~ A Birthday letter, to my dearest friend ~

Tiffanie is my dearest friend,
     When I moved to Italy in 2011, I was new to being a military wife, I knew no one. I'd left America naive and scared to death. Tiffanie befriended me online long before I moved, she sought me out, and knew the feelings well. At the time I was a young 22 year old, I didn't know if I could be friends with someone so "old". I didn't think Tiffanie would "get" me or understand anything I was going through. I actually avoided meeting her the first three months (silly me) We actually met in the woman's bathroom on base, it was really random. The minute I met her, I automatically *loved* her. I kicked myself for not meeting her sooner, and judging so quickly without getting to know her.

     After our first meeting, we hung out every week, She only had Cathy at the time, and I got to babysit a lot. Tiffanie is the spirit of grace, love and acceptance. I've always been in awe of her kindness. Chris and I would go over for a weekly "game night" where the competition was indeed real. The first year was the hardest, I went through some severe depression, I gained 50 lbs and became obese for the first time in my life, it was a huge struggle, but Tiffanie helped me get through it. I was also judged by many military wives, and it was the most hurtful thing I've been through. Again Tiffanie was there for me.

     There was so much I went though, loneliness, anxiety, depression, 50 lb weigh gain, severe-homesickness, a miscarriage, judgement, and many people who I thought were my friends back at home, completely stopped talking to me, and moved on. That was a heartbreaking day. I think I sobbed for a week straight, Tiffanie cried with me, and comforted me. It was hard enough not being with my family, but when friends "move on" and no longer care, it broke heart. Through all my trials, Tiffanie was literally right there, she had my back, she held my hand, she let me vent, cry, and yell.  We've been on so many "girl dates" throughout the years, shopping trips, lunch dates, coffee dates, even dates where we worked-out together, or went to the dentist for support.

     Tiffanie has her options, and we've disagreed more then a time or two, but we needed to have those hard talks to get where we are now. In all honestly, I think those talks brought us closer then ever before. Tiffanie is my "person". She's the one I call daily, the one I cry with when I have a hard day, or vent to when I'm angry. I know she always has my back, she's always praying for me and encouraging my walk with God daily. She's the person I call when I just don't have the motivation to workout, and she will Skype with me, just to make sure I do it. She always has encouragement when I call and cry about not being pregnant yet another cycle. Time has made us stronger and distance has made us closer. Chris left the military last year (it wasn't something that was planned) but we felt God open that door. So we moved home to Minnesota to be with family. Saying "see ya later" to Tiffanie, was the hardest goodbye I've ever been through.

     I always tell Tiffanie she's like a sister to me, she's my closest friend, she actually understands some of my issues and she loves me for who I am. I always wondered why God let me go through the worst years of my life in Italy. I truly, hate the experience I had and look back with great sadness and heartbreak. But recently, I've realized, If I never moved overseas, I never would have met Tiffanie. I never would have known the sweet and wonderful woman she is. I never would have known, that the whole time she grew up in Wisconsin, next door. I wouldn't have had so much joy, and encouragement brought to my life. I would have never had the "best friend" in her that I do. I would have never believed in having a "best friend" If she didn't teach me in every sense of the word, what a *true friend* really is, what they really do, say, and they never leave your side when life gets tough.

Tiffanie is amazing, God has given her the gift of laughter, the gift of motherhood, and being a wife. The gift of selflessness, patience, kindness, self control and gentleness. Tiffanie has always risen up no matter her circumstances, she is always willing to speak her mind, even if she gets bashed or lectured about it. She's always open about her faith in God and stands up for what's right. She's courageous and truly one of the greatest mom's I know. Her love and commitment to Jamie is beautiful. I love that she speaks her mind, I love that she teaches her kids the Bible, what's right and some good old fashioned respect. Tiffanie, I love who God created you to be, I love that you don't let anything get you down. You're the strongest woman I know. I love that you push through your workouts, even when you don't feel like it, your determination is amazing.

Tiff, Thank you for being you, and always having my back, thanks for taking my late night phone calls, for always being willing to listen, even if that means not giving advice. Thank you for your smile, and your laughter. For your unconditional love for me, but for everyone you come in contact with. Your spirit is beautiful and there's a light in you that shines for others to see. Thanks for all the girl times, girl talks, girl dates, shopping trips, sleepovers, breakfast dates, movie nights, games nights, thanks for letting me hang out every week, for babysitting your girls, and for letting me photograph your family. Thanks for being there for me through the hardest times in my life. Thanks for letting a naive  22 year old, open her broken heart to you, and taking her under your wing, teaching her the love of Jesus and the acceptance of God. Thank you for being the best influence on me a girl could have, If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be who I am. You have impacted me so very much. You're my best friend, and I want you to know how grateful I am for you. I owe you so much.

I hope you have the Happiest Birthday in the world. And now, here's a trip down memory lane, just for you. P.S. I can't WAIT to SEE you in Two weeks!



I wait on the Lord.

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.


Life update

It's been a few months, life has gotten away from me, we've been so busy. I photographed a wedding in the beginning of may (I won't be doing that again) It was good all around, but It's just not where my passion lies. I finished the photos yesterday and I feel so much relief. My sister and her family have been visiting the last three weeks, it's always good to see them and spend time with my nieces and nephews, who I miss dearly already. It's been weeks of events with family, birthday parties, babysitting, camping and even a trip to the zoo.

All last week I was in the worst neck pain I've ever had, witch triggered migraines all last week, I think it was a mix of stress, Insomnia and workouts. But my gosh, that's the worst pain I've been in, in a long time. At times I thought my head was going to explode. I took bath, iced it, took Advil, but there's not much you can do beyond that. I also got an adjustment, which helped for the night. I'm so much better now. Chris and I started "Insanity" again, and I forgot how hard, insane, and good it is all at once. We're ready to get back into shape, and stay healthy, It's a lifestyle change, but it's a change that can't happen cold turkey (I've don't it before) and gained really quick, because it's hard to stick with.

I got my results back from the fertility clinic, and I'm perfectly healthy, (not what I was expecting to hear) I've been blaming myself for years, so I'm still in a little shock, and yes, it's good news. Chris can't get his test for another month or two, taking it in stride. We could always use prayers on the trying to have a baby front, infertility is a heart-wrenching thing to go through, so many tears, and mixed emotions, anger, frustration, blame, jealously, and so many more. It's hard to see pregnancy bellies and hard to see babies, but it doesn't make my desire to be a mom any less, it actually makes it ache for a baby even more. We've had a lot of thunderstorms lately witch make me happy, I had Chris clear out our basement closet, in case of a tornado, it's where we'd need to hide, we have no basement.

We've had Molly two years now, which is so crazy to think about, She's three now, and she's grown up so fast. She's just as sweet, loyal, and happy as ever. She follows me everywhere I go, even to the bathroom, she's like a child with four legs. haha. I love her to death, she's such a good guard dog and a great companion. Life has finally slowed down, we're less busy, we've been making a point to spend time with one another and enjoy it before we do bring a baby into our family. I truly love spending time with my husband, he's my favorite, and my other half. He's had my back with the infertility struggle. I know he silently mourns with me, the struggle is so real.


When We Suffer|

Sometimes I'm so lost for words, the world is hurting, people are dying, suicide, rape, ptsd, divorce, cheating, marriages falling apart at the seams, bombings, men and women serving this country to protect our freedoms are dying daily. It's all so saddening, haunting, and most of all, the human soul is breaking, cringing from the inside, struggling with depression, anxiety, mental illness, disability's, sadness, stress, weight gain. The struggles of never being "good enough" not being a "good enough" parent, questioning every single decision you make, wondering If you'll yet again have another regret.

These are daily things, thoughts we all have, we can't turn our brain off, we worry about making bills, car loans, affording groceries this paycheck, paying your mortgage, feeding your dogs, the list goes on, clearly never ending. Where is God through the suffering? We clearly thank Him when we have everything we want, but forget when we suffer, because how could that be something to be "thankful" for? I truly think we over think things, ask too many questions, make life more complicated then it needs to be. Why can't we just accept what is? Sometimes life hard, it's painful, gross, bad. But it is what it is, there's nothing that can be done to change it, but our Attitude about it.

Life throws you punches, some straight to the heart. We all go through our own suffering, all different kinds, I've been through my own trials. Horrible experiences living overseas (my living hell) suffering a miscarriage (I wanted that baby with all my heart) losing friends to others, being put on the "back burner" and forgotten about, suffering depression, anxiety, and dyslexia. In the last few years I've been suffering Infertility, (not being able to get pregnant after trying for a year+) To some, that's not suffering at all, but each has different suffering, different forms of pain. My personal journey has been heart breaking, but guess what, it wasn't God's fault, it wasn't my parent's fault. It just Is.

Certain things can always be handled better, you should always think before you speak, you will always remember the harsh words said about you, to you, and behind your back. For so many years, I blamed the one who made my soul, the one who formed me perfectly in my mothers womb. The one who loves me. I've blamed God for (my) problems. It's so easy to take your anger out on everyone but yourself, because when do we ever want to admit when we're wrong? when we're being selfish (we are such selfish people) we feel that others should "feel" our pain, that they should suffer to, because we are. How is that right?. No one has a "perfect" life, we're all struggling, some hide it better then others, some suffer quietly, some (like me) wear their heart and emotions on their sleeve.

Life is harsh, it's unfair, sometimes, I just want to close my eyes, and pretend all is well with the world, that the suffering, and pain are gone, that we could all get along. Sadly, that's not the reality. That's when I find comfort knowing (when I die) I will see Jesus face, no more tears, no suffering, crying, sadness or death. I want to enjoy life, I hate worrying about money, bills, marriage, kids, family and friends. I'm only human, I have feelings, I want the world to be at peace, I want people to stop killing Christians just because of their beliefs. I want to be loved and accepted for me, for my quirks, beliefs and differences. That's what we all want in the end, but the way we go about it will stick with people, the words we speak, the way we talk, will we praise others or shame them?

We can only change what "we" can change, it's not our "job" to change others feelings, beliefs, or body' or image. It's not our place to tell them how to dress, to push our beliefs, tell them what to eat, or  how to talk. Mentioning is one thing, forcing, and pushing is another all together. Some of us are clinging onto faith by a thread, and one word, can push us over the edge. God and my faith is what I cling too. In the hard times, I remember He's been through far worse, and He's there. I don't always feel it, but I know His prescience is by my side, I know his Holy Word is true, I cling to his promises. That's how I get through the suffering.  His Word is written on my heart, On His promises I reflect. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, ALL Other ground Is Sinking Sand.


lifestyle changes.

  We had a wonderful vacation, it was nice to sit back, and eat what we want, not worry about weight, but just enjoy life and yummy food. It was wonderful seeing friends, spending one on one time, and even taking a few photo sessions at the end of our trip.

Today I joined Weight Watchers. I've come to a point in my life, where I've tried and failed so many times, and It was time for some help, I can't do it on my own anymore, and I'm thrilled to have others there to help, to encourage, others who are going through the same thing. I've been struggling with weight loss the last 4 years, and I'm glad to have a community who' has my back.

My weight loss programs, have been making my back worse, I have a few chronic problems, so I'm no longer going to be doing them until further notice. We are buying a treadmill in the next month, and that will be my daily exercise, easy on my back, and my ankle (witch I've sprained 14 times) I'm very excited to have a treadmill. I'm thankful for a wonderful chiropractor, she's amazing.

I'm really trying to drop the 50 lbs by next January, and that's the goal I'm striving for.


[before you judge me]

Sometimes you need to sit back and realize you don't need to be "perfect". I grew up giving myself so much pressure to be the "perfect listener" the "sweet" one the "nice" one". After all these years, I still wake up realizing I want to be liked loved and accepted for me. I want people to understand that my severe dyslexia plays a role in my life in a major way, that I'm more emotional and feel with my heart more then most people do.
That I cry over "silly" things on a daily basis and that's ok. I take things personally and I don't deal well with most jokes and that's ok. That's me, the real me, I wear my broken heart on my sleeve, I live with a lot of pasts wounds and scars (something I'm working on getting past day by day) Why should any of us pretend? I've gone out and "put on a face" more times then I can count the last ten years.
Every time I seem to open up, someone seems to think its a fun time and talk about me behind my back, someone had the nerve to tell me my dyslexia wasn't as "bad" as I was "letting on". It makes me beyond hurt and angry that someone can make that judgement of a life they've never experienced, dyslexia has different forms, some worse then others, mine happens to be the worst on the list.
But that's exactly why I "put on a face" the looks, the judgments, the hurtful words, it makes me want to run and hide. Then I crawl back into my shell, put up my walls and work another day at being "perfect" maybe someone will accept the "fake me" if they can't deal with the "real" me. I've been harshly judged all my life, I've had dyslexia since I was born, I wasn't diagnosed until I was eleven years old.
I went through all those pre-teen years, being the butt of jokes, being made fun of when someone found out I had a crush, being humiliated when they knew I couldn't read a chapter book at 13, being made fun of because I couldn't spell words like "wonderful or amazing. Basically only half of my brain works, there's no "cure" no "magic pill". Some people have a better time of it ( not saying it's not still hard) mine effects my every day.
Effects the way I speak, weather the words will be jumbled or make sense when I say them, I never know, but boy is it embarrassing when they are. The best way I've found to cope has been my photography, I started at eleven (when I was diagnosed) it helped me feel like I could be in control of something, I could control the frame, the lighting, the editing, it's been my biggest therapy.
Maybe that's why I love it so much, it's gotten me through the hardest, cruelest times of my life, pushed me forward, gave hope to a hurting woman with a past she wishes she could forget. I have a disability, it controls my brain, and most everything in my life, my thoughts, my words, and my emotions. I have no control over myself about 90% of the time, when the 10% comes I feel "whole" for those few minutes in a week I get.
I've gone my whole life with being judged left and right, being misunderstood, being abandoned by those who were once my "friends" being told I was "too emotional" , dumb, stupid, not good enough. The list goes on. So please know, this is why I do the things I do, this is why I react like I do, why I get defensive at every turn, this is why I get hurt easily, I have my guard up 100% of the time. This is me, the real, hurt, battered, emotional me.
It's your choice to love me, to accept me, judge me, to talk about me behind my back, but every time you do, please know your wounding an already broken heart, you don't know my battles, you don't know the hurt I've already been through in my 26 years. Please chose your words wisely, we're all fighting our own battles. Every word hurts. EVERY one.


Picking up the pieces of my past

Yes! This is the cry of my wounded heart. It was so hard, and not one "civilian friend" or family member "got it" no one got the depression or anxiety, no one understood the multiple phone calls daily, out of loneliness. No one understood all the rules and regulations to being "the wife" having to be perfect 24/7 was beyond exhausting. 

No one has gotten that living overseas was hard as hell and the most hellish time I've had in my life, yes It was "Italy" but it was horrible. It was the place my identity left me, the place where I "let go and gave up" gave into food for comfort to my loneliness. The place friends were scarce and family was invisible. 

The place I had to grow up way too fast and never experience what it was to be a newlywed, there was no "honeymoon phase" for us. We got shoved to harsh reality. The place where I got pregnant and miscarried my baby soon after. I've not been happy since that time in my life, those hard trials, the piercing gazes and harsh judgments from those who barley knew me or my story, the looks of disproval and comments on the way I dressed. Those horrid words still stick with me. 

We moved three times in three years, picked up the pieces of making and losing friends. Today I pick up the pieces of my life, a day by day process, the process of learning that today will be ok, that it's ok to defend myself, it's ok to be hurt, it's ok to be emotional and react emotionally out of protectiveness for myself. 

It's ok to have hard days, it's ok to BE ME. It's ok to have severe Dyslexia and it's ok to let others know I'm not "normal". It's ok to have severe anxiety and be "different" then others. It's ok to move on and to learn to let go of it all. But also understanding that those horrible memories won't just "go away". Today I smile, today I laugh, today I am Happy, my circumstances have been hard, horrible and depressing. But today I chose happiness ( witch for those who don't understand is hard to do in depression) 

Today I am thankful for my husband, he stood by me in my weight gain, my depression my name calling, harsh words and divorce threats. He loved the horrible, broken, sad, angry, mean, hurt, struggling me. That ladies and gentlemen is Unconditional love, the sacrifices and trials he's been through just being married to me are what make most men walk away. But chris is faithful, loving, patient, kind, self controlled, sweet, amazing wonderful and he's put up with me through everything. As much as I lied to myself and told myself this pain and hurt was God's fult, that God walked away, I know I'm the one who walked away, it's on me.

I've recently re-dedicated my life to Jesus. I know he rescued me in my hardest times, he helped me get healthy and get help right when I needed it. I am truly grateful to God and his love for me, the angel he's assigned to me, and his son who's constantly at my side showing his love for me.


[My ONE 2015 goal]

I hate resolutions, they almost always fail. We say every new year what we will do better, we work on it for a few months and give up. Last year, I made a goal to get healthy, It went well for awhile, but the last month and a half (before Christmas) I gave up. My motivation was squashed. I stopped working out, stopped eating right, and just didn't care. And who would have guessed, I gained the 20 lbs back that I lost last year.

Talk about frustrating, one of the things I realized about myself the last year, If I'm not eating well at least 5 days a week, and working out consistently, I gain weight like crazy. I also gain when I'm stressed. And I'm always stressed. I've learned a lot about myself, and I am thankful for that, but this year, I really DO want to get healthy, I want to get fit, gain muscle, and abs. I started using 'myfitnesspal" again and I forgot how much I love it! You track what you eat, and It tells you how many calories you have left for your day, track water, snacks, and even weight. There's food ideas as well.

All that to say my ONE goal for 2015, is to truly get healthy, to eat right, to have the determination and the drive to lose 50 lbs this year. I'm gonna need to kick my butt into shape, I need to stop the excuses, when it hurts I need to push the most. I am humbly asking for your prayers that I can do this, I ask for your encouragement, when I'm down or don't feel like working for it. Chris and I are doing this together, he's also working on getting healthy again, and dropping 20 lbs. I'm proud of him. We started FocusT-25 last night, starting round two over. It was so hard, and I pushed myself a little too hard.

We went shopping last night, got lots of fruits, veggies, spinach/kale, chicken, peppers, juice, working on only eating healthy 5 days a week, and on sat or Sunday we can have that dinner out, and have that dessert. I'm thankful for those who support me, and understand that I have to do what works for ME not what others think should work for everyone. I never grew up being obese, this whole ordeal and weight gain has been extremely hard, most have no idea what it feels like, or the depression it causes. I've started seeing a chiropractor recently, and that's also been a huge help, I've had insomnia since I can remember, and since I got adjusted I've pretty much been able to sleep through the night for the first time in over ten years.

Keep me on your prayer list if you don't mind, health is so important to me, my goal is be 150 by January 1st 2016.



It's "that" time of year again, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and Christmas is only 28 days away (you're welcome) I'm super excited for the Holidays this year, because I'm home to say, we have a house, we've put down roots, and we've started a new life. All the years leading up to this we're depressing, I was overseas, or in a different state while the rest of my family spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and New years without me. I cried a lot. It was hard "not" to think about it, there were photos put up of snow, hot cocoa, sledding, wrapping, decorating, and I missed it for 3 years in a row, not because I wanted to, not because we couldn't afford to fly home, but because we didn't have a choice. 

This year, is different, Chris is out of the military, and they no longer make our choices for us, no longer run our lives. We moved home in August, it's truly been amazing. We stayed with my parent's for 2 and a half months, while we house hunted. Chris had a job interview the first week we arrived and got the job the same day. God has been all over this from the beginning, weather it went our way, weather there were signs and convinces we knew it was time to "move on" from that life we'd lived. Funny, because it wasn't in the 20 year plan. We we're planning on doing the full 20 years retire early, with a pension. But we realized that life wasn't for us. 

Chris and I found this house in a lovely area and a lovely neighborhood (after making an offer on another house, and being told no) This one was 30+ years newer, had nicer rooms, updated woodwork, jet tub, open concept space, master bedroom +walk in closet, and many more features. It really fell into our lap, and we jumped. Mind you it's 40 minutes from my family, and that was a bummer, but I think the distance is also a good thing, makes me all the more excited when I see my family every couple weeks. I'm so excited for Thanksgiving, It will be my first with my family since 2010 and I'm really thrilled. I'm making my mashed potatoes and bringing rolls. Yeah for food, so much yummy food, really looking forward to that coma ;)

There's no place like home for the holidays, how true a statement. We're buying a Christmas tree next week, and I'm so excited to decorate and set it all up. I love having a home here in Minnesota where we belong with our families. Chris is so happy to be here, we had his family thanksgiving last week, and that was such a blast. I'm so thankful to be Home, to be with Family, and friends. I love looking out my window at the snow, It's falling rapidly right now, it's supposed to go until six o' clock tonight and then again tomorrow. We already have 4 inches or so, it's so fun watching Molly run and jump in it, she just loves the snow! I love Thanksgiving, not just for the food, but really to be with my family. They are so easy to take for granted, this time of year is truly about Family, and being thankfull, praising God, the one who has Blessed us with all we have, our skills,  our Children, our lives . May you all have a Blessed Thanksgiving tomorrow! 


New Home!

The stairs to the second floor, looking into the Kitchen 

This is the living room, view from the hallway next to the kitchen 

The guest bedroom is super blue, painting it next week! 

View into the Master, we have a walk-in closet, and a bathroom right outside the bedroom door. 

Another view with the pretty window. 

This is the 3rd bedroom/office space. Super excited to set up our office today. 

Really pretty wood floors

Extra room in the basement, gonna use it for a sitting room, nice carpet too

Part of the 2-car heated garage. Love the windows! 

Lots of storage too! 

Excited homeowners!