Category Archives: Inspiration

Women’s March 2017!

Hello Friends!

Today, I wanted to share with you a different perspective on the Women’s March. Believe it or not, I attended one in my state and it was a very peaceful, organized, and loving event. The number of people who came out in solidarity to stand up for the rights of so many was breath-taking! There was no violence or looting of stores. People passed officers on duty and thanked them for assisting with keeping the peace. As far as I know, no one left piles of signs on the streets. It was all about sharing our voices and support.

This whole experience has reminded me that we can love one another and not agree with everything the other person has to say. This world is a beautiful and diverse place. We need to learn to listen to one another and stop trying to change each other’s minds. It only causes further division. Just stop and listen. You might learn something or at least get a better grasp on that person’s perspective.

Kid President has some great words of wisdom on this topic:ย https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghk-nDJB3Tk

<3 Anna

New Year. New Word. January Goals 2017.

Hello Friends!

This year I thought that choosing a word for the year would be a tough decision, but it wasn’t really that difficult. This is a word that I need to give myself more of in the new year. Grace. Graceย is such a beautiful word. My favorite song has always been Amazing Grace. I want to do better at giving myself grace and extending grace to others. I have high hopes for the new year, but I’ll need a lot of grace to accomplish and push forward on the hard days. My health will present challenges and will try to push me down, but I will always remember to get up because of Grace. Each day I pray for grace to parent my son and grace to get through the day ahead. Some days that looks like me accomplishing so many things and others it looks like me accomplishing one or two small things and then curling up in the bed with my heating pad. Regardless of what each day looks like, I’ll have grace to accomplish what I can and I’ll learn to find joy in each day no matter what my to-do list looks like.

  1. Do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017.

I heard about the Read Harder Challenge at the tail end of 2016 and was bummed that I hadn’t heard about it sooner. I knew that I must participate for the 2017 year. This challenge is so great because it encourages readers to choose books in different categories that you wouldn’t otherwise read. Once the challenge is posted I’ll add the graphic here and I hope you all will join me! ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Begin volunteering with local retirement community.

I began correspondence with a retirement facility near my home. I’m hoping to hear back from the volunteer coordinator soon. (This goal is part of a much bigger goal that I’m really excited to share about very soon!)

3. ย Begin incorporating yin yoga and other stretches into my lifestyle as I work towards solutions to help with my muscle tension.

I was very happy to discover a set of stretches that I can do every day (even on my bad days). I’m now ready to add exercise back to my life and have heard wonderful things about Yin Yoga. I also recently discovered a kid friendly yoga channel that I’m very eager to try with D. He loves watching me do my stretches and often tries to imitate, so I know he is ready for this! ๐Ÿ˜‰

4.ย I think I’ve mentioned this one before, but I’ll be revealing a new addition to the blog very soon. I don’t want to give too much away, but Etsy Shop is a clue. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m looking forward to going LIVE with this later this month.ย 

So those are my goals for the new year. I hope that your final days of 2016 were filled with wonderful memories and that you are pumped for the new year! I’ll be sharing our Christmas post on Wednesday so stay tuned!

What is your word for 2017? What are your goals for January? How will you achieve your goals? Do you feel that having a word makes things less overwhelming?

<3 Anna

Remembering to Give Back during this Season and Beyond! :)

Hello Friends!

This is such a wonderful time of the year! It’s a time of gratitude and remembering to give back. This is one of my favorite posts to write each year because I think it’s so very important to get our kiddo(s) involved as early as possible. Each year that passes, D is able to participate even more than the previous year and it’s exciting to watch him learn and understand the importance of giving to others.

The following are just a few ideas of how you and your family can give back this holiday season:

  1. Operation Christmas Child (This has already happened, but there is always next year!)
  2. Donate to your local library.
  3. Donate to your local Humane Society.
  4. Make cookies for your neighbors and mail man.
  5. Put money in the red kettle for the Salvation Army bucket.
  6. Sing Christmas carols at your local retirement home.
  7. Leave $ in Dollar Tree toy aisle to brighten a kiddo(s) day!
  8. Buy new coloring books and crayons for hospital or doctor’s waiting room.
  9. Pick up litter in your neighborhood.
  10. Serve at a soup kitchen at Christmas.

This is all wonderful, but what about the other days of the year? Why limit this to one specific time of year. D and I found this wonderful idea and it’s a great reminder to remember others throughout the year!

We decorated a box on St. Nicholas Day. This box is to remind D to remember to be giving no matter what day of the year it is. It really touched my heart when he immediately ran to his room and added his Chic-fil-a cow to the box. <3

What are you doing to remind your little(s) that it is better to give than it is to receive?

<3 Anna

Friday Finds and Favorites #54 (December Goals)

Hello Friends!

I can’t believe we are at the end of the year. It seems time continues to fly! I’m happy to report that most of my goals were accomplished for the month of November. Let’s check out my progress first and then it’s on to December goals!

Last Month's

1) Finish purchasing gifts for GA Christmas.

Check!

We celebrated Christmas with our GA family over the long Thanksgiving weekend. All presents were accounted for! ๐Ÿ˜‰

2) Get Christmas pics done.

Check!

We also took care of this over the Thanksgiving break.

3) Get Cards ordered and sent out by the first week of December.

My plan was to get these pics done and have cards ordered. (I’m writing this on November 22.) So I know the pics will be done, but I’m not sure what we have worked out for the cards yet.

Half Credit! ๐Ÿ˜‰

4) Plan Thanksgiving menu.

Check!

I decided to have a White Lazy Day Lasagna on Thanksgiving Eve. ๐Ÿ˜‰ D and I had a baking day earlier that day and made apple pie, pumpkin pie, and gingerbread cookies. Yum!

5) Develop and implement self care plans.

Check!

I don’t always stick to everything on the list, but I’m using it as a guide and learning to take better care of myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

December Goals

1) I’m hoping to finish my Christmas shopping by December 11. (The sooner the better!)

I truly want to just enjoy the holiday season and be able to remember what the true meaning is behind it.

2) Read The Mistletoe Promise

I started a tradition back in 2015 of choosing a fun Christmasy read for December. I like to find a warm fuzzy cheesy read or a lovely Christmas mystery. I’m looking forward to diving into this book. <3

ย 3) Complete and Share Christmas Countdown list!

You can follow our journey on Instagram!ย 

Day 1 Make cards for Grandparents.

Day 2ย Gather food to donate to Food Bank at Church.

Day 3ย Put $$ in Salvation Army Bucket.

Day 4ย Free hugs!

Dec 5ย Make Christmas Centerpiece(s).ย (I’m not sure we will do this exact thing, but great link for inspiration.)

Dec 6 Learn about St. Nicholas

Dec 7ย Make colored ice sculptures.

Dec 8ย Make gifts for church friends.

Dec 9 Donate meals to No Kid Hungry.

Dec 10ย Gather and donate books to the library.

Dec 11 Gather clothes for donation to those in need.

Dec 12 Buy socks, beanies, mittens for the homeless.

Dec 13ย Make blessing bags for the homeless.

Dec 14 Buy new coloring books and crayons for doctor’s waiting room area.

Dec 15 Make gingerbread house.

Dec 16 Make salt dough ornaments.

Dec 17 Pick up litter in neighborhood.

Dec 18ย Leave $1 bills in Dollar Tree toy section.

Dec 19 Make cookies for neighbors and mailmen.

Dec 20 Make bags for people who work on Christmas.

Dec 21 Go see Christmas lights.

Dec 22 Have a dinner picnic next to the Christmas tree.

Dec 23 Gather and donate toys.

Dec 24ย Let’s shop for homeless puppies and kitties.

*Bonus* Bake cookies and read Twas the Night Before Christmas.

4) Plan Christmas menu and items to bring to VA Christmas.

I’m super excited about Christmas food planning. I’m a total foodie, so I enjoy watching the Food Network and scrolling Pinterest for great recipes. This will be fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

So what are you working on this month? How does the holidays effect your goal setting? Don’t forget to grab a button (optional) and link up below!

 


 

 



<3 Anna

Friday Finds and Favorites #53

Hello Friends!

Today, I want to share with you all a few links to some of my favorite finds this week!

One of my favorite Facebook pages is A Mighty Girl. It excites me to learn about all the amazing women who made history and who are making history! This week , A Mighty Girl shared this wonderful post about love, hope, and support from many children’s book illustrators. These images are so beautiful and very worthy of being shared. <3 You can learn more about this awesome Safety Pin movement here!

If you need a good laugh, go check out this album. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is… You will love these! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now itโ€™s your turn! Share your favorite memories and finds this week! Leave a comment below. Add your blog to our linky and donโ€™t forget to visit my amazing co-host, Camille! Feel free to grab a button itโ€™s optional! ?


 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!!!

<3 Anna

Rise!

Dearest Readers,

I don’t write posts like these often. I try to keep things positive and share the beauty I find in our lives, but I can’t be silent on this. I am completely devastated by the results of this election. I won’t go into details on who I voted for because it doesn’t matter. This is about who got voted in. This is about the fact that I have great difficulty in saying “our president.” I’ve never had these feelings before. I’ve always been able to accept each president as they stepped into office. Why is this president so different?

Before I go on, I will warn that this post will likely not be as eloquent and written as well as I would like, but I’m no longer worried about that. My voice will be out there. It’s here for anyone who needs comfort during this very shaky time. It’s here for anyone who can relate to the words I’ll be sharing or for those who I, myself, will never fully understand their plight. So hang on tight, dear ones!

BIG SIGHS

As a child, I grew up with my biological father leaving me at four years old. I never had a strong male presence in my life other than my great-grandfather. (I miss you, Paw Paw!) I think because of this I never really trusted adult males. Out of respect for others and because I do not want to reveal too many details here, I had some negative experiences in my childhood. I’m going to therapy now and I’m becoming a stronger person. I’m getting the help that I need, but the election set me back greatly. I felt like I was reliving past trauma. These memories haunted me the entire day and the feelings of safety that were being built up were ripped down and all that was left was complete and utter devastation. I’m writing this the day after and I have more composure, but my body is completely rigid. My muscles are tied up in knots and I feel as though I’ll be fighting off acid reflux and panic attacks for a very long time. I will come to a place of healing again, but I find that I can relate to the words of ย Lecrae, “I know that God is in control, But so did Jesus when he wept after the death of Lazarus.” The words of President-elect Trump supporters were often read as “God is in control.” “This is God’s plan.” and it goes on and on…I’m not sorry that I can’t and won’t rejoice with you over this “victory.” My heart is not there.

rise

Credit A Mighty Girl’s Facebook page. (http://www.amightygirl.com/)

My heart is with the broken ones right now. My heart is praying over all of my friends…People of color, the LGBTQ community, women (especially those who have experienced sexual abuse), those who are disabled and concerned about how this change will effect their medical care and all those who are living in fear of being deported and separated from their families. You are not alone. I stand with you. I can’t do much, I know, but I can write. I can share important information. I can do many acts of kindness. I can make this world a better place, by not embracing the hate.

Important Resources and Ways to Make This World a Better Place:

Suicide Prevention Line

The Trevor Project

RAINN

Black Lives Matter

Boys and Girls Club of America

Campaign Zero

EarthJustice

The Mazzoni Center

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

10 Simple Ways to Make the World a Better Place

For even more resources go here!

Please consider giving or volunteering with one of these charities/organizations. We can make this world a better place! There is still hope. I’m here for anyone that needs to talk or if anyone needs someone to just listen. Be safe out there! <3

<3 Anna

Friday Finds and Favorites #52

Hello Friends!

I’m going to keep today’s post brief, but I wanted to share a link to First 15. This is a wonderful devotional that includes scripture, a devotion, guided prayer, and a worship song. It has been a wonderful tool in my morning devotional time and I’m very thankful that I checked it out. I got the suggestion from the God Centered Mom podcast. This is a podcast that I would also definitely recommend. It helps the chores to go by more quickly! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now it’s your turn! Share your favorite memories and finds this week! Leave a comment below. Add your blog to our linky and don’t forget to visit my amazing co-host, Camille! Feel free to grab a button it’s optional! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 


 

 



Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!!!

<3 Anna

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (October Edition)

Hello Friends!

This month has felt long and short at the same time! It felt very long during my surgery and recovery and it’s sped up for me as I’m getting back into the swing of things! I’ve stopped racing to try and catch up. It’s not working. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This post will (mostly) be a photo spam post! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Good:

Silliness with D on our way to see Nana for her bday and dropping D off before surgery. :'(

Silliness with D on our way to see Nana for her bday and dropping D off before surgery. :'(

My hospital day socks!

My hospital day socks!

So thankful for all the flowers, warm wishes, and love from family! <3

So thankful for all the flowers, warm wishes, and love from family! <3

My bed buddy! <3

My bed buddy! <3

So thankful for One Republic on The Today Show to steal a few moments of peace! D was getting over a cold and I was recovering from surgery here.

So thankful for One Republic on The Today Show to steal a few moments of peace! D was getting over a cold and I was recovering from surgery here.

Our pastor and his sweet family blessed us with dinner one night. <3

Our pastor and his sweet family blessed us with dinner one night. <3

Adult Coloring books are so awesome! <3

Adult Coloring books are so awesome! <3

First outing since surgery at Apple Festival. <3

First outing since surgery at Apple Festival. <3

library visits! <3

library visits! <3

D heading into the corn maze. Be sure to check by Friday for more on our fall fun and pumpkin carving! :)

D heading into the corn maze.

 Be sure to check back on Friday for more on our fall fun and pumpkin carving! :)

Be sure to check back on Friday for more on our fall fun and pumpkin carving! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Bad:

My cervix was nicked during surgery, so my doctor had to go back in and give me two stitches. :/ (You can read more on the surgery pre and post thoughts here.)

Incision on belly button and one on my left pelvic bone area.

Incision on belly button and one on my left pelvic bone area.

My recovery took about two weeks and I’m still moving at a snail-ish pace. I’m not complaining though…I’ve come a long way!

The UGLY:

cystoscopy2

The top is my bladder before filling it with water to max capacity. The bottom is filled. I can only hold around 700 mg and average people can hold 1, 000ish mg. So my capacity is much lower than the norm.

Updated Verdict:ย I have Interstitial Cystitis (This was just further confirmed.) I had inflammation called Trigonitis (It was treated during surgery.) I also have Chronic Pelvic Pain and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. More on that later!

This month was filled with surgery, recovery, rest, and a slow but steady progression towards a new normal. I feel encouraged to keep pressing forward and am excited about finding ways to treat these conditions. I see these as only obstacles that I can manage. They won’t go away, but I won’t either. I will stand strong and I will keep the faith. I look forward to sharing with you all my results and hope that I can help and encourage others who are going along the same path.

How was your month? Share your good, bad, and ugly moments below!ย 

<3 Anna

11 years.

Hello Friends!

On a beautiful fall day, (11 years ago) I started dating my best friend. It is hard to imagine time before that because it feels like we have always been together. I’m so happy that we started dating that day and have never stopped. We have faced many challenges and have become stronger and better together. I love my best friend and am so thankful for the time that we have shared. I look forward to many more wonderful years together. <3

Here's a fun flash back dating pic. ;)

Here’s a fun flash back dating pic. ๐Ÿ˜‰

How do you celebrate anniversaries? How many years have you been with your significant other? Share the love today!ย 

<3 Anna

Cystoscopy and Laparoscopy: Pre and Post Surgery Thoughts

Hi guys!

I’m finally blogging again! Post surgery was tough, but I’m getting stronger every day. I have an appointment with my Urologist on Wednesday and an appointment with my gynecologist next month. They should be able to explain things better and how we will move forward. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pre-Surgery Thoughts:

I was pretty nervous before surgery, for obvious reasons. I don’t know many people who enjoy being put to sleep, having zero control, and knowing you will wake up in pain. Pre-Op eased my mind some. I was able to watch a computer video on how a laparoscopy is done and then discuss the procedure with my doctor. She answered all of my questions and it just left me more than ready to get that thing done!

The evening before surgery, I prepped my hospital bag and purchased a larger size of leggings, a gown, fun socks, mints, and post surgery food and bottled water for my room.

Hospital day socks! :)

Hospital day socks! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post Surgery Thoughts:

After surgery, I felt fine. The meds were strong for this one! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The nurse gave me a few crackers and ginger ale to start and then she suggested peanut butter and graham crackers. They were amazing after not eating for several hours. Everything went crazy when the nurses helped me out of the bed to go to the restroom. I was bleeding and wouldn’t stop! There were 3 large blood clots in the toilet and after two visits to the restroom it wasn’t improving. The nurses were worried and called my doctor and she was very busy with another patient, so I was given to another doctor in the same office. She told me that it seemed that my cervix was nicked in surgery and that that I would need two stitches. I was furious. I cried, which probably made people think I was scared, but more than anything I just wanted to go home. The lap and cystoscopy were done…This wasn’t part of the deal. ๐Ÿ™ There wasn’t much time to discuss or think, because I had eaten there was a greater risk of me getting sick and having to stay in the hospital if I used anesthesia. So I opted out of that. I held my nurse’s hand and did some very lamaze like breathing to power through those two stitches. The stitches thankfully did the trick and after a little more monitoring I was able to go home around 1:00pm. (I had been at the hospital since 6 AM. ) John and I were both relieved to be able to pick up some lunch…Chic-fil-a for the win! And head home for some much needed rest.

cystoscopy2

This is my bladder. The top pics are before my bladder was filled. The bottom was when my bladder was filled to capacity. Apparently, compared to the normal 1, 000 mg. I can only hold 700 mg and that was what they could do. It could be much less than that on my own. :/ They did a biopsy on the very red part. I’m hoping I’ll get more info on Wednesday’s appointment.

The Verdict:

I have Interstitial Cystitis and Trigonitis. Trigonitis is inflammation on the bladder that is actually near the cervix. Apparently, these two are the cause of all of my pain during pms and menstruation. (I also just purchased some vitamins and supplements that I’m hoping will help with my hormone balance. (Every time I ask my doctor for help with it, she just suggests the pill and that has never been the solution for me. So here’s hoping this will work!) The Trigonitis is very similar to IC, but has different symptoms…fun times—I have both. :/ My Urologist treated it while he was in, but like IC you can treat Trigonitis, but there is no cure. It’s just very difficult to treat. Since surgery, I’ve had the typical good days and bad. I hope that my upcoming appointments will give me more answers and direction for what comes next!

Incision on belly button and one on my left pelvic bone area.

Incision on belly button and one on my left pelvic bone area.

It took me about 2 weeks to get back to some kind of normal. I was given painkillers, but they didn’t agree with me. The first was Vicodin and it made me wired. This was terrible because after surgery you really just want to sleep. Next up, was Tramadol. It worked fine the first night, but the next day I fell asleep and it caused my heart to hammer in my chest…umm..thanks but no thanks! So I ended up taking the max. dosage of Motrin and now I’m only taking it as needed. It was very difficult to power through the pain with less pain killers, but I was sick of all the unwanted side effects.

Beautiful flowers from my dear friend, Whit. <3

Beautiful flowers from my dear friend, Whit. <3

I’m so thankful for all my family and friends! The calls, texts, messages, flowers, and more…mean so much! All of the well wishes definitely helped me to push myself to keep going and to take each day in stride. I’m healing and getting back to my new normal. With chronic illness, there is always pain. A surgery can’t fix everything, but it can give answers and help us to know what our options are for helping me to live life more comfortably.

Before I leave you, I would like to share this link that was a super awesome help to me when getting out of and into bed. Check it out here!

What are your tips for recovering from a surgery? What helped you to get back on your feet? ๐Ÿ™‚

<3 Anna