name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day


2.26.2019

A Letter to My Dad in Heaven

To my daddy,

This week marks 17 years without you. I just had to do the math in my head because that doesn't seem right. It seems that I just saw you, but in truth, I see you daily in the mental pictures that flash in my mind. The memories are sweet, but they sometimes do not ease the pain and frustration of you not being physically present.

After some time, it has been a bit easier to think of memories instead of the the gaping hole that was left in our lives when we found out you were gone. That hole is the same size it was when it opened in 2002, but the pain that seeps out is remedied with the thought of my life. The life you worked SO hard to make happen.


In fact, that's what I always want to shout from the rooftops - especially to the family and friends who never met you. That you worked so hard for each of us. I saw it everyday when you would come in from work and place your brief case in the corner of the kitchen. I would meet you there to help open it and see the amazing things you did everyday at work.

But, what was truly amazing is that you LOVED life. Nature. Books. Adventure. Imagination. I miss that part of you and often tell my kids that their Pop never stopped dreaming. A HUGE part of grieving a parent when you ARE a parent is wanting your children to know your Dad.  But, you see your Dad in them every minute. From the grandson who always wants to be outside to the granddaughter who seeks adventure every minute of every day.

They are my grief sponges. They soak up the hurt and longing while showing me glimpses of you.

Today, the adventurous one had a Muffins with Mom event where we were able to attend their daily chapel time. The teacher spoke of the joy you will have - the overwhelming tears of joy - when you meet Jesus. I can say in 17 years, I have never imagined your moment. I see you in Heaven, fishing, singing Jimmy Buffet, and watching over us, but I have never thought of what it was like when Jesus was first in your presence.


What a beautiful thought to have this week. I didn't feel pain or grief; I felt happy and maybe a breath of relief. You meeting Jesus is reunion I can only imagine was filled with those tears, the requests to keep us all safe, and the directions to the nearest fishing holes.

I miss you. We all do. Seventeen years does not seem possible. The turmoil of those long nine days or the years that followed do pop up often, but so does the life you gave us, the lessons you taught us, and the beautiful children you chose FOR us.

Today when I heard those words in chapel - that was you, too. Most likely a small nudge to savor the life we have even though you're not in it. The reminder to go on adventures. That advice you loved to give about frugality and picking your battles. To play that good ol' country music with the windows down.

All of these things brought me to write this letter to you. Rejoicing in your constant reunions with Jesus. Being thankful for the family you helped create. And forever missing the man on this day and everyday for the last 17 years.

I love you, 339 -
Kimbo
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To read more about my amazing dad, please click the following posts:

When the Anniversary Approaches - Missing My Dad

Book of Hope

Remembering Our Dads - A Father's Day Tribute

The Day My Father Went Missing - previously published on Her View From Home

2.18.2019

Self-Care For Beginners: My First Experience With Laser Hair Removal

I'm back partnering with New Life Wellness and Medical Spa and their amazing staff. I've had a few things done I never thought I'd do because 1. anxiety and 2. I don't know what the heck I'm doing. We are inundated with aging and all the ways to prevent it; we are told this skincare works better than that one. When we are busy moms from the get-go, taking care of ourselves seems to be just ONE more thing to add to the list.


But...this spa, y'all. I'm in the best hands for taking care of myself and my skin. If you are thinking of laser hair removal (or any of the other things I've done with the spa), find the right place with the right guidance. Houston friends, head over to Tomball and the best spa in town!

Disclaimer: I am sharing this information based on my own experience and by consulting with the spa staff. Please consult with a medical professional and ask them your questions before committing to any kind of spa treatment. Please educate yourself and have a consultation before treatment.





My first experience with laser hair removal (which has come HIGHLY recommended from numerous friends) was for my underarms. I just love Lesli at the spa! She took her time to answer my many questions and put me at ease. Here are a few things you need to know about laser hair removal before you go:

It takes approximately 6 treatments to get 75% to 85% reduction.

It works best for dark hair and lighter skin.

Surprising to me, you should shave before you go! Shaving allows all the energy to go to the root for best results. 

No sun exposure four weeks prior and one week after.

Make sure you are not on antibiotics for two weeks prior to the laser treatment. 

Wait 24-48 hours before increasing body temperature. 

Before any procedure like laser hair removal, ask any and all questions. Find someone you feel comfortable with because that's most important.

I'm so happy I found this comfortable place for my self-care. With anxiety and worry, peace of mind is key when someone is taking care of you. Local friends, try New Life Wellness and Medical Spa and let me know what you think. Some of my friends have gone based on my recommendation and are loving their experiences.

No matter what, in this busy season, don't forget to take some time for yourself. It's so cliche and so very hard, but I promise it's that time that gives you the momentum to be all things for your family. And laser hair removal just makes life a bit easier - I'll take one bit of easy any of those busy days.

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To see my previous posts with New Life Wellness and Medical Spa and the importance of self-care, click on the links below:

My First Trip to a Med Spa

5 Simple Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin




2.13.2019

Faster Way to Fast Loss - A Review and My Six-Weeks Results

Get ready...I am about to blast my feelings about The FASTer Way to Fat Loss. Before I do, let's review my previous eating plan, shall we?

Wake up/Coffee/Workout

Post-workout meal - healthy choices

Afternoon snack - chips. A few more chips. Maybe the whole bag.

Dinner - Screw it, I already jacked up the day. Let's go out to eat.

Repeat.

I have been looking for a practical, reasonable, carb-friendly plan that fits with my favorite eats, my busy schedule, and won't required separate meals for the family.

Enter my sweet, sweet FWTFL coach, Jo-Anne, and boom - GAME CHANGED. I CANNOT praise this program enough, y'all. For this mom who has zero willpower and loves all things queso, I DID IT.



My favorite parts?

The Prep Week

While it can seem tedious to track your food (just one more thing to add to our to-do list, right?) - tracking your eats helps you so much. You learn the process, how to utilize My Fitness Pal, and get tips on what each day will hold.

My Fitness Pal 

Once you get the hang of the app and your days, it's SO easy to plan and keep up with your macros (your daily intake of carbs, protein, and fat). When you are invited to your group's Facebook page, you now have access to documents that guide those macros. It becomes habit and not one bit tedious.

The CARBS 

You get to eat them. Of course, you monitor how much, but you get to have them. Want some bread? Go for it. Want some wine? Get it, girl. Rice? Pasta? YOU CAN HAVE THAT.

The Group

I love my coach and the ladies in our group. Talk about support, patience with all the questions, and daily encouragement. You are NOT alone in these 6 weeks. Not one little bit.

The Health

I have lost weight and inches, but I have lost bloat, indigestion, heaviness, anxiety, and all that comes with not knowing what my body can handle. I FEEL GOOD which translates into FEELING GOOD mentally, too. My confidence alone is reason enough to do FWTFL.

The Results

Here is my breakdown from January 7, 2019 to February 13, 2009:

Waist: 35 inches to 31 inches

Upper Waist: 33 inches to 29.5 inches

Lower Waist: 36.5 inches to 33.5 inches

Hips: 38 inches to 36.5 inches

Thigh: 20 inches to 18.5 inches

Arm: 9.75 inches to 9.5 inches

Total inches lost - 13.75 inches!

Weight loss - -8 lbs.




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The next round starts NOW. I'd love to help you understand the journey a little more or answer questions you may have. I am about to start another round, and I am excited to see more results.

I didn't eliminate anything during this program so continuing on in "real time" won't be hard. You learn so much about yourself - physically, mentally, and nutritionally - that this investment is beyond worth it!

2.05.2019

A Mother's Reminder - You Are Loved

As I drove to the appointment, I felt my hands getting sweaty and my heart start to race. I switched to the radio station that gives me peace - I always have it on when going to these check-ups. My stomach feels queasy as it does every six months as I make this drive.

Suddenly - maybe it's the song or the message from the DJ - but, I hear, "you are loved." The sweaty palms don't dry, but the words play on repeat.
When the doctor comes in and once again senses my panic, I hear - "you are loved."

When she checks for any suspicious spots, and I am sure she can hear my heart racing, I hear - "you are loved."

When she stops at one, says she doesn't like the way it looks, my heart drops, I hear - "you are loved."

When she assures me she's just being safe given my medical history, I hear - "you are loved."

When she shakes my hand and tells me not to worry, I hear - "you are loved."

As I drive home in tears not wanting to go through it all again, I still hear the words. Even though I wanted this check-up to end with a clean bill of health. Even though the two-week period of waiting for results will wear on my brain. Even though flashbacks of before are going through my anxious mind, I still heard - "you are loved."

I await the news of something so simple yet so big to me. I think of what it could be and what we'd have to do next. I just keep repeating the words I heard so loudly that day - the day the panic originally set in. This weekend, I learned that the results are in and read them as I heard the words louder than ever - "you are loved."



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I am thankful that I am okay, but I am more thankful that it was that day where the radio station put the words on repeat. I do have scars on my back, my hand, my stomach - all from that medical history that spun me into fear. But, through that fear, I am leaning on love. Through life hardships, I am repeating the words. 

When your relationships falter, and you feel lonely - you are loved.

When motherhood wears you down - you are loved.

When you are at a crossroads with a career or broken dreams - you are loved.

When fear is way greater than your faith - you are loved.

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My next appointment again is six months away, and I know that the same feelings will come up as I make that drive. I will still have the sweaty hands and racing heart, but I know seven years after having skin cancer, I am loved.

I am loved. You are loved. 

For more on my skin cancer journey, read this post originally shared on Her View From Home. 


11.21.2018

Simple Tips to De-Stress Your Holiday Season

This post is sponsored by Isotoner but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Halloween is done, Thanksgiving is coming, and then it's all things Christmas! For me, Christmas is hands-down my favorite holiday - from the social gatherings, to the lights, and to the true reason for the season.




But, for anxious mamas like me, the holidays can be overwhelming. In the last two years, I've tried to dial it down a bit. For my easily-stressed self and for my kids to see what this season is really all about. So, if you're getting nervous about all the festive headed your way, here are some simple tips to de-stress your holiday season.


Let the memories happen spontaneously.


There can be pressure to make Christmas BIG and BRIGHT every single day of the holiday season. Perfectly decorated trees. Perfectly iced sugar cookies. Reality? The kids put the ornaments on the tree in ways to make your OCD spin, and you fight more than you bake.


Instead, put on your pajamas and these Isotoner Surround Comfort™ slippers and drive to see the neighborhood lights. You will love the foam technology - no other slippers offer this comfort. They are perfect for cold nights and Christmas lights. If you like the pair I have, they are called the Marisol Closed Back slipper!

















Go easy on the gift giving.


See my post last year on how my sister and I make gift-giving fun. Make lists. Keep a budget. For the kids, adopt the practice of giving them something they want, something they need, something they wear, and something they read. Easy, peasy.


Give the gift of comfort this holiday season with 360 degrees of cozy memory foam. Isotoner Surround Comfort™ slippers are the perfect gift for everyone on your list!


Keep the gatherings simple.


I love all the parties and festive gatherings, but driving all over town throughout the holidays can be too much. If you have to say no, say NO. If you are throwing a party, make it BYOB or potluck. You don't need place cards or to break out your fine china. Do you. And if it means keeping it simple, go for it.


Then, when the party is done, prop up those tired feet and reward yourself with comfort! Your slippers are waiting.


Take time for YOU.


The Christmas season IS jolly. Don't overwhelm yourself trying to make your holidays Pinterest-perfect. Before you know it, it's all over and you may not feel like you had time to sit back and enjoy the JOY. Binge some Hallmark movies (my favorite). Cuddle up with hot cocoa (or wine) to watch your favorite Christmas special.


And while you're doing all that chillin' - grab yourself those cozy slippers again. These Isotoner Surround Comfort™ slippers are perfect for snuggles on a movie night - it's like having
a memory foam pillow in shoe!






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So, off we go, friends. Even though Thanksgiving is coming first, we still need to prepare ourselves. Take it easy, make it fun, and slip into your Isotoner Surround Comfort™. The holidays are meant for memories - for joy, for comfort, and for peace. Enjoy the moments with your kids, family, and friends.

And sit back - in these slippers, of course - and reflect on what could be the most memorable holiday season ever.



To grab your own pair of cozy slippers or gift someone on your list, 
click HERE!

11.15.2018

4 Steps To Finding the Right Family Photographer

I am so excited to share more of our family pictures! As always, my friend, Jennifer, snaps the best pictures of my crazy crew. Have you taken your fall photos yet? There's still time! If you're in Houston, you need to use Jennifer Spencer Photography. And if not? Here are steps to finding the right photographer for you and YOUR crew.

Ask your friends for recommendations

Sure, Google reviews are great, but trust your friends' expertise and experience. I've known Jennifer for a while, and she has taken such fun shots of my kids and my family (like these in 2016 and 2017). If you also look through her portfolio, I bet those clients will say the same.

Chat with them before your session

To make sure the photographer is the right fit, give them a call to discuss ideas. Do you both have the same vision? Are there certain poses, outfits, or locations you had in mind? Taking family pictures is a collaboration so it's nice to be on the same page before picture day.

Choose someone who is laid-back

As you know, I'm not the best at laid-back. I can't imagine a photographer who is the same as me - crazed too quickly. Jennifer is calm which is FABULOUS when your kids are driving you nuts during photos. She is fantastic with kids of all sizes and sass. You want someone who can move the session efficiently and without stressing the mama who just wants a good shot of her peeps.

Find someone is creative

From pose ideas to location options, the best photographer is one who has seen what works and what doesn't. Someone who has worked with families of all sizes and can design a picture that captures your family perfectly. Silly shots or other ideas definitely make fun pictures so ask about their creative ideas. Locations are key, too. A creative photographer knows the best spots - from the best light to the ideal scenery. Let them guide you - I bet you'll find places you never thought could make such a wonderful backdrop.










I just ADORE our pictures this year. She captured the kids' personalities and made the session so fun. Now, local friends - we have a deal for you! Mention ALWAYS A NEW DAY to Jennifer when inquiring about photos, and she will give you $25 off a session!

I can't wait to see all of your pictures! And don't forget to follow Jennifer Spencer Photography!

11.13.2018

Why We Believe the Research - Decorating Early for Christmas Does Make You Happier

Thanksgiving is next week; Christmas will soon follow. I started my shopping and planning the Christmas decor. I'm hearing carols and the channel is stuck on Hallmark, so all of this means it's time for lights, parties, and the like. But, I know many wish that Christmas didn't bypass Thanksgiving or that shopping would start on Black Friday. And while I love turkey and family feasts, there's just something about Christmas for me. 

And to fuel the debate, research has come out saying that those who decorate earlier are just happier folks. I say, what is wrong with that? In a crazy world of worry and sorrow, I see nothing wrong with connecting - at anytime - to something that gives you joy. Something that brings you back to childhood memories. Something that creates even bigger memories for your kids. That's why my family believes the research - decorating early makes you happy. 


My Christmas memories from when I was younger are so vivid still. One of my favorite things was being in charge of turning on the outside lights - from plugging in the porch lights or turning on each lighted candle in our windows. I took my job seriously. 

I remember watching Christmas specials (The Brady Bunch one was my favorite), shopping at the Galleria, and the cardboard fireplace my Grandmother set up each year. The cousins would do a gift swap after we sang the 12 Days of Christmas to our large family. I could barely sleep on Christmas Eve knowing what was to come.

Now that I have children, Christmas excites me even more. Now that I have lost loved ones, Christmas brings me JOY when so many days are filled with sadness that those memories are no more.

So, when I decorate before Thanksgiving, think of me. Think of the excitement my kids have knowing the holidays are coming. Think of them taking the light boss job seriously. Think of my mom who decided to decorate, too, because in glimpses of sadness, this season brings peace. 

We do long for Christmases past and miss those no longer with us. I wish we could all gather in my Maw Maw's living room and watch my uncle dress as Santa. I wish my brother was here to give my mom a cat again this year (she doesn't, trust me). I wish my dad was here to bundle up and go for a ride on his new mountain bike. 

And, if we decide that season starts in November, let us. If we decide to put up a tree because the lights make the cold nights brighter, let us. If we decide that Christmas carols and holiday movies are starting before Thanksgiving, let us. 

You do not need to understand why others do things differently. You don't know their reasons why because sometimes we don't either. What we do know is when we find small spots of joy, we hold on so tight hoping they last. We want the Christmas season to be long because the joy can overshadow the moments of grief and anxiety. 



Of course, we will grieve. We will stress. We will deal with festive, holiday anxiety. But, when we are together, and the kids are giggling, we get a reprieve from loss and worry. We remember the reason for the season when we see the little ones filled with joy. 

Happy Holidays, friends. Do what makes you happy. Find joy today, on Thanksgiving, and during the entire holiday season. 
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