Decorating my body with memories

The other day I was washing dishes, staring out my kitchen window  when my thoughts drifted to my tattoos. I have three of them. None of them planned. All spontaneously done but filled with memories and meaning.

It’s sort of like life isn’t it? So much of what we experience isn’t planned, but brings with it memories & meaning along with the pain.

My first tattoo is a butterfly located on my right hip. I was 18 and up until that point I had always been an obedient child, rarely going against my parents wishes. I guess you could call this my rebellious stage. There was no planning or thought put into it, I simply went into the tattoo parlor, picked out the first thing that caught my eye and went for it.

Growing up I had always been VERY shy, but something happened that summer before entering into college. I no longer wanted to be the shy, self conscious girl anymore. I wanted to come out of my shell, make friends and learn who I was. In hindsight, a butterfly was the perfect representation for that season of my life.

As the years followed, more tattoos came, along with the memories (good & bad) that they would bring.

A flower with my husbands name written in the vines on the top of my left foot, capturing that sweet dream-like season of life. Newlyweds, with hearts wide open to the journey that was upon us. I remember the tattoo artist telling me that this tattoo would never last, the color would fade in such a delicate spot, but I didn’t care. It was exactly what I wanted. And you know what? It still looks as beautiful now, 12 years later, as it did then.

Initials on my lower back honoring the loss of my brother in law, Jason. A time in our lives when we felt broken and unsure of where our lives were headed. Where I had to learn how to live 500 miles away from my husband for 9 months, in a city where I knew few people and had no friends of my own.

And a addition of vines and another butterfly to my first tattoo. Initially, I did this out of pure desire for more. But now see it as a representation of myself in this new city, once again having to learn how to spread my wings and fly.

There was a time when I feared that decorating my body would be a phase and something I’d later regret.

I never put much thought into my tattoos before arriving at the tattoo parlor, so there have been times where I feared that I might regret them. But as I get older and experience life, I love them more and more.

I love that I was bold enough to get my husbands name tattooed on my body, something that I’m sure others would never do. Or that I just went with my gut and did what felt right in the moment. I love that I have a way to carry my brother in law with me always. And a reminder of the beauty that life brings when you spread your wings and fly…

XOXO,

~P

The art of making space for Peace.

Hey Friend,

It’s been a while hasn’t it? Honestly, as much as I love to share my heart in this space of mine, I’ve enjoyed the time away. LIfe just gets too busy sometimes, don’t ya think?

So I’ve been learning the art of making space so I can have more peace in my life.

Initially, I didn’t know how to slow down. I’m a people pleasure by nature and hate to let others down. But I had said yes to too many things, and felt I was missing out on the moments in my life that mattered most. But where to start?

First I had to be honest with myself and ask “What areas in my life bring me the most joy/stress?”

Some of the answers I came up with in the joy column where pretty obvious:

  • My family
  • My friends
  • Supporting women struggling with infertility/hypothalamic amenorrhea
  • And sharing my life through motherhood

The areas that brought stress, not so fun to admit. Especially since it would mean letting others down and giving up things that I actually enjoyed, but knew in my heart they weren’t right for me in this season of life.

And I truly craved slower days where I could be more present in my life…where I could cultivate peace.

Once I gave up those areas of stress, I took a look at my schedule and daily rhythms. In what ways could I simplify the “busyness” of my life and create more space for peace? I’m a neat freak and would straighten up my house and clean all day long, but I realized this was taking away from time I could spend doing the things that actually matter and bring me the most joy.

So I made a list of the things that I wanted to keep up with on a weekly basis, broke them down so was only focused on one thing per day and limited straightening up to just the evenings. Talk about a relief! Instantly I felt my days become slower and more peaceful…goal achieved.

What life looks like now…

It’s amazing what will open up in your life when you create more space. I have more time to be present with my babies and hubby, I can get together for playdates spontaneously, I have time to pour into my calling and more time for myself .

Letting go of the people pleasing, asking yourself “what really matters?” and making space to cultivate peace in your life can allow more room to flourish in your life like never before!

Until next time my friend…

XOXO,

~P

 

What I’m Thankful For…

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I wanted to take some time to highlight what I’m thankful for. This year has surely brought it’s ups and downs, but overall it’s been a pretty amazing year full of growth and connection.

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My Hubby & Kiddos:

My hubby and kiddos are truly one of the greatest gifts of my life. Not every day is perfect, but I can see something wonderful even in the hardest of days. With the addition of Savannah this past year, our family finally feels complete and I couldn’t be more blessed!

My Relationship with God:

Over the last year I’ve found my way back to God and have been relying on Him for peace and strength. The world is full of so much evil these days and He is truly our only source of comfort. Spending time in the Word and in prayer each morning has given me the ability to go about my days in a more peaceful, trusting way.

Our Parents & Siblings:

We truly have some of the BEST family! They are some of the most important people in our lives and our kiddos are so lucky to have them <3 I love this time of year since it gives us the ability to see them more than usual…I’m looking forward to this year and all the memories we will share!

My MOPS Mom Friends:

In early 2015, I joined MOPS but shortly after I became pregnant with Savannah and had to drop out because I was too sick to attend. I honestly wasn’t sure I wanted to go back come Fall 2015, but something in my heart was telling me that I needed to at least give it another go. I am SO incredibly grateful I did! I’ve met so many AMAZING friends because of it which is something I’ve been desperately needing. This year I feel even more connected and blessed by the beautiful ladies at my table, and I definitely see some lifelong friendships forming <3

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends! I’d love to know in the comments below what you’re Thankful for <3

 

XOXO,

~P

Reading List 2016.

Growing up I was never much of a reader, in fact I sort of hated it…

It wasn’t until I married my hubby that reading become something that I enjoyed. His love for books peaked my interest in them and made me want to give it another go. I realized that not all books are created equal and every author has their own style, just like every reader has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to the kind of book they read.

Shortly after I decided to give reading another chance, a friend of mine introduced me to Nicholas Sparks and it forever changed my love for reading. Nowadays you’ll often find a book on my nightstand and another waiting to be read.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites from this year, so here’s my Reading List for 2016…

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I’ve broken them up by topic and given you a little review to go along with each one. I hope you enjoy!


Christian:

Make It Happen by Lara Casey

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If you’ve been feeling lost in finding your purpose or feel the fear of failure, then this book is the perfect book for you! Lara has this gift of being able to share her heart in the most vulnerable, inspiring way. She gives you the ability to break free from the fear and leap into your best possible life! It’s a workbook style book, which is something that I loved about it!

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

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To say this book is life changing is an understatement! I read it a few months ago and it resonated so deeply with me that I still feel it’s effects. I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed earlier this year and this book really dives deep into how to live your life in a more purposeful way. A must read for all!

Famous in Heaven & at Home by Michelle Myers

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What I really liked about this book is it’s a devotional-style book, so it gives you a verse from Proverbs 31 to read each day and then she breaks it down into terms that can be very easily related to our lives as moms and wifes. She also provides space for you to journal and work through the questions relating to that verse. SO good!

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

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I’ve had the pleasure of going through this book in a book club setting with some amazing women. I’ve never read through a book this way and it is truly powerful! The author dives right in from the start and really digs deep to help you mend the pain from past rejections that may be affecting your life today. It is one I will definitely be re-reading!


Health:

Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson

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I’ve always been a fan of Kate Hudson, but after reading this book I love her even more! Her approach to health & fitness is one that I completely agree with. She shows you how to live life in a more balanced way so that you can enjoy all that life has to offer. If you’ve struggled with diets in the past or have a rocky relationship with diet and exercise, I can’t recommend this book enough!


Fiction:

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

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As I mentioned above, Nicholas Sparks is the reason I fell in love with reading. The way he writes and the stories he shares touch my heart in a way that no other novels do. He never disappoints and “Two by Two” is just as good if not better than his others. It had me in tears like most of his do, but it truly is such a sweet book about a father and his love for his daughter <3

I hope you enjoyed my Reading List for 2016! I’d love to know if you’ve read any of the above or if you have any other MUST reads…let me know in the comments below!!

XOXO,

~P

 

 

When Miracles come from Tragedy…

They say “Everything Happens for a Reason”…

It’s been 8 years and I still don’t know why we had to lose my brother-in-law, Jason. I often think back to that time in our lives and how losing him changed the course of our lives forever. It’s because of that change that I can see the miracle that came from that horrible tragedy. It’s been our comfort and strength. Our way back to him.

Seeing this miracle unfold was my way of seeing God work in ways I’d never seen before…

Oct 18th, 2008. It was early morning and my hubby & I were getting ready to head to the airport for a visit up north when we got the call. My brother-in-law Jason was gone. Our world came crashing down all around us and life was no longer what it used to be.

After losing Jason, my husband and I made the decision to move up north to be with his family during this incredibly difficult time. It was going to take some time for my husbands transfer to come through, so I packed my bags and headed up north the weekend after Christmas to be with my in-laws.

It was a long 9 months of living on opposite sides of the state, but we were finally together again…

We had purchased a cute little house, perfect for starting a family in, and by this time I was 3 years into my struggle with infertility. I was hoping that this move would be a sign that things were soon going to change for us. We envisioned planting roots in our new home, raising children in a safe small town and living there for years to come. 

Unfortunately, my husband missed life in Southern California. He missed our friends, people who had become like brothers to him. And now with the loss of his own brother, he was aching to get back. So a year and a half later, we packed up our bags again and moved back. Only this time we moved to the small town that I was from.

About a year after we moved back, I had a chance meeting that changed the course of everything…

It was the Spring of 2012 and mom was in town for a visit. We headed to Target and it was there that I ran into a friend of mine. Our conversation easily landed on the topic of my infertility and it was during our conversation that a lady came up to me and ask if I had heard of PCOS. She encouraged me to check into it…it’s what she has and our symptoms sounded very similar.

As soon as we got home, my mom and I hopped on the computer to take a look. We soon found out that it was not PCOS that I had, but through our research we landed on Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Over 6 years into my struggle with infertility, countless doctors appts, infertility treatments of all kinds and not one person had ever mentioned this to me.

It was in that moment that I knew something bigger was at work…

Nine months after finding my diagnosis and going through my recovery journey, I saw those two pink lines. I could hardly believe my dream was finally coming true. And finding out my due date was Oct 19th, just 1 day after the 5 anniversary of my brother-in-law Jason’s passing, I knew he had been with us all along.

It was never in our plans to move to Northern California in the first place, let alone back to my childhood home, but God had different plans for us…

The day we found out we were having a boy is a day that will be forever etched in my memory. I knew we would name him Jason after his uncle and tell him about him too. From a very young age, our Jase would point to picture of him and now calls him by name. I can see so much of Jason in our Jase. The fun-loving, joyful soul exudes from him. He’s the life of the party, a hambone as we like to call him 😉 He’s our comfort and peace that Jason is still with us.

Jase (8 months old) pointing to his Uncle Jason <3

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It’s still hard to believe that he’s been gone for 8 years now. My heart aches when I think of how my kids will never know him or his contagious laugh. I’m so grateful God lead us down a path that gave us the ability to know that Jason is always with us. The events after that tragic day are proof that although we can’t always stop the heartbreak of life from happening, as long as we lean into Him, He will find a way to bring healing…

Sometimes tragedies happen and you may never know why. It can take months or even years to get some sense of healing. I miss Jason every single day, but am so glad God used our loss to bring us a miracle.  A miracle that has given us the ability to feel Jason even though he’s no longer with us <3

Jason & I <3

Jason & I <3

A Burning Heart.

Lately I’ve been reflecting back on the past year, taking stock of my regrets, accomplishments, hopes, changes and desires…

I’m not quite sure why this year of all years has been such a changing year for me…perhaps it’s completing our family with our sweet little Savannah, or possibly the leap of faith I’ve taken in following my calling to be a Health Coach, but one thing is for sure…it’s given me A Burning Heart.

A heart that yearns for connection, meaning, presence and inspiration. 

Earlier this year I struggled with feeling overwhelmed, mom guilt and trying to find my voice and place in this world. But lately, I’ve learned to let that all go. To say YES to playing on the floor with my kids instead of doing the dishes. YES to listening to my gut when it comes to how I want to help others. YES to being present over perfect. So what’s caused this shift? God.

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“But present and connected and grounded deeply in the love of God, which is changing everything.”

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but I’ve always believed in God. I didn’t have much of a relationship with him, but would pray during the big struggles in my life. I attended church in my early 20’s, but felt an overwhelming sense of judgement so I stopped going and quite honestly never thought I’d return.

Over the last few months however, I felt this tug on my heart. A tug telling me to draw near.

I joined a Christian based mom’s group {MOPS} in January of 2015 that set the stage for things to change. It took some time, but gradually my heart softened to the idea of having a relationship with Him.

I would listen to the other mommas at my table talk about the goodness of God and what their faith in him has done for their life. I started to follow Lara Casey and read her book Make it Happen. I also read Shauna Niequist’s book Present over Perfect, and to say my life has changed is an understatement.

This burning in my heart is something I feel every day now and it came from truly letting go and trusting. I’ve always felt like I had to prove my worth. Put others feelings, needs and desires before my own. Have a perfect house. The perfect body. Be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister & friend.

But, allowing God to come close and work in my heart over the last few months has made me realize that it’s so much more than all of those things. It’s about being truly present. Following his call on your life. Loving those around you in a deep way. And seeing the beauty in every day.

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As I plan for the future and how I want to spend my time, these are the things that are on my heart…

Self care. Including exercise, fueling my body properly, reading & connecting with friends so that I can give the most of me to my loved ones.

Supporting and loving my husband with intention. Tell him that I’m grateful for the things he does for us regularly. Plan monthly dates for us to reconnect, even if that means wine & dessert on that patio after the kids go to bed.

Quality time playing with my kiddos daily. Outside, indoors or on family adventures…as long as I’m truly present with them that’s all that matters.

Showing affection daily. To my husband and kiddos so they never go day without knowing how much I adore & love them.

Making myself available to help those who are struggling with infertility/Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Whether through calls over the phone or through what I share on my blog or the HA community…this is my calling and where my story is best used.

Sharing my love for truly living a healthy, happy life. Through inspiration on my blog, social media & Health Coaching. Helping others live a life without guilt or the need for perfection is what I hope to do.

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When you truly let God take the wheel and lead your life, knowing how to spend your time becomes easy.

The overwhelm dissipates. The mom guilt is easier to quiet. And finding your voice & place turns into A Burning Heart. 

XOXO,

~P

 

 

 

A Season of Change…

Do you ever have those moments in life where you feel like things are changing, but you’re uncertain of what’s to come? Like you can sense something BIG is about to happen? Something that excites you and terrifies you all the same?

I’m currently experiencing this in my own life and although it’s exciting, it’s also brought a lot of fear. I’m a planner by nature and like to feel confident and safe in where my life is going, but lately I really have no idea what life will look like over the next year…we never really do though, do we?

Let me explain…

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If you’ve been following me over the last year, you know that a lot of changes have been happening. I started this blog, I became a Beachbody Coach, I started my training towards becoming a Certified Health Coach, I started the HA Sisterhood and have been working 1-1 with 4 girls that currently struggle with HA. 

These are all GREAT things. Things I feel passionate about. Things I have truly felt called to do. But I’ll be honest, as exciting as it’s been, it’s also been completely overwhelming.

Trying to find your voice and place in an online world can be challenging. It’s so easy to get caught up in what other’s say you “should do”. I tried to keep up. I tried to follow suit, but it left me feeling frazzled and torn in a million different places.

I don’t really know what all of these endeavors will end up looking like over the next year, but I can tell you this. I know in my heart that something BIG is happening. I can feel it. And although the fear of failure sometimes takes over and makes me want to abandon it all, I know that I would majorly regret it.

I no longer want to listen to what I should be doing based on other’s success. I know that’s not the path I’m meant to follow. Instead I will follow my heart and trust in God’s plan for my future.

So you may see things looking a little differently from now on…

I still want to share what I’m learning through my Health Coach Certification as well as HA related posts, but I also feel it’s important to share more of me, today, as I am now. I want to be more real, raw and open with what’s going on my heart. I hope to continue to use this blog as a place to inspire others whether they’re struggling with infertility, motherhood or finding their calling. 

I hope you’ll continue to stick with me through this Season of Change. I hope you enjoy what my heart has to share and find comfort in what I’m learning. I also hope to get to know YOU, my loyal readers. To connect in a way we never have before…Thank you for being here.

XOXO,

~P