Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Scones

I thought I would celebrate this morning. It's our first Sunday as a family back in our house, and I wanted to make some Blackberry Lemon Scones with some beautiful blackberries I found at the commissary. But this isn't really a blog about scones and I really hate when people write these long blogs with the recipe aaalllll the way down at the bottom. So if you opened this hoping to find a delicious Blackberry Lemon Scone Recipe, you can find that here. I used lemon instead of lime and my advice to you is not to pop the blackberries when you stir, if you can help it. They will still be delicious, just purple.

As I was saying, I was trying to celebrate. I've been having a rough time lately. I haven't been able to focus on much, except for my brother, and I've been on this hamster wheel in my brain that takes my brain in a circle back to my brother, no matter what I'm doing. To the point that I had to withdraw from my classes, just because I couldn't. It's been a nice break from the hamster wheel to plan some changes in our house, set up the space to function for our family again, and make it pretty (duh.) It feels so good to be back in our own house, it's been so helpful for processing the events of the last few weeks, and what better way than to celebrate with freshly baked goodies in my kitchen?

I'm not sure if it's the same in other houses, but the kids never want to be right next to me more than when I am in the kitchen. This morning was no different. I had four little ducklings quacking at my feet. They always ask me a million times what I am making and I always answer until the tenth or so time where I usually get annoyed and make a rude comment about already answering that question. Then, they like to pester me by asking for other types of food. This cycle happens almost three times a day in our house. With. Out. Fail. This morning it sounded like this: "Mom, can I have a cracker?" "Not right now, I'm cooking." "Can I have goldfish [crackers]?" "No." "Can I have a graham cracker?" "No." "((Whining)) BUT I WAAAANNT A CRAAACCKKKER!" "I said no. Get out of my kitchen. I'm making beautiful blackberry lemon scones, Why would you want a cracker?! If you could just WAIT a few minutes and let me cook, I will give you something so much BETTER!"

Sometimes I hear God when I'm running. Sometimes when I'm praying. But mostly, When I feel His educating tap on my shoulder, it is when I am annoyed with, and talking to, my children. It's almost as if He's the knowing Father behind me, clearing his throat at something obvious that I've been completely unaware of. How many times have I *begged* Him for a measly cracker when He's been busy making something more beautiful? How many times have I stopped His progress in the 'kitchen' because of something *I* wanted?

This revelation makes me think of my brother. ((I may be able to take breaks from the hamster wheel, but I'm still on it.)) How much of God's beautiful work was interrupted by my brother's choice to take his own life? God is faithful to us, it says so in many places in the bible. He can redeem us, make us new. He makes beauty from ashes - IN ANY SITUATION. You just have to accept His help and wait.

So I say to you, Don't interrupt the chef. If you're in a dark place, or waiting place, or unsure place. If you are staring at a cracker, *begging* for a cracker because that is all that is in front of you right this second,


He's working on something SO MUCH BETTER for YOU.

"Wait for the LORD;
be strong and TAKE HEART
and wait for the LORD." ~Psalms 27:14

Image Source


Thursday, February 25, 2016


For a long time I haven't been able to talk out loud about my little brother. The truth is, I couldn't even speak of him without crying. I didn't know what to say, or how to stay it, and so, I just didn't. I've sat down to write his story so many times and every time I would get hung up on the fact that it wasn't really my story to tell, and delete the whole post.

Terry was diagnosed with PTSD before he was honorably discharged, after serving a four year term in the Army. He was very symptomatic. He was disabled at 70% due to PTSD in 2013.
In the seven years since his separation, his mental health has decreased at an impossible rate. The last three years have been exceedingly hard on our family.

In his sickness, my brother demanded that we not talk about him. He told me once to forget he ever existed and to move on. It's so hard because nothing I write here could ever be enough of an explanation. Our silence about him and his condition was done out of love. We felt we were giving him what he needed: time to heal, on his own terms. In reality we should have been fighting with him, for him, more.

On February 5th, 2016, my brother was found hanged in his kitchen. Less than one week after being released from a VA Behavioral Health Inpatient facility, alone. Exactly one week after the social worker in that hospital dismissed my mothers concerns for his follow up care and told my mother that they had a "care plan" and she needed to let them "do their job." Six days from being sent home alone, ON A SHUTTLE BUS, with a piece of paper labeled "care plan" on which he stated he would call "NO ONE" if he was feeling bad. A paper that also stated his PTSD disability, his severe depression, suicidal state, and anxiety, that was also signed by THREE DIFFERENT MENTAL HEALTH EMPLOYEES.

He went home alone with that stupid piece of paper, that "care plan",

and he hung himself.

My brother. A son. An uncle. A cousin. A friend. A VETERAN OF TWO WARS. Someone who was more loved by so many people than he even understood or could grasp.


I may not have understood. I may have been silent then, I may have been too scared to talk about him before, but I'm not scared any more.

Now, I'm just PISSED OFF.


Friday, July 31, 2015

The Big Picture

I was two seconds away from writing a blog last night about how scared I am for the things to come and my mom called to tell me something really great, which was a perfect reminder that when God opens doors, there isn't much else to do but walk through them.

For the last three years, I have been working mostly full time on a Bachelor's degree in Interior Design. We have always discussed my graduation date with a "some day this will happen" sort of way and I honestly thought I had at least another full year of classes before I finished. In June, my academic adviser counted and gave me a number that made me really happy and after counting {{a few times}} I realized by the middle of January, I should be finishing up my last two classes. This is GREAT news. I am excited to be finishing and getting done with something I have worked so hard on, but that excitement comes with a lot of other feelings too.

In June I shut down SBE. For awhile {{actually the whole entire month of June}} I was pouting about the 'loss' of my business. For years now I have worked, studied, researched, worked some more, on creating SBE, growing SBE, and making something of it. My life the last twelve months had been a crazy chaos of kid-work, life-work, school-work, SBE-work, and house-work. There were weeks where I was going non-stop from 5am until 10 o'clock at night - days where I literally didn't sit, except for at dinner. And when we decided in June that I needed to set SBE aside, for the bigger picture, and it freed up a good portion of my day, I literally didn't know what to do with my hands. I've been afraid to write about this because I was worried about what people would think were the reasons we decided to stop putting energy into it, after working so hard to get where we were; if it's really making money, why stop? One of the main reasons was because we decided to home school. Homeschooling is right for our family for a number of reasons {{I'm not going into right now}} and if you are already so busy that you don't sit down but once a day, it would be nearly impossible add that too your day. J was {{rightfully}} worried about my ability to juggle it all. Another main {{and probably more important}} reason is because it was just time. I realized a few months back that SBE was never meant to be my life long goal. In fact, part of the chaos was getting SBE handled and then working on my school work, for my actual life long goal. One day after praying for guidance on the whole situation, I saw the video testimony of someone I admire and she was saying how she felt like a failure for closing her business. God told her it would be okay because He had bigger things in mind for her, later. Sometimes those immediate answers are the ones you need to hear the most. I never dreamed that my little business would become what it did. Say what you will but I sold several thousands of dollars worth of glass mugs last year {{maybe not tens of thousands, but it was only my second real year in business.}} Glasses that I designed. FROM OUR HOUSE. That's nothing to sneeze at when you're working around a family schedule, a full time school schedule, and a military schedule. Running SBE and doing it all myself and figuring things out as I went taught me so much about the business side of, well, business-ing {{that's a word, right?}} The experiences I have gained from SBE will be invaluable in the future when I am ready to start again, on the bigger picture, later.

That brings me back to the things to come. Though I whole-heartedly feel that homeschooling is for us, the way our schedules are right now, with my school ending, and J's work schedule as busy as ever, we have decided to send Bug back to school this year. My baby is going to first grade. She's a very bright little girl and our main reason for homeschooling is because of how bored she was in kindergarten. But I have been assured by the school counselor they will pay very close attention to Bug and make sure she is being properly challenged. 2.0 is also going to school this year, and Baby J will also start preK after she turns three in the fall. Their level of excitement and readiness {{somewhat}} eases my anxiety {{why is the world so scary!?}} about them being away from me for most of the day. This change is probably going to be the hardest on me. I have been at home with them since before I even had Bug, and now three of the four will be gone for most of the day. {{Have I ever mentioned I'm a control freak?}} I know they have to grow up some day, but I just want them to stay little and innocent forever {{is this too much to ask for?!}} I'm not ready for them not to need me the way they always have. I also know that easing them into a school routine will be much easier than dumping them in daycare when it's time for my internship {{and hopefully a full time job}} and leaving it up to them to adjust on their own. My BFF said something that will stay with me forever, "Who are we without them?" And that's exactly it. I have all these things I want to do but I know in the depths of my being that none of it will ever compare... to them.

The last big thing to come is a doozy. It's also scary {{and wonderful, and exciting, and overwhelming}} but we think it's what is going to be the best start for our big picture: the kids and I will be staying with my mom in CA for my internship. I'm not sure if you've ever looked at Fort Polk on a map, but we are sort of in the middle of nowhere. There isn't much around and though I do have a couple options for interning out here, they won't really be as outstanding as they will be in the bay area in CA, nor will they be even close to where I would like to go with my career. This is a problem solved for me and things have fallen together so well with it, there is only one explanation {{remember those doors I was speaking of?}} As for fear of all the scary changes, I have decided to embrace it. My friend wrote about fear on her {{wonderful}} blog, she said, "At every transition the devil will send a spirit of fear, but 'I have not given you a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and self-discipline.' 2 Timothy 1:7."

So here's to the big picture, opening doors, and family <3.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A New Direction

It has been one heck of a year. If you've ever PCS moved, you know that the month before it happens life kind of stops while you prepare everything to move. You can't shop, plan trips, schedule appointments, make business decisions, or make changes to your house, because in a month you will be some where else anyways. Then you PCS and life picks back up in fast forward to make up for the time you were sitting in limbo... Our recent transition was like limbo on steroids. We Murphey's Law'd the heck out this move, with four small kids in tow ((life is an adventure!))

Let's do a brief update on the last few months and then I'll tell you the new plans I have for this blog ((it's going places, people!)) Bug is getting ready to celebrate her fifth birthday and is less than two weeks from starting school ((eek! my baby!)) 2.0 is going to be three and recently conquered the potty. Baby J is going to be 2. She is our sweet, cuddly kid, and Cash-man is coming up on seven months. All of them are beautiful ((I'm totally biased)) healthy, and smart individuals, each with their own personalities and quirks. Sugar Bee's Engraving is doing well. June 15th to July 15th was my best month ever, I was recently contacted and asked to be a vendor at a major comic convention, and I have big SBE plans for Louisiana. I am about to start school back up, full time, after a long break from having Cash-man. It was a lot longer than I anticipated, but we found out we were ten weeks out from a PCS ((yes, ONLY ten weeks notice - it happens people!)) so I extended it until we were settled. And J is great. He's been my solid ground just about since we met. He's so much better about going with the flow of our "adventures" than I am. The last year has really taught me how little control I have over most things and I am a lot better about bending to the changes than I was, but it's only because I have my husband and prayer.

So here we are a PCS complete but not finished ((why does un-packing boxes make such a fat mess?)) One of the biggest transitions for me this move has been our housing. We moved from our big, beautiful, perfectly organized ((ok, mostly)) house, onto post ((womp womp.)) It wasn't a surprise. We knew it was going to happen. We even knew the floor plan, the square footage, the neighborhood, before we even arrived. But I would be lying if I told you that I was happy when we actually got to walk through it. It's small, dark, the layout is awful, don't get me started on the flooring ((I mean, who doesn't want carpet in their dining room and bathroom vanity area?)) and it's old. All of it. In fact, I'd wager that the last renovation was done before I was even out of elementary school. Here I am, a design student walking through a house full of problems that people will be paying me to fix in a few years, eye-twitch and all. Now, I know what you're thinking, 'it's "free,"' 'it's easy,' 'then just go live off post.' Blah blah blah. There is pretty much nothing in this town. It's ok. You can think that's an exaggeration, I did too, until we got here. House prices are inflated because it's a military town and no one wants to live on post. Rental prices are even higher because of the same reason, and I'm sorry ((not sorry)) but I refuse to spend $1600 to live in somebody else's (('nuff said)) three bedroom house as a family of six, even if it is *only* (("OOOOOONNNLLLYY")) for three years.

One thing that I understand is this isn't an issue with just this post. Much of Post housing is outdated, small, laid out in odd ways, and dark ((oh the darkness.)) From here on out this blog will chronicle how to accommodate less than desirable: floor plans, home age, and ((DUN DUN DUN!!)) poor lighting; using the furniture items that you have, up-cycling, a little paint, and a WHOLE lot of love!

We'll go, "From Base Housing to Home."

P.S. Please bear with me while I adjust, and make changes to, the blog. It's a mess!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meant to Be

ok, ok, it's been awhile {{seriously though, since February?!}} and a LOT has changed since my last 'it's time to count my blessings' post. I could go into a long detailed post about how big Bug is, how 2.0 is the smallest walking attitude I have EVER met, how Baby J lights up our whole day, or how having three children under four kind of feels like being pecked alive by seagulls, but I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to tell you about this funny thing that happened to me in the end of May. To start this story off properly, I need to back up and start where two of my best recent stories start: This one time at pre-pregnancy weight...

I was just finishing a neighborhood group boot camp workout. It was after bed time {{blessed, sacred bedtime}} and I was on the phone with my beloved - who was out of town, pouring myself a nice glass of Moscato {{what you don't celebrate your bad ass workouts with wine?}} when suddenly, I didn't feel so hot. I quickly got off the phone and then promptly dry heaved into the kitchen sink. Now, for most people this may have sent up some serious red flags about the goings on in their bodies, but I *had* just finished like a thousand {{fifty}} burpees, it was possible my chicken salad had not been enough of a dinner and, as I gazed at the bottle of wine I was fixin to open, it was also very likely I may have been dehydrated; So I opted for a thermos of water and went about my evening with no other issues. A few days later while I was de-newborn-babying my house, it happened again. Just randomly dry heaved and then I was fine. In fact, it happened three more times over the next five days. I wasn't really sure why it was happening. I was drinking water. I was eating well. I was working out. AND I had an IUD in so that nixed the most obvious explanation, right? {{RIGHT?!}} After the whole Baby J 'mishap' I had opted for Paraguard. Hormone free. Goes in and you don't have to think about it ever again. And we've all seen the commercials. Those things are more than 99% effective. Effectiveness is what we were going for, so Paraguard it was. Well, after the third time in a week I started feeling really sick, dry heaved, and then felt much better, I decided to tell someone. Let's face it people, there aren't many flu's you can catch where you dry heave and then feel better and have no other symptoms, but there is also a large river in Egypt called denial. It was at this time a friend urged me to take a pregnancy test. I was really doubtful and really only took the test so I could wave the BFN in her face and say, "SEEEEE?!" The joke was on me though, the damn thing was positive before the control line even showed up... Hilarity ensues as I try to make the whole thing make sense in my brain while dealing with doctors that I have since quit. The flabbergasted "OH NO! That's what my wife has!" I got from my PCM was not very comforting. Then he used the word "Placebo" in a sentence while discussing my IUD, and by the time I left the office I was twitching and laughing maniacally like a psycho on the edge. A few days later my OB, who was just as horrified appalled shocked as I was, confirmed that there was in fact a baby in there and that there was no IUD {{which was really the best case scenario of the three that could have played out.}} Not only was there a baby, but it measured almost 8 weeks, and was moving and jumping around. Doing some research of my own I found out that the more kids you have, the more likely an IUD is to fall out. In fact, if you have three or more kids, your chances of it coming out rise to about ten percent. That's right people, chew on that little statistic for a minute. TEN PERCENT. That means, that for me {{and anyone else who has had three or more kids}} the IUD is only 90% effective. Also, without being graphic, I had some symptoms of it falling out that no one ever discussed with me and since I had just had a baby, I passed the symptoms off as that {{My point here is to read the fine print.}}

You would think that at this point I would have had a nervous breakdown about the reality of the situation, but I think as soon as I peed on that damn stick and it was positive so fast I had decided that I was CLEARLY {{CLEARLY!!}} not in control of the situation and the best thing to do was to just ride it out and give it to God. So, here we go again... for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW {{and yes, if you're counting that's four kids in five years, and in case you had some how missed it, YES, we DO know what causes it.}}

Our fourth child {{and LAST - GOD WILLING}} and first son is due on January 9th, 2014

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I am a firm believer that God gives you what you need exactly when you need it. Sometimes we recognize it right away; sometimes it takes hindsight to understand. I'm also a firm believer that if you are open to good things, good things will happen to you {{If you build it they will come, so to speak.}} Whether you're a believer in Him or not, focusing on the good things in your life will always keep the focus off of the bad. Recently, I have been too focused on the bad. Not only have I been trudging through my own gutter but I feel like I've let the negatively of others impact my own positivity. I am not this person. I refuse to be this person. Today, I read a blog about a girl who was driving home from work, hit a wall of water and was swept away by the current. Suddenly, her normal drive home turned into a life or death situation. She called upon God to save her life and through prayer she was able to keep her wits about her and He did {{Say what you want if you don't believe, but the truth is, in the 'foxhole' we are ALL believers.}}

For a number of reasons that I'm not going to waste your time with, I have let myself get into a grumpy slump. The problem with these is that they turn into vicious cycles and I have been praying for help out of it {[I really don't want to be the lady that does nothing but complain about her crazy kids}} and this morning I got it. In some weird way this blog, which I came upon by happenstance, while doing an assignment that had nothing to do with the post I read, made me realize that I am in a slump because I have not been celebrating the things that I should be.

So in an effort to get back into routinely blogging and an effort to get out of my slump, I'm going to start a weekly Celebrations post. I have too many things to celebrate to lose sight of them to things that aren't worth my time.


2.0 is communicating! She is almost 16 months old now and she is saying so much now. Amongst my favorites: "That's silly!" "That's punnay!" {{Funny}} "Yyyyeeeaaaaaa!" {{her answer to anything we ask her. Much better than No.}} And of course, "Nack" and "dink," {{snack and drink.}} Gone are the days of trying to figure out the source of the broken sound {{ok, mostly gone.}}

This face

House Royalty

{{What? You don't have royalty in your house??}}

The few moments after J walks in from work. The house could have been in full-on anarchy and he walks in and everything is sparkles and rainbows for a few minutes. The daddy's-home-giggles are the best part of my day! {{And they keep me from drinking heavily}}

I am super thankful for school. I barely get adult interaction during the day and school is one thing thats all mine and because I'm focusing on something that I love it makes it my little escape. I am very lucky that I get to focus on something I love, that fulfills me so. The level of fulfillment I get from it is *disgusting*. I also joined ASID {{American Society of Interior Design}} yesterday. I am now a student member. It's not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things right now, but it will be great in the future.

My last celebration for the week is for my Spark. Gotta love anything that makes Mommy feel like a million bucks and get things accomplished during the day!! Whoo hoooo!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I. Am. A. Huge. Nerd.

So, that's really not that surprising, huh?

This week I have used my school work as a key distraction from things I'd rather not think or focus on. On Tuesday I got my latest book stipend from my favorite Uncle Sam {{WOO HOO!! I'm rich!}} and before I went too crazy with it, I decided to check my course needs for my next round of classes {{Womp, womp... I'm poor!}}

My next two classes are Textiles and Visual Indication {{more drawing}}. I'm excited about the visual indication class because I get to use fancy markers {{oh to be simple}} but I am a giggly, Irish-jig-dancing-when-the-mail-lady-delivered-my-book, mess, about the Textiles class.

When I was seven, I would tell my mom that I wanted to go to an Art School for Interior Design {{I also wanted to be a Marine Biologist and a Forest Ranger.}} Going to design school has been something I have wanted to do forever. Now, not only am I doing that, but in a few weeks I'll be starting course work for my actual field of study!

I get to take a class All. About. Fabric.


Of two things I am ABSOLUTELY certain:

I. Am. A HUGE nerd.


I am doing EXACTLY what I'm supposed to be!

P.S. Sorry, Mail Lady.