Why I Regret Eloping

For those that don’t know Big Red and I eloped after just 3 months of knowing each other. It will be 12 years come June so I don’t think we messed that up. Notice I said eloping and not getting married. I do not regret getting married or my marriage or my husband. Now that everyone is clear you can stop trying to track down Big Red and put me on blast for something I did not say.

When we decided to get married the plan was to elope and then have a big white wedding about a year later. I wanted to be a June bride. Cheesy I know. We also knew that with me still being in training, we were both in the Navy, that I could request to be stationed in the same geographical area as my husband.

Now when you meet and decide to marry someone and your families live 3,000 miles apart there are some logistics to getting everyone to the same place. Well, some of his family would not have been able to travel to Virginia to be at our wedding. My dream was to get married on my family’s property where I grew up and my grandparents’ ashes are spread. Of course I wanted his family to be there. At the time we were stationed in San Diego and what could be prettier than a sunset beach wedding? A wedding in the country duh! So we started looking into having a wedding in SD and that way both families would have to travel. Then we told my mom the plan. She said no way on this planet would she be at my wedding if it was anywhere but my childhood home. So I did what any other 22 year old would do when her mom pisses her off. I put the kabosh on the whole thing. We eloped. I got drunk and called my mom and told her I was married.

Fast forward almost 12 years later and there are some things I regret about not having a big white wedding.

Pictures! I have not 1 picture of us on our wedding day. Big Red’s grandmother recently passed and there are no pictures of him with her celebrating our big day. There are no pictures of us with friends or family. There are no pictures of those special moments that the bride and groom take for themselves to remember just that bit about the whirlwind of the day.

The dress! I worked in a bridal shop before the Navy and let me tell you I dreamed of my dress. I couldn’t wait to shop for my dress. I couldn’t wait for my husband to see me in that gorgeous dress. I couldn’t wait to set it aside and one day let my daughter play dress up in my dress.

Joy! I was so happy to marry Big Red. We had a lot of fun after. Our bar tab said so. I regret the joy of celebrating with loved ones. The smiles of just having fun with loved ones. The joy of being with your person and feeling the joy others had for you. Our day was kind of cloaked in spite.

Witnesses! No one was there. A few friends met us afterwards but our witness was the Justice of the Peace’s secretary. How impersonal can that be. To have not one person to cheer for you. He pronounced husband and wife. We kissed and he barely let us out the door before he told his secretary to call the next couple.

So if you are getting married and would like to elope. Go for it. It can be cheap. Cost us $100. Plan a little time for some of those little things that make the day special. Food, cake, drinks you can get anywhere. You cannot go back and get pictures. You cannot go back and fly your grandmother to your wedding. You cannot go back and rewrite the story of your day. So take head lovebirds if this is a route you want to go great but just be prepared that you give up a lot when you don’t have the white wedding of your dreams.

“Whatever our souls are made of; his and mine are the same”- Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

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Dear Sissy

Dear Sissy,

Today you are 10 years old. A whole decade has passed since I tried convincing the doctor’s to leave you in there because my epidural wasn’t working. I am so glad they didn’t listen to your crazy mama. You came into this world and even though I wasn’t able to hold you right away, they got crazy rules in the operating room, you were mine. You made me a little batty in the beginning. Who are we kidding? I am still batty.

I love so much about you baby girl. I hate you got my attitude and flare for the eye roll but at least you come by it honestly. I love your kindness, honesty, fairness, acceptance, loving nature, your calm spirit, and mostly your old soul. We named you for your two Great Grandmothers, one from each side, and I think you got the best of both of them.

I want to protect you sweet girl. I don’t want the world to darken your spirit or make you guarded like I am. I try so hard to do the right thing by you. I try to give you enough freedom to make decisions but enough boundaries to keep you safe. I talk honestly and openly with you about anything you ask. Some of those conversations are hard on your mama. So if I can give you anything leading into the next decade of your life, and probably the most defining decade it is these few thoughts.

Stay curious. If you are wondering about something or how to do something. Find a book or google it. Ask an expert. Keep learning. Never stop. Learn a little bit about a lot of things. You will always be able to participate in any conversation in the room.

Stay kind. I know I say it all the time but kindness is free and it never hurt anyone. Even when someone isn’t kind to you be kind. You don’t know the demons they might be fighting but your kindness might be the thing to pull them back from a bad decision.

Laugh. Laugh often and loud. Laughter is the best medicine. Even in the darkest moments laughter can bring light. This life was meant to be enjoyed so enjoy it and laugh your heart out along the way.

Move. Stay active. Run, dance, jump, swim. Whatever it is your body is telling you to do, listen. Take care of your body. Start doing it now so it is second nature because it is so hard to change bad habits later on.

Eat cake. Being healthy is so important. Fueling your body with the best foods to give it health and energy is the greatest gift you can give yourself. I know I have not always been the best example. I am trying. When there is a birthday party or something to celebrate eat the cake and enjoy it! It is all about balance and deprivation isn’t balance it is misery!

Be Brave. This world is going to scare the sh!t out of you. Wait till your 50 and have kids…then you will really know scared. If you are afraid of it. Challenge it. Look that fear in the face and push through it. The view from the other side is amazing. So ride the roller coaster. Try the snails. Climb the mountain. Swim with the sharks. You might get a few bumps and bruises along the way but I promise it is worth it. However, don’t be so brave you drink the water in Mexico…not worth it.

Listen. Listen to your parents, friends, family and loved ones. Mostly listen to that inner voice telling you right from wrong. That voice might be a whisper or the loudest thing but it is a good voice to listen to. You have an amazing sense of right and wrong so that voice will be your best guide. Listen when someone has a problem. You don’t have to solve the problem but just listen. People don’t listen often enough. If the world listened more and spoke less there would be a lot less problems.

LOVE!!!! Love deeply. Love openly. Love honestly. Love is never wrong. So if you find you love someone tell them. You may get your heart shattered. You will find love again. He or she or them or Z, whoever you love, we will love them too. We, your family, love you! I don’t care what you may hear in the world love is always beautiful and always right. So give and receive love. And when the world doesn’t seem to love you know that you will always find love in my arms.

You are truly the greatest gift I have ever been given. Don’t tell your brother. I will deny it. I did not know how much love I had inside until you came into this world. Thank you for being my girl. The next decade will probably be the toughest we go through but know that we will make it through. You can push me away, you will, but I will be right there always. I love you.

Love, Mom

B.F.F

Remember back in school when you are your friends would pass notes and they were covered in hearts and B.F.F? You and Stacy (not my BFF) were joined at the hip. You did everything together. If she dated someone they were basically dating you too. I once had a boyfriend who couldn’t tell me and my bestie apart on the phone. Her parents were yours too. Your clothes were hers. Basically you were one in the same. Short of sharing underwear and toothbrushes and boyfriends/girlfriends what was yours was hers and vice versa. Let me ask you do you still talk to her? If so great what is your secret to maintaining bestie status? If not why? Life? So maybe your B.F.F. wasn’t forever but simply for now. Let me ask do you miss that camaraderie? Do you miss having that friend that you can’t go a day without talking to? Do you miss having that person who you can tell all your secrets to and not worry about what she might think? Do you miss long phone calls? Do you miss those plans you made about life but never happened? I do. I miss it all.

Being a SAHM has hit my loneliness square in the face and shone a great light on just how much I miss having a B.F.F. Now, don’t get me wrong I have wonderful friends. My FRAMILY (friends that a family) is better than yours any day of the week. I love my framily. Just like my extended family I don’t talk to them everyday. We get together and hang out frequently but the day to day conversation you have with your B.F.F. is not something I have with my framily members. I am also very guarded with who I let into my framily. I got issues y’all. Maybe that is why I do not have that person to call at the drop of a hat to chat or go for a ride or coffee.

I see all the time on my FB of friends of mine having girls night or girl weekend or planning trip out of the country or sharing memes with their bestie(s). I am reminded all the time that what all these other people seem to have I do not. When my world is falling to pieces or I am ready to sell my minions on ebay I do not have 1 person that I would call. When my grandmother in law passed away recently I had not one person I felt I could call and just cry to. Do you know how lonely that is? Sissy is about to be 10 and pushing all my buttons, karma is a B y’all, and do you know how nice it would be to get the kids off to school and then ring my friend to just rant and rave about how awful she is. When I call her all the dirty names you shouldn’t call your child this friend wouldn’t judge but know that underneath all that frustration my love for my child has no end and there isn’t one part of myself I wouldn’t sacrifice for my child. Spring break is around the corner and shortly there after summer. Do you know how awesome it would be to plan a family vacation with my best friend and her family? We could go somewhere and our kids could play. The adults could hang out. Many bottles of SkinnyGirl Margarita would be drunk. Doesn’t that sound better than just going somewhere and trying to entertain your kids and get your rest. Don’t get me wrong I loved our family trip to Myrtle Beach this past summer and hope to make it a family tradition.

Basically what I am saying is if you find yourself in a position where you feel the same way I do then let me know. We can mom date and see if we are a good fit. I’ll buy the first cup of coffee.

“True friends are those rare people who come to find you in dark places and lead you back to the light.”- Not sure

WELLNESS

At the beginning of every year thousands of people set resolutions. This year I saw a trend to pick a word that was going to be your focus for the year. I had kind of set my resolutions before the New Year when I quit working. Y’all remember all those things I said I was going to do. Well, I am doing most of them and not always in the nicest way possible but I am getting there. Well it dawned on me that in not really setting a resolution I had kind of chosen a word to focus on. That word is WELLNESS.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary online the definition of wellness is the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal. I’d say that about sums up my life right now. I am working out everyday. Currently doing the 21 Day Fix workouts while dialing in on my nutrition. I am learning that as I cut out more of the junk and the processed foods and sugar that when I try those things my body isn’t very happy. I have learned that no matter how sore my body might be I can still manage the strength to get to bed. Last night I binged on some chips and salsa (it is my favorite snack) and my stomach was not happy with me. I have learned that starting over and at the bottom is not as daunting as it seems. I really started dialing things in after Bug’s birthday party and have come such a long way since then. I honestly am floored everyday when I reach those non-scale victories. MY TC2 LLR leggings were a little looser than I remember and those are my NBC ones. (insert ugly cry face). So I am focusing on my health and it is going well.

I am reading and pursuing my other hobbies. I have read a couple of books so far this year and that has been about my average that last few years so I am excited. Currently reading The Song of Fire and Ice series. Figured while waiting for the final season of GOT I could read the books. I built a cookie booth for my troop. I will be starting to build Big Red and I a new desk after we get through Sissy’s bday.

I am finding time each day to pursue my relationship with God. I am praying and trying to find quiet moments where I can just let his peace fill me. I found a church. Bug finally decided to go with me (We do not force our children to go. I am Christian and Big Red is more Agnostic so we are letting them find their way.) Bug had an awful experience at this first church. We were barely out of the parking lot before he was in tears. No one talked to him or included him from what I could tell. The adults leading it did not even introduce themselves. So I wrestled whether or not to continue going there. Decided it was not for me and so I did some research and found another church to try. I did make both kids go this time. Bug was nervous so Sissy was there to help with some bravery and I did not want to get attached only to find out their kids program was no bueno. They both loved it. Asked to go back right away and even attended a children’s event a few short days later. I am enjoying the sermons, music and surprisingly we knew someone who was a member there. So looking to continue to enhance my spiritual wellness.

I have been getting my house clean and despite the fact that it often feels like a roller coaster of an insane person it is cleaner than it has been in a long time. The time it takes to deep clean is a little less every week. The clutter is slowly getting out of my way. That does wonders for my anxiety. I feel because my home is calm I am calmer in my home.

We have been blessed lately with some really nice days to be outside. The kids and I have been getting out and exploring new places. We are planning adventures. I am so happy to be able to spend this time with my kids building memories and to bond with them in ways I did not with my parents. I love being outside and to take them, even to the park, and watch them run up a “mountain” or simple swing high as they can go is so joyous to me.

I have not found something that I want to do to volunteer my time to. I think I know. I need to do some investigating first but when I do I will let you know.

Wellness for me isn’t just getting in shape. It is about feeding my soul, my mind, my body, and my relationships. Wellness is finding the best version of myself. Wellness is finding my strength so when those I love need me I can be there. Wellness is my word for this year. What is yours?

“Wellness encompasses a healthy body, a sound mind and tranquil spirit. Enjoy the journey as you strive for wellness. ” -Laurette Gagnon Beaulieu

We Have a Problem

Y’all I am scared and my heart is breaking. Another school shooting. I read yesterday that since 2013 there has been an average of 1 mass shooting a week in this country. I held my kids a little tighter after reading that. I kissed them all over their beautiful faces and told them “I love you” a bunch. They probably thought I was being sentimental because it was Valentine’s Day. No, I did that because I could and because I am not one of the many mamas who has to cry themselves to sleep because their babies aren’t there to kiss good night. So I say to you how many more children have to die? Mine? Yours? Your neighbors? Your child’s best friend? How many have to hide in terror under desks and locked doors waiting for the police to come save them? How many moms and dads have to get a text saying “I am scared” and worry that is the last thing they will hear from their child?

I have a lot of fears when it comes to my kids. I have a constant buzz of paranoia that there is always someone or something lurking that could hurt them. Just one of the many ways my anxiety manifests itself. I am pretty good about quieting that buzz and going on with life. Y’all watching them leave for school today was hard. I should be able to send them and not worry about them dying or hiding in fear as a crazy gun-person terrorizes their school. So what’s the answer? I am not too sure.

I am a country girl that grew up in rural Virginia and grew up around guns. When I went into the Navy my job allowed me to work with a pretty Bad@$$ gun. I love to see things go boom. One of our favorite youtube channels is Demolition Ranch. I believe in teaching children how to handle a weapon safely. I believe in teaching them when it is and isn’t appropriate to use a gun. We do not have one in our home as we do not have a safe or lock box to store it in. That was my rule no storage, no gun. My friends have guns in their homes. My family all have many guns. So this is where I am conflicted. I believe firmly in our right to bear arms. I however believe that there needs to be some tougher regulations on the purchasing of guns. I believe that just because a gun is big and powerful and fun to shoot does not mean it needs to be in the hands of any Joe Schmoe who wants to buy it. Will putting more regulations in place mean that these horrific events won’t happen, no it won’t. However if a gun can only carry a few rounds before it needs to be reloaded that can give my child a chance to hide. That is another few seconds the police have to arrive to save my child. If the action of the gun isn’t so fast they will have to take that time to aim more accurately instead of raining down a hail storm of bullets. I know the answer is not to ban guns, that might make it worse, but there has to be a better middle ground where I don’t have to be as scared to send my kids to school.

I admit I do not know all the rules and regulations in regards to owning and carrying a gun. I just know that my kids are my heart and soul. I know I never want to get that call or text saying that my child is hiding out in terror as some person is shooting people in their school. I don’t want to be that parent that watches other children walk out and mine come out on a stretcher or body bag. So what can we do? For now I will teach my children what to do in this type of situation. I will be in contact with their schools to find out what their plan is. I will educate myself on gun regulations so when I speak for reform, not a ban, I can speak in an educated manner. Mostly I will not take one day with my children for granted because we live in a world where simply learning to read and write could mean the end of their lives.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” -Jack Layton

I Hate Clutter

I hate clutter. I hate feeling like my house and, in my mind, my life looks like an episode of hoarders. I realize many of those people have some major mental illness going on and I am not criticizing. My own struggle with mental illness has led me to do and believe some crazy things. I have seen first hand how a once organized clean person can have a turning point and become a different person that I no longer recognize. If you feel like you are struggling with any type of mental illness please seek help. Even if it is calling a friend for coffee to listen to how overwhelmed you are.

Now, that I have gone off on that tangent my point to hating clutter is this. Clutter can appear anywhere not just in your house, car but in your life. We take on new tasks or volunteer to do something with church or our kids. We get into these situations with the best of intentions. Maybe for awhile you find joy and you can definitively say why you are doing this. Things are going well and then something new comes along and you add that to your schedule. Maybe the reason you started the original thing has changed. Your kids are no longer interested. You no longer want to go to this function. You know what it is. What is that one thing that when it comes along you dread. You pray for another snow day even thought it is 60 degrees just so you won’t have to do it. That thing get rid of it. It is clutter you don’t need.

Now, if you have made a commitment to an organization or your kids or you signed a contract and are paying money and there is no way out of it then see your commitment through. I am a firm believer in seeing your commitment through. I teach my kids this all the time. When Sissy wanted to quit Tae Kwon Do we made her see it through until the end. So, I will see some of these commitments through until the end. However these things that I dread no longer deserve a place on my priority list. I deserve to focus on the things that matter to me. I challenge you today to think about the things in your life that is clutter. Would you be happier if you got rid of it? Would the things that matter get more of your focus? If the answer is yes come up with a plan today to rid your life of the clutter.

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” – Eleanor Brownn

To the New Mom

There are a couple of women in my family that are about to be first time moms. This is for them and any other first time mom or any mom who still feels like they are doing it all wrong. (Raising my hand with all of you over here.) Here is a list (hopefully it makes you laugh a little but not to the point you pee your pants) of things I wish I knew ahead of time.

  1. Buy some super sexy granny panties. First of all most of us cannot go into the hospital the size of a house and come out fitting into our old jeans, maybe your yoga pants, leggings, or sweatpants. Don’t wear your favorite anyway. You will still look preggers. I promise you are not. Need a reminder look between your legs. That massive amount of blood coming from your vajeen for weeks, yes even after a c-section,  means that you are not pregnant. This is what the granny panties are for. You can ruin these and not feel bad. Buy them a size or two bigger than you would normally wear. You want them to fit and to be comfortable. (Buy the jumbo pads as well). You just had a tiny human come from you body and you are sore and tired being comfortable is important. You will wear sexy underwear again, about the time you start to forget how miserable you felt and think having another baby might be nice.
  2. Shop ahead. Your child will grow so fast you will wonder if there is miracle grow in their bottle. I promise this is normal. Not sure see your pediatrician and they will let you know if something is wrong. Buy clothes, diapers, socks, underwear, shoes, coats, and toys now while you have the time and money to shop. Buy it on clearance and stick it in a bin in a closet and when your baby gets big enough bust it out. Take hand me downs from kids of any age. Your kids will grow and I promise will need new shoes only when you are strapped for cash and the car needs major repairs or the water heater broke. I have a friend that has done this since her first kid and has never had to worry. She is always buying things out of season when they are on sale and her kids look amazing. Your teenager might care about the latest fashion but your toddler who slid in the mud doesn’t care whether or not their clothes were last season or hand me downs. You’re welcome.
  3. There are no rules. Remember when you said I’ll get a puppy and they won’t sit on the furniture or sleep in the bed? Now they have your pillow and you have a sliver of mattress to sleep on. You know those times in Target when you heard the mom cave into the screaming child and you said you would never? HAHA you will. Sometimes you do what you have to do to keep your sanity and its ok. The toys will take over the house. You will change dirty diapers everywhere and anywhere. You will lick that pacifier clean (you judge now). You will allow Granny that to give them that extra cookie because it is her right. The rules you thought you would live by as a parent are gone.
  4. You will survive. In the throws of newborn phase of no sleep, shower, food, and sanity you will survive. When you have a threenager and they are throwing the biggest fit you have ever seen, you will survive. All the firsts and the last of the firsts you will survive. Best way to survive is to ask for help. Your friend came over to visit little Sally, let her visit while you shower. At the end of the day if the house is a mess and you ordered pizza, again, you still didn’t get to shower but your child is happy, healthy, and loved you did a great job today.
  5. Listen to yourself. You know you and you know your baby better than anyone. I have a 9, almost 10, and 7 year old and I can tell by the way my daughter walks to the car in afternoon how her day was. I can tell by the time of day when my son cuddles if he is feeling off. The way they laugh tells me just how silly they are being. I can give you all the advice and so can every other mom who has come before but at the end of the day it can all be crap for your situation. Trust your mom instinct. I am not a super fun crafty mom who does all the pinterest ideas. I am pretty damn okay mom. My kids are (mostly) happy and healthy and very loved. They know they are loved. They know that while I believe they need to learn life lessons I will also go through hell fire and back for them. They know home is a safe place where they can be who they are meant to be. We all think we are getting this job really, really wrong but in all actuality we are getting it really, really right. Follow your gut mama and I promise you will also be a pretty damn okay mom.

I am not a counselor or any other kind of professional. I am a mom, a fierce mom. Take everything I say with a grain of salt. If ever you have concerns about your child’s health and well being contact your pediatrician; the nurses will be your best friend. If you are currently expecting… Congratulations and welcome to the club. It is a wild ride.

Never Too Old to Learn

I have been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for a month now. It is rewarding. It has been a blessing when buried under a foot of snow not to worry about driving to work or who was going to watch the kids. It is a never ending pile of laundry. It is lonely at times. It is also a little bit boring. I have about 3 netflix shows I am watching right now and let me tell you I am over them. You can only clean your house so much. There is always a project or a task that can be worked on but eventually you need to see something other than your 4 walls. I don’t know about you but I am not headed to a park or trail when it is freezing. Until warmer temps I need to find a way to mix things up.

So, I set myself a reading goal for the year. I would like to mix it up between fiction, how to, non fiction, etc. I want to read something that might make me uncomfortable and will make me think. Mostly I want to learn something new. I recently had a moment while talking to someone and I absolutely knew nothing about the topic, and it was kind of important. I have often steered away from things that make me uncomfortable. I have often not read on things that don’t interest me. In doing this I have created a very warm, safe bubble for myself. Time to burst that bubble. I hate being blindsided. I hate not knowing what is going on. I like to know a little bit about a lot of things so that when I am with new people I might be able to hold a conversation. I love to read and I love to learn.

Let me challenge you today to pick a topic on something you don’t know a lot about or that maybe scares you: religion, money, government, fashion, etc. Find your topic. Find an article or a book. Nothing big you don’t need to devour New York Stock exchange for dummies today. Maybe just look up personal finance and see what pops up. Whatever it is that you are unsure take some time today and learn a little.

Here is the beauty of know how to read is that you can always learn something new. Once you learn it you cannot unlearn it. Challenge yourself today and tomorrow to learn something new. If it doesn’t make sense read it again or ask someone who knows or google the phrase that are confusing. I know I will be. It was scary talking to someone about something that was pretty important and not having any idea what was going on. Keep me posted. Let me know what you are learning.

Change is the end result of all true learning. -Leo Buscaglia

Speaking your Truth

How many of y’all watched the Golden Globes? Me neither. Not that I don’t love watching celebrities getting dressed up but it is not really something Big Red cares to watch so we were watching Godless on Netflix. I have however watched a few times now Oprah’s speech and each time have been moved to tears.

Let me take you on a journey November 8, 2016 I woke up early, got Sissy up, and in the cold stood to vote. No surprise to anyone who knows me but the current POTUS was not my choice. The reason I took my daughter to see me vote that day was not to see who I was voting for but to see that as a girl she could literally dream of being President and stood a chance. There right in front of her was a woman’s name. How proud I was to be a woman. How far we have come that just a couple hundred years ago we couldn’t vote or own land and here before us the possibility to be President. I posted about how incredible it was. No slander or support of any one candidate but to simply show the importance of this historical moment. I got quite a few likes but I remember a colleague, a woman, posted about how awful Hillary was. That wasn’t what the post was about. Amazing how blind some people can be. I was shocked that as a woman she couldn’t look past her own political beliefs to see the glory of that moment for women. I felt that moment to my core and I could see the excitement on Sissy’s face that all her dreams, no matter how big, were within reach.

When I went to bed that night I knew I would probably wake up to the results that we all did. I woke up and checked my phone and saw that horrible truth. Not that my choice didn’t win but that a man who inhibits so many evil qualities was now the leader of this country that I love. A man who feels he is free to treat people, especially women and minorities and LGBTQ community, however he likes. A man who as it seems always has his own personal agenda on the forefront. I cried because I knew that he would put into power MEN just like him. I cried for my gay friends who were scared of their rights being taken away. I cried for my daughter who would spend the next 4 years, ages 9-13, in a world where being a woman would not be celebrated. I cried because I was scared of the unknown.

Flash forward to January 21, 2017 and I watched on social media as women marched on Washington to let their voice be heard. To say that we will not stand by meek and quiet. To say that here and now that we will defend ourselves and our rights and those we love, no matter their race, religion, orientation. I cried listening to those speeches. I was moved by their words and felt hope. Hope that the future I feared for my daughter might not be as bad. And through out 2017 women began to get louder. “Me too” moved across social media. The news broke out of reports of men who have acted despicably finally being held accountable. And their is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a light shining on women to speak their truth.

I have watched Oprah’s speech a few times and am moved. I am hopeful. Here is a woman, a black woman, who could have accepted the world for what it was and accepted what it would deem fair to give her. She wanted more. She pursued her dreams. Here was a woman who knew what it meant to check off a couple of the boxes that would get you discriminated against in this country and here she was saying No More. No more will women be quiet and left in the dark to suffer. No more will we be lesser than our male counterparts. She is just another voice but a loud voice and one that many people hear. She is a voice that will continue to light the way for my daughter and many others to not be afraid to share their truth. I am excited again for the future of women in this country. We are taking the very sour lemons we have been given and making sweet lemonade. I am still a little afraid of the future for my daughter but I am more excited than I was on election day. I see these women who are speaking their truth and I say thank you. Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for making it so my daughter’s truth, whatever that may be, can be heard.

Weekly Precept: Your truth is the the most powerful took you all have. -Oprah Winfrey

Plan To Eat-Best Way to Meal Plan

I did not so much make New Year’s Resolutions but commitments to myself. Focus on my health because if being home has taught me one thing its my family may survive without me but I would be making many bargains with the devil himself to come back and do it myself. So much for resting in peace. I also want to do things that will make things simpler at home, save some money, and have a schedule that will help to minimize my anxiety and do my best to prevent those things that send me over the edge. I know I can’t completely prevent it or stop it from getting out of control but I know most of my triggers and can take steps to prevent them from sending me into a rage filled tail spin. One of the things that I have done and learned from my Gram was to meal plan. This makes grocery shopping easier. This makes cooking easier and answers the question of what is for dinner. It also minimizes trips to the store with my kids since I can go while they are in school. It only takes losing your kid behind a clothes rack once for that to become fuel for the anxiety fire. So continues reading, this not sponsored post, to find out what helps me meal plan.

This amazing website that I have used for years and has made my meal planning game super easy. http://www.plantoeat.com has been the savior of my meal planning. Let me paint you a picture of before.

Before Pinterest entered my life I would sit with cookbooks and write down the meals I wanted and the ingredients. Then I would go into my kitchen and see what I had and cross them off the list. Then I would organize my list according to categories. After Pinterest I would have to find the pin, pull up the recipe, and then repeat previous process. I would complain to Big Red that I needed a place where I could put my recipes on a calendar and have it generate my list. Well, he never came up with anything for me that met my needs. We tried to figure out how to use excel to make it work. I just need things simple. So out of desperation I googled meal planner with grocery list or something like that. And the google gods looked down on me and blessed me with Plan to eat.

What I don’t like…they do not have an app! When I am at the grocery store I have to open the website, they have a mobile version, and go from there. Silly I know but I want to just open an app. Now that I have given my one con here are the pros.

  1. 30 day free trial. After that super affordable. $4.95/month or $39 for a year! Try the free trial. It is worth giving up a day at Starbucks for pay the monthly fee!
  2. Import your favorite recipes from around the web. When I first started the import wasn’t spot on but as the years have gone on I have almost no problems with importing recipes. It also categorizes the recipe into breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. Sometimes you have to edit this part but nothing is perfect.
  3. Calendar is easy to use. Drag and drop your recipes to the date and meal you want. You can click on a meal or snack to add other ingredients.
  4. Shopping list is so easy to use. The ingredients are grouped according to category. Sometimes you may need to edit this. It will even indicate what recipe it goes to. Sometimes, not always, if you need salt (or other ingredient) for multiple recipes it will combine the amount you need.  When walking around the store you can mark the ingredient at you put it in the cart and it falls off the list. The list you can edit by adding and subtracting items.
  5. They have a blog and also share recipes. You can link up with friends. You can share your recipes.

I love this website so much. Rather than spending hours coming up with a calendar and lists I spend less than an hour. When I am on the go I can print out the recipe and Big Red can make dinner. It’s fast and easy! Try it for free.

You are welcome!