to bed at night, it’s with healthy minds, bodies, and hearts. We are both healthy and vibrant, our kids are healthy and vibrant, and that’s all there is to it. I cannot tell you enough how incredibly thankful and grateful I am for this because I know all too well how it feels when good health is not part of your life.

After two miscarriages and a difficult pregnancy with our middle daughter, she was born with a hemangioma on her face that was thought – initially – to be cancerous. A biopsy showed otherwise, thank the Good Lord. She was thought to have Downs Syndrome when I was 20 weeks pregnant because of the echogenic intracardiac focus on her heart. Thankfully, our Good, Good Father had other plans for her. After a week in the NICU with one 3-pound twin who had respiratory issues at birth and her twin brother who ended up failing his hearing tests and being diagnosed as partially deaf in both ears at 6 weeks old, I get it. That same little man suffered a grand mal seizure when he was just shy of his 5th birthday for no reason at all – we still don’t know what caused it even after every test in the world and four days in the hospital.

I am so, so thankful and grateful each day for good health. It’s the one thing I thank God for each and every single day. Without good health, I wouldn’t have this sweet family to love. I am so grateful for this.

Mediterranean Couscous: Simple but Flavorful 30-minute Recipe

Happy Thursday!

Hands in the air if you’re doing a lot more cooking than usual?

You can’t see my hand, but it’s in the air. Typically, my husband cooks or we go out. I cook very rarely because I’m just not good in the kitchen unless I’m baking. I don’t know what it is, but I suspect it has everything to do with my innate in ability to multitask. I’m a goal-oriented person, but I cross things off my list one at a time. You will rarely find me doing more than one thing at a time, and that’s because I like to place all my focus in one area and give it my all rather than spread it around to too many things at once. You might say I don’t half-ass anything I enjoy doing.

That said, baking is my jam. Seriously. I bake very well. Sometimes, I even enjoy it.

Cooking? Too many things going on at one time. This ingredient needs this, and that one needs this, and this meat needs this and this vegetable needs that. I can’t handle all of that at one time. Cooking times, different readiness factors, and trying to coordinate too many things cooked and ready at the same time is beyond my level of comprehension.

To be honest, though, I do have a small handful of dishes at which I excel when I’m in the kitchen. They’re the simplest of simple dishes. Honestly, most of them don’t even require any meat or chicken or poultry. I’m not a vegetarian, but I also don’t need meat, chicken, or fish at every meal, either. I love all of them, but I’m not mad about a dinner that doesn’t include them, if that makes sense. And, if I’m cooking, the fewer ingredients and dishes, the better.

Today, I’m sharing our favorite ‘new’ dish. It’s a recipe we tried a few months ago and loved, and it’s one I can whip up in under half an hour, and everyone adores it. It has so much flavor, so many healthy ingredients, and it’s so simple.

couscous

Mediterranean Couscous

Ingredients:

  • Couscous
  • Zucchini
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Thyme
  • Scallions
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Chicken stock
  • S&P
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Feta cheese

Prep

Before you do anything else, go ahead and prep what you need. This is so helpful to me because it allows me to free up my hands and my time while I’m working on other aspects of the dish.

  1. Slice your entire zucchini into thin slices or small chunks (I prefer to quarter mine and then chop it into small chunks, but my husband prefers his sliced).
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in half (I probably use 12-15 tomatoes)
  3. Remove the root end from your scallions and discard. Slice scallions into small pieces, but do separate the white pieces from the green top pieces – keep them separate.
  4. Prep thyme by chopping it into tiny, tiny pieces (I’m sure there is a proper term for that, but I don’t know it, nor do I care to look it up).
  5. Cut lemon in half, and then half one of your halves. You should end up with three pieces. A half and two quarters.
  6. Chop a whole (large) clove of garlic into small pieces

Prep Your Veggies

The first thing you’ll do is start your veggies in the oven.

dinner

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line baking pan with foil or parchment paper
  3. Place all zucchini and tomatoes on the pan
  4. Season veggies with half the thyme
  5. Drizzle EVOO over veggies
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Place baking sheet in the oven for approximately 20 minutes

Couscous

Forgive me for not being big on measuring things, but I promise it will work out for you.

  1. Add a tablespoon of butter, your garlic, and your scallion WHITES to a pot and bring the heat to high. Mix occasionally while the butter melts, and wait for the garlic and onions to become fragrant. Add couscous – dry – along with the remaining thyme, to the mix. This helps you brown the couscous. Stir every minute or so while the couscous browns. This entire process should take fewer than five minutes.
  2. Add a splash of chicken stock.
  3. Cover the couscous with water. I don’t measure any couscous or water. I just add until it looks like enough, but you are always welcome to follow the instructions on the couscous package if you are more comfortable with that level of cooking.
  4. Wait for the couscous to come to a boil before you turn down the heat to medium and cover with a lid. Let it cook for 7-8 minutes. If there is excess liquid, drain it and return the mixture to your pot.

Final Steps

Just a few more minutes until you get to enjoy this decadence.

  1. Remove veggies from oven, and add half of them to the pot with the couscous that’s finished cooking.
  2. Add a generous helping of feta cheese to the couscous mixture, add more salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze juice from your lemon half into the mixture.
  3. Mix well until most of the cheese is melted.
  4. Divide couscous into bowls, garnish with the remainder of the roasted veggies, more feta cheese, and top with the green scallion slices. Add a slice of your remaining lemon to the side of your couscous for décor – or to squeeze more juice atop your final serving.

My husband and I prefer our Mediterranean couscous with a glass of our favorite Sangiovese to bring out the flavor, but I imagine any dry red or white would have the same delicious effect.

Enjoy! And, don’t forget to let me know if you try it!

Learning to Appreciate the Simple Life

Day 31 of social distancing.

It’s hard to believe it was only 32 days ago that our sweet twins turned 6 and we were waking up in one of our favorite hotels in Miami. We caught the sunrise over the ocean from our balcony before the babes woke up and made their way into our room. We played on the beach. We played in the pool. We drove home, bought a birthday cake, made them their favorite dinner, and we kissed them goodnight knowing that it was the last normal day any of us would have for a very long time.

It’s been four weeks, and travel is something we are all missing. I don’t think we’ve been home four weekends in years. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining about being home. We love our home, and we are never sad to be here. But, we miss the adventure of travel. It makes us restless to be home all the time, and we are – quite frankly – saddened by the cancellation of every trip we have coming up. Our spring break trip. Our 15th wedding anniversary trip to St. Kitts and Nevis. A voyage on the Independence of the Seas with the kids the first week of June. Our annual Memorial Day weekend trip. Two weekends away with our best friends to cheer them on in their fitness competitions. A trip to Texas to see my grandmother, to name a few.

We miss travel.

But you know what we miss the most? Our parents.

We haven’t seen them since March 16; the day after social distancing began, our moms both came over to see the twins the day after their birthday and to see Ava the day before hers, and let me tell you how much these four babes miss their grandma and grandpa, their nana, and their far-away grandpa (because we can’t just book a flight and make our way to NC right now, either). They miss them SO MUCH, and it breaks my heart we cannot see them. This is the longest any of them has ever gone without seeing them in their lives, and that’s hard on them.

They ask every single day when they can see their grandparents again. And, every single day, we tell them we don’t know. They FaceTime, but it’s not the same. Carter is a big fan of his grandma and his nana, and all he wants is for grandma and nana to come over and give him a squeeze and stay the night because it’s more fun with them here than with us here (true story).

If there is one thing we’ve learned during social distancing, is that these kids are so fortunate to have grandparents who love them, and who they love so much in return. That’s been the hardest part.

Social distance learning is going well. The kids acclimated quickly to their new normal. Addison is amazing handling her own schedule and maintaining straight As. Ava is killing it with her work and her meetings. The twins are so excited about their zoom meeting every morning with their class, and they love their work. The hardest part was the first few days trying to teach them how to use zoom (what to touch, how to turn their camera and sound on when the meeting starts, how to avoid accidentally leaving the meeting). Now that they all know how to do this, they are on it every single day. We have no complaints there.

The kids have their moments. Charlotte and Addison are laid-back and happy all the time. Carter and Ava both have big opinions and big ideas, and they butt heads. They tend to get on one another’s nerves at least once a day, but we really can’t complain.

With their own work to do, it allows us to get our work done. I’m able to finish all my deadlines before lunch, and they’re able to have my attention in the afternoons. We are taking nightly family walks, swimming and playing all weekend, cooking fun meals, eating too many desserts (and going for VERY long runs to make up for those), jumping on the trampoline, playing cards, ordering a ton of Grubhub deliveries, watching movies, playing games, gardening, playing outside.

Ava’s teacher let her class know that their parents are probably struggling right now as they do their own jobs, take care of their kids, help their kids by becoming their new in-home teachers, and trying to keep everyone entertained, and asked that the kids help out a little more to make mom and dad’s lives easier, and I haven’t had to tell this kid to clean her dungeon since. She’s been doing dishes (I mean, we use the dishwasher, but this child is legit doing them by hand), helping make dinner, helping water flowers and keep things neat and orderly. She’s a dream come true.

The world shutting down has given us the chance to spend so much more time at home, and to spend so much more time together. It’s been sweet in that aspect. The world is filled with people who do too much, go too much, work themselves too hard, over-schedule themselves, and overcommit; and this has been an amazing way to get rid of the toxicity of ‘busy’ and of the things that don’t bring us joy, the people who drain us that we can’t avoid otherwise, and the things that simply aren’t enjoyable. I can’t speak for others, but I know that without all that ‘clutter’ in my own life, I feel so much more relaxed and so much happier. It’s good.

You don’t realize until you clear your schedule how much better life is without all the clutter that fills it. It’s easier to find the joy in life when the things that rob you of it are no longer part of your life. It’s easy to love life and to have it love you right back when time is standing almost still and there is no rush. “Busy” is no fun, and I sincerely hope that the world learns from this pandemic that a simple life is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s something to embrace.

There’s no rush. Where there wasn’t time before, now we can sit on the lanai or the front porch rockers or the couch on the deck and drink our morning coffee and watch the day begin. Where there wasn’t time before, now we can sit at the table outside and eat dinner and linger. Where there wasn’t time before, now we can stay up a little later with the kids rather than rushing them to bed so they aren’t exhausted the following day. Where there wasn’t time before, we now get to slow down and actually enjoy the little things in life – and it is good.

How are you all doing in the midst of this? There’s a lot of unknown, but my advice is to step away from the media and the news and focus on home. We are thankful each day we have a beautiful home with plenty of space for our large family, a big piece of property the kids can run around in, and that everyone in our neighborhood has large properties so that we can walk and run without worrying about being close to anyone else. Be thankful for those little things in your own life. It helps.

Distance Learning Week One: Helping Four Kids Relearn Learning

Happy Friday, and happy end of the first week of distance learning.

For most of us, anyway. We just began distance learning in Florida this week. This week marked the end of the kids’ 3rd week out of school since the state cancelled schools. It also marks the week that President Trump announced that the 15-day flatten the curve plan needed to be extended through at least April 30. Schools for our kids were initially closed through the 15th, but they are not closed through May 1. Honestly, I’m working on the assumption that schools will soon be cancelled for the rest of the school year.

This is a crushing blow for our kids for many reasons. Our oldest, Addison, is in 6th grade. She’s a new middle school student, and she enjoys her schedule and her friends and her teachers. Our 3rd-grader, Ava, has been waiting since Kindergarten to have her 3rd grade teacher this year. Mrs. S, as we will call her here, is the same teacher Addison had in 3rd grade – and she remains Addison’s favorite teacher of all time (which is HUGE because her fourth and fifth grade teachers were pretty amazing!). Ava has been looking forward every single year of her life (her words) to have Mrs. S., and she is crushed that she’s no longer going back to her class.

Carter and Charlotte are in kindergarten, and they have the most spectacular teacher imaginable. Mrs. B. is phenomenal, and we adore her. I cannot convey how highly we think of her, especially watching her work with the twins and their class via Zoom this week. She has the most confident, most powerful, yet sweetest voice when she teaches. She’s engaging and kind, and you cannot miss her love when she speaks to these kids. She’s using morning Zoom meetings each day to conduct her morning meetings, sight words, calendars, and so much more – and she’s killing it. The twins look forward to her ‘class’ every single morning. The fact that they don’t get to go back to her class is very difficult for them, and my heart hurts.

On that note, we are done with our first week of distance learning. I’m not a homeschool teacher. I’m not homeschooling. I’m moderating their distance learning – alongside my husband. Their teachers are doing the work – and they are doing a fabulous job of it. So far, it’s going really well. We’ve had our hiccups, but I thought I’d share how it’s going for us, what’s working, what’s not working, and how we’ve adjusted our schedules so that it works for our family in the hopes that our situation might help someone else.

1

Four Kids Learning at Home is a Lot

I’ll start out by saying that the most challenging aspect of distance learning is simply doing it with four kids. It’s a lot. They all have somewhere to ‘be’ on their iPads, all at different times, and all on their own schedule. Factor in my schedule and my husband’s, and we are a little frantic a few times a day.

3

Middle School Distance Learning – 6th grade

I’ll also point out that we are exceptionally thrilled our oldest, Addison, is so self-sufficient and good at what she does. She has an agenda she’s using to track her meetings, her due dates, work to be done, etc. She’s using her desk in her bedroom upstairs to do all of her work, and we honestly have no idea what’s up with her every day. She’s a straight A student, a self-starter, and she’s highly motivated. We don’t micromanage her. She tells us about her day over dinner, and she outlines her day at breakfast. She’s so organized and efficient – she is my child.

Addison’s schedule is time-consuming and difficult. She has six classes, and she zoom meets in each one almost every day. Some of them require a once a week zoom, some a daily zoom. Her 7th grade advanced math class meets daily on Zoom for an hour and 10 minutes (which, by the way, is longer than her actual math class when she’s at school) for a full lesson. She’s spending the bulk of her day at ‘school’ upstairs, and she’s handling it like a pro.

2

Third Grade Distance Learning

Ava is able to do things on her own, which is great. She needs us for things on occasion when her iPad mutes or does something that she cannot figure out during a meeting, but she’s good otherwise. She’s not yet started the full distance learning curriculum. That’s next week. She’ll have daily assignments to turn into her teacher, and they have a morning Zoom meeting to connect with one another. This week, she’s only required to do iReady for 90 minutes each day. Forty-five minutes for reading and the other 45 is math. She’s doing an awesome job!

10

Kindergarten Distance Learning

The twins’ schedule is similar to Ava’s. They have a morning zoom meeting every day that lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour, and they love it. Their teacher is so, so good. They read sight words like they do in class, they talk about their day, they do so many things. Otherwise, their expectations this week are 90 minutes per day on iReady. Just like Ava, they’re doing 45 reading and 45 math each day. Their teacher is working on lessons that she can teach beginning soon, as well as additional work for them to complete soon. She’s also reading and posting stories for the kids.

***fun fact: Our elementary school’s SRO is doing fun videos on Facebook teaching them fun things like how to make and fly paper airplanes, and his wife -who teaches at a different elementary school – is reading stories on a daily basis on Facebook for the kids to listen to. It’s amazing.

Making it Work

To make this work in our household, we ended up buying the three little ones their own iPads. Addison has her own already, and they use their tablets for Zoom, but iReady does not support their Kindle Fire tablets. So, they each got a new iPad Pro (IMPORTANT: They got these iPads because iReady does not support the iPad minis because it only supports screens that are at least 9.7-inches diagonal, and the iPad 10.2 wasn’t available when we ordered, though it will work if you can find one that’s available soon enough).

***also important to note: If you do order an iPad pro, it must be the 11-inch. My 12.9-inch iPad Pro is not the brand-new model. It’s the one before this new 12.9 inch, and iReady works on it. However, iReady does NOT support the brand-new iPad Pro 12.9-inch. Be sure to order the 11-inch!

While we waited on new iPads to arrive, I had to adjust my schedule accordingly to let the kids use my iPad and my laptop – both items I need to work myself. I’ve worked from home for 12 years for myself, and I have a killer schedule, but giving up my electronics makes it impossible – especially when it’s for a total of 4.5 hours a day. That was a struggle, but we are much happier now!

3

Our New Schedule

I’ll preface this by saying that I work for myself, so I have a much more flexible schedule than my husband. He works for a company that requires him to work 8-5 each day. He’s been working from home for four years, but he’s not always available during the day when and if we need his help.

So, our new schedule had to be made to easily accommodate both of our schedules, four kids, and the desire to keep evenings free so we can have family time. Walks, dinner, movie night, card games, etc. Here’s how we are doing things.

  • Craig and I set our alarm for 6 am (this is actually sleeping in for us, so it’s nice) and get up. He makes coffee and brings me my laptop in bed so I can work until 7. I move to the lanai at 7 so that I can sit out and watch the sunset while I work until 7:30 when I go for a run.
  • 7:00 is breakfast for the kids
  • 7:30 I run and my husband sets up the first round of iReady for the three little ones. They do 30 minutes at this time
  • 8:00 free time for the kids, shower for me, work for Craig
  • 8:30 – second half hour of iReady for the little kids while I blow dry my hair and get ready
  • 9:30 – 10:15/10:30 – Kindergarten zoom meeting
  • 10-10:30ish – 3rd grade zoom meeting

I set up the twins in the main living area of the house so they both have a quiet place to do their meetings without their iPads conflicting with one another on the same meeting, but also so I can keep an eye/ear on them from my office. One is in the dining room, one is in the kitchen at the bar. Ava works on her meetings in her bedroom across the house.

  • 10:30 – snack and free time
  • 11 – 3rd and final half hour of iReady for the little ones (this one is the last 15 minutes of their math and the last 15 of their reading combined)
  • 11:30 – recess outside (this is a requirement because I like them to get fresh air and sunshine)
  • 12 – lunch
  • 12:30 play time/art time (we usually set up a folding table and tablecloths on the lanai and let them paint canvases or whatever they want to do, or they can play outside)
  • 1:30 – 3:00 – quiet time. We don’t care what they do, but they have to do it in their own rooms. They can read, play on their tablets, play with one another in whomever’s bedroom they want as long as the pocket door that separates the 3 little ones’ bedrooms downstairs from the main area of the house is closed and stays closed.
  • 3 pm – snack and play time
  • 5 pm – we shut down our office, make dinner, go for a walk, whatever
  • 7 pm – bath and bedtime

4

Little Helpful Things

Now that we are back in school, even if it is virtually, everyone has to get up and get dressed and ready for school in our house. It helps ALL of us to get up and get dressed and ready for the day. We had two weeks of sleeping late and wearing pajamas all day, but it was time to brush our hair and wear real clothes and makeup before noon (for me, anyway).

Craig works until 5 and helps when he can. He makes the kids breakfast every morning – they like his chocolate chip pancakes – and he also makes their lunch most days. Occasionally, he might be in the middle of a conference call and I do it, but he does it most days.

While the kids are doing their iReady and their conference calls, I make myself available to them, but I sit and work. I also work anytime I can during their play time, and their quiet time is my chance to finish things up so we can get a few things done around the house and spend the evenings together.

I’ve also made checklists. Each of the little kids has a folder with their daily schedule on it. They check off completed items as they go. It helps them see where they are and what they are doing, and it helps them feel more accomplished.

So far, so good. The kids’ teachers are making this as easy on us as possible. Attempting to accommodate a classroom filled with kids who have parents who have different careers and schedules is no easy task, but they are making it work. Now that we are all becoming  more familiar with zoom and everyone has their own new iPad, things are getting a bit easier around here. It’s been good.

How has distance learning been going for you?

10 Quotes and Verses to Help You When You Feel Out of Control

Day 12

Honestly, I have no idea what day we are on quarantine-wise. The official timeline for us was on March 16, so we are just sitting here 12 days in and really trying to make the most of a horrible situation. Family walks. Long runs. Lots of power yoga at home. Lots of FaceTime conversations and virtual happy hours. Happy hours on walks with the family. Lots of books, lots of work, lots of arts and crafts, lots of card games. Lots of take out. Lots of baking. Lots of swimming. Lots of playing outdoors. Lots of online shopping.

It’s day 12. This situation is one that’s still going to get worse before it gets better – and that’s just how it is. We are making the most of our time at home, but our new normal isn’t quite normal yet. Week one was all about being lazy and relaxing and embracing it because real life really does make us tired and we welcomed that ability to rest). Week two has all us rested and basically antsy. We are bored. We are such an active family that it’s hard for us not to have a trip to go on or a place to visit or the ability to go to the gym or have fun or do anything.

We are handling it all right, but we have our moments.

That said, I’m not here to share with you any hints or tips or sales or tricks or whatever (though Lilly Pulitzer is offering 30 percent of certain items through today – and that never happens outside of the APS twice a year…so get on that).

I just wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes and verses that might help. I know that I go back and forth appreciating this time with our babies and my handsome husband and worrying about every single thing. Our sweet Ava was diagnosed with asthma when she was 15 months. She hasn’t had an episode in which she’s needed her inhaler in so long that we almost forgot she had it until about six months ago when she had an asthma attack. I lay awake at night wondering if she’s immunocompromised and at risk. Same for Carter, our sweet little man with his one and done grand mal seizure 13 months ago. Does that make him immunocompromised? I don’t know, but I worry.

And when I worry, there are few things that make me feel calm. Number one, always, is my husband. He always knows when I’m stressed or upset, and he always knows how to make it right. The kiddos help, too. And so does reading a few of my favorite quotes and verses for strength and hard times. So, in case you need them.

  1. When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you are responding to what’s happening. That’s where the power is.
  2. God sometimes takes us into troubled waters not to drown us, but to cleanse us.
  3. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to control something that isn’t yours to control. Let go. Free yourself. Allow your mind and energy to focus on something positive…to build something beautiful. – Steve Maraboli
  4. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
  5. The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. – Romans 8:18
  6. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. – Isaiah 43:2
  7. Do not grieve. For the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10
  8. May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. – Nelson Mandela
  9. Be still and know that I am with you. – Psalm 46:10
  10. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

This, too, shall pass. Let’s allow it to pass with grace.