name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : 2015


Stovetop Pinto Beans

Merry Christmas, friends! I took a blogging break to plan Christmas parties, shop, celebrate, and recover. We had a great Christmas with family, but sickness hit our house hard. Currently, the hubs is the only one not on antibiotics! We will persevere though...such is life.

Every Christmas, my mom brings a honey baked ham that is beyond delicious. And, it always makes for great leftovers. We are making some black eyed peas for New Years day as well as these yummy pinto beans. This recipe makes quite a bit so we will freeze half for a later date. So many options!

Ingredients (+ the ham bone)

Pinto beans
Leftover ham bone (or use bacon!)
Onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
Cilantro, handful chopped
2 cans of Rotel
Preferred seasonings

The Process

Rinse your beans and discard any broken beans and/or rocks that may arise.

Flash boil your beans - cover with water and bring to a boil. Let them boil for 2 minutes then turn off heat and cover for an hour.

After they have been flash boiled, drain and rinse. Return to pain and cover with clean water.

Add in your chopped cilantro, chopped onion, Rotel (drained), garlic, and preferred seasonings (the hubs loves his Cavender's Greek Seasoning).

Cover this goodness and simmer for 2 hours. Watch your water - we like ours a bit "soupy," but the consistency is up to you! The ham should fall off the bone. Discard the bone before serving.

We plan to serve ours with with homemade guacamole and sliced skirt steak. You can also top with cheese and sour cream or serve along side some warm cornbread.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year! Stay blessed, happy, and healthy as we close down 2015.


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Hi friends! One of my resolutions is to really invest time in my blog - I love this outlet and sharing my journey, but I want to be able to reach out to more mamas. If you're not on Bloglovin and you love some good reads, you should join. 

There's even an app for that! Hope to see you there!


Friday Finds {Vol. 21} - At-Home Workouts

My favorite workout is one where I am with people - the community involved with a good workout is so good for the soul. As we lift, squat, or run, we vent about our days and mom life. But, our schedules don't always allow for mom to get away to get that workout done. I use to be a gym rat, but even that was too hard. Enter the at-home workout. I NEVER thought I'd like working out a home - no way could it be challenging, and what if I got lonely?? Once I became a mom of two, I had to find a way to make my workouts happen.

I started with the 21-Day Fix and even did some Jillian Michaels to mix it up, and a routine started. I purchased Body Beast and fell in LOVE with strength training - all done in the comfort of my home. I do get out 1-2 times a week to attend boot camp, but the other days, I am sweating at home.

Why should you try an at-home workout? I created my top 5 list to share with you on today's edition of Friday Finds.

1. Time. It's that simple. Life is cray-cray, and we need to utilize our "free time" wisely. All you need is 30 minutes to get your sweat on, and the programs I mentioned do just that. You simply move to your designated space and hit play. No travel time needed - no need to find child care. Wake up early, complete during nap time, or get your husband to watch the kids for a bit for your me time. Boom and done.

2. Attire. I would lay my workout clothes out at night OR even wear them to sleep so I would be ready to get dressed and go in the morning. Not anymore, my friends. I can wear those shorts I would never wear in public and if I get REALLY crazy, I just wear a sports bra. Let me assure you, I am in NO place to wear a lone sports bra to a gym or boot camp, but at home? You betcha. 

3. Money. My gym membership was pretty pricey - not to mentioned sign-up fees too. My workout programs do not cost much at all considering how much I use them. Included in this price is a workout calendar and a nutrition guide with recipes. If you want this done at a gym, you have to consult with other professionals which again costs you more. It's an all in one thing when you work out at home. 

4. Sweat. I never thought I'd sweat like I do at boot camp, especially when I am alone in my sports bra at home. The programs I do always leave me panting and sweating - a sign of an amazing workout. I feel stronger, more tone, and tough just as I would if I were at the gym.

5. Results. I used the 21 Day Fix after baby #2 and felt invincible - such a great feeling for the tired, hardworking mama. I used the Body Beast program and gained muscle tone. I love that my routine of boot camp plus working out at home has given me results I never thought I'd see in my late 30s. Plus, when you workout with these programs, you have a community to push you and encourage your each step of the way. They are just as proud of your results as you are. 

I asked my husband for one thing this Christmas - the perfect workout combo for me. The 21 Day Fix and Body Beast trainers have come together for ONE great 60-day program called The Master's Hammer and Chisel. When you get this program, you are covering each of the 5 points I mentioned. 

With this program, you get:
  • 12 workouts
  • A workout calendar
  • A nutrition guide
  • Portion control containers
  • Daily dense nutrition - Shakeology
  • A community to support your journey
You can click HERE to see just how this program works. My results are a product of hard work at boot camp and what I do at home in just 30 minutes. Add this program to your Christmas wishlist and give yourself the gift of ME TIME, strength, and encouragement that you need to make you the best mama possible. 

Contact me at for more information. Happy Holidays and best wishes for a HEALTHY New Year!

With Love,


John's Cornbread Stuffing

We had a great Thanksgiving week - how about you? I do love all the food, football, and fun surrounding this holiday. But, to be honest, I am a huge fan of Christmas, so this holiday is like jumping into the jolly holiday season. 

We traveled this turkey day and made a quick stop to the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas before heading to see family. If you are in Texas, go. The decorations and the atmosphere are perfect for the kids - and the giddy adults too. 

Our kids loved being with the "far away" cousins while the adults shared some libations and cooked up a storm. 

But, my favorite part of Thanksgiving is feeling close to my dad as he loved this time of year. The last three years, I have been in charge of his stuffing. And this year was the first I didn't have my mom right beside me to cheer me on - I did it solo. I have to toot my horn - it was PERFECT. Thanks, Dad, for guiding me as you always do.

We plan to have it again for Christmas so I wanted to share this top notch recipe with you all. And, this week is my dad's birthday - what a perfect time to share a part of him. May you enjoy it just as my family does!

John's Cornbread Stuffing

1 lb. breakfast sausage
4 packages of cornbread (we use Gladiola brand)
2 onion, chopped
2 green bell pepper, chopped
3-4 stalks of celery chopped
1 carton of low sodium chicken stock
1 stick of butter (hey, no one said it was fat free)
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Cook cornbread per instructions and let cool. While the cornbread is cooling, cook sausage and drain. Next, cook the veggies in butter until soft.

To assemble - crumble the cornbreads in a large bowl then add sausage and veggies. Mix thoroughly. Once these ingredients are fully mixed, pour in chicken stock until moist - I used about 3/4 of the carton.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Spread in a 9x13 pan and warm in the oven. If needed, add the remaining chicken stock before serving. You can also freeze or refrigerate until needed. You can then warm in the oven before serving.

I hope you all made special memories this Thanksgiving. We ended our holiday with our annual tree hunt and cut down our own. Wish us luck - there's a certain rambunctious toddler in our midst that is VERY curious about her tree. Happy Holidays!

And stay tuned for my Friday Finds this week - I am SO excited about my Christmas present, and I want to share that fun with all of you!

With Love,


Friday Finds {Vol. 20} - Holiday Survival Guide

I am not quite sure how this happened, but it's mid-November. When you live in Texas, we don't often feel fall-ish when we are wearing flip flops. I have to remind myself we are close to Thanksgiving, inching our way to Christmas, and need to start drafting some resolutions.

One step at a time, right? The holidays are awesome when you have two little excited elves. I love making this time of year memorable for them - I have always loved the holidays myself. But, when you get to be an adult - a mom especially - the holiday season can be stressful. I really try hard to stay in the moment and not get wrapped up in the chaos. The biggest thing for me is to have accountability partners who remind me to slow down, take a breath, and take care of ME first. Because, for real, guys, if mom isn't happy (or sane), it won't make for a fun holiday.

Since sharing my journey on Instagram and my blog, I have found many amazing friends who cheer me on every single day. So, what if we go a step further with our support of all mamas?? I have a great answer. 


Forgive me for being selfish, but I need all the help I can get right now. When I began sharing, I was at my goal weight. Well, life has happened - and happened hard at times - so I am not exactly in that great spot. And, that is totally okay with me. I just don't want the holidays to get the best of my anxiety, and I will need reminders along the way. Anyone feel me?

In this group, we will share tips, recipes, virtual hugs, and encouragement as we endure all the holiday business. Sometimes, I need visual reminders to take a breath, enjoy the moment. I can't do it alone.

If you would like more info on this Holiday Survival Guide, reach out. You can find me at These two munchkins deserve a happy mommy during the most magical time of year.

With Love,


Weekly Meal Plan - Food Prep

I would like to give a few shout-outs from our awesome weekend - first to the hubs and nephew for completing a local sprint triathlon. I am so proud of them - their determination and drive has me considering doing it next year. Watching them push themselves was inspiring! 

My other shout-out is to my toddler for the FOUR HOUR NAP on Sunday. Because of this nap of epic proportions, I was able to plan, grocery shop, AND prepare our meals for the week. I originally wanted to make my breakfast and a few lunches, but since she snoozed forever, I did dinners too! 

Here is how I complete my food prep in 4 quick, easy steps:

Look at your calendar - What are your evenings like? If you are busy most days, plan ahead. Make a casserole, bust out your crock pot, or grill some chicken to be used in multiple meals. If you look ahead for your plans, you can get your dinners done for those busy times.

Plan your grocery list - First, look at what you have on hand so your shopping can be quick. This may be the OCD in me, but I also put my list in order of the store so it's a quick in and out - especially when you have kids in tow. I also love to include brown rice or quinoa to make ahead of time - you can top these good grains with any protein and veggie for a hearty lunch. These chicken fajitas are great over either one - top with avocado for some good fat!

Need snack ideas? I am loving a handful of nuts plus raspberries. Of course, a little Shakeo never hurt anybody. You can fill your cup with all kinds of treats to make it filling and awesome. 

Easy is the name of the game - Chicken in the crockpot (such as these taco fillings) can be used for tacos one night then top a salad the next. Make these sloppy joes (I used ground turkey), and I bet you can go two nights with your meals. 

Sundays are fun days - For prepping, that is. I don't always follow this rule due to lazy Sundays, but I find it's easier to shop on the weekend and use Sunday for prepping. These egg muffins are so easy to make then portion out for the week. You can mix and match the fillings as you see fit. 

**For the last two weeks, I have been following this 5-day clean eating plan. The recipes are great and full of healthy ingredients. 

Food/meal prep takes time, but it is SO worth it for the busy weeks. I am so excited that I can pull out tonight's sloppy joes for an easy dinner - sounds so wonderful because I am sure a certain busy little girl will be by my side the entire night. Happy week, friends!

With Love,


Tips for a New SAHM

Staying at home is no joke, and I feel like that needs to be shouted from the mountaintops. I was a working mom with babe #1 and now home with #2. There are so many perks to staying home, but I was not prepared for the mental toughness of the job. Heck, I was a school counselor, I know mental toughness, but this one is different. You go from talking to adults all day to making conversation with a toddler; it can get lonely and play tricks on your adult brain. How do we do it everyday? And how about those who decide to quit the outside workforce to play boss to our littles? Here's how we survived - honestly, we are in survival mode most days :)

Get Creative

I am not one for staying at home all day long; we need to get out and see the world. We love checking out different parks, but you want to know our favorite? Sneaking into Pet Smart to see the fish, cats, and dogs being groomed. How is this creative? We don't have a pet. I think that makes it all the more exciting for my curious one - she could watch a dog get a haircut for at least an hour. Do it. It's like a free zoo. If you need to get out, take a walk and make it an adventure - point out shapes, colors, animals, etc. Your littles will love it.

Make New Friends 

I've said it before that you have to let your mom guard down and get out there. So what if you may be in your 30s and you forgot what it's like to make friends?? Join a Bible study, a moms group, introduce yourself to moms at the park, or at your child's gymnastics/music class. It felt weird to me to do this so late in life, but it has been so rewarding. Make friends and follow up - these moms need you too!

Utilize Nap Time 

Make nap time work FOR YOU. My daughter naps at least 2-2 1/2 hours a day. I like to do a household chore/duty for the beginning of the nap then MAKE SURE I get in some quiet time for me - read, write, pray, or catch up on a show. I am not a napper, so I find one of these things to clear my mind and get me ready for the little tornado's afternoon. Another great tip - make a daily chore chart. I complete one chore during nap - sweep, vaccuum, mop, clean bathrooms, etc. This way, I am not spending all of nap knee-deep in Clorox. And, I don't spend hours cleaning the whole house. I use this printable for my chores because the sweet girl below makes big messes.

weekly cleaning schedule - scallop:

Find Something for YOU

This tip goes with the nap time advice. I've said it before, fitness is MY thing right now - lifting weights or running makes me feel stronger physically. But, when I think that I am almost 40, mom of two, and I can lift some weights and run kind of far?? I feel invincible, and I feel like ME (and peace out to my anxiety). Write in a journal, workout, take pictures, go back to school, volunteer - just do something that makes you feel like YOU. Sometimes the mom life takes over, and we forget who we are.   

Be Supportive

Mom life is TOUGH. We are mentally exhausted more than anything. There is always something to think about or plan for - it's so darn exhausting. I've done the working mom gig as well as the SAHM thing - both are tough. We do not need to fight, bicker, or compare; these things just make it all so much harder. Instead, bring that tired mom a bottle of wine or even better - plan a night out (and keep the date!). We need each other, friends. No one knows a temper tantrum better than the next mom so support each other through it all. 

If you could offer any new SAHM some advice, what would you say? Hang in there, mamas. Wherever you are. 

Special thanks to my sweet, talented friend, Jennifer, for these great photos of my "employees." They make me nuts and happy all at once. Blessed, for sure. You can check out Jennifer's work here.

With Love,


My Dream Workspace

In my "past" life, I was a teacher and a counselor - for 13 years to be exact. I've mentioned before how I was blessed to stay at home once my second child was born. And, I've mentioned how it has made me "re-plan" what I want to do with my life. I don't feel the pull into education as I once did; I want to educate moms - with health and fitness. 

At the beginning of 2015, I wrote down my resolutions which included getting healthier, getting certified, and starting a blog. I love to write, I want to inspire, and I want to let other moms know that I get it. My message has always been that we are real people behind the "mom mask," and we deserve to have dreams/goals too - no matter our age (Hi, I'm pushing 40!). My blog needs work - pictures need to be better, content could improve, audience needs to grow, etc. But, for my first year, I am proud of what's come out of it, and I can't wait to keep going. 

I'm currently working on my fitness certification so I can have my own boot camp for busy moms. Not in a gym, but with a small group of moms who want to make fitness integral in their lives. I would also love to do online training so I can help moms whether they are working or staying at home.  

To make these visions happen, I would love a space in my home that is MINE - as an office and possibly a workout room. WeWork inspired me to share my dream workspace that would fit both the office and exercise format. WeWork is a coworking company with a mission to create a world where people make a life, not just a living! They are inspiring others to consider shared office spaces but also benefits and discounts for people who run their own business.

Before I show you my dream, let's see my reality. Our guest bedroom serves as our "office." I don't love it, but with two kids and toys galore, we had to make do. This room houses amenities for our visitors and also works well as an office. Take a peek into our space.

Now, my OCD is doing a backflip. I want to get in here and organize like crazy. Problem is - I am married to an IT guy so computer gadgets are everywhere. Until we rearrange and finish some other house duties, this office will do. I want a new computer, a new camera, and new other things that just aren't affordable right now. But, man oh man, if they were.... these spaces would be my dream.

The Daily Nest/ Palladian Blue guest room:
The colors in this room are perfect - something bright and cheerful so I can workout and motivate others plus myself. I love the small desk and simple decor; I could work/blog/video chat here and save the other side for working out. Since I workout at home with my fitness programs, I can use the equipment I have in my home gym (a.k.a the kids' toy room now - see the chaos below). 

I love this set up below for a workout space. Nothing fancy - just the basic equipment and my TV to play my favorite workouts. It's simple, and I love that. 

What do you have to have in your home office? My wheels are turning, and I am about to blow up Pinterest. Thanks to WeWork for the inspiration!

With Love,

Friday Finds {Vol. 19} - Essential Oils


When I was in college, my roommate was a study bug as she dreamed of becoming a doctor. I remember so vividly when she would put on her soothing music and hit the books. She was so diligent and determined; I knew she would rock at her dream.

Fast forward to now, and she has fulfilled her dream and then some! Jody is now determined to make others aware of how amazing essential oils can be; and now, she has me convinced. I have been using the oils for almost 2 years now, and we LOVE them. From their calming effect to easing tummy troubles, these oils are the real deal.

If you haven't heard much about oils, I encourage you to do your research. I learn new things everyday about how these oils can help in our lives. In fact, I often text Jody for advice. She has also started a Facebook page where we can go to her and others for advice and help. Not a day goes by that I don't use one or more oils, and I am still learning.

Need a place to start? The starter kit is just that - 10 of the most used oils plus the home diffuser. The oils in this kit can be used across the board - from supporting your immune system to calming a fussy baby. Or, need to boost your cleaning routine? Add some of these oils to your mop water or when you clean your counter tops. With the oils, you can apply them topically, diffuse them aromatically, or ingest them. Also, the Young Living site has other accessories to make your oil experience so valuable.

My favorite uses:

  • Thieves - rub on my kids' feet to boost immunity; a great guard against the germs!
  • Lavender - diffuse to give a calming mood to our house; apply to help with the occasional sniffles
  • Stress Away - apply to wrists for those long days
  • Joy - diffuse or apply to boost mood and increase happiness
I am so happy Jody wanted to share her thoughts on how these oils have affected her family's life -

I want to start off by saying that I am so proud of my friend and college roommate, Lil Kim, as I know her. First of all, she looks amazing! Secondly, I love that she is reaching out to people in a new and exciting way, through this blog and through Beachbody. Kim has endured several big bumps in her road of life, but she has always picked herself up and moved on. It has been awesome to see the way that she has risen above and responded to these challenges. And now, she is on a mission to help those around her navigate this crazy life. Kim and I have had some great times together; and she was a huge support for me when I was studying in college to become a doctor. She even brought me beer when I finished my MCAT. Ahhh, those were the good ole days. 

My journey in medicine has changed quite a bit from when I first finished my training. My training is as an ER doctor. However, I have been thinking a lot lately about my true purpose in life...why was I put on this earth? I enjoyed my time in the ER for awhile, but I started to feel a pull towards a different type of medicine. Due to some of my own health struggles, I started to look for more natural ways to live a happy and healthy life. One that didn't involve medications and toxic chemicals. One that treated the body as a whole and looked for the root cause of issues. My family and I have made a lot of changes in our lives to support this new way of living. And, I now believe that my true calling is to help people take control of their own health and happiness. If this is something that resonates with you, I would encourage you to go for it. Your body will thank you.

That’s where the essential oils came into play for me. I started using them about 3 years ago; and haven't looked back. Over that 3 year period, we have completely transformed our home with the oils and non-toxic products. I honestly could talk about the oils all the time…they really are amazing! I have completely walked away from my career as an ER doctor. I am solely focusing on educating people about the oils right now. To me, that is a very powerful testimony to the fact that they work!

I truly believe that they are a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. And, I love that my friends like Kim have incorporated them into their daily lives and are seeing huge benefits from them.

Kim, I am so happy for you; and I am so excited to see where this new road leads you!!!

Cheers to good health,
Jody Lorimer, M.D.

Thank you, Jody, for sharing and teaching me so much about oils. Just like fitness and health, I need support to help me achieve inner and outer balance. I truly believe the oils do just that.

With Love,


Weekly Meal Plan - Food Network Style

I'd love to share with you all the fabulous things we did this weekend, but I'd be a big liar. With the remnants of Hurricane Patricia hitting Texas, we used that as an excuse to be a bit lazy. Well, I did run a 5K in the rain so there's that. I used that as an excuse to do nothing else the rest of the weekend, and it was glorious.

During my down/lazy time, I did plan a simple week of eats based on some lazy Food Network viewing. I wanted to share two recipes - a new one I plan to make this week and an old trusty recipe that we all love. 

Yes, but not from the cooking challenge shows. Who eats that kind of weird crap?:

Thanks to Trisha Yearwood for the delish Chicken Tortilla Soup she made on her Halloween show. I am going to try and ignore the pumpkin roll she also made because I ate cupcakes this weekend. Sweets - they get me everytime. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup
(adapted from HERE)

Extra virgin olive oil (enough to swirl around the pan)
1 tsp minced garlic 
1 medium chopped onion
2 Tbl flour
3 14-ounce cans of low sodium chicken broth
4 C of skim milk
1 10.75 ounce can of cream of chicken soup
1 cup prepared salsa
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
2 tsp of cumin
1 packet of fajita seasoning
Your favorite toppings - we will go with cheese and avocado

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and the onion and saute until softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the broth and the half-and-half. Stir in the cream of chicken soup, salsa, chicken, beans, corn, cumin and fajita seasoning. Continue to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup 029
Spoon into a bowl and add your toppings. YUM.

Our Favorite Meatballs
(adapted from HERE)

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix turkey and Worcestershire, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Roll meat into 1 1/2 inch medium-sized meatballs and place on nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet greased with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake balls 10 to 12 minutes, until no longer pink.

The kids love theirs with pasta and marinara, but the adults swap the pasta for veggies - zucchini is a favorite! 

And as an added bonus - our sweet neighbors ran over in the rain to share this goodness. Soup in rainy weather, and I didn't have to make it?? WHAT WHAT. You can check out this Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup HERE. I am not saying it's healthy, but when it's a gift, it doesn't count, right??

What's on your meal plan for the week? We are looking forward to a fun Halloween weekend. I am going to try and stay away from the chocolate. Wish me luck.

With Love,


Friday Finds {Vol 18} - Strength Training

Since having my second baby, it took quite a while to find my workout groove. I joined a gym because I thought sneaking away in the evenings would be my "me time." But, let's face it - by the time evening rolled around, I wanted to face plant into my pillow. I never thought I'd be a home workout person, but my life couldn't keep up with the gym life.

Enter boot camp, and I was hooked. Yet, I can't go all the time, and working out 2 days a week was not what my anxious self needed - I needed more to calm my nerves and to make me feel human again. After all, there was a person under all this mom life. So what to do? I just wanted 30 minutes a day to get me stronger and feeling better. I love my first at-home workout purchase but was interested in strength training.

My sweet friend/mentor recommended Body Beast, and I was skeptical on this big dude telling this mom to lift heavy. But, I tried it and kept on following the workout guide. With this workout and my boot camp, I grew muscles I never thought I'd have or see. And, it's not just about the muscles but how much stronger I am overall. I love the thought that this mother of 2 can do push-ups better than ever!

The Program

With this program comes workouts for each muscle group - shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, chest, and legs. There is even a cardio and ab workout to break up the strength training. When I would go to the gym, I'd run on the treadmill but stay away from the free weights because I felt like people were critiquing my every move. With this program, I am learning the correct form and gaining confidence in strength training. 

This past month, I held a challenge group with some amazing couples who enjoyed the program and its guide. These couples were working out together and seeing results. And, I finished my first round not long ago and have incorporated some of the workouts into my plans. I feel as though with this program, I can teach myself more about strength training and share what I've learned when I fulfill my goal of becoming a boot camp instructor.

Motivational Quotes For Athletes | Game Time Strength Training at 4 Star Strength Gym: Strength and USPA ...:

The Plan

My goal with fitness - with this blog too - is to reach out and help those trying to find that person inside - the one behind the mom life. Almost two years ago, I reached out because I felt unhappy and unsure about who I was. I found that working out - even for 30 minutes at a time - calmed me down. Once I saw changes, I knew I needed to incorporate it more into my routine. So, it leaves me with this - and I've said it before - reach out. If you're longing to change up your routine or want to learn more, I do believe there are programs - such as Body Beast - to make you grow. You just have to ask.

With Love,


Friendship - Reunion Style

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I am raving about my 20th high school reunion. I can't help it, y'all. Simply, it was THE BEST TIME EVER. I can't explain why, but I really want to try. This post is dedicated to ALL of the 95ers who just loved, danced, praised, and celebrated. I am honestly sad it is over.

You all know I lost my dad suddenly and under tragic circumstances in 2002. His story was unfolding in our hometown for a few weeks, and MANY friends stayed with us every night until we had answers. Some of these people were at my reunion, and those who knew of my dad's death reached out in such heartwarming ways. I never - not once - felt uncomfortable or on the verge of a breakdown when someone asked. It was genuine, and I felt that.

If you will let me, I want to preserve some of my favorite moments -

One of my favorite conversations came from my choir buddy, Leslie. We had a good long talk about faith, God, and spreading God's love. I wish I could hug Leslie one more time for just being so real that night. I loved that conversation.

Then, there was the few who mentioned reading my blog and following my journey. I do get anxious when people mention my fitness plans or my health posts. I just do, I can't help it. But, again, their comments were genuine. Those comments are going to push me even more, and I am grateful. My one friend, Christen, who is an avid fitness fan, told me how proud he is and even offered to help me with one of his many races. I love that support.

Then, there was my Stuart. We are one of the few whose parents still live in our old neighborhood. I am pretty sure he was one of my first friends. He was a jokester in high school and is now a successful architect. He's still just as silly and one of my favorites. We pick up right where we left off. And we both know loss, but we have survived and then some. Love my Stewie.

One hard part was that we were missing 8 classmates who have passed. That was tough as most were sudden and unexpected. One of my sweet friends, Jorge, was amazingly talented and loved a good time. Unfortunately, we lost him in 2007. I thought of him a lot that night because he would have been on the dance floor twirling us all around. Miss you, Jorge. Miss all of you.

But, I think that was what was so awesome. We felt their absence. We struggled losing so many so young, but we put all of life's hardships aside and just had a blast - for them and for us. No conversation was hard; all memories were celebrated. We danced ourselves silly (holy moly, my feet still hurt), laughed, and enjoyed being carefree. In fact, one classmate, Jason, mentioned how nostalgic he felt and how he was sad it was all over. I completely agree and vote we have a 21st reunion.

Friendship is amazing stuff, folks. Adult life, parenting, work, stress can get us all down at some point; maybe too much at times. It felt as though these friends just knew we need to live and love - if only on this Saturday night, and it felt great.

Thank you, Humble Wildcats Class of 1995. I love you all dearly and treasure you more than you know. If you have a reunion soon, go. Enjoy it. We all need some fun and friendship to keep life amazing!

With Love,
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