- Starting the month out right with a trip to Florida.
- Discovering my favorite ice cream flavor
- Hosting a dinner club for all of the ladies at church- this month was Mexican
- Planting my lemon tree from Florida
- Having family in town for a week
- Planting flowers in our yard
- Dying my hair red and loving it!
- Receiving the teaching schedule I hoped I would have
- Posting my first sponsored post and recipe on the blog
- Being able to spend some time with Devin before grad school started up again
- Being able to see my grad school friends again
- Having a nightly froggy visitor on our window
- Surviving helping with the university’s ESL orientation
- Being able to talk dinner to a friend’s house after her pregnancy
- Getting our first Costco membership and feeling like an adult (thanks to the next two!)
- Co-planning orientation for my the new grad students and it working out just fine
- Co-planning a party at my professor’s house for grad students
- Being able to share some thoughts on story telling
- Going to the temple with my friend and getting some peace
- Celebrating three years with Cosmo
- Finding out a childhood friend was getting baptized in my church
- Watching how successful Devin’s second year of veggie gardening has been
- Having a friend show me some lovely parts of Atlanta
- Buying a banzai tree to make my office cubicle feel more homey
- Going home to visit childhood friends
- Being able to make a drive to Kentucky for the first time in a year
- Being able to teach the same class that I taught last semester (a first in my teaching career)
- Running into students who I taught in special education seeing how happy they are
- When friends say they might just come down and see us – this is my favorite!
- Sharing lessons I learned from my sister’s passing
- Planning our quick trip to Florida soon
A year ago, I was still processing that my parents had just moved from their home of 25 years to a different state and I was starting my first week of grad school. Devin was traveling and we had an international student living with us. We had a roof leak in our family room that the roofing guy said was a pest control issue. The pest control guy said it was a plumbing issue and we had pest issues. Somewhere in there a guy fell through our ceiling and it all seemed so ridiculous I couldn’t stop laughing. I told Devin that week honestly couldn’t get crazier and it did.
That weekend my Mom called and told me that my sister passed.
Sympathy cards flooded our mailbox, people brought us dinners, and there were gracious people who walked up to me a month or two after the fact just to give me a hug. I can’t say that I am finished grieving because I’m not and I’m realizing that perhaps I won’t ever fully be. This week was harder than I thought it would be and I’ve cried a lot.
Our relationship was not easy. Anne struggled with severe psychiatric and mental health issues that had been around so long that I hadn’t been able to have a normal relationship with her since I was 8. It was hard to see the struggles she experienced and it was harder to have to see them from a distance for my emotional safety. I’ve struggled a lot over the years trying to sort things out; her last words to me were expressing her deep hatred for me and how I ruined her life. After she passed, I stopped praying for resolution, but instead began just praying that I would know that Anne loved me in a real and tangible way. I felt if I knew that, then that would be enough and everything else would sort itself out.
Last week, as I was going through boxes of pictures so I could show some photos to my friends I found letters that were written for me at my baptism at 8. The writing prompt was for people to write about their baptism. I recognized my sister’s handwriting from the letters and decided to see what she remembered about her baptism. Instead of following the writing prompt, which is typical of my sister and made me smile, she wrote about the first day my parent’s brought me home.
I was an unexpected adoption for everyone, my parent’s weren’t looking for another child and were turning 40 the next month, and here my sister describing her experience of meeting me at the first time at 8. This was a story she had never shared with me in any other medium and I could see Anne’s genuine personality. The real her and I felt so much love as I read that letter and I knew everything was going to be okay.
This past year I’ve learned that even though I don’t have a sister right now, I can have sisterhood; it has carried me over this past year. As I’m learning more about sisterhood and what it looks like, I hope that I can keep paying into the collective love that I have been shown.
Until we meet again Anne, I’ll write down the good memories and I’ll keep them somewhere safe. I hope you know that you are missed.
The fact of the matter is, we really and truly need each other. Women naturally seek friendship, support, and companionship. We have so much to learn from one another… .
– Bonnie L. Oscarson
On my last day of teaching in the school system, I said a quick prayer and said “hey God, I’ve really been through the ringer this year and if you don’t want me to pursue ESL or grad school please just let me get rejected. If you want me to go, but want me to have a different time frame let me just get in. You can help me figure out the rest, but please just make this super easy for me.”
That night I received my email saying I had been accepted to grad school.
Going to grad school in a big city was always a day dream of mine, but by the time applying came around I felt absolutely paralyzed. I had researched this program for three years before I applied and knew from day one that I wanted to do it. However, also being a very practical person I resented that applying to grad school meant a world of sacrifices and emptying our nest egg of savings.
Part of me was afraid to go for my dream and the other part of me was afraid that if I did go for it that I would fail.
Now here I am graduating in two semesters! As always, teaching is the hardest thing I’ve done, but the self-growth and development I receive from it is amazing. In grad school, I’ve learned and had to stretch myself so much. I’ve lost a lot of sleep, but I’m so happy I went for it!
Here’s to goals, dreams, and the people who support us with them!
Three years ago, we brought home our first and only pet: Cosmo the cockatiel. He was 13 weeks old and so tiny! He wasn’t the prettiest bird left, but he was the most excited to see us.
We knew very little about birds, but we gathered after a few days that we wasn’t in the greatest shape. It took over a year for him to be able to grow in any feathers for balancing because the breeder had cut his flight feathers too short.
He can do cat calls, sing his own modified version of the Andy Griffith song, and imitate things like the printer and geese that flew overhead. He can mimic a few words like “step up” and “pretty bird,” but he doesn’t say them often. Our bird is kind of a brat though and hates when other people single or whistle, he does love musical instruments though!
I had never had a pet bird, but Devin comes from a family of bird lovers and they really are beautiful (but incredibly moody) little pets. I love being serenaded in the morning by our little friend. Cosmo is really such a quirky creature, but since he is a flock animal he eats when he sees us eating and we’ve noticed sometimes he takes naps when we do too.
We adopted him a few weeks after moving to Georgia three years ago and I’m grateful for this little bird for helping me get through the first year here; it ended up being one of the loneliest years of my life. Devin was stuck traveling close to 70%, I ended up unemployed for seven months, friends ended up being much harder to make than I had ever experienced or imagined, and I ended up having debilitating medical conditions. I would talk to this silly bird all day long and it gave me so much comfort.
Pets really serve such an amazing part of our lives and I am so grateful for the unconditional friendship they have given me over the years.
Happy anniversary, Cosmo!
In high school and college I dyed my hair a lot. I had many shades of auburn all the way to an accidental blue black dye that had my coworkers teasing me and saying things like: “you know, Twilight just came out. Are you trying out the whole vampire thing?” Embarrassing.
After four years of not chemically altering or dying my hair in anyway, I decided to take the plunge again. I love my natural hair color, but I’m rapidly prematurely graying and I have been coveting dark red hair for a long time. My hair is naturally really fine so it crawls out of buns, brains, and headbands so I actually prefer dying my hair to give it some texture.
My hair looked like this before:
My hair looked like after using Schwarzkopf Mahogany 4.2 hair dye:
This hair dye is a lot messier than other products I used in the past. I have always dyed my hair by myself, I covered the whole bathroom with towels beforehand, and it still took the both of us to clean it up while my hair was sitting for 30 minutes. The box came with gloves, but it didn’t include a shoulder/clothing cover that it mentioned in instructions. I’ll definitely be buying a kit with a hair dying brush and cover next time I go about this!
Red hair is pretty hard to maintain, but this color bleeds a lot more than any other red hair color I’ve had. I began using a non-sulfate shampoo and conditioner so it wouldn’t strip the color. I’ve started taking cold shoulders which are honestly kind of welcome as hot as it is here…and I’m using lots of dry shampoo as usual! Unfortunately, I was caught outside when a torrential rain pour came down and my hair bled on my cardigan and stained it. Another time, it was extremely hot outside and the sweat + color bled on my shirt; both times, I had to let the the clothes sit all night in stain remover for colors to get the stain out.
This was a fun change, but I likely won’t keep it up just because of the color bleeding on my clothes; I can see now why people pick red in the fall when it is cooler outside! The color had a strong purple cast that I wasn’t expecting, but I don’t really mind as long as my hair is dark and cool or neutral toned. I don’t know what my long term hair goal is, but I do know that I actually need to pay someone for a haircut like STAT.
Have you made any fun changes with your appearance recently?
Devin’s step-Mom and Dad came in town last week and they helped us with a lot of projects! Hellllo new kitchen lighting, working doorbell, reorganized bookshelf and closets! We’ve lived in our home for two years and they bought a home a year ago so it has been fun to see us doing similar yard projects making our homes ours.
A year ago, we paid to get the rest of our backyard cleared except for some mature shade trees we had. Most of the yards in our neighborhood look like clear putting green and our backyard was the underdog. Devin’s Dad and he bought a package of landscaping flags to mark all of the stumps and we literally have 91 stumps to get removed; we’ve made some humming birds really excited and then really mad thinking they were flowers.
This project was one that I was probably most excited about. When Devin and I were married in December in Arizona; it was citrus season, and all of the trees were completely packed. The citrus trees seemed so exotic to me because I grew up in tobacco and corn country. It seemed very fitting that our Arizona relatives were helping us with my indoor lemon tree .
After we got married, I developed an intense obsession with having an indoor lemon tree like everyone else on the internet, and the nostalgia from our wedding only made it a little crazier. I ended up picking this package up at a gas station in Florida for $5. I thought it seemed like a fun souvenir.
Linda and I were laughing because the box the lemon tree came in was pretty large. When we unwrapped it, it ended up being this tiny plant, and I had found this huge pot for a steal. We also ended up planting some other plants on our front walk which were a nice pop of color!
Our closest family is about 9 hours away so visits from family are understandably infrequent. When they happen they are really exciting. Also, I love how clean our house gets when people visit…even if our bedroom is still absolutely awful.
One of my 101 goals in 1001 days items is to start planting some fruit trees and another goal we checked off was visiting the Dekalb Farmer’s Market (no photography was allowed indoors). It was good to check off some items with family .
When I decided to re-launch my blog, I knew I wanted to keep things pretty light and upbeat… and also that I didn’t want to write excessively on my blog about blogging ha!. Recently, I received a comment saying that a person wished an aspect of their life had been like mine when ironically there were many things I should not share. I had decided the theme in my blog would be about keeping the good things good to help myself look back happily on the things I’ve experienced, but also to use writing as a way to help me manage an anxiety disorder.
I hope when you read my blog that you realize I am a person outside of pictures and text. I know it can be so easy to be swept up into the one-dimensional lives that are portrayed on the internet and wonder what you should be doing differently to be able to achieve that in your life.
This doesn’t mean I won’t ever talk about hard things on my blog, but I have learned that there is a trick about telling them. Make sure when you are telling a story, make sure it is actually your own story to tell. When you have decided it is, take care to tell your own story.
The completely joyous and entirely overwhelming part of life is how interconnected it is with other people. There are so many experiences I would tell you in person if we sat down to eat lunch, but blogging is not the appropriate medium. Sometimes I do wonder when people are candidly typing if they realize how much the things they are saying may impact people.
I will always remember my first public blog in high school when I wrote about an experience I had a boy that I had a really uncomfortable experience with. I wanted to write about my experiences and I thought I was real coy by putting a nickname for him instead of his real name, but then he messaged me on MSN messenger saying he had found my blog and how hurtful it was that I wrote about him.
He was exactly right! I immediately took the posts down and almost 10 years later I still thank my lucky stars that he emailed me and called me out on my immaturity (regardless of how weird the situation was, it was wrong). So often we have experiences that are hard, but they can’t be separated from the people around us to be able to share them.
We live in a world that has websites dedicated to making fun of people for how they look, what kind of haircut they have, or how they live their lives. It is so commonplace to consume these items in humor without realizing they were often created without the person’s permission. I feel we collectively should take care of the pictures and words we create, view, and distribute to make sure that we aren’t contributing to the hurt.
I’m of the opinion that there is enough negativity in the world and social media without adding to it.
I’ve had chronic pain for years, but I’ve had years without it.
I’ve had sessions that have made therapists cry, but I’ve had ones that make them smile.
I’ve had heart ache from friends, family, and loved ones, but I’ve also had a lot of joy.
I’ve had to choose estrangement, but I’ve also chosen engagement.
I’ve had panic attacks, but I’ve also felt euphoria from pushing on.
I’ve felt unloved, but I am loved.
I’ve felt ugly, but I’m not.
I’ve had a lot of experiences I didn’t mention and I will continue to have them, both good and bad. I do believe in contrast and I do believe in the power of empathy.
I don’t think everything in this world is happy and in fact, I know it isn’t. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I actually consider myself more of a realist than an optimist and this is one of those things I’m working on. My brand of optimism doesn’t believe in brushing things under the rug, but it does look for hope in the future.
I’ve felt a lot of things in this world, but the best one I’ve experienced is happiness. Contagious happiness. Happiness that comes from peaceful resolution. Happiness that comes from working hard for something. Happiness that comes from knowing that things have worked out better than I had thought.
I hope when you read my blog that you can read my posts from a point of gratitude for the things that are working in my life, knowing that there are plenty of things that certainly aren’t, and I hope you know that I’m hoping the same for you.
The summer before my junior year my family moved to the country.
Then one day the farmer next door began building a shed. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out why he was building it right in front of our house when he owned a lot of land, but we figured it was an office of some sort; the building was one room and probably about 1000 square feet. So, imagine our surprise one day when a large van that had been previously owned by a daycare was parked in front of our house. Even more so, when we found that 20 men from Mexico were going to call this tiny place home.
Please also imagine my Dad’s expression when his high school daughter explained that the men next door were showering in a see through green house. I ran in the house embarrassed and my Dad called the farmer immediately and explained it was inappropriate not to offer private bathroom facilities at least for the men; they had indoor plumbing that week.
This is the story of how I lived in a rural town in Kentucky, but across the street I saw a developing country everyday.
You should know that I go through extreme food phases where I only want to eat the same food over and over. Sometimes these phases last for years and sometimes only a few months, but when they are done then I don’t want to ever see that food again! I went through a tuna phase my whole freshman year of high school, but it obviously ended because I am married 😉 .
Our favorite food as a couple is definitely Mexican food. My first semester of grad school, we were both so tired by the time we got home that I’m almost positive we had tacos at least three or four times a week. …as you can guess, I have a hard time eating them now and so we have been trying out different recipes. That is when we discovered this easy taco pie recipe!
- 1 can of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- 1 1/2 lb of ground turkey
- 3/4 cups of thick and chunky salsa
- 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning from Old El Paso
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon of dried (or fresh) cilantro
- 1/2 can of Old El Paso green chilies
- 1 ripe avocado from Mexico
- 1/2 tablespoon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon of cilantro
- 1/2 cup of cold water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped onion
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Take the crescent rolls out of the package and unroll them. Layer them on a 10 inch ungreased pie Pyrex. Use your fingers to press the crescent rolls together and around the top of the pie plate.
- Brown the ground turkey meat and then drain the excess fat. Add the salsa, green chilies, taco seasoning, and green chilies into the pan while mixing on low for five minutes.
- Put the mixed ground turkey meat into the pie dish. Add cheese to the top of the dish and cook until the crust is golden brown and cheese is melted on top.
- Put all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.
- My husband preferred the taco pie with sour cream. We chose spicy seasoning and green chilies, but this could be easily modified.
My general rule for cooking is that I don’t want to use a lot of ingredients unless we are cooking for other people. I went to Publix and bought some of these ingredients and grabbed some other food I already had in my cabinet to make the pie (the ground turkey was hanging out in the freezer still at this point). I used Old El Paso taco seasoning and Old El Paso green chilies to give the taco pie a little bit more of a kick!
I’m a huge fan of avocados so I made this yummy avocado sauce for the side. I’ve found that Publix has some of the freshest produce around here and we actually had to wait a few days for the avocados to ripen!
Separate the crescent rolls and roll them out into the ungreased dish. (On a non-related note, I pronounce it greeZed rhymes with eased and Devin pronounces this word like it rhymes with geese. It creates a whole lot of interesting conversations around here).
After browning your meat and mixing all of your ingredients, put them into your pie Pyrex. Prior to putting the dish in the oven, put your cheese on top!
The finished product is below! Give me a heads up if you try either of the recipes and how you liked them! Do you have any funny food habits?
When I decided to make the jump from blogger to a self-hosted wordpress website I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! Nothing I made looked professional anymore and I have had some quirky issues pop up with my coding. I was lucky enough to meet two different ladies who completely turned my experience around!!
I was lucky enough to meet Becca and she had made this process so much easier for me!! She is launching her website today and you should definitely check it out . She has helped with questions from how do I even touch the font size in this coding? to why is my complete webpage down when I didn’t make any changes??? Honestly, I wish I had met her before I transferred everything from blogger because that was a hot mess of tears and customer support calls for two weeks!!
I additionally had the luck of meeting Kiarah and she completely re-designed the graphics for my blog! She was super helpful, gave me drafts of the process, and made a lot of suggestions outside of what I could think of to make them look even more me. She had amazing turn around too!
My signature:My about me photo:
My watermark for photos and future button!
I’ve never had someone make graphics for me or help me with coding and it was seriously such a stress reliever. Sometimes I would spend days working on layouts in the past and I was never fully satisfied with them. It was really nice handing off the projects to Becca and Kiarah !!
I’ve felt a ton of support and love since I re-launched my blog a little over a month ago and I’m really happy to be back and blogging. Thank you!