Monday, December 31, 2012

Here's to 2012 and the Future!

Wow. 2012 was a milestone year!

I entered my final semester of college & last term of the vet tech program, and boy was it a busy one!

 After 2 and half years my braces finally came off  just in time for graduation!

I had an amazing Spring Break at the beach with my family.

 After what seemed like a lifetime, I was officially pinned as a veterinary technician!

  I graduated from college and then passed my board exam and became a CVT!
 Isaac and I started dating, and it has been without a doubt one of the best decisions I have made!
 My best friend from Indiana came down and we went to Disney World and Universal Studios.
 I spent many memorable hours doing what I love, riding and being around the horses.

 Isaac and I went on many adventures and grew closer together.
 I took an AMAZING trip back up to Indiana, my old stomping grounds, and reunited with my childhood riding instructor and mentor, Ty.

 Isaac and I celebrated 6 months together and couldn't be happier!

 Delilah and I continued to do what we loved to do, Jump.

I celebrated a year of working with one of  the best Animal Hospitals, with the best team of people I could ever ask for..who are more like family than coworkers to me!
 Dad moved to Alabama in October to start his new job, and after months of being separated, we were blessed to all be together for Christmas this year. The perfect end to such a whirlwind of a year!

So much happened this year, so many milestones in my life, and so many blessings. 
This year was a year of roller coaster highs and lows. 
So many memories made with my family and friends.

It would be shameful right now to not thank God for how richly He has blessed this year. 
He blessed me with so many opportunities, and helped me achieve so many goals. 
He gave me more this year than I ever deserved to have, he has filled my cup to the brim and it runneth over with joy!

Looking back on this year I can't help but smile and be amazed, yet as it draws to a close I am looking forward to 2013 and what it may have in store.
I have a feeling that 2013 will be no less of a whirlwind than 2012 was, in fact, I have a hunch that this coming year is going to make 2012 look like a mellow year. ha ha.
Lord willing, 2013 will bring many life changes:
(Which means starting a new life, in a new town, with many changes -including a new job!)

I am determined  to really utilize this blog in 2013 by taking the time to document what happens as much as I possibly can. I know in years to come I will be glad that I took the time to write about the wedding & the move to Alabama (and everything else that may come my way) and I want all of you readers to be a part of  this upcoming chapter in my life!

I also have many goals swirling around in my all know how much I love to make lists, goals, and resolutions! I have decided to keep my list small, so that I can ensure that I have the time and energy to focus on them! Granted, my life is in the Lord's hands, and many times things do not go according to my plans....yet that is what makes the new year so exciting! It is a new chapter, full of curiosity and wonder of what is to come and all the opportunities that may arise!

1. Get to know God and His word better: I am almost embarrassed at times by how little I truly know in regards to God and what His word says...I want to make sure I set aside time each day to lean more about Him, and to really study the bible and gain a more knowledgeable understanding of it all. I want to grow closer to the Lord.

 2. Manage my money and finances: My goal this year is to give, save, and manage! I want to give as much as I possibly can to the church and those in need. I also want to increase my savings and put more into my "emergency fund", and I really want to keep track of where every single dollar goes, to see where I'm spending too much and what I can do to change that.(thanks Isaac for the inspiration to add this resolution!)

3. Be in the best shape I can possibly be in time for Tough Mudder GA in April! I am documenting my wellness journey on this blog and will be posting my month #1 recap later this week!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Love Chew Toys

Hey guys!!!! So Mom has been pretty busy working because of the holidays ( that's ok because I get to go to work with her, it's my job to play with all the dogs who come to visit!! its the best job EVER and I'm really good at it). So I decided it was about time I posted on here.

I'm pretty happy right now.
Mom was running around all day yesterday cleaning and wrapping these really cool looking chew toys up ( she wouldn't let me chew them but I think they are all for me...I've never seen chew toys in so many different shapes and sizes!) and then she put them all under this tree that we brought inside and hung little chew toys on it... not sure why because I never get to bring the tree beaches I find inside! I like this holiday though, chew toy holidays are the best!!

Anyways, I have been really good at guarding all my wrapped chew toys under the tree and can't wait to rip all the paper. Plus, all of my Mom's family came home from Alabama to visit for my chew toy holiday! She's really happy they are home and I am too! My human brother Abel is back and we get to play every single day.



Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut

What happened last Friday in Connecticut is still weighing heavy on my heart and mind. I cannot fathom or imagine the emptiness, pain, and unimaginable sadness that the families of these lost loved ones and children are experiencing. The questions they have, the feeling that this pain in their hearts will never be lifted, the longing for someone that is no longer here on earth. I am not a parent, but I am the big sister to a little brother...and the mere thought of losing him in that way is almost unbearable. My heart is broken, and I have them on my mind and in my prayers daily. I know God has the power to comfort them in a way no one here in this world is capable of.

 I hope you all will take the time to be in prayer for everyone involved in this tragedy, that God will take up the mothers, fathers, grandparents , brothers and sisters and relatives up in His arms and  comfort them.

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all our comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted in God."- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Lane

^ left to right: Sisters Hannah & Sara, friends Hannah & Kelsey, me.

^ my sisters : Hannah, Sara and I. 
(still missing half the crew as the 3 youngest siblings are with mom visiting Dad in Alabama!
 read more about that HERE)
 ^and they say grandma got ran over by a reindeer..... 
^ innocent observer...plotting his attack. 

There has been a lot of Christmas cheer going on around this house and neighborhood lately. Despite the 70-80 degree weather, Floridians are quite determined to spread the Christmas spirit! The other day two of my sisters( Sara and Hannah) and my two dearest friends( Hannah and Kelsey) joined me for an outing to Christmas Lane- a popular place here in Central Florida. It's someone's front yard and house that has turned into a holiday outing tradition for everyone! There are hundreds lights, Santa, and loads of all things Christmas! It's quite impressive for someone's front yard. My sister's and I also picked up a tree and spent the evening decorating it....with the help of my pup Titus and our cat shadow.

Is it just me, or is it amazing how quickly the END of the year is approaching?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Wellness Journey: Tough Mudder GA Prep

 I recently registered for Tough Mudder: Georgia 2013  and will be racing on a team with several of my lifelong friends ( even the boyfriend Isaac is doing it with me!). The event is Saturday, April 6, 2013 in Georgia.

I have exactly 4 months to get in shape for this 10-12 mile obstacle course race that will have 25 obstacles for me to tackle. All the proceeds go towards the Wounded Warrior Project!
Not only is this race for a good cause, it is a great way for me to take the next step in my wellness journey.

In January I made a diet change as a new year resolution ( read about that here & here). Basically, due to personal health reasons,  I went cold turkey and cut out all gluten and processed sugar from my diet. I can't even begin to tell you what I change it has made in my overall health ( chronic stomach pains are gone!). I also can't believe I have been on this diet for almost a year!

While I now seem to have a good handle and balance on my diet, I have realized that my fitness level is extremely low. As an equestrian I often ride 2-3 times a week and my job can also sometimes be physically demanding, but my strength and endurance level is still quite low. Tough Mudder is the perfect way to motivate me to start working out and hopefully develop a lifelong habit!

With the help of some athletic friends and trainers, I have a 4 month training program which I began the beginning of this week. I have signed up at a local gym with a coworker ( who is also doing Tough Mudder) and we are doing the program together! I  have also started fine tuning my diet.

I plan to start posting on  the blog weekly with updates on my progress ( the perfect way for me to keep track of it all!) I'll be including diet, fitness, wellness, health, etc. I also plan to do a monthly update with a photo ( like the one below) to document my progress! 

*disclaimer: I am NOT doing this program/diet to lose weight! I am very happy with my weight and am hoping to increase my muscle & strength as well as improve my overall health and wellness! 

Month 1-The beginning!
Height: 6''
Weight: 150.1 lb
Workout Routine: Going to the gym Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday. ( resting Wednesday, Saturday, & Sunday) Focusing this month on developing proper technique& form, as well as slowly developing muscle strength and endurance. Weight training each day( alternating muscle groups each day) as well as doing cardio ( running- 1st week running 14min after weight training and then adding 5-10min to that each week).
Diet: Besides being gluten and sugar free- I am now focusing on a HIGH protein, HIGH fat( healthy fats) , low carb diet. I've been doing this diet for about 2 months and so far I have been really happy with it! My energy levels are great ( no 2pm crash!) and I have also noticed an improvement in my overall ability to focus and sleep.
-I am also drinking a homemade protein shake after each workout!

I am excited to begin this next step in my journey!

Here is a short video of what Tough Mudder is-enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Sea

On my most recent visit to see Isaac and his family in Vero Beach,  we decided to head out to the sea one evening  because the weather was absolutely perfect for a stroll. ( did I mention he only lives about 10min from the beach?! I will admit I am quite jealous as I would be out  there every single  day!)

The beach was quiet, the waves were white and foamy...we skipped rocks and enjoyed the amazing view.

"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net forever." 
-Jacques Cousteau

p.s. as you can see the blog has "grown" a little and gone through a few changes! I would love some feedback from you readers as to what you think of the new layout?? ( the old one simply was not working for me)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The End of My Journey of Thankfulness-Day 22

Day 22-Happy Thanksgiving! 
I am thankful for today, and the meaning behind today.
Count each and every little blessing.
Think of why we celebrate today, read up on your history and
 remember why today truly is a day to set aside and be thankful!
It kills me how Thanksgiving is turning into a forgotten holiday, it's more of a prep day for Black Friday and Christmas ( in fact Black "Friday" shopping now starts on Thursday night! seriously?!)
Don't spend today thinking of all the things you want to buy and have tomorrow.....look around you, be grateful, hug and kiss your loved ones, listen to the stories, laugh, and enjoy the bounty of food on your table.
Praise God for giving you life!

Do you do anything special on Thanksgiving?
What's your favorite part about today?

So that wraps up the end of my Journey! I am so glad I was able to do it, it has really put things into perspective for me and has helped me develop a good healthy habit of counting my blessings daily! There were times when I just did not want to take the time to blog...but then I would remember why I started this! This was a journey worth taking, I learned a lot along the way and realized how truly blessed I am!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Day 21

Day 21- You
Today am thankful for you. Yes, you- the reader. I am thankful to have my little corner on the web where I can write and ramble and share my thoughts with you. I truly do appreciate you stopping by, following, and leaving a comment every now and then. ( oh those comments make me smile!)
I am thankful to have discovered blogger, and for all the blogs that have inspired me along the way.
I have been blogging for several years now and it is most definitely something I hope to continue doing for years to come! I love knowing that with just a few simply clicks I can take a trip back in time and revisit all my old thoughts and memories. It's nice knowing there is home for all of them, somewhere they can live and be saved.

Thank you once again for you support!

p.s. tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I hope you are settling in with your families and already enjoying it all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Day 20

Day 20- Music
I am thankful for music. It is such an interwoven part of me that I cannot fathom separating the two! I have grown up singing and listening to music. Not a day goes by that I am not jamming to beat or humming some song. Music speaks to me in a way nothing else can...and  I am a firm believer that there is a song for every emotion and feeling! Music can lift me up out of a downcast mood or help soothe me when I have trouble sleeping. God has blessed us with the ability to hear, and the ability to sing and write wonderful music.
I have never stuck to one genre, I'm very much a song to song person.

I am also thankful that I have grown up singing in church, I can't think of nothing I enjoy more than singing hymns and praises to God!

Here is a small taste of what type of music mood I've been in lately.
 ( thank you Mumford & Sons Pandora Station!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Days 16-19

Days 16-19 : Siblings
( left to right: Chloe, Abel, Me, Hannah, & Lydia)
I apologize for the delay in posts...blogger and I have been having a bit of a disagreement.. 
but we are now once again on "speaking" terms. 
I mentioned my older sister Sara  in my previous blog post, and had planned on spending the next few days on my 4 younger siblings. However, I stumbled across this picture and decided it would perfect for this catch-up post!
I really can't put into words ( nor do I have the time or space) to describe to you how much I love my 4 younger siblings...and how thankful I am that God saw fit to bless me with them.
I can't imagine life without them!

Hannah- next in line after me.. has been my partner in crime since we could both walk.  We are only separated by 3 years and have grown incredibly close over time. ( part of that has to do with us having shared a room since she was born). Hannah has an incredible sense of humor, she makes me laugh every single day with her witty banter and quick comebacks. She is also the queen of reactions, if I ever need a pick-me-up all I have to do is catch her off guard! ha ha. Hannah is the life of the party in our home. She is a sponge of knowledge- one smart cookie. She is finishing up her first semester of college and I can't wait to see where this journey takes her! She is also the most loyal person you will EVER meet. I love her.

Lydia- As soon as she could walk & talk she always acted much older than her age.. and even at 16 I sometimes catch myself thinking she is my age. Lydia is incredibly mature, but also the most girly girl of the family. She loves makeup, style, and anything fashionable. Her sense of style and attention to detail is something I wish I had! She is full of creative ideas and can whip up something in the kitchen better than Paula Dean! She is also a very caring and nurturing person...she simply loves caring for others. Lydia lights up our lives with her laughter and caring personality. I love her!

Chloe- This girl, she reminds me so much of myself in many ways. She's 12 and is growing more and more into a lovely young woman every day. Chloe's imagination is incredible...she can come up with an idea, and turn it into a play or a movie. She is full to the brim with ideas and  will go far! She is also always thinking of a way to make others happy. I don't know what I would do without her laughter and randomness...I can't wait to see where life takes her! I love her!

Abel- I've written about him here. but I can always say more! Gosh, what would us girls do without our baby brother...although he is far from being a baby anymore! This dude makes everyday life an adventure. He is currently going through a "survival man/ scientist" phase and our house is filled with the sounds of explosions and surprise attacks ha ha! I love him!

I can't believe God has blessed me with such amazing siblings, each of them brings to life something new, and they each push me in their own way to be a better person.
I am SO thankful for them!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Day 15

Day 15- Sara & Kenneth
Today  Kenneth came down from Alabama to visit my sister Sara ( they are probably the cutest engaged couple I have ever seen...I'm not biased at all!). I am so thankful for him, and I am very thankful that God blessed those two to meet. If you ever want to witness two of the most sincere, selfless,  happy, genuine,  and God fearing people then look no further than these two! They have set a wonderful example to me of how,  despite being 6 hours apart,  a relationship that puts each other and the Lord  first can work out beautifully! ( no matter how far apart you are from each other!). 
I love watching these two together, they are always laughing and have a million little inside jokes.
The are happy simply being together. 
They share a love that will continue to grow! 
I am thankful for their wonderful testimony to how God truly does bring the right people together,
 and His timing is always perfect.

Kenneth and Sara have set an official wedding date! February 16, 2013!! 
Let the wedding planning begin!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Day 14

Day 14-Friends
( Hannah, I, Jessica, and Kelsey)
I am thankful for my dear friends. Those kindred spirits that no matter how much time passes in between visits, we still remain close friends.  These girls are so encouraging, and while we are all busy with our jobs, lives, and families, we always try to make a little time here and there
to catch up with each other when we can.
I am so thankful for each of them, they encourage me, lift me up when I'm down, make me laugh, and I know that if I'm ever in need of something all I have to do is call.
It's amazing to see how far we've come over the years, and how much we have all grown. So many changes and milestones yet our friendship is still constant.
I am so blessed!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness-Day 13

Day 13- Prayer
I am so thankful that at any moment, place, time, or for any reason I can simply bow my head and lift my thoughts and prayers up to the Lord. This is an honor and privilege that I often neglect and take for granted. Even when I am in a place or situation where bowing my head or kneeling is simply not possible, I can still send a silent prayer up to the Lord. He is always present, ready to listen. 
I am thankful that I can personally have a conversation with God! WOW! 
The Creator of the entire Universe listens to MY prayers!
Prayer is a beautiful gift  to not only use when I am in sincere need of something, but when I am full of thanksgiving, praise, or lifting someone else up who is in need.  
Prayer is not meant to be a wish list to God, 
but a way to communicate with the one who knows you better than you know yourself. 
I am so thankful for prayer!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Day 12

Day 12- Isaac
I am thankful that today marks 6 months being in a relationship with my best friend.
I am amazed that God has so richly blessed me in this area of my life! I feel so undeserving. 
Isaac motivates me to not only be better person,
but shows me that in all aspects of life one can find a reason to laugh
 ( and that one should never be afraid of acting silly,
 because life is simply more fun when you embrace the silly side of it!) 
I am so thankful for someone who accepts me completely and understands me so well. 
I am thankful that he is my best friend, teammate,and encourager in my walk of faith. 
I can't imagine embarking on life's adventures with anyone else!
I am thankful that God blessed me so abundantly and I am so excited to where
 this chapter in our lives takes us!
I just can't put into words how happy this fellow makes me! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness-Days 9-11

Sorry for the lack if see, my Dad came to visit us and we have not seen him in almost 2 months. He surprised my mom and it was probably the sweetest thing I have ever seen! We are enjoying every moment we have together as a family since he has to leave us again tomorrow. I am SO thankful for my family that it probably would take 3 days just to write about it all! I am enjoying every moment I have with them right now, ( this is where life happens and blogging gets put on hold for a little bit) I am counting the overwhelming amount of blessings I have. God is so good.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Day 8

Day 8-Titus
I adopted Titus from the clinic I work at about this time last year. ( I can't believe it's been a year!!) 
I was in school at the time, quite busy and extremely stressed out.  I had been telling myself for the longest time to wait until I graduated from college before adopting a dog....and then I met Titus. A husky mix with  an outgoing playful personality. Let's just say he stole my little heart right away and adopting him was the best decision I made while in school! That dog was  the best stress reliever I could have ever asked for! ( and still is!) He is my running partner and constant companion...he even goes to work with me and out to the farm practically every day. Titus loves to play fetch ( with a giant soccer ball), and squeaky toys are his absolute favorite! He gives the best hugs and when he is VERY excited about something he will sing to you!( the only time he makes any noise.. ) He loves staying busy ( sound familiar?? ha ha) and is always ready to go out on a run or load up in car and go somewhere. I am so thankful for him, and I told him he must live forever!

Here is a short video of him "singing"..enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Day 7

Day 7- Days Off
I am so thankful for days off. Don't get me wrong, most folks who have met me know I am the kinda gal who loves to work and enjoys staying busy. But I also think one can "go to work" too much and we all need a mental break, that day off, from time to time. ( or for me at least once or twice week if possible! ha ha) Thankfully the clinic I work at takes great care of their employees and not only ensures that everyone gets a day off each week, but they are also  fantastic with allowing me to take quite a bit of vacation time if needed! ( or wanted) Ironically,  my days off usually consist of me being busier than ever, but I'm busy doing the things I love...for the most part ( or tackling that ever growing to-do list!). Today I went out and gave training rides to several horses ( basically spent all morning out at the horse farm! *heaven*) and then the rest of my day was spent catching up with the family, doing laundry, researching a few things I've been interested in, working out, and watching a few movies. Overall a rather good day! I am thankful for everything I had the opportunity to do today, and I am SO thankful for days off!

Whatever "job" you may have, whether it be a career,  or maybe you're a  full time student, or perhaps you are a mother ( or mommy to be!)...take some time off and go bask in the sunshine!
Free yourself a little and count your blessings!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness-Day 6

Day 6- Freedom to Vote
I am so thankful to live in a free country where I am blessed with the opportunity to vote! 
I voted today, and I hope you did too!
There are so many countries where freedom is only a dream,
 and the chance for the people to vote is a foreign concept.
Never take for granted the incredibly honor and privilege our forefathers and men in uniform have fought to keep for you! Voting is a privilege.
I am thankful for this!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness-Day 5

Day 5- Mom

My mother is full to the brim of faith and forgiveness. I have never met a more steadfast woman than her. She married a traveling minister at the age of 23 ( my Daddy) raised 5 girls and 1 boy ( and still raising them since the baby, my little brother, is only 10). She quit her job as a nurse to be a homemaker and raise her children. She even took the time to teach us at home. My mom has gone through much throughout her life, yet not once have I ever seen her throw up her hands in defeat. Not once have I seen her give up, or break down and say she can't do this anymore. Her faith in God is something I wish I had. Her love for my Dad is unconditional. She has stood by her man without question and has picked up the family many times to move where The Lord has led him. She does not question God's will, she simply smiles and makes the most of what she has. She believes in each of her children and has always encouraged us do greater things and better ourselves all while putting God first in our lives. Now I see her as not only my mother, but the dearest friend I could ever ask for.
 I am so thankful for her.

*picture is from May, my college graduation, I get the height from my Dad obviously ha ha!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness- Day 4

Day 4- Spiritual Freedom
I am thankful for the freedom to go to church- today and every other chance I get to. 
I am thankful that each and every morning I have the freedom to sit down read God's word 
( to my heart's content).
I am so thankful that I can freely say I. love. the. Lord. 
I am thankful that I can get down on my knees and pray.
I am thankful that I have the freedom  to serve, honor and worship the Creator, the Great I AM.
What a grand blessing it is to live in a country where I have religious freedom.

I am thankful that I love Jesus, because He first loved me. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Journey of Thankfulness-Day 3

Day 3-The horses
Horse have been a huge part of my life for as far back as I can remember. As a young girl, when I wasn't riding,  I was absorbing every ounce of horse knowledge I possibly could- I was a sponge! While out riding this afternoon I was really in awe of how very blessed I am to be a part of this incredible world. God's creation is truly amazing! I often tell people that if it wasn't for my early involvement in horses-my entire teenage life spent working at the horse stables, riding, training, and competing - I would not be who I am today or where I am in my life today. It's not just the great horses I have had the honor of working with ( each one has taught me so much) but the people who have mentored and educated  me throughout this journey. In fact, I almost shudder to think where I would be if it wasn't for my involvement in horses. It has taught me responsibility, strength,  trust, hard work ethic, perseverance, respect, humbleness, determination. appreciation, patience ( a lot of it), diligence, self motivation, discipline, gentleness, and much much more. 
 I am so thankful for the horses!