Monday, February 29, 2016


I don’t even know where to begin. Over the past 9 months or so, I have been on a very… interesting… journey. My life has become so uncomfortable. Awkward even. Overwhelmingly different than my well-thought-out plans. I’ve caught myself asking myself on multiple occasions – “What is this life? How is this my life?”

While I shared that “discipline” is my word for the year – I didn’t share that “vulnerable” is as well. I’m okay with discipline. But being vulnerable is my worst nightmare. For others to see me in a weak moment, a moment anything less than perfect, has been unacceptable for the majority of my life – actually, since I have understood that things “match” & began matching my underwear & socks to my clothing at 4 years old.

At 6, my best friend said the “sinner’s prayer” & I followed suit. The only thing that I remember about the entire experience is the dress that I wore to my baptism.

At 13, while on a mission trip, I prayed, yet again, with my mother because I distinctively didn’t want to go to hell. My Daddy, as chairman of the deacons, baptized me soon after. I was “safe”. There was no distinct change in my life; there was no active pursuit of a relationship with God – just trying to follow “the rules” as best as I could to maintain the perfect persona that I found my identity in. Controlling every aspect of my life so that I could be as comfortable as possible.

And yet again, over 2 years ago I was baptized at our church because I felt like that was what I needed to do – to “fix” the feelings of doubt & inconsistencies.

And that is how I found myself sitting in an advanced level leadership/seminary course questioning ALOUD my salvation… to my Pastor, in front of my peers. In my most intimate moments over the past few years, I have doubted. Every opportunity to discuss this doubt would leave me feeling nauseous, reeling in confusion, & frustrated. Was I reacting to an emotional moment? Was I allowing the enemy to confuse me because if I can’t wrap my mind around something, I am debilitated. I am a checklist person, because my “salvation story” didn’t look like I thought it should, perfect, was it untrue? These are things I hadn’t even shared with Aaron – much less anyone else – what would everyone think? How can I hold the positions that I do & have these doubts? I am mentoring others, how will this make them feel? I know that God is real. I know that He loves me. I know that Jesus came, died, & arose. I know that He has plans for me to prosper. I know that freedom reigns within Him. I know that the enemy comes to steal & to kill & to destroy but He came that we may have life & have it abundantly. Why can’t I just get it together? Push through & work it out internally, without everyone having to know.

But all of that – all of my calculated & overanalyzed arguments – came to a peak in the last 15 minutes of a random Tuesday night class when I opened my mouth & then couldn’t stop – the words or the tears. When I realized that I wasn’t. That I hadn’t been. That all of my good intentions at pursuing this life of following Jesus had been just that, intentions. Intentions that I was frustrated with because no matter how hard I pushed, I just couldn’t break through some walls or that it always seemed harder for me than it should be because it felt like I had more ground to cover. In a real, uncomfortable, deeply embarrassing, beautiful, raw, HUMBLING moment – I surrendered my life, fully to the One who saves.


I did NOT see that one coming. I wish I could explain it all & tie it up in a beautiful bow, but I can’t. Not that I need to or that everyone is expecting me to, but I wish that I could convince you that this time, this week, was different that my experience at 6 & at 13 & 27 – but I can’t. It is my worst nightmare to seem so inconsistent & wishy-washy. I hope that everyone who knows & loves me, knows that I would never intentionally deceive them – I truly was trying to believe that I was all that I desire to be – His – & trying to force a relationship without being vulnerable. But in my brokenness, I feel enlightened that this is where God wants me to be – because when I appear to “have it all together”, I don’t need Him & I don’t rely on Him & I don’t turn to Him for help & I don’t rest in Him. But when I feel completely out of control & for the love, LET GO – that is where I am vulnerable to Him & allow Him to operate through me. OH MY GOODNESS, it is so simple. But it is not easy. For me at least, at this moment.

I started the year with a 21 day fast from Social Media – I needed to quiet myself. I thought about keeping all of this to myself. For many reasons – I have struggled with insecurities about when to share things & when to not because I don’t want to seem self-indulgent, I also worried about what everyone would think. But I know many things to be true: things that are kept in dark places have power over you & when they are brought to light they lose that power, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb & the word of our testimony, & while sometimes I do need to quiet myself, I don’t need to silence myself.

What do you need to do to be vulnerable today? Share your story with someone? Dream a dream that you haven’t allowed for yourself because it seems impossible? Choose to be happy, when everyone tells you that you have ‘the right’ to feel miserable? Pray? Love someone who is hard to love? Apply for the job that you’re unsure you’ll get, instead of always pursuing things that you’re sure of – where’s the faith in certainty? Actually live, instead of just exist?

I don’t know what this looks like for you, but I do know that if you’re made uncomfortable by any of the scenarios above, you’re on the right track.

If you need me, I’ll be over here – getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Friday, January 8, 2016


Eight days in to 2016. So far, so good.

My word for 2016 is “discipline”. I feel that God is calling me higher & to do so – I am going to have to be disciplined in all areas of my life.
Discipline is defined as the suppression of base desires. Self-discipline is to some extent a substitute for motivation.
I want to be healthy physically – which requires discipline to eat healthily & exercise, even when I don’t want to. I want to be healthy mentally – which requires discipline in how I respond to things out of my control. I want to be healthy emotionally – which requires discipline in how I manage my emotions, not allowing my emotions to manage me. And I want to be healthy spiritually – which requires discipline in my relationship with & in pursuing Him.

Something that has become very evident to me lately is that I can’t do everything. I know that seems so elementary. Duh. No one can do everything. And while I “know” that – I do not operate in that understanding. I am a doer. If something needs to be done, I step in (& sometimes over step) to accomplish the task at hand. When I try to do everything, I wind up not doing anything with excellence – I am not operating in or focusing on the gifts & responsibilities that God designed just for me. And when I am not responsible with the gifts that God designed just for me, I am usually trying to “win” my way in Him instead of resting in Him. I like to call this vicious cycle perfectionism. One of my MANY petitions for this year is freedom from perfectionism.
God is teaching me the power of “no”… so that my “yes” may be my best yes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Journaling & Petitioning.

In March, our Pastor taught us ladies about the power of petitioning God & it has radically changed my life this year.

Petition is defined as a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause. To ask for humbly and/or earnestly.

Philippians 4:6 says “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance & in everything, by prayer & petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.”

Our Pastor encouraged us to write down our petitions, date them, & to have two people who “agree” read & sign them. When they were answered, date them again.

It’s been a wonderful learning experience. A friend much wiser than me, but much younger, helped me to refine my petitions – I was being too broad to begin with & have since become very specific in requests & expectations.

Along with petitions, I began journaling this year. Today, I spent the girls’ naptime skimming through my journal & making a list of answered petitions, along with my petitions for 2016 & my “word of the year”.

We were taught that petitioning God would build our faith, our trust, & our confidence in Him.

Y’all, I am in awe of my Savior. 

I have sent pictures of my entries to friends, where I’ve wrote petitions on their behalf & they’ve been answered, notes about thankfulness for them, we’ve shared about how good our God is – it’s been a beautiful afternoon of reflection.

God is so faithful & so personal; He is so in to the details of our lives. He has answered most of my petitions, down to the minute detail – that our land would sell & that we would make money on the deal, that relationships would be restored, that jealousy would be removed from my heart in a certain situation & that I would be filled with joy for the other persons’ situation, that friends’ marriages be saved, that He would provide abundantly & exceedingly for my Mission Trip to Africa & that I would return safely to my family who was cared for while I was gone, decisions about our future, letting go of control over our family’s finances & giving them to Aaron to manage, friends’ salvations & radical life-change, favor in friendships, clarity, sending people for Epic Athens…

Ladies, I encourage you to make your petitions known to Him going in to the New Year! It has been a beautiful experience for me this past year – to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit within me, to experience His faithfulness on such a real & personal level – my confidence in Him & in myself has grown leaps & bounds from the girl that I was when I wrote my first petitions on March 28th. Of course, I am nowhere near where I want to be, but in my journaling & petitions, I see growth this year that I wouldn’t have seen without the encouragement to do something different & the documentation to trace the change.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


For about 12 or so years, I've dreaded & hated Christmas.

My grandmother died - who made Christmas so special growing up & it just wasn't the same. My parents divorced & it complicated "traditions" & plans & we all missed the togetherness. The consumerism aspect really bothered me & "times were hard" financially. I saw joyous people & was hurting & jealous. When Daddy died, 2 days after Thanksgiving, it made the holidays even harder than they had been. The overwhelming needs & hurts of the season debilitated me. 

But this year, & anyone who has ever heard me rant & rave about my distaste for Christmas is probably is probably clapping at this point, oh my goodness - He has restored by joy & my peace. 

My word for 2015 has been joy. There have been times when I've chosen it & times when I haven't. Times I've fought for it & times I've fought against it. But over all, I believe that I'm beginning to understand joy. 

The definition of joy is GREAT pleasure or happiness. Synonyms for joy are DELIGHT ("Delight yourself in the Lord & He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4), TRIUMPH (“You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.” Psalm‬ ‭54:7‬), & REJOICING (“sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, & yet possessing everything.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:10‬). Another synonym for joy is rapture which is defined as "a feeling of intense pleasure or joy". I love words. 

This Christmas season has been so enJOYable. Nothing about my above circumstances have changed - my Nanny & my Daddy are still gone, there's still overwhelming consumerism & hurt & need, traditions & togetherness are still missed - but my perspective & attitude have.

One of my greatest joys has been experiencing Christmas with the girls as they grow older. They stand in wide-eyed wonder of absolutely everything: Christmas lights, Santa, the story of the baby Jesus, Christmas trees & ornaments, parties with families & friends, hot chocolate, marshmallows, stockings with their names - we treat everything as a treat... Because really, it is. We only give our girls 3 presents - it's a decision we made, for our family, before having them - & they couldn't care less, they never check up. We treat everything as a treat... Because really, it is. 

Every time I look at my girls & think how thankful I am for them, I pray for those of you who are LONGING, the most heart-felt desire, for babies to celebrate Christmas with. My heart is physically, heavily burdened for those of you who have a palpable absence at your Christmas gathering. For those with financial hardships, loneliness, family drama, stress, heartbreak - I don't understand but I do know He can make our hearts "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, & yet possessing everything.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:10)

Choose Him. Choose joy this week. 

I know it's not easy. But it is simple. And so worth it. Trust me. I've done the legwork. 

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Let's Do This, 2016.

Hello. I feel like I should reintroduce myself, I’ve been absent from this blog for so long – I haven’t posted here at all this year? Wow. I’ve thought about writing so many times but just haven’t found or made the time. I’ve missed it. Sometimes I’ve thought that I should just close this little space down, but I’m leaning more towards making it a 2016 goal to write once a week.

All in all, I’m fairly proud of & pleased with 2015.

In my last post, I wrote of my expectations for 2015 & as I read over them, which I haven’t done since I wrote them, I am in awe of how God fulfilled my petitions beautifully – not always in the way that I had in mind or in the time frame that I had wished for, but always “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

We made the decision to sell our farm in Tennessee – we did not have peace about building a life 45 minutes north, we wanted to stay at our church that we LOVE & be a part of launching a campus in our city that we’ve grown to love, & we couldn’t imagine moving away from our friends after praying for deep, meaningful friendships for years & God blessing us with “framily”. Our farm sold & we became one step closer to complete debt freedom – something we’ve spent our entire marriage chasing after. We desire to make ourselves as FREE as possible, as I said in my last post, “We want to be good stewards of the resources that, we believe, God has blessed us with & hope to be able to do MIGHTY things because of these blessings.” He is so faithful, y’all.

We were also able to renovate & update our home & build a garage & patio area. We spent a lot of time thinking of ways to make this home function best for our family & thankfully our decisions have paid dividends to our quality of life at home – for our family, for Life Groups, for hosting friends & extended family. I really do thank Him daily for this beautiful home that He’s blessed us with – especially after traveling to Africa.

Speaking of, something that kept me busy this year was fundraising & preparing to travel to Africa for a Mission Trip with Children’s Cup & Epic Church. One of the greatest joys of my life was meeting our Sponsor Child, Nosipho, & spending quality time with her. We finished details of our church’s Care Point & dedicated it, fed over 400 children & locals, loved on & were loved on fiercely, saw a lion fight & elephants & giraffes… I’ve been home for over 2 months & I still don’t have the words for what I experienced. I can’t explain how it radically changed my life. I can’t explain how I miss a place I’ve only visited as if it were my home. I walked in to our beautiful, safe, clean home when I returned & just cried. I don’t have to worry about rapist crawling in our windows & possibly giving my children HIV, I don’t have to kill chickens to feed my starving babies, I don’t have to worry about running out of water if it doesn’t rain – really, I don’t have to worry. The intimate time that I spent with God, without any distractions, was absolutely sacred.

Life has been WILD this year. We’ve packed A LOT of living in to 2015 – but that is what we tend to do every year & I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. Looking back on the year, it is full of beautiful memories like meeting our Nosipho, paying off debt – we are almost completely debt free, stepping up in to a leadership position at church – I have loved learning more about the eTeam as an eTeam Associate Director, growing deeper in Him – watching our girls grow deeper in their knowledge of Him, our Epic Athens group experienced a BOOM of growth & excitement about our future campus, relishing in beautiful relationships with our families & friends that He’s truly blessed us with, fighting for freedom in Him as prayer anointers at our church’s Freedom Conference – that was a highlight of our year, enjoying our girls growing older – they are our biggest joys, truly.

2015 hasn’t been perfect – please don’t misunderstand – it’s had moments of heartache, loss, hurt feelings, sickness, failures, hard, warfare… but, there isn’t a thing that I would change, nor a thing that I need healing from going in to 2016. Nothing that I feel is “unfinished” or “unhealthy” – looking forward, I am just so expectant of what God is going to continue to do in our lives & am so excited. 2015 was a year of growth & perspective change for our family. Change & the unknown used to scare me, debilitate me really, but I’m learning that in the threshold of change & walking toward the unknown, that is where He shows out the most in my life – “exceedingly abundantly above”. When I let go – oh, the control freak in me swore that I’d never say these words – when I get out of the way, when I’m vulnerable, when I don’t confuse perfection with excellence, when I lose myself in the moment instead of trying to control every aspect of it, that is where He blesses me the most.

Maybe Ephesians 3:20 will be my verse for 2016? Maybe “abundantly” will be my word for 2016? We have big plans for 2016 – we’ve applied for Epic Church Leadership Institute (ECLI), we have plans to run a Spartan Sprint, we plan to completely overhaul our budget & fight for complete debt freedom, we plan to help launch an Epic Athens campus, we plan to continue fighting for & choose Freedom in Him, to continue to fiercely love & serve those that God has blessed us with, to continue to live this beautiful life He’s blessed us with to the fullest, to continue to choose generosity, to continue to make beautiful memories, to continue to take too many pictures & over share, to choose love & joy &  peace & patience & kindness & goodness & faithfulness & gentleness & self-control.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Here We Go, 2015.

So... I haven't blogged in over half-a-year. There's a few reasons. One being that my days are LITERALLY jam packed. From the time that my feet hit the floor until the moment that I pass out from sheer exhaustion in the next day's wee morning hours, it's a marathon around here. Another being that I haven't felt like I've had anything super magical to say - my days are beautiful, in my eyes, but they're also very normal (yet WILD) & routinely. I have missed writing - it's a wonderful experience for me. It's cleansing & therapeutic but it also takes A LOT out of me. Most of my posts leave me in a puddle of tears for hours - & I cherish that time - but I suppose an exhausted body can't hardly handle an exhausted mind & spirit often because I just haven't had it in me.

We've spent the last 6+ months chasing & trying to wrangle our three- three-&-under.

Prater started attending Moms Morning Out this fall, 2 days a week, & LOVES it. She is a social butterfly & last winter, being cooped up with preemie twins just about did me & her both in. We are so much alike that we NEED time away from each other - she loves learning so it's been an amazing experience for the both of us. Her personality continues to BOOM - she's loud & wild & overwhelming but she's also so kind to her sisters, helpful to me, & sensitive to others. We've reached the "threenager" phase of talking back & testing limits & she continues to throw the best of Ferguson Fits so we're trying to figure this parenting thing out as we go with her. I'm trying to walk the fine line of not quenching her beautiful spirit, the one that God placed within her, while also raising a respectful, kind, & well-behaved girl. It's hard. And I fail more than I don't. But the both of us are learning about Grace. Glorious grace.

Hatley is my twin physically but Aaron's personality twin. She's fairly observant, she plays independently. Bless her heart, she has all sorts of allergies & eczema & has to get her sleep or she gets the worst back eye shadows. She loves terrorizing my clean house, jerking down anything that she can reach. She is a COMPLETE Momma's girl & although it is sometimes nerve racking to be followed around by a 27 inch screaming dictator, I do love it. We all call her "Catfish" because you can't hardly hold her, she flops about. She's the tiniest thing but plays the roughest.

Giles is the alpha - it's the Giles show. If Giles ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Her & Prater are either best friends or mortal enemies. They play together the most. And it works until Prater tries to make Giles do something that Giles CLEARLY doesn't want to do. Her laugh is so amazing & her favorite thing for you to do is pull her shirt up & blow on her belly. She loves crawling in to the empty dog crates & eating. If she walks in to the kitchen, she must go over to her high chair & shake it as if she hasn't eaten in YEARS. She runs about with her arms pushed behind her like Superman. She is SUCH a cuddle-bug & has the softest skin of anyone I've ever touched.

Watching the twins together just DELIGHTS my soul. It's an amazing bond. If one cries, the other will go fetch a sippy cup or pacifier. If one looks up & the other isn't near, they're off to find them. And watching Prater with the babies is just beautiful - she LOVES them so deeply. She's constantly teaching them, caring for them, looking for them - her favorite thing to do right now is pick them up, sit them on the Hope Chest that we use as a coffee table & say "You know what? I love you so much. You're my best friend, you make me happy."

I am so proud to be Aaron's wife. He leads our family beautifully - he is such a good provider, husband, & Daddy. He loves us girls so well & cares for our spiritual well being. He's a hard working engineer from 7 to 4, then he comes home & is an active member of our family - playing with the girls, helping me around the house, loving me so well. He uses his talents in our church, an example to our girls of both how to serve & the type of man to be watchful of.

I feel like 2014 happened in the blink of an eye. The first part of the year, I was nursing twins (which, I was able to do until the twins turned 1, it was a wonderful experience that I'm forever grateful for) & trying to figure out our new normal as a family of five. I quickly realized that I needed SOMETHING that was completely for myself - to be the best Wife & Mom, I needed to decompress & spend some time alone to recharge. I started working out & have loved every minute of losing another 30+ pounds - it has improved every aspect of my life. I love feeling healthy & strong, more confident about the way that my body looks for my husband, & experiencing the mental & spiritual clarity of focusing on myself for an hour a day.

Looking in to 2015, I am super excited about what is in store for our family.

First off, Aaron & I made the decision to sell our farm in Tennessee. We had been struggling with anxiety about building on it for MONTHS & finally had a long heart-to-heart about our goals for our family. The moment we made the decision, both of us felt a weight lifted off of our shoulders & we haven't turned back since. We've decided to stay in our house in a Elkmont - for so many reasons: we want to be apart of our church eventually planting a campus in Athens, we've fallen in love with Elkmont & Athens, most of our friends & family live in Limestone County, & to live as debt free as possible. So, we've decided to do some renovations to our home to make it as functional for us as possible & stay put. We are SO EXCITED about our decision. We want to be good stewards of the resources that, we believe, God has blessed us with & hope to be able to do MIGHTY things because of these blessings.

Like, traveling to Africa! To share God's love, to help build a care point for locals to receive healthcare, food, water, & discipleship! That's right, I'm heading to South Africa this year & am absolutely STOKED (& scared out of my mind)! I have known for years that I've been called to mission work in Africa - but how, with who, what - so when the opportunity presented itself, after feeling like I was going to faint & trying to talk myself out of it, I've jumped at the opportunity to fulfill one of my greatest life-long dreams & I believe, callings! Please pray for the teams going throughout the year, the locals who we'll be loving on, for my nerves, for Aaron who'll be staying home with the girls while I'm gone - it'll be the first time I've ever been away from any of my girls for longer than 24 hours...

I'm excited to continually push my body this coming year - my best friend reminded me that I used to say "no matter what, my body will NEVER do this or that or be this size or that weight..." But it is & it has & I truly am thankful for an abled body! I'm proud of what this body has accomplished - from dropping 70 pounds to carrying three healthy babies in 2 years, nursing them all. This time 4 years ago, I couldn't walk up stairs without being winded - now I'm able to chase my girls about all day, carry 40 extra pounds about easily (the twinks), & push my body to achieve goals that at one time I thought were unachievable. I would absolutely love to lose 20 more pounds & tone up this coming year.

I also have an exciting writing announcement for the Spring... Hopefully I can share the details soon!

These things may be trivial but they're things that we're genuinely excited about in the Olson household for 2015: renovating our home & building Aaron a garage, fencing in our backyard & getting a trampoline, living a 10-10-80 budget, sponsoring an South African child thru Children's Cup & meeting them on my Mission Trip, attending our church's marriage retreat, celebrating 7 years of marriage, planning another family vacation for just the 5 of us, tag-along beach trips with Daddy's work, my 10 year reunion, digging deeper & pushing harder in Him, sitting at the dinner table every night to connect as a family, saying 'no' to things that we don't want to do so that we can say 'yes' to things that we love to do, loving on our people, getting goats, being intentional parents & spouses, giving grace, closing out the storage unit that I've kept Daddy's things in since he passed, continue to fight for freedom from shame & guilt & legalism, speak life into those we've been blessed with, love who God made us to be, change what the enemy's tried to change us in to, love our bodies with good food & exercise, be involved in our church, experiencing life with our life groups...

Y'all know me, I could go on & on & on & on. And bless, this is already SO LONG, mad kudos if you've made it this far. Mad kudos.

My 'senior quote' in high school was "On your tombstone, there'll be two dates & all of your friends will read them, but all that really matters is the little dash between them." That's my goal for 2015 (& heck, for every year) - to make this season of my dash count. Ultimately, I want to be the best Brittany that I can be. I want to immediately choose positive instead of negative. I want to speak my husband's love language so that he is filled. I want to remember that my girls are just that, little girls & that they're just trying to figure life out as they go, just like I'm trying to figure out this motherhood deal. I want to love my mother & sister unconditionally. I want to purposefully love Aaron's family - creating a beautiful family unit for my girls to feel loved in & fondly remember our time together. And for the love, I want to love myself - reminding myself constantly that I am "wonderfully made" & extend grace to myself, that I am not called to perfection.

Whew. That was A LOT. I have a tendency to be A LOT. I used to mind it, but I'm learning to love it.

Love y'all, a bushel & a peck. Thanks for reading!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Rainy Saturday.

I saw "Moms' Night Out" this past week - it is so good, because it is so true. I laughed. I cried. I laughed until I cried. It was encouraging & comforting & just what I needed. See, I'm raising myself. Prater Ellis is me, in toddler form. And it can be exhausting (I feel like I should take this opportunity to apologize to anyone I've ever come in contact with). She is so lovely & has so many wonderful qualities - she's kind & caring, a born leader & servant, outgoing & compassionate, sympathetic & sensitive. But bless her, she is also a roaring lion - she's stubborn & wild, loud & obnoxious, prideful & defensive... We are either having a lot of fun... Or we aren't. There's very little middle ground. But we are learning... together. I'm learning patience & understanding & grace & FOR THE LOVE, my Daddy's never-ending plea for me to PICK MY BATTLES! The movie was a great reminder than I am not only good enough, but I have been ORDAINED to carry out this mission of shaping & molding these little people that He has entrusted me with. Wow. That just gets me fired up & ready to tackle the job, even when I've heard Mama 18,000 times in one day or I've been touched so much that I just want to sit in a dark room by myself.

I just ordered this shirt! A FB friend posted a picture of herself wearing it & I've been in love ever since. I love that it says "makes her arms strong" - to myself, I take note often that my arms are almost always filled with babies. 9 times out of 10, I have both babies, one in each arm. When Prater was a baby, I was careful to not hold her too much, afraid that I'd spoil her or make her only want me... These babies, they're Mama's girls & since I know that this season will soon pass, I am soaking up every whimper for me to take them from whoever else is holding them. Truth be told, it's total chaos trying to play with/hold both of them at the same time - they either want to assault the other or don't want to be touched by the other but my heart just swells when I see them together & to be 'covered up' by their goodness. Two babies. And of course, I still love when my big girl lets me hold her. She is so independent & grown - it's a rarity so when she asks & I can, I do. I'm excited to have a new shirt to wear to Zumba!

Speaking of Zumba, I am officially down 50 pounds since Daddy passed away almost 4 years ago. I remembering weighing myself the month that he died & being MORTIFIED & feeling so hopeless that I'd ever be any smaller. I was so unhealthy. So miserable. So depressed. I'm not perfect by ANY means nor will I ever wear a bikini again but I'm pretty thankful for the life change that I've experienced physically. It's refreshing to feel up to being active with my family, to feel comfortable in the way that my body looks in clothes, to see the scale & the sizes drop. I'd still like to lose another 20 to 30 pounds - I think it's obtainable once the babies wean & I'm not afraid of compromising my supply for them. I've decided that once I meet my ultimate goal, I am going to reveal my starting weight. This might sound stupid or silly but I was (am?) very ashamed of how much I let myself go after getting married, through college, & during Daddy's cancer journey & I feel like doing so would be somewhat of a healing experience for me, regaining that power & confidence over that struggle. Plus, I really hope that it can be an encouragement to others. I never thought that I could lose the weight. I was contemplating if I could qualify for weight loss surgery. I literally thought that I would gain 10 pounds a year, based on my history, until I eventually died. As someone who can look at something & gain 5 pounds, someone who didn't care what she put in to her body or that was semi-knowingly making decisions to make herself further miserable, something to wrap it all up in a pretty bow once I've reached a goal that I believed I could never accomplish... Well, it would be pretty amazing.

We've gone thru a bit of a budget bootcamp in our household lately - it feels so nice to regroup, establish new goals, & start moving towards them actively. We're looking to pay off Aaron's truck in the coming months & have big plans for revamping our budget after. It makes me all sorts of excited & helps to keep me accountable & motivated. Our ultimate goals are to be completely or as close to debt free as possible so that we can spend our lives & money enjoying one another & helping others while not worrying about that pesky 'root of all evil'.

In our budget bootcamp discussion we discussed spending a lot of time at our land this summer. We stocked our pond for Aaron's birthday, we have the horses there, we have 17 acres to ride the 4-wheeler on, we have a grill, & we have countless projects to keep us busy. We spent the day there yesterday with one of our best friends - we shot guns, along with everything else I mentioned above. It was a near perfect day. While we were there, we burned a brush pile & I organized the back of our barn & our tack room - it felt so good to do some manual labor & accomplish something there! I've pretty much been pregnant or caring for infants since we bought the property so I haven't gotten to enjoy it as much as I'd like. We're looking to do some major work there this year - building a workshop, new fences, etc. - I can't wait to see that place come to life with a little work. Our place.

I cannot believe that the babies will be one in a little over two months. This year has absolutely flashed by. I have their party planned in my head & on paper but have yet to do anything tangible. I think it's a mixture of being in denial & being lazy. We hosted a big first birthday party for Prater, it was wonderful! But then last year we did a small, family only party... Let me tell you, I love a beautiful party as much as the next person, but that small party was awesome! So much so that I think my inner being is trying to wait it out to see if my better judgement gets the best of me & I decide to do a very small scaled version of the party that I want to give them...

This is a whole lotta first world problems. I'm so sad that I currently don't have the brain cells, or truthfully - the emotional capacity - to write the types of posts that I used to... I miss writing on that level of sensitivity & emotion & it was truly beyond therapeutic for me. There just truly isn't enough time in the day. I am considering submitting an article to a locally produced magazine for their next edition.

I'm most likely going to get a minivan soon. I don't want to talk about it.

We've got lots of fun things on the calendar - I'm excited that the babies are getting bigger & that it's getting warmer (contrary to today's temperature - 56*, what the what?) & we can start getting out more!

I can't believe that my Daddy would have been 57 on the 23rd... It so weird to think of him aging & as a grandfather. There are days that are still so hard in missing him.

I do believe that I've cleared my head enough for one sitting... Happy Saturday, y'all!

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