Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wedding Day Linkup...

It's been a while, but so much going on that eventually I'll get around to blogging again, maybe...

Today, though, I thought it would be fun to put our wedding all down so I could remember it in detail just like Melanie and Holly with the Wedding Linkup today.


{October 15, 2011}
Atchison, Kan. and Tracy, Mo.

As you may of read here Todd and I met on eHarmony in 2009. He proposed on July 16, 2010 (albeit his best attempt to make it happen on my actual birthday, July 12th). 

I always wanted a fall wedding because it is my favorite time of year. Todd didn't really care about the timing as long as it didn't interfere with hunting seasons (oh, yah, he said that!). I am Catholic so I knew it was not going to just happen in three months, so we planned for a long engagement of 15 months. 

We scoped out a few churches in our area and talked to the priests about their requirements for marriage and how long we had to be members before we could get married, too. Some churches are down right absurd over this technical issue, in my opinion. At the end of the day, I would say just charge people more money if they want to get married in a specific church. We were told by some that we had to be members for six months, others were over a year. Another church actually asked how many people attending our wedding would be Catholic because that determined if we would have a full mass or not (really?! That matters if the groom and bride are Catholic and want the sacrament of marriage?!).

The last church we checked into was St. Joseph's in Atchison, Kan. My hometown priest was a new priest for the parish so the good news was we knew him. We spoke to the retiring priest as soon as we became engaged about our intentions of an October wedding and to start the paperwork to be approved by the diocese. It took about a month and a half to actually narrow down a wedding day. Thankfully, we had time on our side.

One of the biggest decisions I made for my wedding was the photographer. Being that I know a thing or two about photography because of my degree, I wanted pictures that were above and beyond what anything I could or my classmates could do from a photography standpoint. I would NEVER regret spending a lot of money on photography. A lot of people I know have skimped on that aspect and fully regretted it. I contacted Laura right away to say I wanted her to do the photos and to bear with us while we had to get a date set. She has become a great friend and I still look at my pictures almost two years later and think how wonderful she did. 

My mom and I went to the large Kansas City bridal show the week after we became engaged to just "look around" at some ideas. I know better than that. We set up an appointment with David's Bridal to check out dresses that day after the bridal show because they gave a nice discount from the show. I wasn't prepared to buy my wedding dress that day. I was afraid I would regret getting it so early. I also had a specific budget in mind for what I was going to pay, but turns out my mom had other intentions. I tried on a few lower budget dresses and my mom was not impressed. The attendant mentioned they had a new Oleg Cassini gown that just came in the night before. It was vintage, kind of country, yet still very ornate and classy. Sold! I also wanted the elegance of a cathedral length veil because we were having a traditional church ceremony. My veil was very ornate with the same lace as my dress. I didn't cry or have that moment trying it on, but I was very happy with my dress. It would take about six months to come in so I figured at that point I wouldn't be able to really change my mind, which was good. 

So I got the dress, photographer, and church. Todd decided on his own to become Catholic so we started RCIA classes in September 2010. He attended classes every week until Easter where he was the baptized and confirmed in the church. It was a pretty happy day for me that we would have a full mass, we really could appreciate the meaningfulness together of holy communion at our wedding ceremony and raise our
children in the church.

Throughout the rest of my "planning time" I knew we wanted to do as my on our own as possible and look for the best deals we could find. My mom made all of the flowers for the wedding and we purchased a lot of real mums for decor at the reception site. She did an incredible job on the flowers!

Todd wanted a duck band for his wedding band, so I searched high and low for it for a few months. It was hard to have one made without seeing one in person. We instead had a custom ring done from a jewelry shop in Illinois and I couldn't be happier about his ring. I think it is unique to him and exactly what he wanted. 

I was adamant about not seeing Todd before our ceremony because I wanted the "look" on his face to be priceless. Needless to say, he didn't have much of a reaction, but I sure did. 

Wedding party:
Our wedding party consisted of our closest friends and family. We both don't come from very large families so we had a few friends stand up with us. Actually, my entire side were my friends. I am happy to stay that every single one of them (even though we have only been married for a little over a year and a half) are my best friends, still. We make it a point to talk and see each other. I knew I picked the right ladies! 

We had our reception at the historic Platte County Fairgrounds in Tracy, Mo. I found most of my table decor from a sweet lady in Leavenworth who had a wedding a year before in Weston. My dad made the barnwood boxes that were on each table and the wedding signs out near the drive to the reception. I wanted a very rustic, fall theme so we went with purple, burnt orange and brown as our main colors. I wanted elegant, not country bumpkin even though we are country people. Here are a few photos from our reception:

I pretty much planned 100% of everything. I had help from some amazing vendors though. I wouldn't change anything about who we used for our wedding. They all went above and beyond for us. From our DJ, caterer, baker, reception site, etc. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

One of the highlights of our wedding was our photo booth. I was hesitant to do it, but I went with it because a friend owned the service and I wanted to help her. I was afraid no one would use, but it turned out that EVERY single person did. And multiple times! They loved it. We look at our scrapbook and laugh every time because it truly had everyone having a good time.

First Dance:
We danced to an acoustic version of Wade Bowe's "Who I Am". It is a phenomenal song and still makes me tear up thinking of how much I love being with Todd, for his laugh, smile, and making exactly who I am. 

The only thing I would change about my wedding is that my brother could not be there. He is my only sibling, and it was a sad day for us to not have him join in the celebration. Honestly, most of the tears from that day were because he was not there. He was serving our country in Afghanistan so we made sure and include him over the phone and with a photo. He held a special place that day right up front!

All in all, we had the best day. It was the most beautiful, clear blue sky day. Everything was on time, it went off without a hitch, nothing happened that wasn't expected. And we had a great breakfast the next morning with close family and opened our gifts. We then spent a few days in Mexico Beach, Florida, on our honeymoon where we now try to go every year because it is such an awesome place for us. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

High Five For Friday, v1...

Many of my blogging friends post a top five list for Friday and I'd like to do a little more blogging so I'm going to join and make myself take more pictures and such during the week.

{It's finally Friday!!!!! insert tune and dance}

1. We ended our Junior League year Monday with a fabulous dinner at Ground Round in StJoMo. Lots of recognition, good food, good drinks, great friends...good times. 

2. I earned a $996 commission check from Mary Kay this week! Thanks to a pretty awesome Mary Kay team in April, I was able to pay off another student loan. I love free money!

3. We are spoiled at work with goodies, all the time. Hence why I gained 20 lbs. the first time I worked at Second Harvest and why I struggle to say no to any kind of food. The Amish from Jamesport brought in these goodies to share from the apples we shared with our Members. Todd and I have yet to try it, but I'm thinking it might be on the menu tonight. It's Friday after all!

4. I received the email from Mary Kay that I was officially on-target to finish Queen's Court of Sales this year. That is $36,000 in retail sales, which I have never done before. I am beyond excited to pick out a prize, walk across stage at Seminar like a celebrity, and celebrate another amazing year!

5. I don't have a photo for this one yet, but I get to go hang out at Shatto Milk Company in Osborn, Mo., all day. We are taking a farm tour and having lunch there. I am pretty stoked to have on my boots and casual clothes today. While most of my farm tours before have really equaled getting dirty, I don't forsee that happening today, but I do have my boots on for good measure! :)

Hope ya'll have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On to the next thing...

After my marathon, I already had plans to take a break from hard running training. I walked on Tuesday after my marathon and ran on Thursday and was still a bit tender, but I made it through. I've been talking up a new weight training program for weeks with my husband. I think we should do something together. La, la, la, know us women.

He has been less than thrilled to be as gung ho about it as I am. I said in my fitness goals that I would step up the strength training because I've hit a plateau with my weight loss and body changes. I am happy with the way I am, but want to keep pushing for a more toned, smaller-sized body. Yes, I am gunning for the size 4 clothes (all the while in the back of my mind I know that's not going to stick around long if I have a baby)!

I have followed Skinny Meg and Mama Laughlin for over a year now, and I LOVE them. I mean, like some of their other followers, I am a bit stalkerish. I read their blog daily, laugh hysterically at their Keeks, follow them on Instagram, look for their posts on Facebook, etc. They are moms I aspire to be. They both have struggled much more than I have with weight, but have busted it out to lose after children AND look better than me now for it. Such an inspiration  truly among the many other things they are awesome at while being working mothers.

So with a little bit of their inspiration to lift hard or go home, I have developed a little weight training program for Todd and I. We started on Sunday, woke up as part of the 5 am club on Tuesday and have another round of the 5 am club tomorrow. I plan to run as my cardio to keep that going, and try a longer run on the weekends (5-10 miles). I am posting our weight plan below, but feel free to add any ideas to mix it up. We would love that as we are sticking it out for 8 weeks. I'll also post measurements and updates we we go through it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


My official time was 5:12:57. 
Showing off my first marathon medal. 
I put one foot in front of the other 138,336 times on Sunday. I can't help but be a little emotional about it.

  • I don't know what made me sign up in December for this race. But I did it. 
  • I don't know what kept me from making excuses every time I didn't want to run. But I ran.
  • I don't know how many days I wished I would have never signed up for it because I didn't know if I could do it. But I did it.
  • I don't know how many times people said I can't believe you're doing this. You don't have to. But I did it. 
  • I don't know what caused me to get sick multiple times during training. But I pushed through.
  • I don't know how many times I saw people pass me and think why even try. But I put one foot in front of the other. 

There are hundreds of reasons I could think of why I didn't want to do it, but I can also think of a hundred reasons why I wanted to do it.

  • I want to do something hard. 
  • I want to do something others can only dream of doing. 
  • I want to feel alive. 
  • I want to feel like an athlete for one of the only times in my life. 
  • I want to prove to others you can do anything you set your mind to. 
  • I want to be proud of walking in my first 5K two years ago to running a full marathon.  
  • I want to prove to myself that I can do anything. 
  • I want to put all my trust in Him because there were times I wasn't sure how I'd do it. 
  • I want to beat my genetics. 
  • I want to be my best self ever to have a baby. 
  • I want to love doing something for life. 

And a hundred other reasons why I did it. I finished. I ran my own race.

I wasn't fast. I was disappointed in my time. Hundreds of people were ahead of me. But I have to remember I put one in front of the other, not just 138,336 times but 1,943,040 times throughout the training of 20 weeks to get to hold up that finisher's medal with pride.

I teared up running into Memorial Stadium. I just couldn't believe I was done. Done with the race I never thought would actually happen.

As far as the actual marathon, I'll get into that in another post this week, but I wanted to capture my thoughts just a few days after the race so I can look back on how I felt.

Monday, April 29, 2013

What keeps me falling in love...

One of the pictures from his eHarmony profile. Look at his arms. Can you say, rawr!?!
That might be one reason I love him! He is pretty good looking. 
Remember how I posted our Love Story Part 1 a few months ago? Well with this blog post, I wanted to share a few reasons why I fell in love with Todd. Yes, if you're not into being sappy this morning, you can skip on...

Sometimes I catch myself thinking how blessed I am to STILL get butterfly feelings around him and thinking about him. For example, last week I was filling my car with gas across the street from Todd's work, and I caught myself being truly humbled in that moment to be so thankful for someone who provides for me and for the amazing company that takes care of him. So with that, I love that he is dedicated to his job and tries his best each day.

We spent quite a bit of time this weekend with each other which is a rarity as we both are coming and going most of the time between his hunting and my volunteer/MK stuff. Yet, when we are together, we are constantly joking. He can be a serious person, yet 85% of the time he has to pull a funny. He keeps life fun and shows me, who takes things all-too-seriously, to lighten up.

Todd does his best to help me in whatever it is I need him to do. He runs errands, cooks, cleans a little when pestered, and is my biggest cheerleader. He would kill me for telling this but he has even helped with a few Mary Kay things like loading my car or putting stickers on my books.

He is one of the best gift-givers, ever. I don't know how he does it, but he pulls off big surprises most of the time. He conjures up great stories to go along with the gifts, too. He took me on a trip, redid our kitchen, bought Willie, bought a "pool", ie. engagement ring, and countless other great gifts for Valentine's Day and Christmas.

Finally, for this post anyway, I adore that he is so passionate about something. This guy has spent thousands of hours perfecting his ability to hunt. He doesn't half-ass it at all. He even made it his career for a little while. I bet if he could make a decent living at it, he would. I cuss a lot about the constant dump of gear that lives in our kitchen, no matter the season. I always trip over boots and have to "hide when company is coming" the camo, guns, bullets, special deodorant and spray, arrows, gun cleaning supplies, magazines, calls, socks, you name it. Yet, this is what he absolutely loves. He spends 90% of his days working on something related to hunting from food plots to scouting to taxidermy. There was a time in my life that I resented all-things hunting, but I've grown up. I decided if I want to enjoy time with him, then I better like it. He is at a place in hunting where he enjoys helping others, too. He has taken numerous friends and family on hunts when he himself didn't get anything. This turkey season has been no different. He has talked about it for a long time. In February, he made sure everything was ready, even though turkey season doesn't start until April here in Missouri. He got his bird this weekend and was happy about that. I think he has been more happy, though, watching and helping his friends get their birds.

And for a million other reasons, I love him to pieces...

Todd's Missouri Spring 2013 Turkey

Monday, April 15, 2013

Belief barrier...

I have been truly blessed this month of April with a lot of things. I already live an incredibly blessed life, but this month has been off the charts. 

First, my Mary Kay team has grown by 1,484% (yes, you read that right!) and it's only the 15th of the month! That is a HUGE belief thing I have worked on this year. I know if I want to be a work-from-home mom and still have a great income, I have to work hard in the coming year to become a Director. I have personally added five new team members in a three week span. I know because of the hard work I have done and continue to do, God will bless my team and I with finishing Director in Qualification and our FREE Mary Kay car by July 1st. I'll keep you updated on all the other things Mary Kay as they progress for our Firecracker team in the coming months. 

Second, I was dreading my long run, like most weeks, this weekend. Yet, Saturday was so incredibly busy and blissful with my MK business that I knew it would be a good day to run. And it was! Temps were in the low 60s, overcast, a bit windy, but I'll take that. I was supposed to run 18 miles, but I felt great and pushed through to 20 miles. Now it's just a down hill slide into the actual marathon on May 5th! I never thought almost two years ago to the day that I raced for the first time a 5K and had to walk, that I'd be finishing a marathon!!!

You bet I was listening to Eric Church on my final half mile!!
Finally, look at this little lady! My niece, Hadley, came with her mom to spend some time with us while the boys were turkey hunting in Nebraska. Although they didn't have the best of time up there, we had a blast hanging out each day. She is such the little miracle baby, and I am in total awe of how good God is to bring this beautiful, smart, bubbly little girl into our lives. 

She lights up my world when she smiles like that! So cute!

Monday, April 8, 2013

A little Brew to Brew recap...

Yesterday, I ran the Brew to Brew race with a few fellow Saturday Morning Runners from the St. Joe area. There were three teams from our SMR group and ours by far was the most eclectic I think. We had young and older, guys and gals, all different abilities.

The race starts at Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City and ends at Free State Brewery in Lawrence. It is a 44.4-mile relay race. Our team consisted of Mike, Matt, Christi, Rebecca, Jennifer and me. Here is a little recap of our race day:

Our "Hamm it Up til You Schlitz" B2B relay team.
6:00 am--Pickup in St. Joe
6:15 am--Pick me up in Dearborn
7 am--Arrive at Boulevard, bathroom break, shot gun a few beers (the guys did this!), divide leg assignments
7:35 am--Decide we probably should head over to the starting line for Mike to kick our team off
7:40 am--Mike starts our team off and runs legs 1 and 2
8:00 am--Drive to what we thought was the first stop
8:20 am--Realize we completely missed the end of leg one/start of leg 2 and realize we're at the end of leg 2! Mike had to run 9 miles with no water!! So sorry!
9:00 am--I start leg 3. Ran 8 miles at an 11-minute mile pace. Burned 900 calories! *Wasn't my best race day, but I was there to have fun, and not mess up my stomach any more than it already is by trying too push myself
10 am--Arrive at the start of leg 4 where Jennifer ran with me the short 2.3 miles
10:20 am--Jennifer kicks off leg 5, pushes through to leg 7
11:30 am--Mike and Matt kick off leg 6. It is the most hilly of all the legs. Poor guys. We drove the Durango and kept cussing it ourselves, and we didn't even have to run it. We pick up Mike after leg 6. Matt continues on to leg 7 where he has to ride a boat over the river to then run to Linwood
12:15 pm--Travel to Linwood. Fun little town with the "Linwood Cafe" where they offer air conditioning. Ha!! It was a window unit
12:30 pm--Christi and her mom kick off the dusty legs 8 and 9. They have to run 8 miles on nothing but a country, gravel road. I don't mind it so much as that is what I have to do at home, but some runners are totally not prepared for that kind of hilly terrain
1:45 pm--Drop Jennifer off at the end of leg 9/start of leg 10 and pick up a runner. We weren't allowed to pick up our two runners. Bummer!
2 pm--Drive into Lawrence and find parking, head over to the Liberty Hall for lunch
2:30 pm--Wait for the girls at the finish line. Finally eat lunch and drink one beer

The girls of the team at the Linwood pit stop.
I am being a little anticlimactic about the whole event in my description, but I liken this race to a Missouri float trip! If you've ever been on one you know how different every "party" can be from young people totally drunk off their ass to old timers just pushing through for the best time. It was a lot of fun. We spent more time trying to figure out where we needed to be and taking pit stops for bathroom breaks. All in all, the best part was finishing as a team of people who have never ran together before and the people watching. Oh my!

Actually come to think of it, the best part, honestly, was seeing my second cousin, Megan, after not seeing each other for five years! She sends me a text asking if I was at the same table as her. Who would have thought?!?!? Of all places! So glad I go to to see her and catch up, no matter how brief it was.

My long lost cousin, Megan, and I at the finishers meal! 
*~* What has been one of your favorite races? What made it fun?*~*

Monday, April 1, 2013

That Phone Call...

He is the one who has always done his best. Been there for everything he could (even the 7th grade quiz bowl meets!). Always been the person I can talk to. Love him so much!
I've been wanting to write this for a day or so, but still am finding it hard to find the right words to say without tears coming to my eyes. I first want to say I cannot thank you all enough for the thoughts, messages, calls, etc., about our family and my dad over the last few days. I know there was a lot of prayer going on and it certainly helps, a lot.

For those of you who do not know, my dad has glaucoma and had his first of two eye surgeries on Wednesday in St. Joseph. I was pretty nervous about it. It's not a big surgery, but it's your eyes! You know what I'm sayin'. You can live without a finger or an appendix, but your eyes! My great grandparents also did not listen to the doctor as they should have on their recovery and did too much and both lost their eye sight. I was scared my dad wouldn't do the recovery as he should either. Most men do not.

His surgery went great and he went home to rest. Thursday was his post-op appointment with the surgeon. It was going okay until the nurse took his eye patch off, and he mentioned to my mom that he felt hot and did not feel so well. He proceeded to pass out four times in the doctor's office and get sick. Not cool. The doctor said he needed to go to the ER across the street. That's when my mom called me while I was just sitting down to a lunch meeting. (It was that phone call I've been dreading my entire life)

I paid for my drink and rushed over to the ER to see what was going on. He proceeded to pass out again one more time in the ER and get sick. His heart rate as at a 35 when I got there. Who knows what it was while he was at the eye doctor or just getting to the ER. Either way, not good. They ran all the tests they could for heart attack, stroke, etc. Thankfully, all that was normal. The shortened version of the next three hours was that the doctor did not like the idea that his heart rate was still so low AND that he passed out that many times. He wanted to get some answers so they admitted him and said he would stay the night.

I was pretty cool about the whole thing until I came back to the hospital after my Mary Kay party Thursday night. It was the thought of my dad, in the hospital, being by himself. I couldn't do it. I couldn't leave him there all night. The last time I was in the hospital, in that part, was when one of the biggest influences on my life, Janet, didn't leave. It was too much, to say the least.

My friend, Anna, texted me to see how I was doing. She is such a great Christian friend so I felt like I could just lay it all out there and she would understand, provide some guidance. I said I'm okay. I said it wasn't the phone call I ever wanted to get. I was dreading the day I would. I've actually thought about this day, not often, but I have thought I was going to have to deal with my dad going through a heart attack or stroke. You see my entire family has something wrong with their heart. (My personal doctors are pretty on me about keeping everything in line because of my genetics) Why I think about it, I don't know, but I still don't know how you can prepare for the potential of something going on with your parents.

I've been working really hard since January 1st on my trust in the Lord. What is supposed to happen in my life will because He puts me there, in that place, in that season. I could go on about this, but I'm at peace where I am with life. I've even mentioned to another friend that I am not as faithful as I should be because life is good. Isn't that when we still need to pray, be thankful, not just in the bad times?

To say I wasn't prepared for that kind of trust in God is an understatement. I think it's different when it's dealing with you, but with someone else you love. I couldn't tell you how many times I prayed, said I know I should be thankful for whatever happens, I know He will keep him safe, etc. I finally broke down to my friend, Anna, via text, and said I wasn't prepared for this kind of day yet. I have been good about growing, I think, in trusting His timing and the things that happen in my life, but this. Not yet. She said sometimes it takes events like this to put our faith into perspective. It's so true! I feel like I am growing, but I'm still not there yet in trusting Him. That's my fault as a human. I still sin. I still don't trust Him as I should.

Beyond all that faith stuff, I spent some time with my dad after I went back to the hospital on Thursday night. I told him all this stuff, and snuggled in his bed with him that night. I didn't stay because he said he would be alright. It still kills me thinking about leaving him. Aren't dads supposed say that though, they'll be just fine? I knew he was in the best place he could be.

Anyway, I stayed close to my phone Friday while at work. He had some more intense tests done and waited to hear what the cardiologist would say. The doctor didn't come talk to him until 10 or so that night so he stayed another night in the hospital  His heart rate was still not great. I wondered what his normal is compared to what a normal heart rate should be. I asked a lot of questions. The nurses were great to answer as best as they could. I stayed again until late that night because I didn't want to leave, but I felt better about it compared to Thursday night.

The cardiologist said his heart looked good. There was really nothing to be alarmed about in the short term, but this was something to watch. He needs to watch a couple of things. We will get through it, and he will be okay.

Again, I really want to say thank you for the thoughts, prayers, conversations, etc. It is so nice to have such a support system. I know we are surrounded by such great group of friends and family who truly want to help.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Well, there you have it...

I promise not all of my posts will be about running, but I thought this was an interesting article from a magazine I love reading, Women's Running.

Giuliana Rancic wearing Stella McCartney by adidas
Women's Running
I think I have been guilty of every single one of these pitfalls of trying to lose weight while running.

The article lists these as pitfalls, yet gives some good advice to make changes (check out the article for advice).

1. You run long. (marathon training is great for losing weight) Well, there you have it. I have lost a few pounds, to be honest, but I truly think that's by really watching calories and what I eat, not the running.

2. You skip your post run snack. Guilty as charged. I don't have time for that 95% of the time. I usually have to sneak a run in during lunch or after work before another meeting or MK event. I guess I do eat lunch/dinner after but it's usually an hour or so after the run, not cool for trying to lose weight.

3. You never take days off. So I may actually do this, in fact, I probably take too much time off, eh, I can't do everything right. Go figure.

4. You've been running a long time. I guess in relative terms, I have not been a runner for long. I started two years ago, and I've read you don't hit your peak for seven years. I did lose a bit of weight when I started, but I've been stuck for about a year and a half.

5. You never lift weights. I try my best, but I don't have a full set of weights at my house, and I'm too cheap to go to a gym, pay for it, for only two days per week. Priorities, I know, maybe this summer I'll change my mind.

*~*Any secrets you've uncovered about weight loss while running? Or weight loss in general?*~*

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

No grit...No pearl

Just like everyone else out there in the world, I am tired of this nasty winter stuff. Well, sort of. I LOVE running in the winter because I do not have to worry so much about the sweat, can't take off any more clothes, dying heat, etc., yet I can't really run when there is white stuff covering the ground in many inches. That was the case last weekend. Boo!

I was scheduled for a 16-mile long run. Thankfully I started this marathon training LONG ago in November and have taken a few breaks here and there with the weather, sickness, etc. It's coming up on crunch time where I do not have a lot of "wiggle room" to make up runs. YIKES! I honestly don't feel strong enough to run a marathon, but I'll somehow finish it on May 5th.

Hopefully from here on out, it'll be warmer, like normal temps...50s and 60s. That would be fantastic for the last month of training so I can honestly just move on from this experience.

I know, I's all about the journey, etc., and I get it. I should also be thankful for what I can do, and I am. I know you have to put the work in, and I have not. You get stronger, you become more confident, all that. I just am not there, to be completely honest. My body hurts, I lack the motivation, my feet are in extreme pain while I run the long runs. I pray about it a lot. I know I do not HAVE to do it, but I want to, to do something a lot of people have not done. Being completely truthful, I want this to say I've done something a lot of others have not.

I am sort of in a new season in my life that I have other thoughts running through my brain and not on training (more on that later). I want to get through this, say I've completed 26.2, and focus more on strength training, losing body fat, and running 13.1 miles. I LOVE those so much more. I will be thankful for what I have done during these last few months, to proudly have that 26.2 sticker on my car, a shiny medal showing that I went through a lot, dream that again someday I'll do this race again.

If you think about it in the next month, say a little prayer for me to have the strength not only physically but mostly mentally to push through, to run with little to no pain, remember that I have a gift to do this while others do not.

Friday, March 8, 2013

March new find...

I'm going to go a little Texas on ya'll today. I have been in L-O-V-E with big jewelry since my sophomore of college when I was introduced to the one and only, Randa Yezak, while I was an intern at the American Hereford Association and several of my K-State friends were good friends of hers. You can't be from Texas or in the horse, cattle-showing business without making a statement in your clothing, and she totally capitalized on that. She has since BLOWN up her at-home jewelry business to a full retail store in College Station, Texas. I think it is so cool to have watch her grow from her college days at A&M to pursuing this dream of Southern Jewlz to what it is today.

While Southern Jewlz is not really a new find to most of my friends, I do want to give a shout out to Randa and her business while also introducing you to a line that she carries, Sookie Sookie.

Lucky Wildflower Necklace
Sookie Sookie Lucky Wildflower Jewelry
Photo courtesy of Sookie Sookie Boutique
Oh my, ya'll, this is such a fun line of jewelry! I love, love, love it! And not to mention it is made by a bonafide artist and no piece is exactly the same. So cool!

How fun is THIS for spring?! I want!
You can purchase Sookie Sookie from Southern Jewlz and a number of other boutiques or online here.

*~*Any unique jewelry that you like? What piece from Sookie Sookie would you get?*~*

**This is not a paid advertisement from Sookie Sookie or Southern Jewlz. This post is merely a shout-out to some of my favorite finds. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Our Love Story...Part 1

I got an idea for this blog post from another blogger, Kassie, from Southern Girl Gets Fit. While Todd and my story does not include long distance over thousands of miles like hers, our is very special just like everyone's is. 

On our "second" date when my friend Robin and I went to the Buffalo Bar, and Todd happened
to be there with his friends too. This was the day after we had our very first date, January 15, 2009. 
Throw back a few years to late 2008. I had just ended a 5-year relationship with who I thought was my soul mate, high-school sweetheart, the air-that-I breathed kind of guy. It was not an easy relationship. More downs than ups, but I stuck it out because that is what devotion, trust, and loyalty are supposed to be, right? Turned out he had other plans. I prayed and prayed and prayed (can you really ever pray too much for something?) that God would open his heart and help us to be in a healthy relationship and to lead us to a happy life. The good Man had other plans, too. Thank the Lord for that! I remember distinctly hearing Garth Brooks' song "Unanswered Prayers" after our relationship ended and thinking that was for me, that "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." Yes, cheesy as that is, I truly believe it; I had to. 

So my parents encouraged me to sign up for an online dating service in January 2009 instead of trying to find a local guy as my luck had not been that great with finding a good, hometown boy. I joined eHarmony. I thought this better work because what 22 year old needs help finding a, nonetheless? Not to mention, that stuff ain't cheap! I was prepared to have to travel to meet someone potentially as I had known lots of other couples who had success with it, albeit they were much older than I and found their significant other hundreds of miles away. I was matched with quite a few seemingly good-looking, job-holding, nice guys, but one stuck out. I can't recall now if it actually had his town listed, but I remember getting a message saying so-and-so would like to contact you. He actually only lived 23 miles from me. How eHarmony works is you cannot call each other on the phone right away. They encourage you to ask questions first through little surveys, messages, etc., then as time goes on you can progress to email, then contact by phone. 

So I looked his profile over and over and over. Looked at all of his pictures and swooned. I really wish I could remember some of the things he put on his profile that stood out. There was something in particular about playing football in high school and getting knocked out and thinking he was in the Wizard of Oz, who knows! Although I was not overly thrilled he was into hunting that much, it seemed like he was a good, country boy. I was so giddy to be communicating through the site and email and it progressed rather quickly. I had not felt this way for a long, long time! His last message on the site was his phone number and that I should call him if I wanted to chat. EEEKKKKK! The ball was in my court now! So I remember I went out with a friend, Greg, to watch the KU vs. K-State basketball game in Elwood at a bar. I left a message for this guy on the phone, and of course he called me during the game. So I called him back later that night after I got home. We talked for quite a while on the phone. Talked some more on the phone like most everyone does. Then he asked me out on a date! OMG. I hadn't been on a date since I was in high school, like a legit first date. I realize I was still young then, but you change a lot from 17 to 22. Ya'll can agree, right? I told my best friend Hannah about him too. I knew she was from the area he was from and roughly close in age so I wondered if she knew of him or anything. This was a BLIND date. I was nervous I was going to meet someone off the Internet who was a murderer or something. She did not know him per se, but her family knew his family pretty well. Her dad actually grew up in the Dearborn area. She said I was probably safe to meet him. 

We settled on meeting in Dearborn where he would then take me to Kansas City for a dinner date. I can't even tell you how nervous I was! I needed the perfect outfit, but didn't want to look too dressed up. I wasn't sure if I should wear a dress or wear jeans. The choices, the choices! Just like a job interview, you get one chance to make a good impression. It was also 15 degrees that entire week so looking good in a dress was kind of silly. Needless to say, I wore jeans, cowboy boots, and a nice top. It was sort of dressy. I'm glad I didn't get too dressed up. 

I told Hannah that if I did not let her know in an hour that I was okay, to come find me. He picked me up at the Trex Mart gas station in Dearborn. I have to admit (because I can do that now that I'm married to him!) I was a bit disappointed he didn't have this huge, macho truck I assumed he would because of his job and hunting passion. His little Nissan was just fine. He was dressed in hunting boots, a polo, and jeans, too. We ventured to Zona Rosa and to Bravo! where we proceeded to have our first date. I had the tortellini, and he had the eggplant parmasean. We had good conversation, and the waiter came by for dessert. I think he was taken aback that I did order dessert that night. I found out later that he knew he was "hook, line and sinker," when I got dessert and he didn't want to pay for it! Oh my!

We then went to Dick's Sporting Goods to walk around and pretty much do nothing. We then traveled back to Dearborn, and I think we both were having a good time meeting and being with each other neither one wanted to end the night just with that. He asked me back to his house. NOT what you are thinking! I was quite impressed with how clean his house was for a man (turns out the man cannot clean for anything; his mom is a saint!). We played Guitar Hero for a while, and then I decided it was probably best to go home. I got the sweetest text message when I got home that said he had a wonderful time and could not wait to get together again. Awwwww.....he still gets me even after four years! Love that boy!

That is part one. I'll share part two at another time!

*~*Did you meet your significant other in a special way? What was it? *~*

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love of Purple...

K-State 150 Anniversary logo
K-state celebrates 150 years of higher education.
Photo courtesy of Kansas State University.

Today is Valentine's Day in case you forgot! Hee...but it also happens to be the first kick-off day for Kansas State University's 150th birthday celebration.

There are few things in life that bring me much more joy and pride than my alma mater! I BLEED purple. Now, I may not be the biggest sports fan of our teams. I mean I fly my K-State flag more than anyone in the state of Missouri or wear my K-State apparel on game day, but I don't go to games anymore. I just don't have the time, nor make the time.

The thing that makes me much more proud than our sports team is the idea that K-State truly was the first "people's" college. You see, K-State was the first land-grant university in the country. The Morrill Act of 1862 set aside federal dollars for universities to purchase ground to build institutions of higher learning in agriculture and sciences. K-State was formed on February 16, 1863, as Kansas State Agricultural College. Not just that we started the first school for common people to receive an education, we also were the second school to admit men and women equally.

Fast forward a few years, and K-State is well-known nationally and internationally for multiple reasons. We are the top-ranking public university with Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall scholarships. We also have the Biosecurity Research Institute, which houses infectious disease research found no where else in the country. The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will also find its home at K-State. Not only is research done from university professors, but the highest ranking officials in our country ensuring a safe food supply against bioterrorism. We also have some pretty awesome competitive teams like the debate, livestock, crops, and other judging teams. BIG STUFF, YA'LL!

I am so proud to be an alumna of this university. In my opinion, there is not a more well-respected, research and teaching university than that of K-State. Not only is the College of Agriculture one of those, but so many other colleges like architecture, hotel/restaurant management, and others. When I tell people I went to K-State, they almost instantly talk about how I received a top-notch education.

I am so thankful I stuck with it, did all that I could do to be involved, and made the most of experiences, friendships and classroom/internship opportunities.

I try to support my alma mater as much as possible, from wearing purple on the most special occasions (like my wedding!) to financially supporting the university. When that phone call for Telefund comes in about another week, you bet I'll be sending my money to K-State! Go State!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February New Find...

Do you have to-do lists you can't keep track of because you have a few circulating around? Do you like to plan a few months in advance for things? Do you misplace important, small pieces of paper because you have multiple notebooks, planners, etc. in your purse?

You do? Well, you're like me, then! Even if you are not that bad but you still like to be organized take a look at this new find.
Be still my heart for a better organized life!
A sister Mary Kay consultant recommended I check out Erin Condren after I mentioned having to keep track of a work list, home list, Mary Kay list, a planner, goals/accomplishments for the month in Mary Kay, and a mound of post-it notes/notebook paper I seemed to never remember where I placed.

The one I ordered features pictures and sayings that put my goals right in front of me at all times. It is a constant reminder of planning my work. There are a bunch of other designs you can pick from too.

It came beautifully packaged with lots of freebie extras (BONUS!). Once I opened it I was amazed at the quality, too. The tabs are laminated to keep them nice. There is a month-at-a-glance and a weekly/daily to-do list. Lots of extra notebook pages in the back, a pocket to keep important things, section for important numbers, and lots of extra little things. I splurged on this, no doubt, but I feel it is well worth the money to consolidate and not carry a bunch of useless notebooks.

Check it out, and let me know what you think! If you don't need that much organization, even check out her other items. There is even a bonus this month of $20 off any product!

Erin Condren
**I was not paid by Erin Condren to endorse any product. This is simply a post on some of my favorite products. **

Monday, February 4, 2013

Did you see it?...

Well if you're one of my more than 1,500 friends on Facebook or one of the millions of people who watch the Super Bowl, you saw it last night. Did it silence the room at your party like it did ours?

My newsfeed on Facebook blew up the second after the commercial played. By far the best Super Bowl commercial in a long time in my opinion. It was impeccable timing during the game and what a better audience than those who don't really "get" farming. I know several of my non-ag friends even commented that it was their favorite commercial! The Budweiser one was super, too!

I hope you saw it during the game, but in case you didn't, here is a clip of the Dodge Ram/Paul Harvey, "And God made a Farmer," commercial. Click on it and Dodge will donate up to $1 million dollars to the National FFA Organization! Holla!! What better organization to support than one who supports developing the potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success?! I sure would not be the person I am today if it were not for the skills, confidence and connections I made from being in FFA.

Shout out to the farmers, today, ya'll!

In other Sunday news, the Super Bowl was a fun party at our friends', Ryan and Lauren's, home. They are farmers as were most of the audience that were with us that night. Each one of us out of the 15 or so people has some tie to agriculture. We also love to eat, so there was no shortage of good food to go around. I did my best to keep the bad snacking to a minimum, but oh boy, that was hard, so I did sample everything. I got a 7-mile run in that morning to burn off a few extra calories. I don't usually account for the calories burned in my allotted calories for the day, but I did yesterday! Shame, but you gotta live a few times by splurging. I made a yummy chicken enchilada dip and funeral sandwiches I'll share the recipes for later this week.

*~*What was your favorite commercial? What was your favorite Super Bowl snack?*~*

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The not-so-glamorous side of running...

I got a little inspiration from another runner/blogger today as I read Shut Up and Run's 10 things that are not so fun about running. Check it out here. Pretty funny, yet true, stuff!

From my own personal experiences I would agree with most of them, including:

1. The not cheap part. I totally agree with this! When you figure even running a 5K is about $25-40 a crack, that can add up quickly. What I've learned as I've up'ed my mileage is to not waste money on smaller races. That is not to discredit smaller races by any means. I ran 11 of them in 2011 to keep me going. But I've learned I have to run at least 3 miles most days so paying for a 5K is kind of silly for me now. I also don't look to do any big, commercial races anytime soon like the Rock 'N' Roll series or Disney that are $100+ for a half or full marathon. That's a lot of bank for a race!

Not to mention the extras you need to buy like moisture-wicking clothes (not cheap!), good shoes (not cheap!), and all other things you think you need like compression socks, chews, gels, a hat, sunglasses, compression shorts, winter clothes, summer clothes, and it could go on!

But I still keep truckin' along and have learned to run with a few basic things and try to go without others.

2. There's always another goal. I felt like once I did a 5K, I'd be legit. Well that just fueled my fire to do more races. Then I jumped into the half-crazy group of doing half marathons. Now I'm doing the fully-crazy marathon training. There's always a better time you can go for, more distance, more hills, etc. so it's always challenging. Yet, that's the fun part right?

3. Dogs. Ugh, can I just say I HATE dogs that chase me. Really, I just wouldn't mind taking a gun and shooting them. Wrong of me yes, but when they come across the road just to try to bite me, I think that is absurd on the owner's part. I've gotten pepper spray, tried to be nice, all that stuff, but I still avoid a part of our road two houses down just because of a stupid, vicious dog.

4. Friends who think you've gone crazy. Yes, most of my friends think I am obsessed with running, and don't really get it. I am also by no means a great runner so it's not like I am going for a Boston qualifying time either. I just do what I can to stay healthy, and I like to run. I do avoid a lot of foods, don't drink alcohol other than once or twice a year, and sometimes forgo activities just to fit in a run. Running, however, has helped me feel better about myself, gain confidence that I can push my body to do something BIG, and create a healthy lifestyle for the long-term.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January New Find...

I love finding new things, don't you? I'm going to feature one new one per month.

My sister-in-law sent me this little find in early January because I was planning her baby shower and all, and she knows I love Etsy. Very Jane is like Groupon, but it's all vintage, homemade, or crafty Etsy but great deals! There is a limited supply of items, but range from clothing to jewelry to household items. I snagged some cute pillow covers and a scarf already! Sign up for the daily email here.

Very Jane is an online deal site for all things vintage, homemade, crafty, etc.
*~*Do any of you have other online stores or mail services you like? What are they?*~*

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Evaluating the 101 list...

Just as the first two weeks of the new year come to a close, I wanted to reevaluate my 101 list a bit.

I love having little things to work towards for self-improvement as well as general categories I should focus a bit more on so the concept of 101 is good for me. Yet, BIG things have changed in our lives in the last year so some of the goals just are not going to happen. Here are a few tweaks to my list.

3.Buy a pair of Tory Burch boots--We are now using the Dave Ramsey system of a budget and envelope system for cash, therefore, any extra purchases are a no-no. Oh, a girl can dream though!
10. Buy a sewing machine and use it six times (0/6)--Again a repeat of #3. 

11. Become a Team Leader in Mary Kay--Still getting there. Lots of activity happening this month so not only will I hit this but Future Director by the end of the MK year. It. Is. Done.

12. Have my hair done by Deidra--She is now my future sister-in-law so I think this qualifies as not cheating on your hair dresser, right? 

13. Get a pedicure for every two races completed in 2012--I am HORRIBLE about pampering my feet. I just don't see the sense in it but I will get one after the marathon, when I finish the training!

18. Interact with 10 students in Missouri about K-State College of Ag--The K-State College of Ag sadly did away with the AgBackers group I was a part of so I'll have to figure out another way of talking about K-State and ag at another time. 

19. Take a cooking class--repeat of #3

35. Take an extended weekend getaway with Todd for our first anniversary--This didn't happen, and obviously won't, but we had an amazing first year with a great trip together to Florida twice!

63. Learn donor database system at work--All of these things below are now not something I do in my new job. So with the new list in May I'll create some new work goals. 

64.Begin CFRE certification

65. Meet with my mentor twice in 2012 (one of two)

67. Finish online Photoshop course

69. Meet the annual campaign goal

74. Host a workshop on message training for staff

75. Successfully complete/have funded 10 grants

66. Complete 90 faces in first 100 days of 2012--Didn't happen BUT I am setting it as a goal for completing by May 1, 2013. 

89.Plant an indoor herb garden--Let's be honest. I have attempted this twice now and cannot get the darn thing to grow. Grrr.

95. Paint/Recover Filing Cabinet in Office--DECLUTTER. We got rid of that sucker. 

So some updates, but still working on the others.

*~*Do any of you make "bucket" lists? What are some of your goals?*~*

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spreading the Love...

I am a small business owner, therefore, I understand the power of networking and word of mouth from customers. In fact, just this past weekend I had a fabulous facial/makeover with a referral from a friend. It is refreshing to meet some new people in the new year.

I hope to "spread the love" in future months too, but without further ado, two of my friends:

First, I am often asked who does our photos or who would be a good photographer on my Facebook feed, so I oblige and happily tell friends they will find no other more creative, natural, easy-going photographer than Laura with Laura Benitz Photography

Without words, her work can transform you to a number of emotions. Like this one, just watch...

She will forever have captured the moments in our life that I hold most dear. Like these...
That special walk with my dad and the sincere emotion of marrying the man of my dreams
surrounded by God's love and our family and friends. 
He is my love!
She and I are working on a few things together, and I'd like to formally announce she is my preferred vendor of choice when talking to brides while working my Mary Kay business as well as taking our (and future family's) photos. If you'd like to contact her please check out her website or call Laura at 816-676-8054.

Next up is a friend whom I have only met a couple of times from our ties to agriculture, but she is a great friend of my best friend (small world, huh?) through their careers. When my best friend, Kelsey, had her Christmas cards done this year, Claire helped her design them. I was in need of a few things designed for my business and asked if anyone would be willing to help. Claire jumped on the chance, and I am so impressed by her skill and timeliness. I didn't give her much notice, and she still delivered a great product. I am definetely going to use her much more in the future for design help with postcards, graphics for this blog, and other things that a creative eye can make. Please let Claire know any of your needs, and she is your girl! 
The cute button she made for one of the blogs I am featured on. 
Claire Masker can be reached at

**These recommendations are in no way a paid advertisement on this blog. Simply, they are a few of my good friends with small businesses whom I love to spread the love and word about if you're in need of ideas for the future.**

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bring it On, 2013...

Ready for a New Year!
With a day into the new year, it goes without saying many of us have resolved to do better, spend less, weigh less, give more, etc., in the new year. All of those things are good intentions. I have learned through others and my own way of doing things, that you must put a plan to your goals. "A goal without planning is just a wish," said Antoine de Saint-Exupery. So many of my 2013 goals have been thoughtfully planned over the last month. I also know that I need to "focus" and have a bad tendency to over commit and not do my best in all that I do. It was said by Mary Kay Ash, that "if the things you are doing do not bring you closer to God, your family, or your business, then you need to refocus your priorities," and I plan to focus on those time-suckers in my life.

With that said, this is my year. 2013 is my year to be a life-giver, an influencer, and a blessing in people's lives. Whether that's through more meaningful relationships with actual time spent working on them, an example for others to follow because I "walk the walk and talk the talk", or by encouraging others to follow their God-given potential in fitness and with their family-life balance.

Here are my goals for this year:

1. Finish the Queen's Court of Sales in Mary Kay ($36,000 retail in sales for the year, and YES I need your support and help to do this!!) to provide many financial opportunities to my family.
2. Actively seek 10 women who need more, want more, aspire to be more to their families and friends this year. There is NO doubt in my mind that the Mary Kay business is the answer to many of the headaches and heartaches my friends and customers face. I would not be able to do what I do nor provide what I can for my family if it were not from the personal growth, friendships, self-confidence, dreams, and money from my Mary Kay business. Be on the lookout for more of that this year.
3. Train and complete a full marathon. I thought graduate school was the ultimate mental test, yet it wasn't. I thought a half marathon was a HUGE mental obstacle to work through, it was challenging, but I did it. So moving forward, I think the full marathon will be a big test, and I'm sure it will be for that point in time. BUT, what I learned through all of these challenges is that my body and mind can do SO much more than I am willing to think it can.
4. Begin or end each day with spending time in the Word. There is so much I am thankful for, but I feel I have not yet realized the full power of the Lord in my life, and I need that.
5. Write a to-do list each day. Yes, that seems so trivial and small, but I know "focus" will help me realize what I am doing and spending my time on.
6. Start a family...there, I said it. This has been a hard one for me. I will spend more time on this emotional (for me) topic in coming posts, but I feel completely open to having a baby now, God willing.

With each of these goals, I have plans and systems in place on how to achieve them. Stay tuned for updates!

*~*What are some of your goals for 2013? Any areas you plan to focus on or tips on how to achieve the goals? *~*