Friday, February 28, 2014

Seeing Things in a Different Perspective


Since I've received Christ as my savior, I often pray to see things differently, especially how God would want me to see things through his eyes and to get a better understanding/feeling of things.

One huge thing that was going on at the time of me asking, was something that took place on Trav's campus. It completely shook our small the small community. A girl, who was actively involved in our small community, was found dead in her car. 

They first stated it was suicide, but things didn't seem to add up. From what people have said, although she was only 21, she was a very Godly woman and someone who would make you feel like you were the most important person in the world - she would touch everyone she met. She was the kind of girl that would do pray sessions with co-workers in the back of where she worked (which is so inspiring to hear!). She sounded like she had her life together and big plans were in her future. She was just about to get married this year too.

They arrested her fiancĂ© for first degree murder and tampering with evidence. He is 21 as well, and was was in his senior year of ministry. When we hear about all the details, it is shocking. 

I knew God was working through me because not only did I pray for her family, because my prayers were different and my heart honestly aches anytime I hear about this.

I especially prayed for her family. I can't imagine what they are going through. Losing a child must be the most awful thing in the world. 

The constant emptiness that they will face has to be unimaginable. Any small thing that might occur will remind them of her. They will miss every single thing about her - her smile, her voice, a certain expression she would always have, even a certain perfume she would wear. 

How much pain, and how much hurt they must have to face. They will probably encounter just about every human emotion through their life time. They probably question God and might even get mad at him. Hopefully their faith won't leave their side through this whole process because when grief happens you either 1.) Run towards God or 2.) Run away from God.

The hurt they will have to go through for the rest of their life has to be unexplainable. Currently, they probably can't even watch the news (as that might show you things about your little girl or tell you that life is still moving on even though you might feel like your whole life has stopped). Any car that drives by them that resembles her car will probably make them to take a second glance to make sure it's not their baby girl. And the constant wonder that will happen daily, "What if she was here, what would she be doing?"

Life for them will never be the same. 

And after praying so hard for her family, I then did something I never thought I would do.

I prayed for him. The devil really must have gotten through to him, for him to think of such a plan and to follow through with it. 

I especially prayed for his family as well. 

I can't imagine what they must be going through: knowing these things about their son. How people will react differently towards them. How many people will stay away from them, how many friends they will probably lose? 

Deep down in my heart, I know they didn't raise their son like that and they only wanted the best for him. But they will probably put the blame on themselves, even though they had nothing to do with it. 

They probably had a great love for their soon-to-be-daughter-in-law as well. I honestly don't know but they had to be sad for her and probably would want to show love to her family. How could they do that now? Could they send flowers? Show up at her funeral? Comfort the family?

Even though everything that their son did, it doesn't change the fact that he is their child and that they will always love him.

This will effect them for the rest of their lives and they will always have to carry that with them. Their is no escape from that.

They too, will probably question God as well? I would assume that since their son was going to become a minister, that they were probably religious as well? How is their church family going to react? Who do you turn to when you probably feel like all hope is lost?

They probably feel guilty too. Could they have done something different in his raising? (I'm sure this would cross any parents family). Did they deep down know something like this could happen? Was their a cry for help? They probably honestly, never would have even imagined anything like this would ever happen or that their son would be capable of anything like this.. especially to their own family.

Like I said my heart, just aches for all families involved. Such a sad tragic lost, and prayer is needed for both families.


I honestly feel like God is working within me to give me in insight of knowing what true heartache would be like; so I can see things differently. And maybe it isn't so much heartache as it would be empathy.

"Compassion encompasses empathy. Empathy is that aspect of compassion that opens one to a deep understanding of the other's suffering. Compassion also involves an active concern for and effort to alleviate that suffering. That is why compassion is sometimes called "love in action" by Mother Teresa. Compassionate action is a willingness to go beyond self-interest and give of oneself for the good of the other. In this regard it is similar to altruism, letting go of one's own needs to attend to the needs of another so that one can meet one's own deepest need: to feel a part of a larger shared humanity. 
Read more:"

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind." 1 Peter 3:8

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Bucket List

I'm so excited to share my Bucket List with you guys. And like any list that I have ever made, it seems to grow over time :)

Now, there are some that you may not see on my list. That is because they were life changing experiences, and needed to be more than just on my bucket list:

*Moving away from home 

Now that this actually ever was on my bucket list. (Nor, did I imagine that would ever, EVER happen) but I'm glad I got to experience it. I would have never would have known how truly I miss home. In making this big step in life, I became quite independent and didn't have to rely on my parents all day (I even had to do my own laundry - ha!) 

Picture taken by SJ2 Photography

*Marry my soul mate.

God sent Travis when I least expected to find love. Travis has showed me the true meaning of unconditional love. He is everything I could have dreamed of and prayed for. He makes me want to become a better person. And there are not enough words that I can say about him that can even come close to how much I am in love with him. I am so forever thankful that God choose him to be my life partner.

*Most recently, I received Jesus Christ as my personal savior. 

This was the most incredible feeling. This is the thing I am most proud of. Read my story here.

Here is my current bucket list. Some things may still be added, since I am a big dreamer. Also, I realize that I am already blessed with so much, especially with my traveling experience and other experiences, that if I died today, I would die happy.

*Read the entire Bible. Although I may not remember every little detail, but obviously, there is a lot to learnI am currently in Numbers.
*Talk to God every day. Enough said. No excuses. Why wouldn't you want to spend time with your father?
*Become a Godly woman. After hearing so much about how much faith Kate's mom, Kar, had - it truly inspired me. I really wish I had the opportunity to meet her and talk to her, especially about her faith. Kar is an inspiration - and a person that I only wished I could be like. Kar was the type of person that would be in the hospital and would ask the priest to pray for others in the hospital (nurses and such) when she was sick. And when she was healthy, she would visit people and pray with them at their work place. Who wouldn't want to be like that? Simply amazing. Also, Kar was a single mom and she raised her daughters beautifully. Kate and Emily are some of the most loving people I have know - and those type of people that you can spend your whole life being friends with. Those are the type of people that can change the world.
*Let others know that I am based on faith. Sometimes, I am scared to share my religious beliefs through rejection, or, since I am growing in my faith, not having the knowledge just yet. I am unable to quote things from the bible. 
*Get actively involved with our church, more than just a study group. There are so many things I could do, but I haven't done or that I am not doing. I would love to do things to help the church, serve breakfast (like my Grandma G. would), set up things, greet newcomers and members, help in the nursery, etc. Wherever God leads me, is where I will go.

*Be baptized with Travis. We have grown so much spiritually together, that of course this is something that we want to do together in our church. Being baptized identifies us with Christ, even though we both were baptized when we were little. But with this, it comes from the heart because it is our own choice, and we want to do it together. See more here.
*Be someone's inspiration. To make someone feel important is only half the battle.

Family & Marriage:
*Become a mom (by means of having our own, adoption or fostering). That is my dream job, and I truly believe that this is what I am meant to do in life.
*Show affection more, even by simple hugs to friends and family. You never know if they could be there one day and not be there the next.
*Teach our kids how to become a good person in a hateful world. Also, I really want to do these things with our kids.
*Go on a weekly date with my husband after he graduates from school. 
*Give daily reminders of how much I love my husband and kids.
*Have a marriage more beautiful than our wedding. Something that our kids can look up to and that we can be proud of.
*Renew our wedding vows. Our wedding was beautiful, but I can't imagine anything more beautiful than renewing our vows in front of our children in a quiet outdoor ceremony. Plus our wedding was so stressful and more like trying to please everyone, that the only people we would have to affirm approval would just be us.
*Grow old with my love. I can't imagine growing old with anyone else. I will love my Travis from here to eternity.
*Spoil our grandchildren silly. They say the best part of life is grandchildren. I am sure they are right.

*At least have traveled out of the country as many times as I could. Seeing God's beauty all throughout the earth would be amazing.
*Go on several mission trips (Trav and I have even started talking about maybe retiring in a different country to help others).
*Visit all 50 states (this has always been a dream of mine. I also want a souvenir from every state - I prefer Christmas ornaments). (Keep up with our adventures here
*Visit ground zero. 
*Drive the west coast.

*Visit Hawaii. Who am I kidding? What girl doesn't dream about going  to Hawaii? We were so blessed to go on our honeymoon and would love to go back. Hawaii is magical.

*Visit Pearl Harbor. Even though Travis really didn't make seeing Pearl Harbor (since he has visited it before) a top priority for our honeymoon, he knew I really wanted to visit, so he made sure we took a day to visit. It was a very humbling experience (if that is the word I am trying to use). To be standing there and to see an actual ship underneath you with the oil still spilling out is so -- I am at a lost for words. I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to keep listening and wanted to read everything I could. Travis wasn't feeling well, so we skipped some things, but honestly, this would be so worth a whole day trip. Also, Travis said this experience was much better (even though he didn't feel well) - because he got ear phones so we could listen to some of the things that we read about. Also, I think it is because he is older as well - so he probably felt more emphatic to it all.

*Go snorkeling. You can laugh as much as you want, but I am honestly scared of putting my head under water. Travis made sure before we went on our honeymoon that I got into the pool at the gym and wore my snorkeling gear until I could get comfortable. That way I wouldn't freak out. Snorkeling is beautiful; much different than a gym pool. Ha. You can see more here.

*Visit a volcano Who hasn't wanted to see a volcano? One of the coolest things you will ever see. Travis took me on our honeymoon in Hawaii :)
*Go on a safari in Africa. 
*See the great pyramids.
*See the olympics; wherever that will be.
*Visit Lake Hillier. Pink water? Yes, please!
*Go on a road trip with just the girls! 

*Sign language (sign language is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever watched)
*How to say simple phrases in Spanish. This is because we want to visit the DR.
*How to play the piano (I have fallen head-over-heels in love with the piano after hearing it every Sunday at church).
*Drive a stick shift car. Learned in 2014. Not really excited to drive it again. LOL.

*Be able to run a mile.
*Workout at least 3-4 times a week
*Complete a Warrior Dash. I can't believe I'm saying this, but since Trav did it here, it even makes dressing up and rolling in mud fun.
{via credit: Kate}
*Be part of a 5k Color Run. Read about the fun here (2015)! And more fun here (2016)
*Run a 5K I did it!!!
*Be the best shape of my life (before kids and after kids). I truly have to work hard for this one. And I don't mean skinny - but I mean being able to play with my kids without having to huff and puff everywhere or walk up a flight of stairs without becoming so tired. Plus, I am hoping that this will give me stay healthy and maybe even live a little longer.
*Eat healthier - maybe not every day, but not to get into the routine of eating a batch of cookies every day.
*Try Yoga. I did my first yoga class with my best friend Shelly on in March 2014. She found a place in Jackson where we could get a free pass for the first time (how she researches these ideas from out of town is awesome!) LOL.
*Be genuinely happy. 
*Look good in skinny jeans. Actually, any jeans, but I've always wanted to pull off those jeans with holes in them!

*Create a family cookbook of favorite family recipes - that I can also make for family members and for our children. 
*Brew our own beer. 
*Zip line
*Yearly sleepovers with the friends.. I hope! 
*Send cards out often. 
*Have a paint fight with Trav and our children. Oh my gosh = yes! How fun! And.. I would love it if we could even get a photographer to take pictures of it.
*Volunteer - till I am old and gray.
*Always have a dog for the rest of my life. 
*Become better at photography. Beautiful images always seem to make my heart happy.
*Take more photos of our life.
*Blog more so I can remember things.

*Paint ball. Okay, honestly, this was probably never really on my bucket list, but I am so glad that I did it, and I am hoping to do it again one day. See photos here.

*Horseback riding We found a groupon for this and it was amazing and so relaxing. See photos here.

*Hot air balloon ride This was so much fun! Trav insists that it is a one time only kind of thing, but I would do it again if the opportunity ever arises! See photos here.

*Go parasailing. I went with Jocelyn's family to Florida in 2009. I am so glad I got to experience this and experience this with her. (Yes that is us in the picture!)

*Do a ghost tour. Not going to lie, watching these things on tv makes me either 1. really freaked out or 2. not believing anything that I am seeing. We found a Groupon (got to love Groupon!) experience for half the price and went. It was SO much FUN. We did another one again when my parents came in town. I don't really believe in ghosts, although I do spirits, but it was fun to learn the history of the town and see people's reactions.

*Go on a shark tour. Swimming with sharks wasn't exactly my idea of what you call a good time, however, I actually enjoyed it and felt surprisingly peaceful. Travis loved it and wouldn't get out of the water! Although I would suggest to find a tour that his history about sharks. 
*Swim with dolphins. 
*Cliff jump. 
*Cook more and try to enjoy it. Be creative with it. Find new recipes. Plan weekly meals - as you are learning that is seeming to help.
*Watch a music video being made. Friends and us were just wandering around Nashville one day and we stumbled across the Avett brothers making a music video of "Another is Waiting".

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Weekly Meal & Workout Plan

WorkoutGym & Walk dogs
Gym & 
Arms & Thighs
Gym & Muffin Top
Gym & Butt You Pick
BreakfastEggsEggs & SausageEgg White Bites
Egg White
Bites Leftover
Egg White
Bites Leftover
You Pick
SnackCelery with Ranch
Peppers with Ranch
2 TBS of peanut 
2 TBS of peanut 
Peppers with Ranch
You Pick
Lunch LeftoversBLTA
Portobello Mushroom PizzaLeftoversLeftoversYou Pick
SnackVanilla Yogurt
You Pick
Beer Battered
Beef stew
Salmon &
You Pick
2 TBS of peanut 
You Pick

*Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado Wrap

***See more weekly meal plans here***


I have not been following this completely, but I am trying to - some days I mix things around, or sometimes, I head over to a friends eating whatever they have for dinner. The plan does help me know what I need to get at the store and makes me think about options of what I could eat, rather than not even thinking about it. And I think this is what is actually keeping me on track.

I am down nine pounds since the doctors visit on Jan 9th (where I weighed 150). I was going to do another picture, but since I've only lost one more pound from the last picture I've taken, I don't think there is a need for one.

I can't believe I've already almost lost 10 pounds. And the thing that makes me the most proud is that I'm eating better. I really never, ever, ever thought that I would be able to find good things to eat.

My weakness is peanut butter.

Ohhhh.. I love me some peanut butter.
It's my secret love affair. LOL.

Okay, it's really not a secret. I've been using this flourless recipe. It is so good! I even made them on Sunday when we had friends over and they were gone instantly. They are not healthy, but hey, they are flourless - so that must make them a little more healthy, right? Haha.

I am trying to finish some blog posts about the year 2013, and I will try to keep them in order, but knowing me, I'll jump from here to there.

Monday, February 24, 2014

2013 in Review


We celebrated New Years in a memorable way.

Travis started CRNA school.

Grandma and Grandpa R. came to visit.

We adopted Jax.

Travis and I seriously started talking about fostering/adoption.


I hit ice on a bridge and did a 360 and hit railing. Thankfully if it was not there, I may not be here today.


We adopted a playmate for Jax: Payson.

We visited Parkers Crossing when Trav's mom came to visit.

And also visited Nashville for the first time.


My parents came into town and we visited Graceland.


We did a backyard makeover.

Tatum turned three!

I did my first photo shoot of my sister. Didn't know this was going to allow me to open my photography business.


Travis and I did our first wine and canvas.

Brittany stayed with us during the summer.


Trig graduated!

We fostered little Ollie.

Noah and Shelly came to visit.


We celebrated Trig's first birthday with us.

Dan came to visit us, and I locked my keys in the car.



We celebrated our one year wedding anniversary.

When Trav's mom came to visit, we took her to Pinson Mounds.

And visited the Memphis Zoo.

I dressed up my babies in Halloween costumes - even if they hated it.

My mom, dad and sister came down for Thanksgiving.


We went to Indiana to spend Christmas with family.

We celebrated Trav's 27th birthday.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trav's 27th Birthday

The most incredible man I know turned 27. 


We celebrated with his favorite: Dairy Queen cake. Trig was excited that everyone was singing happy birthday and he wanted to join in on the fun (even bringing Pinky along as well).

Tatum only wanted some of the cake.

My parents came over too, bringing over a gift from my aunt Meg that  got delivered after Christmas. We can't wait to put the sign in our backyard when it comes Spring.

Brittany started putting makeup on this after everyone said how pretty and grown up she looked. Brittany has never really been interested in makeup, but it's a better start now than never. And as she is putting makeup on, I'm not wearing as much. I guess that's what happens when you're married. LOL.

Told you we had to make up for family pictures. And yes, that's my husband, giving us bunny ears.

He always finds a way to make me smile.

Happy birthday my King. I love you.

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