Month: January 2015

Journey to Gratitude: Day 16

Because of her prematurity, Bella has been part of the Early Intervention program since about a month after we brought her home (i.e. about 3 months old). When she started the program, she was slightly behind in all skills, so our goals were simple things: holding and playing with toys, rolling over, holding her head up and steady, etc. We saw our Early Intervention worker weekly, and Bella made great strides. By a year old, Bella had caught up to her age group on mostly all skills, so we scaled back to bi-weekly visits.

We had a visit yesterday, and in addition to our Early Intervention worker, our state case worker was also present. Both were amazed and astounded with how well Bella is doing. Not only has she caught up to her age group on all skills, but she has even surpassed her age group with several of her cognitive and language skills!

Today, I am so very thankful for the strides Bella has made. Apart from her size, you would never know she was a preemie. Thank you, Lord, for such a blessing!

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Journey to Gratitude: Day 15

Growing up, our family always struggled with money. My parents didn’t have the best financial skills, and therefore didn’t teach great habits to us kids either. As an adult, I continued to struggle with money until I was faced with filing bankruptcy. During that process, I had to take some courses on budgeting and such, and only then did I learn what it meant to be smart with money.

When I met Blaine, he was already worlds ahead of me. Two years later, he began realizing his vision for an investment in foreclosures that he could turn into rental properties. In 2012, he bought the first rental house, with the goal of buying one per year for 10 years. Just over 2 years later, we have 6 properties. As of today, he signed contracts on 2 more, bringing our total to 8 (well, 9 properties of you include my condo in Knoxville that has been rented out since I relocated to Bristol). The plan has escalated faster than I think either of us ever imagined, and it has been a lot of hard work renovating the properties and finding good tenants (especially since 7 of the 8 properties have come about in just the past 14 months). But when all is said and done, it has been a tremendous blessing!

Today, I am thankful for my husband’s ambition and foresight to build this side business, which will ultimately secure our family’s future. With all of the other obstacles and tragedies we’ve had to deal with these past couple of years, it’s nice to know that money is not an added pressure amidst the life struggles.

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Journey to Gratitude: Day 14

I am so very sore today. But I am thankful for that soreness, because it means I am kicking my body back into shape (or giving it my best effort, anyway). I did a killer workout yesterday, including weights, running, and even sprints. I felt AMAZING after my workout yesterday. But given that I’ve used weight machines in over 6 years, let alone sprinting, my body is screaming back at me a little today.

Today I am thankful for the ability to still do killer workouts such as I did yesterday, even if it means my body will scream back a little in retaliation. I hope I can remain active for many, many years to come.

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Journey to Gratitude: Day 13

Three years ago, I started down a path to be a “coach”. I wasn’t exactly sure at that time what that meant or how to make it happen, but I had done some research on coaching, and I was convinced that it was what I was destined to do.

Then life happened. I was laid off from my then job, I found out I was pregnant with twins, the twins came early, and I lost one after 9 weeks in the NICU. I tried to get my footing back by blogging about my experience, but then I went and got a “real job” when Bella was 8 months old. Four months later, my mom passed tragically and unexpectedly. A lot of life happened in a short amount of time.

Finally, after several discussions with my boss about what he saw as my strengths, I began researching the coaching path once again. This time, I ended up in a certification program with MentorCoach, and accredited training program by the International Coach Federation (ICF). What a wonderful journey this has been!

Nine months later, I have completed 2 classes, and amidst 2 more, and have 4 classes left to complete my certifications. Outside of my “day job”, I have been diligently working on marketing myself as a Business and Life Coach and have been making some terrific strides towards building my own practice.

Today I am thankful for the journey on which life has taken me, each event adding another piece of the puzzle that brought me to coaching. I am also thankful for how all of the pieces of my life fit together now – a great “day job” that allows me to practice my coaching skills and is flexible enough to allow me to work on coaching on the side, financial stability that allows me to work part time (again giving me flexibility to work on coaching), marketing skills that allow me to build this coaching business – all coming together at *this* moment as though it was perfectly planned this way. What an amazing journey! I’m excited about what 2015 has in store!

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Journey to Gratitude: Day 10

Two years ago at 8:00am, I was wheeled into surgery for an unexpectedly early C-section. Pre-eclampsia had ravaged my body, and at 28 weeks, the doctors couldn’t hold off any longer. I was terrified. Not only was my life in danger, but I knew that having my girls at 28 weeks also put their lives in danger.

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Fortunately, I pulled through, and as far as we know, I have no residual effects from the pre-eclampsia. If you have followed my story, however, you know that my baby girl, Bristol, only lived for 9 weeks.

The bright side of this story is that my firecracker, Bella, not only made it, but is a miracle in every sense of the word. Born at 2 lbs and 4 oz, she is still a tiny thing – reaching 20 lbs only recently, just in time for her second birthday. But she has yet to have any major health complications, and is so very observant and smart! Apart from her small size, you would never know that she was born 12 weeks early and spent the first two months of her life in a box in the hospital.

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Today, I am thankful for my little miracle, Bella. I am also thankful that the Lord let me live to see her grow into such a beautiful, smart little girl. And while I am sad that she doesn’t have her twin sister along for the ride, I am so very thankful that we at least had 9 weeks with her, and that we have lots of pictures and video to share her story with Bella as she gets old enough to understand it.

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Journey to Gratitude: Day 9

One year ago, I said “goodbye” to my mother for the last time. Sometime around 9pm, she finally let go and slipped away into heaven, where she was greeted by my baby girl, Bristol, as well as my Aunt Lynne, my dad, and others who had passed before her. This day is especially bittersweet, because it is also the eve of Bella’s second birthday. So exactly a year before my mom passed, I was preparing to give birth to my baby girls at just 28 weeks into pregnancy. This date is a tough one, as it is now marked with two major events.

So what on earth could I be grateful for on a day like today. Well, as I sat at home today with my head swarming with memories, a beautiful bouquet of flowers showed up at my door. I opened the card to find a sweet message from my work family. So today, I am thankful for such a wonderful job and an awesome, caring team. What a sweet gesture on such an otherwise sad day! It reminded me that I am not alone, and that I have folks who not only care about me, but remembered that this was a special day. I am blessed to be a part of Chick-fil-A Bristol!

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Journey to Gratitude: Day 8

I woke up at 5:45am today with a migraine so bad that I couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided to go ahead and get up, only to see the temp on our outdoor thermometer sitting at 7 degrees. It’s hard to be thankful on a morning like that.

It is days like today that challenge you to find gratitude where you typically take for granted. So today I am thankful for my house and the luxury of heat! So many struggle this time of year to have shelter or pay the power bill. We are very fortunate that we don’t have to struggle for either. My heart goes out to those less fortunate on these frigid winter days (and nights). May I never have to know what that struggle is like.

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Journey to Gratitude: Day 7

Today’s gratitude post might also serve as a “you’re welcome” post.

Today, I am EVER so grateful for this time-saving tip from a friend of mine: use your electric mixer to shred your chicken.

Whaaaaat?! Where has this tip been for the past 10 years?! Though I love eating chicken casserole and chicken enchiladas, I always dreaded cutting and shredding the chicken by hand. Then a girlfriend shared this tip about the mixer during a girls’ weekend about a month ago, and MAN! This is my time-saving tip of the YEAR! In less than 60 seconds, I had shredded chicken ready to go for my casserole. That task used to take me 20 minutes (or more). AH-MAZING!

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