The Produce Box

Is nutrition important to you and your family? Do you want to get the most nutrients possible from your fruits and vegetables? Do you like shopping local/supporting small businesses? Do you like the kind of shopping you do on the couch, in your underwear? Awesome. We’re off to a great start. I have used The Produce Box for 4 weeks now, and I’m in love. In it for life. So you’ve heard of Hello Fresh, right? That was kind of what this reminded me of when I first talked to Lauren Klitzsch. But oh, friends, it is so much better than Hello Fresh (not knocking anything, but if you live in NC, it’s just the facts…) πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

My very first Harvest Box 😍

 I met Lauren several years back and had the pleasure of reconnecting with her on my Facebook mom page. She is the Marketing Manager at The Produce Box, and before that position she was a Neighborhood Coordinator. Btw, how gorgeous is her little family? 


When Lauren had children, her career life slowed down. She left her job to be a full time mama and like most of us, she noticed shifts in her priorities. Lauren became extremely passionate about nutrition and wanted to make sure her littles were getting the best of the best. That is how she discovered The Produce Box, and how ironic that the founder of the company had a similar story! 10 years ago, founder Courtney Tellefsen was a young mom with 2 kids under the age of 5. She wanted to know where the food she fed her children was coming from, as well as she wanted to create something that could simplify the shopping process. (10 years ago= The OG’s. Again…. just sayin’)

So what makes The Produce Box stand out? Why do you NEED to be a member? Here is my “why”: as I said in the beginning- shopping from my couch. Winner winner. More importantly, my kids love getting a magical box dropped off at our doorstep and I swear it has made a difference in their eating habits. Suddenly my extremely picky boy is eating more fruits and veggies- and loving it. I should mention.. the quality is 100%. I haven’t gotten anything in my boxes that didn’t taste fantastic. However, in the event that something didn’t work out for you, it’s easy to switch it out for something different. The Produce Box works directly with farmers and artisans in North Carolina. Before partnering, these farms are fully checked out and relationships are formed with their farmers to ensure they’re customers are getting the best foods. I love this. And why is eating local so important? When you are buying produce in grocery stores, from other delivery companies, etc- you don’t know exactly where they are coming from our how long they were transported before being ready to sell. The longer your produce is moved around, it may still be fine for a week or two in your home, but they have lost a ton of their nutrients. When I get a box from TPB, it came from a farm 3-4 days prior. That’s amazing. It also feels good to know I am supporting local farmers and all of the endless hours they spend working and tending to their crops, orchards, and more. It’s one of the most admirable jobs I can think of. 

More information you need to know about TPB: 

  • It is an organization of more than 200 stay-at-home moms and dads who provide home-delivered produce year round in the Triangle, Triad, Wilmington, and Charlotte. By supporting them, you are also helping raise funding for local schools and non-profits. It is a great little PT job and if anyone is interested in being a neighborhood coordinator- they are currently hiring! Easy & fun, only 5-7 hours a week… jump on it, my SAHMs! (You can apply at theproducebox.com
  • Subscribers have the option of choosing from up to EIGHT customizable boxes and can add-on additional items such as local meats, artisanal cheeses, granola and fresh-baked breads. And since I know you’re wondering, they do offer meal boxes! All down to the recipe. When weekly ordering goes live you will often see new unique produce options available. Such a fun way to broaden your horizons- and your family’s! 
  •  There are no contracts involved, simply order when you like and skip when you need to. Easy peasy! 

Alright, I saved the best for last: Exclusively for Lucky Life viewers! $10 off your first box right here πŸ‘‰πŸΌ http://bit.ly/luckylifeblog [cue Carlton dance] πŸŽ‰

Happy shopping and healthy living! I know you will be as thrilled and addicted to TPB as I am! 
Till next time, Anna πŸ’š

The Miraculous Dandelion Root

When you’re a kid, dandelions are totally awesome. Liam loves to pick them for me (swoon) and who doesn’t love to make a wish and blow all the fluff off? So stinkin’ sweet. Then you grow up and they become pesky weeds. Yay, we’re old and all of our imagination and optimism has seized. Wah wah. Here’s a fun little fact before I start explaining it’s health benefits: Wherever dandelion grows, it transforms it’s environment… allowing more delicate plant life to grow, hosting an array of nutrients for animals and humans alike, and delivering insects (like 🐝’s) nectar where other plants simply will not grow. Pretty cool, huh? 

Now onto dandelion root. This you may not know about, but you need to. I learned about dandelion root a little over a year ago, and all of the health benefits it provides. I [try to] make tea on a regular basis. I buy the root cut & sifted and use an infuser with Ritter’s honey (any local honey is best) and a tablespoon of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. Oh, Bragg’s… that magical stuff will need a post of it’s own eventually.

Side note: how cute is this little dude-man infuser on Walmart.com?! I kind of need him. 

First thing to know about dandelion root: it is PACKED with vitamins and antioxidants– contains Luteolin, vitamins A,C, D, K & B complex and is rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, manganese, choline, copper and boron. The high levels of B complex can act as a mood stabilizer. Second thing (my favorite): it aids in weightloss. How? It’s a diuretic. You will quickly shed water weight- yes, I mean less bloating. OMG. It is also high in fiber and serves as a mild laxative. A little common sense coming your way, just in case-don’t go crazy here. One serving a day is plenty

Now lets break this down [I feel so smart and nerdy right now πŸ€“]:

With the calcium provided by dandelion root, you can avoid tooth decay, muscle tension and high blood pressure. Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in heart and bone health… and dandelions contain over 500 percent of your daily value. Whoa. So, not only are you avoiding a deficiency, you’re maintaining brain function and a healthy metabolism. As mamas, we need ALL of that. Vitamin K reduces the risk of bone fractures, especially in postmenopausal women who are at risk for osteoporosis. It also has cancer-fighting properties, reducing the risk of prostate, colon, nasal, oral, and stomach cancers. Basically this is a unicorn vitamin. 

All of the vitamins and nutrients present in dandelion cleanse the liver and keep it working properly. The role of our liver is to produce bile (which helps enzymes in the body break down fats into fatty acids) and to filter and detoxify our blood. Dandelions aid our digestive system by maintaining the proper flow of bile. They are also an amazing source of vitamin C, which helps with mineral absorption, reduces inflammation, and prevents the development of disease. 

Because dandelion is a diuretic, it helps remove access sugar that is stored in your body. What does this mean? It fights diabetes! If you have diabetes, dandelion intake will stimulate the production of insulin from the pancreas and keep blood sugar levels low. If our pancreas doesn’t produce proper amounts of insulin, or if our cells can’t properly process insulin, it results in diabetes. Because the glucose isn’t properly utilized, it accumulates in the bloodstream and results in high blood glucose or sugar levels. The research I did on diabetes really hit home for me- one of my closest friend’s sweet daughter was recently diagnosed with Type I and it’s taken a toll on all of us. Shoutout to one of the strongest chicks I know, I will always be #BraveForAve! ❀️

 Moving along…. When you break a dandelion stem, you will get a milky white substance on your fingers and it is wonderful for your skin. The sap of a dandelion is high alkaline, and has germicidal, insecticidal & fungicidal properties. You can also use this sap to relieve itching or irritation from eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, and other skin infections

Because dandelion is so rich in fiber, it is a beneficial aid for digestion and intestinal health. High-fiber diets also reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and kidney stones. And lastly- the vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin and more. Like vitamin C, it fights inflammation. Just one cup of dandelion greens has over 100% of your daily value of vit A… so you can fight premature aging, respiratory infections & vision impairment. For our pregnant ladies- getting enough vitamin A is extreeeemely important, especially in the third trimester! And it prevents UTI’s! 

That was a lot of info- but did I sell you on it? Go get some ASAP and add it to your daily routine. I also have a bottle of dandelion capsules I picked up at Whole Foods for on-the-go help when ain’t nobody got time for making tea. 

Till next time, my Lucky Loves! 

πŸ’šAnna

Mint Standard

Kelley Wendelborn, y’all. Probably one of the most rockstar mompreneurs I’ve ever known.
Now she’s gone and blown me away again by launching her Mint Standard Clothing line. “Mint for work. Mint for play.” – I mean come on?! How adorable and clever is that line, alone?!?! So catchy. Well if you haven’t heard about Mint Standard yet, glad you’re here. This is only the very beginning of an amazing line with all the potential and quality to turn into something absolutely HUGE. I foresee Shark Tank, stores, branching out to different states, literally. Maybe she doesn’t, but I totally do.

These dresses and shorties are top notch. And the best part about all of this? She worked her behind off to get it right. Full time working mom with 2 small girls, she did this on the side- and STILL managed to use her full ass in all areas of her life. She spent nights on her kitchen floor measuring out her favorite shirts and dresses. She used a light sand paper and rubbed hundreds of fabric samples to pick the one that was least likely to pill. The material she ultimately chose? Yeah about that… She was turned down by several manufacturers because “dresses aren’t made from this material. Only sportswear.” πŸ™„ (who’s laughing now!) Once getting what she truly set out for, she wore her sample for one full day every week from February to June to make sure it washed well and the quality was up to par.

When talking about her reasoning behind starting this journey, Kelley says: “Work expected me to not look homeless. The girls expected me to carry 34,738 acorns in my pockets. I, personally, wanted to live in pajamas. The struggle was real.” Gosh if that isn’t the truth πŸ™ŒπŸΌ Kelley wants a line that can be worn for everything. Never miss out on a moment because we’re dressed inappropriately. She finished by saying: “As women, we are expected to do so much and be so much, and it’s time we have clothes that can do life with us.” SO GOOD! #goals!

Daughters Emma (18m) & Olivia (3)

Now let’s show off the clothes….  

The Cinch in Navy/White Stripe

 

The Original in Black

I have one of each dress. They are both *SO* comfortable and flattering. The shorties are perfect- my flab isn’t lava-lamping around down there. You can rest easy knowing everything will stay put. πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

She shared her treasures with Colleen & Eugene…

Watch the full video here πŸ‘‰πŸΌ Mint Standard on Charlotte Today

Adorable ladies showing off their MSC looks

Sizing is simple, but I know we all get squirrelly about our crazy figures and what will look best. I chose a medium in both dresses because I have thicker arms. They are so annoying, but that’s for another post… here is the size chart if you need help:

Dresses
Shorties
 

So, buy away… seriously. Buy one in every color in each style and stock up on the shorties, and cheers to a happier life doing it with Mint Standard.  
Oh, and before I forget…

You are seeing this correctly… winner gets to pick out the dress of their choice. Holla! To enter to win, comment on this post and tell us your favorite alcoholic beverage (this one’s for Kelley) πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ If you’re a sober Sally like me, what’s your favorite beverage? He he he. I will be announcing the winner on *SuNdAy FuNdAy* and you will contact Kells for your dress! So fun! Have fun my Lucky Loves!

Until next time…. πŸ’šAnna


Leela & Lee Designs

I’m so excited to share this local business with my Lucky Life family. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is one of the most special posts I’ll ever do… I know, I’m one month old. But I’m declaring it. πŸ˜‰ With rapid growth, Leela & Lee’s stunning jewelry is quickly becoming a Charlotte staple. Once you learn this beautiful jewelry and the and heart and soul behind it- you’ll recognize it anywhere. 

Mary Ann with husband Christian, Lee & Evelyn Ann – Nov 2014
 

Let me first tell you how I heard about Leela & Lee. As you all know, I’m a CLT Find-aholic. I’ve been buying necklaces, my girlfriend got me one for my birthday, and I was so impressed by the style and detail put into these pieces. Fast forward a month later, I found a mama on M2M (non locals- M2M is my online mom group) and she shared a short piece of information about herself that had a massive impact on my heart. The post she commented on was about a family that lost their little boy in Atlanta due to a total, freak accident. Major tragedy that had our whole little tribe shook to the core. Thats where I saw the comment from Mary Ann Ciciarelli saying that she lost her 5 year old son in 2015. She sent her condolences and offered a helping hand if the family needed someone to talk to. My heart dropped into my stomach as I clicked on Mary Ann’s profile and began stalking away. I see this happy family with their two little baby angels, a boy and girl that are around the same ages as Liam and Palmer. Then I learned that she owns Leela & Lee. So not only am I sitting over here bawling about such a tragic yet incredible story…. I’m wearing her jewelry. Pretty sure I reached out to her after just to tell her she was a rockstar. We’ve stayed in touch since and I’m so blessed to call her a friend of mine. 

β€οΈπŸ’™Now, let me talk to you about Mary Ann’s son, Lee. Throughout you’ll see a plethora of collages because A- I couldn’t pick only a couple pictures and B- You can learn a lot about this sweet boy (and family) just through photos. This little superhero was born on Easter Monday, 4.5.2010. 

After some health issues in his first year of life, a Long QT 8 was ultimately found through an EKG which is otherwise known as the rare disorder, Timothy Syndrome. Lee was one when he received this diagnosis. Timothy Syndrome is rather new and considered to be a cardiac condition. After a risky heart surgery at such a young age, Lee began beating the odds.

As you can see, this ray of sunshine lived his life to the FULLEST. In November of 2015, Lee started having symptoms children commonly get with a cold… only with his fever, this meant a hypoglycemic seizure could come on. And it did. At one point he seized until his heart came to a complete stop. CPR was performed for 9 minutes and they were able to revive Lee, but the loss of oxygen made too severe of an impact on his fragile body. On November 24th, 2015, Mary Ann & Christian made the hardest decision of their lives. They chose to remove the breathing tubes as they sang their blessing song to the little love of their lives. 


Lee’s light continues to shine brightly through his family’s dedication to the Timothy Syndrome Alliance, co-founded by Mary Ann. His story brings outstanding awareness, and with Leela & Lee, Mary Ann is able to raise money toward TSA (10% of every purchase goes to TSA!) Also, very cool fact- Lee got his name “Super Lee” because just weeks before his passing, he had the whole family dress up as Superman for Halloween. What’s so crazy about this? Although I didn’t know the Ciciarelli’s yet, I too, chose to dress my little family up in Superman costumes. I truly believe it was not a coincidence, but a God thing. And there is a big reason that Mary Ann’s family was brought into my life! 

Also, Lee’s baby sister Evelyn Ann. Oh that sweet girl. She will forever be the proof of little Lee’s testimony- she looks so much like him and loves him as much as he does her from in Heaven. EA has brought so much beauty and joy to heavy times, and she will forever carry on her big brother’s legacy. 
Speaking of Evelyn Ann she ALSO rocks Leela & Lee jewelry because (drum roll please…..!) there is children’s jewelry available for purchase! You can find it at Argyle Alligator 😍 Obligatory modeling pics that are almost too cute to handle:

Evelyn Ann with her cousin, Amaya

You can order your goodies at leelaandleedesigns.com ~or~ find pieces at CLT Find (within 7th Street Market) & Moxie Mercantile (Plaza Midwood). And in case you have relatives or friends in Roanoke, Virginia- you can also find Leela & Lee at Magnolia Furnishings. 
Now, last but not least, the amazing GIVEAWAY! To enter to win: Comment below and tell me about someone that has/is struggling in your life and why they inspire you. You don’t have to use names, just share what you can. For a second entry, follow @leelaandlee & @luckylifeblog on Instagram! Winner will be announced Wednesday morning- our first preseason GAMEDAY!! Go Panthers! I will have it at your door ASAP so you can rock it for the game that evening! If you can’t already tell, I’m obsessed with mine…. 

Best of luck to my Lucky Life lovers that enter to win! I love you all, until next time….

πŸ’šAnna

Be Still

There are days where left and right, up and down- everything seems to be going horribly wrong. And sometimes I have legitimate reasons to feel that way, no doubt. However, through counseling and therapy I’m starting to be more aware of my feelings and I’m noticing some things about myself. Ha, with that said, half the time I’m going nuts, crying, accusing, feeling like I’m drowning in problems I’ll never overcome and it stems from…. nothing. Yep, nothing. Internally, it’s coming from many places. My thoughts. Thoughts that are uncontrollable and come and go. They’re just thoughts, yet I believe them. Externally? This is just life! Things happen. It’s nothing. Nothing externally caused this massive disturbance of my peace of mind. Prayer always helps me ignore and overcome negative thoughts, but when I’m in the middle of a meltdown I rarely think about praying until the worst of it is over, and the damage is done. So basically, when those negative thoughts are festered into negative feelings, the negative feelings are put into negative actions. And that is a horrible place to be. Yikes. 

Today I got upset over something so frustrating. I’ve been trying for months now to establish a new PCP. I waited for weeks to see a new doctor and literally when I walked into the office today I got an “OMG” look from the lady working front desk. “I’m so sorry, the nurse practitioner had an emergency and will not be back in office until the 14th.” I’ve had a lot of bad luck with doctors, I have a lot of weird stuff going on with my health, and so this was kind of like a tipping point. Normal Anna would rage, but then again, I am on the crazier side of the spectrum. 

I started to find myself falling into a destructive mindset, fast. I also (surprisingly) made myself aware, fast. And I decided to be still. I prayed. I asked myself: is this really worth losing my peace over? Is it the end of the world? Do I even have a reason to be feeling this way right now? The sooner I identified my feelings and what was happening in REAL life, not in my head, I was able to breathe. I only needed to be still. Once I calmed down, I did cry. After all, it’s a frustrating thing to happen. I planned my whole day around this 2pm appointment and it wasn’t a short drive, either. I waited 3 weeks for this appointment and looked forward to it. But I’m okay. Life is good… I’m alive and healthy enough to be driving my car, taking care of my kids, it’s all going to be okay. 

When someone cuts me off in traffic. Be still. So-and-so didn’t text back today, they obviously don’t care… be still. My kids are screaming and the top of their lungs and hitting each other, take a moment (a quick one πŸ˜‚) and be still. This too shall pass. And the calmer you become in situations that you normally get upset over, the quicker they pass. You realize you were usually overreacting. And your peace and joy become a lot harder to tamper with. 

Note to self and others: Rest easy mama, God is good and He is in you. These days are hard but they are good. And when they’re over, you never get it back. Don’t stop. Keep moving. There is nothing in this world you can worry over that would benefit the following day. It only wastes your precious time. Tomorrow comes and everything is fine. Joy comes in the morning, and we get a new morning every single day πŸ’š 

SML: Product Must Haves πŸ’‹

Shop my look! In advance let me say- these are all FAVES of mine. Not randos I slapped on and decided to market (minus the lipstick goodness I stole from my cuz, thanks Ames!) 

Not my “everyday” look as a ton of these products are bold for my taste, but for a GNO? Go wild πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ’‹

All products are listed in a random order of awesomeness except the FIRST and foremost: Stila Huge. Yes Lord! The results say it all… & don’t forget your favorite eyelash curler!! 

Anna without make up= no lashes (and my gorgeous friend Morgan)

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Matte Tilt (bright orange)


Urban Decay Naked Palette (I used Dark Horse & Half Baked)


Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter Pressed Highlighter in Opal

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in RisquΓ© (peachy nude)


Tarteist PRO Glow Highlight and Contour Palette 


IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream + SPF 50 in Light


bareMinerals Mineral Veil in Original 

L’Oreal Paris Infallible 24HR Lacquer Intense Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black


bareMinerals Loose Powder Eyeshadow in Queen Phyllis 


bareMinerals Bareskin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer in Fair 


Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara in Very Black


NYX Professional Dewy Finish (OR Matte Finish) Make Up Setting Spray 


Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brown Pencil in No. 5

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumized Fiber Gel in No.5

Taking off: 

Garnier Skinactive Micellar Cleansing Water


Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash


Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask 


Where to buy: Good ole Ulta Cosmetics has occasional 20% coupons for the entire store if you want to stock up- keep your eyes peeled! Don’t let hubby toss that postcard when it comes! Also you’ll gain points on your UltaMate Rewards card for every dollar you spend and it becomes money back toward any goodies in store! Walmart will most likely be the lowest prices on NYX, Maybelline & L’Oreal but again, Ulta deals come in handy! One of these brands are always on sale BOGO 50% off and when there’s a $3.50 coupon, you can apply it after discount. And bonus- you’re building points for $$ off! 

Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage to do a tutorial- until then, this is all I got πŸ˜‚

Stay gorgeous, gorgeous!

πŸ’šAnna

Pink Hippo Skincare


I’m feeling all the love emojis right now as I get to share one of my favorite local skincare lines with you all. Dating back decades there have been harsh chemicals in most of skin products. These days wants to make steps in the healthiest, most beneficial direction and that means changing what we feed our bodies. We are *always* looking for the safest and most effective products for our delicate, aging skin and our precious babies (let’s be honest, if we all had marsupial pouches we would rock the heck out of them. Protective mama bears unite ✊🏼) 

Say hello to Pink Hippo. First, I have an amazing *TRIED & TRUE* sunscreen to rave about. All the finest ingredients available are used to make this all natural, organic, mineral-based sunscreen. This is an extremely moisturizing SPF, it blends well into the skin, smells amazing, and won’t bleed into your eyes- (AKA the most annoying thing ever.) The 30 spf is tough enough for both of my fair-skinned babies. 

Second is the deodorant that I LOVE! I’ve been using it for about 2 months now and I’m spoiled. I had tons of backup deodorant stock and tossed it all because I will never settle for anything else.

Who is the mama behind these magical products?

Nilufer and daughter Yasemin Moore

Nilufer Tanrikulu is a Chemical Engineer that has been working in product development or 27 years as a Research Chemist. Since having grandchildren, Nilufer was inspired to create safe and effective products for their use. With the help from her daughter, Yasemin Moore, Nilufer recently launched Pink Hippo Skincare. And let’s not forget daddy Tanrikulu- he is also a Chemist (how cute is that?) and has played a huge role in product development behind the scenes. Yasemin is part of my mom group and she is absolutely the best. Family is everything to her, and she’s deeply passionate about the well-being of Charlotte moms and families. The Tanrikulu family makes an unstoppable team, and it’s only the very beginning of something huge for their business. I am so excited to watch Pink Hippo grow and flourish in the QC. 
But wait, there’s more! GIVEAWAY! I have not one, but TWO sets of PHSC ready to give two lucky winners πŸŽ€πŸŽ‰ To enter: Comment letting me know your go-to places in Charlotte to take the kiddos during the summer. Everyone’s always looking for ideas- even though summer will be gone in the blink of an eye 😱 #butthencomesfall …. GOOD LUCK! I will announce the winners on Monday morning!
β€’ order your goodies at: http://www.pinkhipposkincare.com

πŸ’šAnna

 

Happy New Year

Bear with me, I know the title has you wondering if I’m mentally stable right now… Random feelings that I felt compelled to share:

What if we woke up every morning and lived like it was New Year’s Day? New resolutions, our determination at an all-time high, the weight from our past lighter on our shoulders, I mean it’s awesome. Does it really have to only come once a year? Nah, brah.

And you can act like you don’t do the whole “resolution thing”… blah blah blah. Or in the words of Kristen Bell: “boosh*t boosh*t boosh*t” (Forgetting Sarah Marshall. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading right this very second and go watch. Not kidding, scat.)

Deep down we all have resolutions. In fact, they’re pretty dang similar every year. Things we want to change. That bottle of wine that’s calling your name every night after the kids go down. Your dreams that you aren’t putting into action because the fear of failure has paralyzed you. That one dark skeleton in your closet that eats at your soul. The extra weight you want so desperately to shed… anyone? Just me?

Here’s a tough, yet attainable challenge for YOU & for ME. Let’s wake up every morning like it’s a brand spankin’ new year. Because let’s face it. We’re so deeply caught up in the struggle of everyday expectations that we forget how blessed we are just to have been given this new day! Tomorrow isn’t promised. So let me get all clichΓ© here for a moment: This very moment is the beginning of the rest of your life. The days are long but the years are short. So, cheers… Happy New Year! πŸŽ‰

πŸ’šAnna


Stay Together For The Kids

Blink 182 “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” album, 2001. Man. Those songs got me through some serious crap during the most emotionally vulnerable period of my life. But there’s something ironic about one of my favorite songs in history, Stay Together for the Kids. Growing up my mom was single, and she was happy being alone. My dad and stepmom were together since pretty much day 1 of my existence. I would go to my dad’s every other weekend for many years. I was a sensitive and quiet child. I missed my mama. My dad and stepmom would spoil me with all the gifts I could possibly imagine, they always one-upped my mom when it came to tangible crap. It was hard to appreciate anything when you could have everything you wanted. My friends were jealous, ha. Little did they know. 

My assumption is that my parents were always trying to overcompensate and make up for…. what exactly? Oh yes, the fighting. I stopped wanting to go my dad’s house. When I was old enough to have friends over/sleepovers, I would beg- BEG my dad and Brenda (my stepmom) to please not fight in front of my friends. It was humiliating. Every single time, they promised. And every single time they almost immediately broke their promise. The fighting would get worse over the years, there was usually alcohol involved… and when I was 15 I went full-blown emo on their asses. Music was my escape, my medicine. Stay Together for the Kids rang so true for me because it involved struggling adolescents that want love and happiness from their parents. Only I didn’t want mine together. I would pray for them to separate. Pray for them to divorce and move on from each other. I told Brenda numerous times that if they divorced I would promise to always stay in her life. Nothing changed. It was too convenient to stay married, apparently, and at my expense. My father died at 58 from a heart attack. Together as the toxic couple they were, I truly believe they were killing each other. 

Flash forward to my own marriage. I’m 100% sure I’m married to the love of my life. If I divorced Tim, I could never see myself remarrying. But when it comes to us, I despise even the mentioning of the “D word”. However, we’re currently separated and living in separate homes. It freaking sucks. You know what else sucks? Being an adult. The first few years of marriage and the first few years of parenting. It’s all so hard and simultaneously amazing. The joy is overwhelming, the stress is overwhelming. During this time away from my husband, we are focusing on strengthening our relationship with Christ, seeking marriage counseling, and taking proactive steps to improve ourselves individually. I KNOW, based on the experiences from my childhood, that I will never let my babies have to go through what I went through. And I’m learning that my marriage is not my father’s marriage. I can’t expect my life to be what I grew up with. We love our babies more than anything in this world, but we aren’t staying together for the kids. We’re staying together because we made a vow to love as The Lord loves us, until death do us part. We’re staying together because we choose to focus on our blessings, and not our hardships. Sometimes two people have to fall apart to fully realize how much they need one another. 

πŸ’š Anna 

The Choice

As someone that suffers from anxiety and depression, I know the idea of “happiness being a choice” can be rather maddening. Depression is a real thing. No doubt. Anxiety is real, and it’s so hard on mamas. So, if it’s a choice, you’re saying I’m “choosing” to be depressed?! Nope. Not cool and not true.
However, there are some choices I’m making for myself that DO help. Let me explain.

In church this weekend I heard these words and they stuck: “When you decide to break free”. Break free from what? What could I possibly decide to break free from? Woe is me, right? What about that longtime friend that I had to sever my relationship with for my own wellbeing? Am I still struggling over that? Yes. Did I make the right decision by saying goodbye to that person? Yes. Do I have the choice to forgive and move on? Of course I do! What about that thing my husband did 4 years ago that I still lose sleep over sometimes? It was 4 freaking years ago. I forgave, and forgave, and forgave again. I’m still allowing this to consume me? Come on now, Anna.

This is where the choice comes in. I’m not where I want to be at 30 years old. Do I still have great potential? How many blessings can I count for myself? The list is endless. I’m blessed just to be here on this earth, living another day. So why, oh why, would I waste my time letting my negative thoughts fester and make me believe I’m worthless? Screw those thoughts. The choice has to be made for every area of your life in which you are struggling. Sometimes I’m anxious and squirrelly and not even sure why. When I stop and try to identify why I’m feeling that way, 4 times out of 5 I realize that it’s not that important, and I need to calm my butt down. Sometimes I wake up and my day starts going completely wrong. From the start. But from the start, did I pray and read scripture, or jump on social media?

Almost everything is a choice. It’s a constant reminder that I may have to make for myself 100 times a day, in 100 different ways. But not only is this possible, it can become habit. These choices can become so habitual that they carry on into your daily life, and the rest is left behind. Your thoughts become just that- thoughts. They will no longer have the power to navigate your actions and control your life. Start making your choices.

πŸ’š Anna

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” -Robert Collier