Thursday, June 29, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Refocusing

I love this picture of Abigail -- just so focused on a sick little goose.

I think that is how God looks at us. He's focused on us.

Are we focused on Him?

I think God is just cool. Cool that he brought JB to me as my husband. I've been his girl since 1993, and I love him so much. I love that we can sit on our couch together and discuss our life as a team. He's my teammate. My best friend. I can't imagine doing this life without him.

I know that many of my friends don't have that. They have marriages that are hard. Or they have failed marriages. I grieve that loss with them. I know loss well from infertility. But even that I did with a partner. I'm so sorry to those of you grieving the absence of a teammate. Know that my heart hurts with you.

JB and I sat on our couch a few nights ago and talked into the early morning. We've never done that I don't think. At least not since we've been parents and considered our sleep more precious. We discussed this life we've created for ourselves here. And here's what we decided.

1. We love this farm.
2. We want to live here forever.
3. But we also know we need it to look a bit different.

We are truly evaluating four words:


And if it doesn't bring us joy, if it causes us stress, we are letting it go. We already cancelled one batch of chickens. As I thought about it and we talked, I realized that being a salesman for meat does not bring me joy. I don't mind selling to people as they want it and as they ask me. Just this morning we brought a lamb in to be processed for a local family that found us online. I'm fine with that. But I don't want to have to find people. I also don't want to have to stress about whether we can fit meat in our freezers as we wait for it to find a home.

So we are cutting back. We are going to focus on feeding OUR family. And if we have some extra that people want to buy, great. But if not, we can put it in our freezer, and call it a day.

We are cutting WAY back on our pigs. We may consider not doing pigs in the future. We plan to focus on our sheep and our laying chickens and a bit on meat chickens and be at peace with that.

I write this to say that if you are still trying to "figure it out" you aren't alone. We are too. We haven't arrived. We are finding our way too.

"Lord, this is your farm, and if you show us what you want for this farm, we will do it."

And I believe He will show us.

And I believe He will show YOU too.

Whatever it may be. Fill in the blanks. Your marriage. Your job. Your home. Your health. Your future.

Ask Him to show you.

And listen to His voice.

And wait.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tribe Life Tuesday: My Personal Development Journey

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

Happy TribeLife Tuesday! I am so excited to share with you today! I am consistently on a personal development journey; I love to read and listen to people who encourage me to be the best person I can be. Recently, I have had many opportunities for introspection, which is an important part of the growing process. So today, I want to tell you about me, the girl that you may never meet but may be connected with until forever.
Here is a little about me:
  • Everything I do must have a purpose, if not, no thank you.
  • I’m not very self-disciplined.
  • I hate injustice.
  • I take responsibility for things I don’t need to… but I don’t always take responsibility for what is mine. (Figure that one out)
  • I am an extroverted introvert.
  • I love to read but don’t do it nearly enough.
  • Sleeping is one of my talents.
  • I prefer the nicer things in life.
  • I have my best ideas and am the most focused at night.
  • I am an organized mess.
  • I’m a city girl and a country girl!
  • And, most of all, I want to create a life worth living.
I say we should create on purpose. It’s up to us to do all we can with what we have to make the best life we can. We’re required to do our part and the rest will work itself out. When we serve others our lives begin to take shape in beautiful, unexpected ways.

Each of us are unique. We love what we love and hate what we hate. I know those are strong words, but people are worth loving and some things are worth hating. Again, we hate some things, not people. Like I said above, I hate injustice. I physically hurt when I see the rights of others being violated. Your loves and hates are so important, don’t dismiss or overlook them. 

You are unique; you bring something to the world that we need. Do you know what that something is? If not, find out what drives you and start there. There's a good chance that passion will contribute to the clarity of your life's purpose. 

I still don’t fully know with absolute certainty that I was put on earth to do a specific thing, but I know what drives me, what type of life I want to live and that’s enough for me. I feel like I am going to look back one day and go “oh, I see it now”. But it will be revelatory at the end and transformative while I’m in it. 

So what does a life worth creating look like to for me?
  • It looks like having deep, meaningful relationships 
  • Caring for the broken
  • Giving more than I keep 
  • Loving people well, right where they are 
  • Being empathetic 
  • Having wealth beyond my wildest dreams 
  • Creating a safe, respectful culture everywhere I go
  • Making our legacy legendary
This sounds like a life I want: having more than enough, plenty to give and plenty to keep. I want to create a space where all are welcome. You can be sure that I am in the process of creating this type of life for myself and, of course, my husband is right there with me. Everyday is an opportunity to take another leap in the direction of my future.

Now that you’ve read all about me, who I am and what I long for my life to look like, I encourage you to go through a similar introspective time for yourself. Whether you know your purpose or you haven’t got a clue, take some time to think through who you are and what you want out of life. Then, because we’re not meant to do life alone, share this with your friends, your tribe, your community, so they can encourage you and challenge you to be your best self and go after the life you want. I can’t wait to see what you create! 

Thank you for reading.

See you next Tuesday!


*Please note that content in guest blogs is not necessarily shared by the station manager (i.e. Wendi!)

What words can you say?

Sometimes someone says just a few words to you and it changes your perspective and energizes you and refocuses you.

My friend Linda is a pediatrician who was stationed with us in Turkey. She has amazing decorative taste and a very clean and precise home. And she did just that this past weekend.

I told her that I felt my house was really messy. I'm a very organized person, and I really have been feeling like I have just lost my ability to keep up. I felt like I had control until I started homeschooling with a Hannah in tow.

Linda told me that she thought I was doing very well for living in a house with six people and having nearly ten people for dinner every night. "I really think you're doing great!" was honestly the equivalent of a bag of chocolate and a pedicure in my heart. It truly rejuvenated me.

Of course words have to be true to really mean something. And she was being truthful. She said it wasn't as bad as I thought it was! I seriously felt so encouraged, and like I wasn't losing ground as much as I thought it was.

Just remember that the words you say to someone are incredibly powerful. YOU have the ability to make the difference in someone's lives TODAY.

What words can you say?

Monday, June 26, 2017

We Bought a Farm: I'm Not in Control

I think I want to believe I am in control. But losing half our turkeys yesterday quickly indicated to me that I'm not. We can do everything we think is right and try as hard as we can, but farming is sort of a microcosm of life in general I think. In the end, God is in control, and we aren't. And that's hard to wrap my mind around sometimes. I want to trust God and give him control, but I want to control things.

Don't we all?

I want to throw in the towel.

But I won't.

I just shake my head and say "that's a bummer" and remember that losing some turkeys pales in comparison to so many other things. My husband wasn't here when things went down yesterday, but he took it in complete stride. "Bummer" he said. What else can you say?

And in the meantime, we keep farming.

But we are, as I have mentioned previously, scaling back a bit. We always said we wanted to try some stuff here on the farm and see what is a good fit. And so we are trying to decide what things we enjoy and what things are too much and get our load here to a manageable amount. We know our sheep and laying chickens are here to stay. But we aren't sure right now about our pigs or ducks or geese.

Time will tell.

Again, back to that microcosm, aren't we all -- you and me both -- looking at our life and trying to decide what we have time for ... what is too much ... what is too hard ... what is spreading us too thin?

I thought that living a rural life would be slow, but rural doesn't automatically equal slow. You still have to be purposeful in your decisions. We don't run around as much and we don't eat out as much, but we still are busy.

And trying to find balance.

Just keepin' it real!

This makes me happy

I am a HUGE fan of the Oxford Comma, and use it religiously. Never understood why it isn't required. NOW IT IS! :) Read here for more on a lawsuit that may settle this forever!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Wanting to Skip the Stinky Things

I want to not write Blog posts detailing the icky stories -- the ones I don't want to remember. But yet, I feel, it is important to write about the good and the bad. To keep it real. To not make things seem idyllic all the time. Because sometimes it is far from idyllic.

Today we had a big bummer occur on the farm. We had friends over with a dog. There were three dogs.  We are not sure whose dog was responsible but the turkey brooder was left open inadvertently and one of the dogs got inside and killed 2/3 of our turkeys.

It was awful. We feel awful. Everyone is sullen and frustrated. It is the nature of the farm life I suppose, but it doesn't make it less difficult. I wish I knew which dog it was because I really thought I had trained that instinct out of both of my pups. But we don't know. Not sure we will ever know. And it honestly doesn't matter.

I feel whooped. I feel like I don't want to be a farmer anymore. I feel like I just want to quit.

This'll pass. But for right now, this is keepin' it real.

I really want to throw in the towel.

So sad.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

We Bought a Farm: My Saturday

Shane and Linda are in town for the weekend. It is so wonderful to see them as always. But it was also very fun because I had an opportunity to spend some girl time with Linda and a friend she introduced me to, LaShea. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and and we just hit it off online and were all able to meet today. Today, LaShea was home visiting family about an hour from here so Linda drove in and the three of us got to have a bit of girl time -- thanks to Shane who volunteered to babysit. Here is a photo of the three of us:

Today was a busy day for me because Jacob was off, my in-laws were under the weather, JB was at work, and we have a new WWOOFer that needed to be trained in. But I managed to get it all done including:
  • Lunch with Linda and LaShea at Yoders
  • Three animal runs -- a.m,, noon, and p.m. with new WWOOFer
  • Making dinner
  • Taking care of four children :)
Of course Shane and Linda helped a ton too and together we pulled it off.

I also wanted to share two pictures that I really love. Here is Abigail and Sidge who went to run some farm chores two mornings ago and had breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. I just think they look so old and grown-up here. I can't believe how fast childhood goes:

And then I took this picture today. This is so Abigail. Wearing a dress, boots on, riding her bike down the hills on our farm. She is such a combo of princess and tomboy. She is just such a precious little girl:

Friday, June 23, 2017

Erica's story

My cousin Josh has a wife named Sarah. I consider her my cousin. We are super close. Years ago, her cousin came down with bacterial meningitis. This is her story. You will want to watch this. She says she is not an inspiration, but I think she is!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Moments of our Life

Life on the farm has been very busy, and to be honest, we've been doing some reevaluating. Like all families, there is a constant battle between what we want to do and what we should do. We want to live a slow life, but even though we are on the farm, and the life can look a bit idyllic, the reality of striving for that slow life is not as easy as it seems. I will write more about this, but I will say briefly that we are going to be scaling back a little and focusing on the things that we truly love and that truly bring us joy. We've tried a lot of things, and feel we have the ability to make good judgments on what is working for us and not working for us. We are stretched too thin here on the farm, and are going to work on scaling back. 

In the meantime though, life keeps going and there are great memories scattered amongst a busy life. Here are a few that have stuck out to me in the last few days:

I love this photo -- Isaac needs to have a shoe on to play the piano pedal well. I often will find just one shoe perched by the piano so he can pull it on when he is playing. I don't think I will ever tire of listening to this boy play piano. Bri recently shared with us that his adoptive family had a musical background -- the cello. There is definitely something inside of him that God placed there, and it is fun to witness.

Our geese have been having little goslings. A few of them have struggled a bit, so we've pulled them out and let them hang with the ducks until they get stronger. Then we've put them back with the geese with good success. It's been very fun to watch the little ducks and geese grow. 

Here's my Hannah drinking some of my smoothie for lunch. This kid constantly makes us smile. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Baby Ducks

We are enjoying the four baby ducks we've incubated. I got some videos today of the kids in the garage. Our intern, Jacob, came up with a nice play area for the kids and ducks. We also have two baby geese who are hanging out with the ducks now while they get a little stronger.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

19th Anniversary

Today is the 19th anniversary of being married to the greatest man in the world. I don't say that just to say it. I truly mean it. I love my husband so much. I am so blessed that we still love each other so much.

However, we are busy, and we were so busy that we BOTH forgot it was our anniversary until my Mom posted a congratulatory note on Facebook about an hour ago.

Here is a look back at our previous anniversaries that we have celebrated since I started this Blog:

18th anniversary
17th anniversary
16th anniversary
15th anniversary
14th anniversary
13th anniversary
12th anniversary
11th anniversary
10th anniversary
9th anniversary
8th anniversary

I am truly immensely blessed that I found JB so long ago. We truly are soulmates. I love our crazy life and our crazy adventures. I love being his wife. I love that he is my best friend. 

TribeLife Tuesday: Heart Flex

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

Happy TribeLife Tuesday!!! 

First things first, thank you for your faithfulness in spending time with me each each week! I am so grateful for you.

Today I want to discuss a familiar topic, but first, wherever you are, take a deep breath. Take in the deepest breath you’ve taken all day. Ready yourself to journey with the tribe. 

What is the posture of your heart? It’s a loaded question, I know, but lean into this reflective space and take a moment to examine your heart. I think this precious time of self-evaluation is imperative for our heart health. It’s vital that we look into ourselves and make sure we are actively becoming who we want to be. For me, I know I don’t nail this as often as I would like. I would even love to be even my semi-best me more often than I am, but I am on my way there and it is not without challenges. 

So, let’s talk heart posture; while I’m primarily talking about the attitude of our hearts, I do think it is very interesting how our hearts are strategically postured in our bodies. It’s almost as if your heart is floating inside you. You see, there is a double-walled sac called the pericardium that encases the heart, which serves to protect and anchor it inside the chest. This pericardium fixes the heart in place and limits its motion due to its attachment to the diaphragm, the sternum and the tunica adventitia (outer layer) of the great vessels (Click here for more on that). Needless to say, our hearts are a phenomenon and how we care for them is deeply imperative. 

The heart is also considered a muscle, and when we flex it, we show the world what’s what’s going on inside of us. While this flexing isn’t seen, it can be felt in how we treat others, the way we care for people, the way we talk to them and especially how we love those who seemingly can offer nothing in return. I think it is safe to say that how we flex our heart is our character and, as we build our character, it’s like doing weight training for our hearts. I certainly want my heart flex to say more about me than my words or anyone else's ever could. I want my actions to reflect a heart that is kind and loving and strong. So I pose this: how beautiful and defined is your flex? Are you caring for your heart well?

Did you know that the heart and mind are intricately connected? Funnily enough, before I started writing today’s blog, I said to myself that the brain and heart are different and unrelated; the brain or mind is for logic and the heart is for feeling. And, boy was I wrong about that! The effect of heart activity on brain function has been researched extensively over the past 40 years and here are some of the things we’ve found out:
  • Heart signals have a significant effect on brain function— influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving.
  • During stress and negative emotions, the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered and inhibit higher cognitive functions, limiting our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. (This helps explain why we may often act impulsively and unwisely when we’re under stress.) The heart’s input to the brain during stressful times also has a profound effect on the brain’s emotional processes, actually serving to reinforce the emotional experience of stress.
  • In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect—it facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability. This means that sustaining positive emotions, not only benefits the entire body, but also profoundly affects how we perceive, think, feel, and perform.
  • Scientists have discovered that the heart possesses its own intrinsic and highly sophisticated nervous system.
  • Lastly, we now understand that the heart not only responds to emotion, but that the signals generated by its rhythmic activity actually play a major part in determining the quality of our emotional experience from moment to moment. 
Click here for more info about your amazing heart.

How amazing is your heart! And how imperative it is for us to take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. My hope is that you are pursuing your best life with the best tribe. I hope you are finding ways every day to flex your heart muscle and love and honor others well. Here is a reminder for us all- let’s never get so caught up in our lives that we lose our sense of purpose or our zeal for what truly matters to us. Let’s take care of our hearts and our brains, let’s guard them, and be intentional with what we allow in and what we allow out. You are a gift to this world and I especially look forward to you thriving in your best life. 

Thank you for reading!

See you next Tuesday.


*Please note that content in guest blogs is not necessarily shared by the station manager (i.e. Wendi!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wow -- JUST WOW!

Wow. I really don't know what else to say about this infertility video. Prepare to cry. Want to know what infertility feels like? This nails it. I honestly don't even know what else to say. Sunny Sweeney in "Bottle by My Bed" ... this was my life before we adopted Isaac. How much I wished back then I could explain what it felt like. I love that social media has made this such a talked-about topic.

Braces x 2

Back in December, Sidge got braces, and then two weeks ago, Isaac got braces too. Two kids in braces! Now that's pretty cheap. (NOT!) Isaac was not excited about braces being as he already has a long list of foods he can't eat due to his egg allergy, and the orthodontist eliminated corn on the cob, popcorn, skittles, and jelly beans -- all some of Isaac's FAVORITE foods. But he's handling it pretty well. 

How are my boys old enough for braces?!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

We Bought a Farm: One little goose

This morning, our intern, Jacob, showed up at the house with a gosling in a box. Our geese appear to have finished their laying/hatching for the season and they had seven little goslings to show for it. But one little gosling was having a bit of a hard time walking so Jacob thought he might stand a better chance in a different home. When he took it out of the box, Abigail immediately took to it, and Leeann captured one of the cutest pictures EVER:

We took a little time to play with the goose on the floor:

And then we decided to put the goose in with our new baby ducks. Four of our six duck eggs hatched, and we are raising four little ducks in a small brooder. We have added the gosling to the mix, and it seems to be going well. No one seems to care that he isn't a duck and that they aren't goslings. We'll keep you posted on how this little gang continues to do!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Second Conference

We are holding our second conference here at BAUERNHOF KITSTEINER. It is just a day conference and is an "Introduction to Permaculture." We have about 15 people in attendance, and are having a blast! Here's a shot of how we turn our garage into a conference room:

Our friends: Leeann and Pete drove in for the conference and to see our farm. Leeann was the nurse who was on during my delivery of Sidge. My mother and mother-in-law remember her running down the hall to find epi when things went south so quickly. Sidge and her really have a special bond! It's fun to see. She is a city girl at heart, so it is SO FUN to watch her learning about the farm:

She even got to hold one of our new rams:

Ritter and Arabelle both love them:

I already showed this picture once, but I just LOVE IT. Leeann reminds us of our Joni. I have a feeling, she'll have to be returning to the farm regularly:

Leeann snagged a picture of our meat chickens growing away in our chicken tractors. We are running THREE chicken tractors this year with about 90-100 birds in each one:

Abigail has been working on her cartwheel, but Leeann, who was a gymnast, gave her a few tips, and suddenly she was flying!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ballet Camp

The girls participated in a week of ballet camp Monday thru Friday this week. Hannah did the little "Princess Camp" for the first time. And Abigail completed her third summer ballet week. I'm not sure Hannah is going to take ballet, yet, but she did great during camp. And Abigail just absolutely LOVES ballet. Here are a few pictures, courtesy as always, of my friend Kristin -- photographer extraordinaire. 

Abigail's class was two hours long. They would do ballet for the first hour and then work on a play for the second hour that they presented to the parents. Even better is the fact that they didn't want parents to be there for the rehearsal, and Abigail told me it was okay I didn't stay with her! This might have been the first time I have ever left her for ANYTHING!

With her fellow princesses in the play.

Hannah's princess group. (She is third from the left.)

Hannah's class working on their craft.

During Hannah's class, Abigail walked with Ms. Kristen and Eliza to get a snack. Eliza and Abigail are nearly the same age and will most likely be homeschooled together all the way through. It is so fun to see Abigail feel comfortable enough with them to leave me and go do things!

This girl. She is growing up soooooo fast. SLOW DOWN!

Abigail with some of her ballet friends.

Abigail and Eliza reading during a break.

The awesome Kristin. I LOVE THIS GIRL!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Friendship

This is a big weekend for us here at the farm. We are hosting an "Introduction to Permaculture" Conference on Saturday. JB is working three nights in a row, has one day to sleep, and then the conference. After that he has another three days to work in a row. In addition, the girls are in ballet camp. Whew. It's a big one here!

Even better? Our friend Leeann and her husband Pete are here for the conference. Leeann was my nurse when I delivered Sidge on Eglin AFB, and she and her husband both worked with JB at Eglin. We have stayed in touch since our military paths separated, and truly, social media, in this case, left us both feeling like we were living closer than we were.

My kiddos have only had here for day 1 of 3, but they are head over heels for her (and her husband is a keeper too!). It is truly like they have known her forever. What FUN!!!

We Bought a Farm: They are Hatching

I wrote previously about how we decided to incubate six duck eggs here on the farm. I had a wonderful friend who had an incubator we could use, and we thought we'd give it a shot and see how it went. We put six ducks eggs in (that's all that fit) and waited and waited and about 30 days later, the first little duckling came out. We now have FOUR little baby ducks. One eggs appears to be a "dud" but we are waiting to see if the fifth egg hatches. They are currently in a little brooder out in our feed shed. You can see a video of how this looks from the last time we got baby birds in the mail!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Happy Birthday To Me!

I turned 40 on May 22. Just a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to celebrate on a CRUISE with three amazingly awesome and beautiful women. 

I am honestly not sure exactly how this trip came down to me and these three gals. The Lord really. I knew I wanted to go on a cruise to get a break and celebrate my birthday. Due to JB having just gone to his brother's wedding, he couldn't go. I started praying and asking the Lord to show and bring me the perfect partners for this trip. And boy oh boy, did he.

Danielle is my sister-in-law. She is married to JB's brother, Matt. She is a decade younger than me, but during the last few years she has truly become one of my very best friends. 

Angelica was my friend in Turkey. Our husbands were stationed there together. She is truly one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. 

And Adrienne, last but definitely not least, is my brother's wife, Adrienne or "AD" as I call her. I truly could not ask for my only sibling to marry a better woman.

What I love most about these ladies is that we are all very similar: we like to eat good food and like to take naps and relax. We are low maintenance and very go-with-the-flow. Even though I knew all these ladies, they didn't know each other. (My sister-in-laws knew each other a little but not incredibly.) So this was a bit of a gamble for me. 

Don't get me wrong: I have a LOT of wonderful women in my life. These three women are not my "exclusive" friends. But due to availability and time and location and where they are in life, these are the three that were able to join me for this long weekend. And it was EXACTLY who was supposed to be with me. 


The first part of my trip took place a week before -- when Danielle got me a pedicure for my birthday! I got the toes painted and bought some sandals from Payless! I was so excited to go on this trip with these ladies. I have four kids, Angelica has four, AD has three, and Danielle is a new mom to Peyton. Twelve children had to be cared for at home to make this weekend work!

Next up: I flew from Knoxville and Angelica flew from Boston. After some intense worry on my part that my flight wasn't going to arrive in time, I made it to Fort Lauderdale. I was bummed that due to my late flight, I didn't get to have dinner with my parents and stay at their house as planned. But it was so great to board this ship on Friday morning! Angelica and I ended up staying at Joan's house by the airport on Thursday evening, and we caught up with AD and Danielle (who live in Fort Lauderdale) the next morning. A huge thank you to Joan for being so flexible at the last minute!

First up? Finding that they decorated my room for my birthday! Our room was tiny but perfect. I was so amazingly impressed with Jamieson who was our room attendant. (Not sure if that is what you call it?) He was so incredible. The employees on this ship were simply AMAZING!!!

Dinner the first evening with Angelica, Danielle, me and Adrienne. We had Clinton and Mario for our waiters. They were simply stellar. This is my third cruise, and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the experience. I am always so impressed with the quality of the employees on the ship. The precision of what it takes to take 2700 people out on the water for three days with 800 employees is not lost on me!

The next morning, our ship docked at CocoCay, an island owned by Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed just sitting on beach chairs, taking naps under the cloudy skies, chatting, and eating of course! We truly laid low the entire weekend. We didn't do a lot of on-board activities. We simply took it easy, relaxed, and hung out. We LOVED not having access to technology! That truly made the trip all the better. We didn't take our phones anywhere. (But soon realized that without a phone, no one had a watch!)

On Sunday morning we docked at Nassau in the Bahamas. We opted to take an air conditioned guided tour of the island. Angelica had never been to the Bahamas so we wanted to make sure to show her this beautiful culture that is very familiar to us as South Floridians. 

On our last evening, AD splurged and bought me lobster for my birthday dinner. (It was an extra charge on the menu!) I loved watching AD the mom return to her crazy self as the days went on. 

Danielle did NOT want Fudge on her dessert. The waited painted this "NO FUDGE" on her plate just to be silly. Man did we all love to eat good food!

On Monday morning, we docked our ship for the last time, and Matt picked us up from the Port of Miami. He dropped Angelica and I off at Joan's house, took Danielle home to her little girl, and Adrienne got in her car and drove home. Joan and I took Angelica to lunch and then to the airport to catch her flight. And then, I got to have lunch with my Dad and Mom -- a wonderful ending to my trip as I had been so bummed I didn't get to see them before my cruise.

I want to say a special thank you to my wonderful husband who encourages me to take breaks and recoop. I also want to thank my in-laws who helped JB tremendously at home so that I could go. It was truly a fantastic celebration of four decades of my life!!!

I love each of these gals so much. THANK YOU for taking the time to celebrate with me. We were a great team!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tribe Life Tuesday: Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

Happy TribeLife Tuesday. 

We have all been given this amazing gift of feeling. We get to feel lots of exhilarating emotions such as joy, happiness, love, gratitude, and more. At the same time, we must face the kryptonite to those emotions like sorrow, pain, grief, hurt, and disappointment.

Growing up, I certainly had no problem expressing my feelings, but once life started happening to me I began to reel my expression in a bit, and the more life happened the less I wanted to feel. The desire to feel was replaced by the longing to guard myself. So how do we balance the need to protect ourselves with our right to express our feelings?

It’s human nature to deflect pain; we do our best to avoid getting hurt. There is a place of safety we all wish we could stay in, sheltering ourselves from the shrapnel that life has a way of throwing at us. Unfortunately, authentic relationships cannot happen if we stay in that place. Truthfully, safety doesn’t always mean healthy. When we shield ourselves from pain we shield ourselves from joy.

At my core I want to do well with this life I’ve been given. I earnestly seek to do as much as I can to keep my heart and soul healthy. This is a continual pursuit for me and it’s often a struggle. It’s an unsteady bridge I must cross. On one side, the side I am on, is the kryptonite, on the other side is the antidote, and what’s in between is a rickety, crumbly, old bridge, and it’s the only option to get to freedom. 

So here are some things to consider this week:

  • When something great happens to me, what is my first response
  • When something hard happens to me, what is my first response? 
  • Who is the first person I call when I receive great news? Bad news
  • Do I have a deep, meaningful relationship with someone in my family? 
  • Outside my family?
  • Am I happy? If not, why?
Below is a beautiful manifesto that I keep with me. I invite you to partake:


There is no greater threat to the critics 
and cynics and fearmongers 
Than those of us who are willing to fall 
Because we have learned how to rise. 

With skinned knees and bruised hearts; 
We choose owning our stories of struggle, 
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending. 

When we deny our stories, they define us. 
When we run from struggle, we are never free. 
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye. 

We will not be characters in our stories. 
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes. 

We are the authors of our lives. 
We write our own daring endings. 

We craft love from heartbreak, 
Compassion from shame, 
Grace from disappointment, 
Courage from failure. 

Showing up is our power. 
Story is our way home. Truth is our song. 
We are the brave and brokenhearted. 
We are rising strong.

--Brene Brown

Thank you for reading. 

See you next Tuesday!

*Please note that content in guest blogs is not necessarily shared by the station manager (i.e. Wendi!)