365 Days, 365 New Chances

My year didn’t start off the way I had planned… does it ever? As last year came to an end, I was already planning my resolutions for the new year and all the things I was going to accomplish: be more active, more adventurous, gain muscle, help more people, make more time for prayer, be loving, be humble, be kind. 

This was going to be my year.

God sure has a sense of humor. This year, I realize, is anything but mine

This is going to be our year. It has been since the moment I said “I do” last July. This year my husband and I will celebrate our first year of marriage. We are going to become parents to our first child. We will experience so much love, joy, and pure happiness beyond what we can probably even imagine. 

So why didn’t I see that before? Why did I immediately resort to making goals for myself without even thinking twice about it?

We tend to make things our own without even realizing it. Outside of the New Year and all the hopes we have for ourselves, in general, it seems like so often the focus is always on ourselves. We’re consumed by our own needs and wants that we forget there is a whole world outside of ourselves.

I can still accomplish everything that was on my list of resolutions this year. The only difference I see after some time thinking about it, is that the focus isn’t on me. 

I’ve decided that I’m done making New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I’m making new resolutions every day. 365 days means 365 new chances and opportunities to make my life and the lives around me better in every way.

Why be firm for just a moment at the beginning of every year? Why say you’ll commit to something just when you know you will fall off the bandwagon when things get hard in a few months? Why agree to a resolution once a year that you never follow through with? Why not work hard and commit to new goals every single day? Why not go through every day as if it were your last? Why not chase that dream you’ve been dreaming since you were little? Why not stop resolving to be better and actually be better? 

Surprise yourself. Face every day with the confidence you have for your New Year’s Resolutions, and you won’t give up on yourself another year in your life. Every day begins with a choice; every single day, over and over again. Empower yourself to make the choices daily to see the change.

Baby Blessings

I can’t help but sit here and smile & cry as I write this post because it’s been too long since my last one. Life happened.

These past few months have helped me to see a different side of me that I’ve never known before. I felt myself reach a point where I felt like no matter what I did, I just didn’t feel like me. It took me a little while to begin to understand, but my life suddenly isn’t just mine anymore. 

After all, we are having a BABY! Our hearts are overwhelmed with love and excitement for our sweet little one and the adventures that lie ahead for our growing family! There’s so much life ahead of us, so much love, and so many blessings to thank God for. 

This is the just the beginning of the most beautiful and exciting mess of the next chapter of our lives. I’m so excited to share it with you! 

Meg

Living for me.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Really feel those few, soft moments where your breath warms your belly and fill your soul.

When you find your moment of peace, can you picture the life you’ve only ever imagined?

It’s a life full of love, hope, and excitement.

Keep your eyes closed just a moment longer, you begin to see all your hopes and dreams come to life right before you. The family you always wanted, the career you worked so hard for, luxurious travels, the big white house with the wrap-around porch. The passions that make your heart skip a beat and the experiences that make you feel like a kid again.

You exhale, slowly releasing all the negative thoughts in your mind. All of the hatred and jealousy, all your self-doubt and worry vanishes, and for a moment you are at peace.

You can be you again, even just for a moment.

That moment of peace, the split-second when you find yourself able to truly let go, is something people live and die for. The hope for a better life, a life that is full, yet simple. A life where you can live out all of your ambitions and dreams. A life where you can say yes and live for you.

Imagine if you could re-live this single moment, forever.

Imagine if this dream was your reality.

I’ve spent my entire life trying to create myself, instead of unveiling myself as the woman God created me to be. We were created to be. To be as God created us, and to discover and share our gifts and talents, our hopes and dreams.

My heart is happiest when I live for me. Not in the sense of selfishness, but in the sense of self-awareness. When I listen to my heart and when I listen to God, my soul is at peace.

Featured Image Credit: Pinterest

Stuck Somewhere Between Patience and Pity

I know you.

You scroll through social media this morning and see yet another friend of yours: graduated, engaged, married, pregnant, buying a house, a new car, a new purse, traveled somewhere new.
Impatience controls you. It controls your mood and your happiness. You begin to define your life by memorable moments constantly skipping over your life from one moment to the next to keep up with those around you. 

When you start to think about your life, you find that your focus isn’t even on you anymore. You don’t see your success and your own achievements. Your focus entirely shifts. You become obsessed with celebrating other people’s lives, their accomplishments. You find yourself wallowing in pity and self-doubt because you are constantly comparing yourself to someone else.

I know you because you’re just like me.

If patience is a virtue, it certainly isn’t one I’ve been blessed with. I have to choose every single day to be patient. I have to consciously choose to slow my world, my thoughts, and my actions down to enjoy every moment. I have to live everyday of my life stuck somewhere between patience and pity. I have to choose if I want to live my own life or chasing after someone else’s. I have to choose to give up my pity of where I think my life should be and in exchange live my life focusing on finding a balance of patience every day.

Growing up is difficult. We are thrown into the world with little to no direction and find ourselves comparing other’s as a way to define our life: To make sure we’re “on track” with everyone else we know. 

Stop comparing yourself. You have a beautiful life and you are a beautiful person. Have patience. Push the pity and the self-doubt aside and be bold in your life. Forge your own path for your life and celebrate every day and every accomplishment simply because it’s yours. Your life doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, it just has to be yours and one you find worth living. 

 

My Life Challenge

Look in the mirror, do you like what you see? It’s taken 23 years for me to understand my reflection goes much deeper than simply my appearance looking back at me.

Take a second and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you avoid mirrors because you can’t face yourself without finding a flaw?
  • Do you take a compliment from a stranger and say ‘thank you’ or do you find yourself countering with a criticism about yourself?
  • Do you find yourself on a scale every morning and/or evening?
  • Do you find yourself making excuses for your health? Getting to the gym? Making a change?
  • Do you question God and his plan for your life?
  • Do you go through the motions of everyday wishing you could be more present in the lives of your family and children but exhaustion consumes you?
  • Do you find yourself wishing you had more money to help you solve your problems?

I know there’s been a time in my life when I could say yes to every single one of these questions.

I realize that the cause of my unhappiness during some of the darkest times of my life was myself. The way I approached every day was quickly ruining me. I chose to wake up and insult myself and the people around me. I chose to compare my body and my life to people I envied. I let doubts about myself and my life consume me, and I never let any of my unhappiness or doubt show.

I’m a different version of myself than the me that used to answer “yes” to these questions. I choose every day to wake up and be happy. I still have bad days, I still find myself at times unmotivated, but it’s a moment in my day rather than spending my whole day unhappy. I choose not to dwell on my flaws but instead work towards being the best version of myself. I believe that if you can commit to eating healthy and making time to exercise you will be a happier and healthier person.  I choose to dedicate my life to the service of others. I’m first and foremost a nurse, but I also help people regain control of their health and their finances through the vehicle of AdvoCare. I never believed in supplements or believed I could have my own business, but what I’ve found in this company is a lifestyle in which people choose to take control of their health everyday. I choose to have a life worth living and to help motivate and inspire people every step of the way. In a world where it  can feel like we don’t have a choice to escape our debts and our fears, I choose to be different. I choose to blog about my passions and share my thoughts and feelings with others in the hope to inspire just one person to chase their dreams.

We’re trained from a young age by stigma, the media, and each other to compare ourselves, our bodies, our lives, and our flaws rather than celebrate our lives and the people we are. There are officially 69 days til New Years where resolutions and dreams run wild. Have you thought about your resolutions yet, or the person you’re willing to become next year?

I know I have. However, I don’t see the point in waiting 69 days until you’re ready to get motivated to be a better person and set some goals for yourself and your family? Imagine the goals you could accomplish in 69 days! We could all use some daily motivation from each other and we could all benefit from doing it now instead of only at the mark of the new year.

My resolutions?

  • I’m celebrating myself everyday with daily affirmations because I know now there’s no one better to motivate me than me.
  • I’m building and following my budget more closely because we want to be debt free and I believe it’s achievable.
  • I’m traveling more because I believe life is made of moments and memories rather than material things.
  • I’m praying every day to thank God for everything He’s given and continues to give me. I’m praying for my husband, for our future family, and for my own family and friends. I’m praying for the people suffering in this world, for the people facing their doubts and fears and for the courage to overcome.
  • I’m taking control of my health every day by following my product regimen and exercising everyday even if I don’t want to. I’m helping others to recognize the same for them is achievable if we only just believe that there’s a life out there that’s worth living.

This ‘Life Challenge‘ is all of my resolutions that I’m not waiting for the new year to begin. I’m starting today and I’m taking anyone who’s ready on the journey of a lifetime. I’m not making any more excuses, I challenge you to do the same.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

My life list

We all have a “list.” A to-do list or bucket list of things we have always wanted to do with our lives since we were a little kid. Our career and life goals that were created when we were little as we dreamed of who we would be that, with time, have expanded. 

The more I reflect on my life so far in the 23 years I’ve experienced, the more I realize that we all do things that are familiar to us.

Personally, I find comfort in dreaming.  For example, I will tell you that as I look back on my wedding day, I felt an indescribable feeling of comfort and joy. I have come to realize that those feelings came along with living out my life dream I had of marrying my true love.

Just the same, lists keep me comfortable. They make me feel as if I can effectively plan for the tasks at hand and the feeling of completing a list is indescribable.

Because without a physical list, you only have a dream. And in order to make a dream a reality, you need to see it and work towards it everyday. 

So when I tell you this is my life list, I mean just that. It’s a list compiled of things I want to do and will do within the next 20 years of my life.

Go on a mission trip.

Learn to save and budget money.

Have a library.

Travel to all 50 states.

Inspire someone to live their passion.

Go to Paris.

Have a garden.

Own a horse.

Be friends with someone famous.

Work from home.

Sit first class.

Adopt a child.

Own a house with a wrap around porch.

Be debt free.

Learn to live more simply.

Write a book. 

I believe our lives are filled with little passions we still have yet to discover, and the only way to learn them is to challenge ourselves to document and reach for our dreams. I challenge you today to dream and realize and create your own life list.

Love the One You’re With

Whether or not you believe it, family is everything. It’s the people who made you, who helped shaped you into who you are to your very core. They helped to create and deepen your beliefs, mold your soul and strengthen your heart.

The special thing about family is that the meaning may be different to every person that you meet. It could be defined as traditional consisting of parents, grandparents and siblings, or untraditional which is more typical in our world today. Family may be just the people that raised you or the friends who you grew up around. And though every family may look or function differently, they all have the same purpose: to love and be loved.

They laugh with you.

They cry with you.

They anger you.

They disappoint you.

They support you.

They encourage you.

They love you.

And while our families may do all these things, we all have a special image in our head of what our family should look, act or be like. The reality is, we can’t change what we’ve been given.

“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” -Stephen Stills

Love the one you’re with. Even when you don’t love yourself, your family still loves you. When they laugh with you, and maybe even at you, love them anyway. When they cry with you because when you hurt, they hurt, love them anyway. When they anger you because you don’t always see eye to eye, love them anyway . When they don’t agree with every decision you make, love them anyway. When they argue with you because you disagree more often than not, love them anyway. When they disappoint you because you set higher expectations for them than you do for yourself, love them anyway. Love them because even when everything else is crumbling around you, they support you in every wide-eyed and out-of-this-world journey you embrace. Love them because  they encourage you to chase your dreams or live every day like it’s your last. Love them because even if they aren’t always the ones you want, they’re the ones you’re with.

Every family is the way it is because that is how God intended our journey to be. It may not always pretty or the way we wish it would be. Every single person in our lives, every action, every path we choose, and every circumstance we face is as God intends it to be.

Whether it’s broken or beautiful, your family is yours in order to help you become the person God has meant for you to be.

I could tell you

[insert goal here]

I could tell you that [it’s] easy, that anyone can do it.

I could tell you [it] happens in the blink of an eye, that you’ll just know.

I could tell you that [it’ll] always be there, that you’ll feel loved.

I could tell you that [it] brings only good days, never bad.

But I’d be lying.

We all find ourselves asking questions like:

“If I could just pass this class..”

“If I could just lose 10 pounds..”

“If I could just meet a guy.”

“If I just had an extra $500/month..”

“God, if you could just give me this one thing..”

I’m just as guilty.

If I’ve learned anything in my 23 years, I have come to know that the best things in life don’t come free. I know you’ve heard the saying before, but do you truly believe it?

We have to realize what it is we want.

When your mom told you to clean your room, did you go do it? Probably not. But when you can’t find your favorite pair of shoes in the mess, you go clean it. We’re all stubborn in that way. When you find your “why” to whatever it is you’re looking to accomplish, you find purpose. We don’t do things simply when we are told, we are driven to do things from our own passions and beliefs. This purpose is the same one that will drive you when it feels like the everything is going wrong, when you feel like quitting. If you find a big enough purpose to why it is you want to achieve your goal, nothing can stop you.

We have to work hard for the things we want.

Do you think because you go to class you’ll end up with a good grade? Maybe. But if you go to class, do the assignments, and study the material, you’ll ace it with flying colors. A lot of things in life are this way. When we invest time and effort into things that we want, we can see the success happen before our eyes. If everything was easy and happened without effort, we wouldn’t be driven towards setting or reaching new goals. Don’t lose sight of dreams you have, set the bar and work harder than ever to achieve them.

We have to be persistent with the things we want.

Do you think because you did 10 crunches you’ll have a 6 pack set of abs? You wish. If you want something, work towards it with persistence. Life isn’t about where you end up, it’s about the journey and obstacles you will face along the way. Enjoy the process and learn to overcome the defeat of time. There is comfort in knowing that with persistence will come a great reward.

What I can tell you is that [it] will be worth it. 

When you work towards reaching your goals with diligence and dedication, you’ll find the race to the top is much quicker than it ever seemed. Successful people aren’t lucky. No one ever sees the hours, days, months, or years that they worked hard on end without stopping. When we learn to obsesses over the journey instead of the destination and celebrate every success and failure along the way, we begin to see our worth begin to unfold. If we never stopped to enjoy the view, we’d miss some of life’s most precious moments.

Discover your passion and fall in love with it over and over again every step of the way. “Stop asking yourself, “If only…” and put your dreams into action.  The only thing stopping you, is you.

Confessions of a Night Shift Nurse

Woke up this morning at 8:30am to no alarm, stayed in bed until about 11am and then realized, “What the hell am I doing?” This is so unlike me. I used to claim to be a morning person, up at the crack of dawn with my spark in hand ready to take on the world. Not anymore I’m not.

My head hurts today. I can’t find my phone in the covers. My socks don’t match, but who am I kidding when do they ever? I find the energy to make myself get up, brush my teeth, make a shake, grab the dogs, and stumble outside.

Opening the door to the outside today seems like I’m entering the gates of heaven. The world is so bright, the dogs are pulling me hard to get to the park, and here I am, again, stumbling to keep up. Sometimes when I work long stretches in a row, I look in the mirror and see this person with dark circles and messy hair staring back at me. I almost don’t even recognize myself.

Be a nurse, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

I didn’t even work last night, or even the night before. I worked this past weekend, 4 nights in a row. When I say night shift puts you in a funk, I mean it. The last night I worked was Sunday night, off for 2 days, back tonight. If you think it’s possible to become a functioning human again from 4 days of night shift, you are so wrong. Unfortunately in the nursing world, working night shift is something most every newly graduated nurse gets to experience. Almost like a “right of passage.”

So let’s talk about night shift.

  • You waste your days sleeping so that you can wake up at 4pm to get ready for your day.
  • You sit in traffic both ways to get to work.
  • You especially love when people complain about being tired because well, you only worked all night and you’re tired all the time.
  • You don’t care if it’s Friday when you’re scheduled for that weekend.
  • You say good morning when it’s 7pm and goodnight when it’s 7am.
  • You are hungry at 4 am and often eat all night anyways just because you’re bored.
  • You miss so many fun social events because you can’t go to work and enjoy a night out.
  • You are a zombie during the day and most highly functioning at night.
  • Caffeine is your new best friend.
  • You lose track of what day it is because in 1 shift you work 1 day into the next.
  • You eat breakfast when other “normal” people are eating dinner.
  • You look forward to the next time you see your bed.
  • Did I mention your tired all the time??

Sounds fun doesn’t it?

And even with all that being said, night shift is most definitely my favorite. I know what you’re thinking.. But how?? I literally just told you some pretty dreadful things about it, and somehow I still like it? When I say I get to work with the most incredible people, I mean it. Granted, the day shift staff where I work is awesome too, but there’s just something about being with people in the wee hours of the morning that makes the people on night shift like a family.

I have learned so much about myself during these past few months since I’ve been on nights and there is still so much I feel like I have to learn.

For starters, I know the very, very latest I can wake up before it makes me late. I also now know it takes me exactly 38 minutes to get to work or come home on the weekends and over an 1.5 during the week. Meal prepping is an essential to keeping my eating in check because otherwise you can catch me loading up on graham crackers or powerade until the cafteria opens at 11pm. I’ve learned that I have to schedule my days or literally nothing gets accomplished. I enjoy more than a few “me days” where I lay on the couch or in bed and do absolutely nothing. I may or may not be the worst text-backer because when I finally see your text it’s usually too late to respond and I’ll more than likely wake you up. I’ve mastered the art of napping. Anytime. Anywhere. You find what works to help you sleep and for me it’s sleepworks. On my nights off when I actually need to fall asleep at a decent time it’s necessary to help me fall and stay asleep. I’m a damn good cook. Okay maybe only thanks to prepped meals from HelloFresh and my meal replacement shakes. But really, being a newlywed on night shift allows me to cook meals for my husband as I prep my own for the night..something I know he has to appreciate. I’ve learned to take advantage of the time I have with your family. Again with the newlyweds..Some stretches of work I only get to see my husband for what seems like a minute before I’m out the door, but that minute is the best of my whole day. I’m literally so horrible at my chores. When I work a few days in a row, I go for days on end piling up dishes, laundry, and leave my things all over our apartment. However, while my days off may consist of sleeping all day I am now the most effective at night.

All that to say, it’s an experience of a lifetime. It’s fun. It may not last long because maybe another day shift opens and I’ll get to leave the world of nights, but people always tell me that they enjoyed working nights because of the friendships and memories they have made. It’s makes things in your life different.  You may have a work schedule, but your life schedule changes drastically because while some days you are awake, some you are sleeping. It’s challenging. Emotionally, physically, mentally. I have days where I question everything about myself, my faith, my relationships, who I am. I think sometimes that just comes along with the exhaustion of being a nurse and the things that we see. It’s exhausting. You work stretched of days in a row. You may work one night and then run to catch a flight or go spend the next day tailgating. But most of all, it’s rewarding. There are miracles that happen every single night, things we just can’t even begin to understand or explain them. And when you’re driving home, thinking about your shift and how it went, you realize if you can make it throught whatever hell that night brought, you can make it through anything.

Meg

 

10 Reasons to Visit an Apple Orchard this Fall

I’ve always been a huge fan of all things Fall, ESPECIALLY the opportunities for snuggled up date nights and pretty inexpensive outings with family and friends. Every year, my family makes it a point to visit the Dairy Farm where we get lost in the corn maze, see the cows and pumpkins,  and enjoy massive amounts of s’mores and hot chocolate by the bonfire. This year though, we started our Fall adventures by visiting BJ Reece Apple Orchard in Elijay, Georgia. When I say I may have found my new favorite Fall adventure, I most definitely mean it.

So from my trip today, here are 10 reasons I suggest you visit an apple orchard this season!

1. It’s inexpensive. For $2 you can enter the orchared, $5 visit the petting zoo, and pick apples to take home with you pre-priced by the bag. Many places these days are so overpriced, this is actually fun you can enjoy on any budget!

2. It’s an all day event. It can make for all day fun if you really take advantage of setting out to find that perfect apple. This is a great place for kids where they can have fun while enjoying the outside! It doesn’t have to be an all day event, we were there a just few hours today. It could also a short visit to stop into the little shop! It’s really up to you!

3. It’s dog friendly. Need I say more? Any day trip can be a little pressed for time when you have dogs to tend to back at home. So why not bring them along? Misty and Mocha chased apples, played with sticks, and enjoyed the sunshine. Mocha even met a goat!

4. They have apple EVERYTHING.Literally everything. Apple cider, apple jams, apple juice, apple fritter, apple pie, apple bread, dried apple, apples by the lbs. My favorite had to be the apple cider donuts (thanks for the recommendation Kaitlin!). YUM. Besides all the apple things you can get they also had things like other pies, fruits and veggies, pumpkins, fudge, boiled peanuts and other snacks and drinks. Even if you don’t stop by and visit the orchard it would definitely be the perfect place to stop and get a sweet treat.

5. Elijay, Georgia is adorable. Y’all seriously. If you haven’t made a trip up to the cute little town of Elijay I definitely recommend it! It’s a quant little downtown that makes for the perfect lunch date duo with the orchards!

6. The petting farm. For $5 you could visit the petting zoo on your way into or out of the orchard. They may or may not have the cutest baby farm animals I have ever seen. To name a few: puppies, calfs, chickens, goats, ducks, bunnies, kittens, piglets. It just makes it all the more fun to be able to snuggle with a cute little critters!

7.It makes for the perfect photo opp. Okay, so my little brothers most definitely hate me after asking them to take so many pictures of me. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I feel like the orchards would be the perfect setting for an engagement session or family potrait. There are just rolling acres of rows and rows of apple trees, not to mention the lighting is perfect. If you are lucky, you can even catch the mountains in the distance!

 

8. They are open every day of the week July through December. This particular Apple Orchard claims to be the only one in Elijay that is open for apple picking during the week. So whether it’s your fall break, teacher work day or just a day off, you can enjoy the fun at anytime! On the weekends, they also offer Cow Milking, Ziplines, and Apple Cannon. Need I say more? The weekends at the orchards seem to be your full ticket for more fun.This farm is a one-stop shop for all things fun.

9. It’s family owned. Having my own “small business” with AdvoCare for about 2 years now, I understand the importance of supporting small businesses. My mom met Mr. Reece himself, and something about knowing that you are helping a family and giving back to the small community of Elijay while enjoying a day in the sun is a rewarding feeling.

10. It’s about making memories. With everything I listed above about why I think you should make a trip to the apple farms, I think the most important reason of all is the memories you can make. Whether it’s an outing with your family or friends, a school field trip, or just a date day I think the memories you will make will be ones you hold onto forever. The orchards have a lingering feeling of fall. There is just something about spending a day in the crisp mountain air and enjoying the sunshine that makes this trip one to remember.

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