This is Only a Starting Point

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I’m not where I want to be. Mentally, physically, emotionally – this is not where I want to be.

I ended 2013 with such optimism for the year ahead. After all, this is the year I marry my hunky homeboy. We’ve decided to build a life together and we get to celebrate that decision – and the love behind it – with our nearest and dearest.  In freaking MEXICO. How could 2014 not rock?!

Welp. So far, it hasn’t rocked. It’s done the opposite of rocking, actually.

Yesterday, I was reading a post that Ashten wrote about facing her weight and her choices and making some changes to get where she wants to be. It’s a great post. Go read it; be inspired. I’ll wait.

Welcome back. Did you catch the part where she said she left the doctors’ office with a “starting point”?  She decided that her current situation isn’t just something she doesn’t like, it’s something to be improved upon. It’s a place to begin moving forward onto better things. That really stuck with me. Because you know what? I’m at a starting point, too – I just hadn’t looked at it that way. And now that I am looking at it in that light, I’m much more excited about my world and all that lay ahead of me.

It’s time to make some changes. I need to do some serious purging in almost every area of my life; I need to figure out what I’m keeping, shine it up with appreciation and care, then I pick up some new goodness to add to the mix. It’s a daunting task, one that has felt like it is lurking over my head. Until I read the words “starting point”.

It’s such an optimistic idea. A starting point isn’t just where you begin; it’s something you launch from. You leave it behind, and burst onto better things. Sometimes, a starting point is left behind you in a cloud of dust. Other times, you slowly, methodically venture away from it. But no matter what, you take a step that moves you away from the starting point. Then another step. And another. Eventually, the starting point is so far behind you that you can barely see it through the fog of your own progress. So a crappy place is never really that bad after all; you just need to start seeing it as your starting point.

As the journey progresses, you remember the starting point. You know the feel, the taste, the smell of the starting point, but you also know that you can never truly go back there. Even if you can physically return, you will never again be the person you were when you were standing on brink of more. The steps you’ve taken to move forward have changed you; you’ve grown. You’ve changed.

The starting point is filled with doubt, fear and uncertainty. Can I really do this? Must I? Maybe I shouldn’t? It is also filled with hope, possibility, and a drive unlike any other. I can do this. I will do this. I know how to get there, and I’m going to fight like hell. The road is clear before you. The steps are well-defined, if not smooth or easy. The starting point is filled with a very specific desire to move forward.

So, I am at a starting point. Several, if you want to get specific about it. I am moving forward. Away from what isn’t working, and onto something better. I am moving away from what is defeating me, and away from the person I do not want to be any longer. I am not trapped by past choices, traditions that no longer fit, a misguided sense of loyalty, or the expectations of others. I will step away from what is dragging me down, because after all, this is only a starting point.

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Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

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Happy Monday, kids! Welcome back to real life! If you are anything like me, it’s been a real struggle to get back in the swing of things after the long, lazy weekend of gluttonous consumption. (I’m wearing pants with an elastic waistband today, just in case anyone was wondering.) I haven’t really been expected to accomplish anything since last Tuesday, so dealing with “responsibilities” today has been a challenge.

On Wednesday, I spent most of the day baking. I had every intention of doing more than baking, but apparently I am a bad judge of how long it takes me to do things. I honestly believed I would get up early, bake until about lunchtime and then have the rest of the day to do other things. HA. I baked cookies, pies, and pumpkin rolls for a solid twelve hours. TWELVE HOURS. (It would have taken me longer if I hadn’t talked Mr. B and Tyler into icing the cookies for me.) When I was done, I wasn’t up for anything that didn’t involve wine and my couch.

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Thursday was spent bouncing around Western Pennsylvania and consuming excessive amounts of turkey, ham, sweets, and wine. Our first stop was Mr. B’s mom’s house for a full feast with her family, followed by a quick visit to Mr. B’s dad’s side of the family. We didn’t have time to eat there, but we wanted to pop in and wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving before heading to my dad’s house for turkey dinner number two. We stuffed ourselves silly for the second time that day, and my dad got to spend some time quality time with his “grandpuppy”.

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Friday and Saturday were spent eating leftovers and putting up Christmas decorations. Friday night, Mr. B and I went to Friendsgiving at Kristin’s house, where we ate and drank just as much as we had the day before, but with friends instead of family. It was a blast.

Late Saturday afternoon, Tyler and I found out that our great aunt had passed away. She played an important role in both of our lives when we were young, so her passing (while not unexpected) was pretty hard on us. To take our minds off of our feelings of grief and helplessness, Mr. B. suggested we try assembling the train set. We’d planned to wait for my dad to help us (since, really, he’s the only one who knows what he’s doing), but we agreed that having a project to keep our hands and minds busy was a good idea.

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Saturday evening and Sunday morning were spent constructing a platform, setting up the tracks, and trying -unsuccessfully – to make the train work. My dad is coming for a visit next weekend to help us figure out what went wrong. Even though we weren’t successful in our endeavors, we did manage to distract ourselves from our pain, if only for a little while.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. B and I took Tyler back to school. On our way home, we stopped at a Christmas tree farm to pick out and cut down our own tree.

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We brought her home, covered her in tractors and Christmas cheer, and then enjoyed some popcorn and a cheesy holiday made-for-TV movie.

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How was your holiday weekend? Did you get to spend quality time with your family and friends? Is anyone else feeling a little fluffy today?

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I’m Baaaaack! {NOLA Recap}

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Oh, hey, hi there. I fell off the face of the earth there for a second while I recouped from my bachelorette trip to New Orleans. Sorry ’bout that. But now I’m back! I’m about 20 lbs heavier than when I left and I’m still completely exhausted but oh.my.god. was it a BLAST!

Did you guys have fun with Brittany and Raewyn while I was gone? They are fabulous ladies, no?

Guys, let me tell you, New Orleans is an amazing city. The food (ohmygod THE FOOD), the people, the art, the music, the drinks were all incredible. I am so grateful to my MOH, Jess, for organizing such an unbelievable weekend, and I’m so glad my friend Kristin was able to join us on such short notice.

I can’t even begin to explain what an amazing city NOLA truly is. The people were all so friendly and welcoming, the food was delicious, the drinks were strong, and there was art and live music everywhere we went. I’ve been sitting here for an hour now trying to find the words to describe everything we did, but I’m at a loss, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking for now.

I was blown away by all of it: the gorgeous architecture, the funky voodoo shops, the amazing view from our hotel room, the palm trees/Christmas decorations combo, and HOLY CRAP do you see the SWEET RIDE my bff scored for us?!

I was blown away by all of it: the gorgeous architecture, the funky voodoo shops, the amazing view from our hotel room, the palm trees/Christmas decorations combo, and HOLY CRAP do you see the SWEET RIDE my bff scored for us?!

 

There were musicians and street performers EVERYWHERE. It was incredible to see such talent on display all around us.

There were musicians and street performers EVERYWHERE. It was incredible to see such talent on display all around us.

And what trip to New Orleans would be complete without a few photos of Bourbon St at night?

And what trip to New Orleans would be complete without a few photos of Bourbon St at night?

As you can see, I have mostly daytime/tourist photos. I was afraid to take my fancypants camera out at night for fear of losing it, breaking it, or spilling adult beverages on it. My phone’s failures are a post for a different day, but let’s just say it wasn’t very useful for anything, let alone capturing memories.

We squeezed so much into the two nights and days that we spent there, but I feel like there is still SO much more Big Easy amazingness to behold. I definitely cannot wait to go back and explore even more of the funky, quirky city.

So what did I miss while I was gone? What’s new with you?

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Meet Brittany from Happy Is A Choice

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If you missed all of my frazzle-brained excitement earlier this week, I’m in New Orleans for my bachelorette party! (Stalk my Instagram if you want to follow along with the debauchery.) But, dear readers, I would never leave you hanging! Today, Brittany is taking over the blog. She is the adorable lady behind Happy Is A Choice. I think you guys will adore her as much as I do – even her blog title radiates positive energy! (And how stinkin’ cute is she with that new husband of hers?!)

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Hey friends! I am excited to be here while our girl Nikki is out celebrating her bachelorette weekend with her girlfriends! I had SO much fun the night of my bachelorette, and I know Nikki will too!

 

Let me tell you a little bit about myself! My name is Brittany, and I am a newlywed, I married the love of my life, Ronnie on October 5th, so I am just over the moon with excitement for Nikki as her wedding day approaches. It is such a sweet time, preparing for that day, so Nikki, if I could give you one piece of advice it would be to enjoy every minute! I sometimes got caught up in the stress and planning and details, but our wedding day was so fun, and even if something goes wrong (it will) you will just be so happy you wont care!

A little more about me: I blog over at Happy Is A Choice so I  would love for you to come stop by so we can get to know one another more. I work full time in Human Resources, and my husband works in Hospitality at our church. I am a big fan of running, mostly because I love food so much, in order to avoid only fitting in yoga pants, I have to burn off those lattes and pastries some how.

Because it’s November, and Nikki has a running Gratitude theme going on this month, I wanted to share some things that I am thankful for in marriage, things I think Nikki might have to look forward to, and maybe if you are married you will be thankful for some of the same things!
1. I am thankful to go to sleep next to my husband every night, and wake up together every day. Ronnie and I didn’t live together before we got married, so this big “every night is a sleepover with your best friend” thing is still fun to me!

2. I’m thankful that my husband makes me breakfast in bed on Saturday mornings. Seriously, a huge perk for me. I hope your husband makes you breakfast in bed regularly , Nikki!

3. I am thankful for someone to pray with when life gets messy, and also when God is so good to us that we can’t help but thank Him! Its really encouraging for me to watch my husband trust Jesus so well and lean on Him for wisdom, strength and support.

4. I am thankful to have a husband who doesn’t expect me to do it all. As a woman, I sometimes feel like I need to be working all day, cooking a balanced meal, doing the laundry, serving people in our home, serving in church ministries, spending time with my family, exercising, etc. and for me, more often then not, I feel like I am FAILING at all of those things. But luckily for me, Ronnie doesn’t expect that, and he helps me with things like preparing meals and keeping the house clean. It is SUCH a blessing to me!

5. I am thankful to have someone to take outfit pictures for the blog. He always puts on a happy face and tries to pretend like hes hving the best time, even though we all know he’d rather do, well, anything else.

6. I am excited to send out Christmas Cards! I’ve always equated that with something you get to do once you are married, and this year, one sweet friend I have met through blogging is designing ours and I can’t wait to send them out!

7. I am thankful to get to share life together! I am so excited to start our own Holiday traditions, to invite people over for good food and conversation, to go on weekend trips and dinner outs with friends, to do home projects and snuggle up on the couch after a long day. I love this part of marriage!

If you are married, what are you thankful for? If you’re not married, what are you most looking forward to or hoping for someday?

Please stop by and see me at Happy Is A Choice! I would love to meet you, new friends!


The Big Easy (and Other Rambles)

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I hope you weren’t coming here today to read something wise or heartfelt or deep and intellectual, because I’m about to ramble for a bit. Mostly about New Orleans.

1// I’m going to New Orleans on Thursday! My super-amazing, generous, wonderful, fabulous best friend surprised me with a last-minute bachelorette celebration. We’re going to the Big Easy for 3 days and I’M PUMPED. There will only be a few of us since not many people could skip town with barely two weeks notice, but I think I like it better that way. Small groups are easier to manage, especially when you are traveling.

When Jess and I get together, it is always a blast. I have no doubt that this trip will be another raging good time.

When Jess and I get together it is ALWAYS a blast. I have no doubt that this trip will be another raging good time.

2// I’m not 22 anymore, so last minute trips aren’t quiiite as easy to swing these days. (Because, you know, I actually have a life and a few responsibilites now. Effin’ adulthood.) So naturally, I have a ton to do and very little time to do it in. Whatevs, I got this. And don’t worry, I’ve got some awesome guests stopping by to post for me while I’m gone!

3// Going to New Orleans for the weekend means missing Joey’s first birthday, which is on Friday. I know, I know…WORST FUR-MOM IN THE HISTORY OF FUR-MOMS. I promised to make it up to him when I get back. I’ve already found him an adorable party hat and I plan to make him some homemade peanut butter doggie treats to nom on before Mr. B and I take him to Petsmart so he can pick out a new toy.

4// I’m finding myself wayyy too concerned about things that aren’t actually problems these days. Like the fact that I won’t be here to feed Mr. B for three days. Why am I worried about this? The man is almost 30 years old. He’s not going to starve to death if I leave him unattended. And all the preemptive grocery shopping in the world won’t stop him from eating nothing but quesadillas and Nutri-grain bars while I’m away. Like I said, things that aren’t actually problems. I need to worry about actual problems, like the laundry that I’ve been putting off for far too long. We are running out of underbritches.

5// My WordPress Android app won’t let me respond to comments on the blog. It’s frustrating the crap out of me. Does anyone else have this problem, or does my phone just hate me? I think it’s time for a new phone. Too bad I’m not eligible for an upgrade for another year. Womp womp.

6//It’s embarrassing how much I am looking forward to eating on this trip. I love trying new foods and exploring local cuisine when I travel, but I’m ridiculously excited about what New Orleans has to offer. I can’t wait to eat all the food. Make me feel better and tell me I’m not the only one who gets like this. (Lie to me if you have to.)

7// Poor Daisie has dry skin, so I bought her wipes that promise to “soothe itch and pain” with a “bitter taste that stops licking and chewing”. I just tried them out, and good news- they work. She stopped chewing her little legs immediately. A few minutes later I forgot all about it and touched my mouth. I know why they work so well, and I can’t get the AWFUL taste out of my mouth. Maybe you should have washed your hands, dumbass.

8// The beautiful Amber over at Mr. Thomas and Me has a little giveaway going on right now. If you haven’t entered already, you should go check that out.

So yeah, that’s what is going on in my head right now. What’s new in your world? Has anyone ever been to New Orleans? Any tips or suggestions?

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Ladies, Meet Booger…er…Roger

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First of all, let me say THANK YOU for all of the amazing love and support you guys sent my way after yesterday’s post. Seriously, my heart is bursting after all of your thoughtful emails and comments. I haven’t had a chance to respond to many of them yet, but I have read them all and I’m so grateful for each and every one of you.

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Mr. B has a good friend/coworker whom we adore. We call him Booger. He gets all “Really, Nik. Booger? Come on.” every time I introduce him to people as “Booger”, but sorry dude, that’s what I know you as. It would be weird to call you Roger even though that’s your name.

So for the sake of not getting yelled at, let’s start over. Ladies, meet Roger.

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Mr. B and Roger (dude, that is so weird) were working together today. On their way home, they stopped at Lowe’s so that Mr. B could pick up some supplies for this never-ending project. While there, Booger…GAH…Roger decided to grab some chain for his new boat anchor. He was assisted by a lovely young lady who caught his eye.

I’m told that the pretty miss and Roger made “googly eyes” at one another the whole time, and I’m left to assume that “googly eyes” is a Boogerism for flirting. When they left the store, the guys called me to get my opinion on what was shaping up to be a very important debate. Since he didn’t get the pretty girl’s phone number (or, as best I can tell, even introduce himself), Booger Roger wanted to know if it was cute or creepy to send flowers (3 yellow roses) with a little “thank you for cutting me a piece of chain” note with his phone number. Mr. B voted that it was a little creepy, and Roger wanted a second opinion. Plus, he knew I won’t hesitate to tell him when he’s being a bit of a creeper.  I told him I’d do one better and put it out into blogland for him as an informal poll.

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To help you decide if it’s a creepy or cute move, here’s the information I was able to collect from my conversation with Mr. B and Roger as they left the home improvement store:

  • She was not wearing a ring;
  • she “eyed him up” from another aisle before assisting him;
  • the flowers would need to be sent to her place of employment, as this is the only way he knows to contact her;
  • there was a brief moment where he may or may not have gotten caught checking out her, umm, top shelf;
  • “She was so pretty. Like naturally pretty. She wasn’t wearing any makeup and didn’t need it. She’s the kind of girl I would be proud to introduce to my mom.”

Mr. B thought the poor girl might be creeped out by his gesture, while I think her reaction will depend on whether or not she was into him. (If she thought he was a hottie, she’ll find it adorable. If she saw him as just another customer, it might be a little creepy.) And personally, as someone who does not appreciate being the center of attention – like, AT ALL – I would not like getting flowers from a stranger in front of all of my coworkers. But that’s just me, and I’m fully aware that not everyone shares my aversion to that kind of attention, so she may love such a public overture. Plus, it’s the only way he knows to reach her, and such grand gestures are sweet.

So tell me ladies, is Roger’s idea to send the helpful Lowe’s sales associate three yellow roses and a short note creepy or adorable? (Be honest, he’s a good sport.)

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*It’s probably worth noting that he went ahead and sent her flowers and the note before asking for anyone’s opinion. His phone call to me and this resulting poll were an afterthought, likely spurred by Mr. B’s “really, dude??” reaction. So I’ll keep you guys updated as to how this all plays out.

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