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Day 20: My Church burned down - 80 days until the wedding

Day 20: Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

With all of the 'things' to do with a wedding...  having a plan B for 'what if' the church burns down isn't really something I had accounted for, 80 days prior to our wedding.

After several texts and calls from John and other concerned family, I discovered yesterday afternoon that our church had caught on fire, and it is bad. 

I spoke with Father Hougan this morning to schedule a meeting to discuss next steps.  He said he thought of us, and felt bad but we would have to  plan our wedding elsewhere.   

This church wasn't my childhood church, but ever since I moved back and started attending church again, Father Hougan has been instrumental in building and educating my faith. My faith has always been present, always close by - by religion has not.  I am learning about practicing religion and my faith are much deeper then I ever realized.  I have learned more in the past 2 years attending his masses then I have in the previous 28 years.  

The church was beautiful.  It was moved, picked up and carried to a new lot a few blocks away.  Determined to keep the old beauty, the structure and original woodwork was kept but the church was updated, expanded, and more economically efficient.

I was looking forward to our wedding there.  It feels like a home, comfortable and familiar - much like it does for the rest of the parish.  I am disappointed that I won't be getting married in my church, which to me symbolizes the part of my prsoanl transformation, but our wedding is more then the church we get married in.  I think I am more upset about the displacement we will all feel during Mass.  I am sure after a few weeks it will become more routine and we will all adjust.    I know there is a lot of work that will need to be done to put St. Paul's back to it beauty.  

So for now, we will brainstorm options... add yet another revision to my already printed, addressed, stamped and ready to be mailed invitations...  

Here are a few pictured I got of the Rockford Diocese website:



Day 17: Just me

Day 17: A favorite photo of yourself and why

I can't pick just one :)  That sounds pretty self centered but give me a chance to explain :) 

Being behind the lens, as most Mom's are, I don't have that many pictures of myself since I had Brayden, and even less since I started my hobby / passion as a business.  I pick up the camera less and carry it with me less because I sometimes feel as though I need a break.  When really, I think if I brought it with me more for the fun stuff, I would reconnect with why  I fell in love with it - just because I loved it.  No money, or appointments, or editing - I did just because I loved it.  Don't get me wrong, I still love it.  I just enjoy the freedom of it from my eye since I do it so often now.  I love it differently - I love that I get to give that to another family to cherish.  I need to refocus  (pun intended) and give that to my family more often. :) 

Back to pictures of me.  I have a long list - and they all have Brayden in it.  I believe that is when I loved myself the most, differently.  Sure, the parts of my body that I once loved, definitely, in no way shape or form resemble what they use to, but the smile on my face and the love in my eyes says it all.  Not only that, I am aging.  I don't see it everyday - but, I can tell when I go back.  And, that's ok.  It's part of life and I want to love that process, and how I look with the age of lots of love and laughter...  and maybe some stress too, but, it is life. 

I am really excited for our wedding pictures.  It will be John and I - with love and joy written all over our faces...  I can't wait for that!  

So anyway, here are a few of my favorites: 


And one of John and I :) 


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Day 16: My lot in life - My becoming

My lot in life is much the same as it has always been.  I have been surrounded by my immediate family, always.  Even when there has been distance - physical or emotional - we are never far from each other.  

I have always been the child of six to do things a little differently - often against the warning of my family.  And, although I respect their opinions, I know that their choices and decisions and their way of doing things is not always the same for me.  

I have a long list in my head - all of the things that my family said "I told you so".  But, at the same time, they have always been there.  I have to discover on my own.  I also have to suck up my pride and ask for help when my plans don't hash out.  For them, my list is probably longer then they would like it to be.  For me, I know there are many things that I still didn't do - and, I wish I would have (and maybe still will).   My place on earth was meant to take this route of self discovery by trial and error, by being knocked down and getting back up.  My lot in life is to be the child that gave my Mom grey hair and go against my Dad's better advisement.  It has also given me Brayden, and now John.  My journey hasn't always been the typical route, but I eventually find my destination, sometimes it is just a bumpier path.  

From someone or somewhere I have this sense of dreaming big - I am convinced it is genetic - so, my parents can blame themselves! ; )  This lot, this life is all about doing and learning.  And, I am beyond happy.  

I owe most of it to my parents who has kept me grounded with values - but let me fly (even if they didn't want me to).  Deep down, I think they are proud of 'how' I am - and who I am becoming. 


My lot, my family, my choices have all helped to develop the person I am becoming - but, part of me has always just been me.

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catching up - blog everyday in May

So, I guess I am getting about a C- in the 'blog everyday in May' challenge.  

I am going to do some catching up.

Day 10: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill. .... Umm, yeah -I am passing on this one.  I did photoblogs instead :) here, here, and here (encase you missed them)

Day 11: Sell yourself in 10 words or less

I can learn and do anything (and then I smile).  


Day 12: What do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life...)

I miss Virginia, but I love my family more so in the Midwest I will remain, for a while anyway.  I miss parts of my childhood.  Not school - but being on the farm.  I didn't know how much I loved it until I am without it.  I would love to experience that again, knowing what I know now. 


Day 13: Issue a public apology. This can be as funny or as serious or as creative as you want it to be.

I have nothing for this one.   Boring, I know. 


Day 14: Ten things that make you really happy

1) Brayden

2) John

3) My family and friends

4) Country Music

5) Being creative - Photography, editing, painting, designing, etc.

6) Learning, anything and everything

7) Field Work.  I love the smell of spring time and fresh tilled earth.  I love seeing planters and combines that start work early and stay late - often to beat forecasted rain or to get it done well Mother Nature will allow.  

8) The American flag and songs associated with it

9) Shopping (I would be a liar if this wasn't on my top 10 list)

10) Dreaming of the future


Day 15: A Day in the life (include photos from throughout your typical day - this could be "a photo an hour" if you'd like)

Please excuse the cell pictures, but it is a glipse.  

Wake up to this:


Shower, coffee (made a delivered by John), breakfast for B (usually in bed), finish getting ready, walk to daycare, walk back home, leave for work, Manage a "Quality Management System" and all of the joys that go along with my 9-5'er, get Brayden, go home, snack, make dinner, do laundry, get ready for the next day, Bath Brayden, Play with Brayden, say "no" a million times,  Say "yes" and answer "Why" a million times, and in between it all I answer photography emails, schedule appointments, take pictures, edit pictures, edit more pictures, blog about pictures or life in general.  And currently planning a wedding...  Caterers, favors, bands, center pieces, photographers, rings, shoes, ...  Oh, and I shop for antiques or vintage items - always explaining 'why' to John.  "It is for the wedding or it is a prop or I am going to paint it and resell it."  God Bless him, he usually just smiles :)  Our days are busy, and sometimes long - but, I love it. 

Basically, it all revolves around this adorable little man :) 


Can you blame me? :)  He's so cute!! 



Day 9: A moment in your day

Day 9, Thursday: A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words)

a gift from my Mom - does she know me or what! 

Most of days look the same....  The mornings are usually crazy.  Hit snooze one too many times, shower, make breakfast for B, get dressed, maybe make-up, maybe blow dry, get B dressed, grab the remaining bits of breakfast for him to eat in the car or at Mrs. A's house.  His daycare is literally 2 blocks from the house.  I have wonderful intentions of walking there now that it is nice out...  I will also have to get up earlier.  Either way, I always run 'late' too work.  I just say my hours are from 7:45 to 5:15... instead of 7:30-5:00 like they are supposed to be :) 

A few of my favorite parts of my morning, is my coffee - not only is it a necessity, but John makes it for me and delivers it to whatever room I happen to be frantically getting ready in.  From there it is a hurried kiss good-bye.  I love that part of our morning.  It isn't much, but it is the little things that make it special.  My other favorite is Brayden...  Even on the frustrating days when he begs for just a few more minutes to finish his cartoon (which is typically why I run late) or when he gives me his sad face because he just wants us 'to stay together'.  And yes, even though I hear it multiple times a week, it always breaks my heart.  This week, he is in VA.  So, I have actually been to work on time....  which is fun to watch people do a double take when I walk in the door BEFORE 7:30.  But, I miss my little buddy.  I miss his questions.  I miss his smile.  I miss his pucker when we kiss good-bye, and kiss hello.  I am ready for him to be home.  I miss the chaos.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  



Release and Dream

It was wonderful driving into work today, sun up, window down and good country music on the radio.  I thought of the word 'release'.  I decided pulling into the parking lot that I would blog about that word.  

It just so happens that today's blog day #8 is: A piece of advice you have for others. Anything at all.

So, they fit perfectly together.


Maybe I can only speak for myself, but letting go is difficult.  I think it was my crutch when things didn't go my way, I always had the 'go to' excuse or blame.  I still do it, but the weight of guilt, anger, hurt have started to dissipate with my happiness.  I have slowly started to heal and let go.  I owe much or my release to Brayden.  Having this little person completely dependent on me, I released much of what I thought mattered.  Those once huge circumstances and mind-sets paled in comparison to the magnitude that this little being carried into the world for me.  For the first few years of his life, He was all that mattered.  I sacrificed for him - I rarely see them as sacrifices, it is just what you do.  He is my everything.  Just before I met John, I had been cultivating a world of more then just Brayden.  I learned I had to live for me too.  For the first time, in what seemed like forever, I did things for me, not for someone else.  I dug into the passions that were buried by trying to make others happy, I lost too much of who I was.  I finally developed myself and I believe the world brought me John because prior to that point, I wasn't ready to receive him.  

I released much of what was holding me back from being myself.  Anger, hurt, pride, fear, disappointment in myself and others - gone.  I dove into self development.  I find that I am more myself now then I have been in a very long time.  I still have flaws, but they are just intrinsically who I am.  I accept the flaws, and so does John.  


I have always been a dreamer.  Always.  I believe just as intrinsic as my flaws, so is my ability to dream big.  I believe in some ways it has been my saving grace.  I have never felt defeated when sometimes, externally it may have looked like I was.  I have always known that my life would take off, it may include  detours along the way, but I have always known to get up, push through and find a different path. I can trudge through (usually after a good cry). I know that I / we are not out of the clear, inevitably, there will be more events that will occur that will push us back, or knock us down.  But, I have confidence in us.   We create our circumstances, they only own us if we let them. We won't let them.  

My advice?

Let go of excuses to stop being the best version of yourself.  Release what holds you back, whatever it is.  Run with the dreams that are deep down.  Take small steps to achieve them, whatever they may be.  Most importantly, never let anyone hold you back.  Dream Big.  Dream Small.  Dream for now or dream for the future.  Release and Dream. 

PS. An added bonus, others will see this and it will push them - be it family, friends, strangers... I think it is especially important for our kids to see and learn the meaning of perseverance - we should always be the example.

Happy Hump Day!  



Day 7, Tuesday: The thing(s) you're most afraid of

Today's topic for the blog every day in May challenge is: 

The thing(s) you're most afraid of

You know, It is so beautiful out... and I am in an optimistic mood, so, I don't really want to talk about this :) It is a bright sunny day and finally warming up here in the midwest, the topic just doesn't fit my mood today.  

I will say, the only thing that scares me to my core is something unhealthy or tragic to happen to my family.  I know things happen....  I just don't want them to happen to the people I love.  I am sure everyone would say the same.  

nuff said.

On a brighter note; My shoes and handbag match ... well, kinda :) 

Happy Tuesday everyone! :)