When Detours Lead to the Best Destinations

About a year ago, what I thought was my life came crashing to the ground. It wasn’t what I would have ever expected to be in the story of my life, but looking back, I am so incredibly thankful that God decided to wreck my plans!

If you know me you know I like being able to have a plan for everything (and back up plans). Sometimes no matter how much or how far in advance we make plans, they’ll never see the light of day. Sometimes the actions of others leave destruction that can never be fixed, no matter how hard we try.

I felt like the biggest failure. I had myself convinced that if I had been better/done better, maybe it would have changed things. There were times I felt pretty worthless, but then I’d remember the sweet little boy that calls me ‘mama’.

I’m not the same broken girl I was a year ago. I’ve had to grow in ways I never imagined possible. I’ve had to learn to drop the act and quit pretending that things are okay when they absolutely are not! I’ve had to let myself lean on my friends and family and let them love on me and Kaz. I’ve had to keep showing up on days when the weight of the world seemed so incredibly heavy.

I’d never wish what I went through on my worst enemy, but I am thankful for the breaking down that lead to me being rebuilt better than I ever would have been otherwise. I am so thankful for the people it’s brought me too. Sometimes the best things in life are the ones that we never had on our calendar but God always did!

So as I am almost to the finish line of being able to close this chapter of my life, I am so incredibly excited and hopeful for the future!

XOXO,
Leah

Share the Love: Beachbody on Demand

Happy Sunday, y’all!

Almost two years ago I finally took the plunge and decided to see what Beachbody was all about. I had tried a few workouts here and there over the years, but nothing consistently. With a baby and single parenting, there wasn’t really time to go to the gym nor was it that appealing anymore.

What I did know was that I wanted to start feeling better again; physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.

I’ve always been someone that feels my best when I’m able to get my body moving on a daily basis, and if we’re being honest, I hated how I felt during most of my pregnancy and post-partum. I had been around the same weight for years, so even healthy weight gain was hard to accept.

About 7 months along

The way I saw it, I could have a pity party and continue to not feel great about myself, or I could pick myself back up and do something about it!

If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram, you know I chose the later!

Don’t get me wrong, there are still days I don’t want to workout, but not being able to make it to the gym is no longer an excuse. Now I can make it work for me and my life. First thing in the morning? Great! Not having time until after Kaz is in bed for the night? That’s great too!

With the help of Beachbody and the nutrition programs they offer, I understand how to properly fuel my body and worry way less about the calories than I did before. I’ll be the first to tell you that I still eat cookies and pizza, and I still drink soda once in a while. Now my body is getting everything it needs, and I’ve found a healthy balance between the fun fuel (cookies, pizza, chocolate, etc.) and the nutritional fuel (veggies, fruits, protein, etc.)

I had always heard that you move through life and glow differently when you have good things and people in your life, and I can’t say enough how true that’s been!

Beachbody hasn’t only been a way for me to workout and eat. Through it I’ve gained a whole community of strong, kind, hard working, dedicated, and REAL people that just want to lift up and cheer each other on! I mean, couldn’t we all use more of that kind of energy in our lives?

Life can get kind of lonely when you’re trying to go it alone, but it doesn’t have to be.

Are you like I was and just looking for a way to make the changes you so desperately crave? Do you struggle coming up with meals that are good for you but also taste delicious too? How could you benefit from and improve your life by having that extra boost of support everyday?

Let me be your hype woman as you start your journey to a healthier and happier you! Here’s to 2022 being the year you fill your cup first before trying to pour into the other people and things in your life. It’s time to make yourself a priority again!

Let’s connect! I can’t wait to hear from you!

XOXO,
Leah

More Grace, Less Perfection

Happy first Monday of 2022, y’all!

I have an endless number of notes in my phone that I just jot things down as they come to mind. Some of them I share, but others I keep for myself. I love being able to go back and read my thoughts from different seasons of life!

Today, as I started a new lifestyle challenge, 75 Medium, with some friends to kick off the new year and get back into the swing of things after a busy holiday season it got me thinking about the whole “new year, new me” mentality. (Side Note: check out my Instagram ’75 Medium’ highlight or shoot me a message if you want to learn more!)

So here’s your friendly reminder:

It’s okay if you don’t have huge goals/resolutions for the year. It’s okay if your goals from last year got derailed, because life happens. Every goal and accomplishment, no matter how small they seem, is worthy of celebrating! It’s more than okay if you’re not out there shouting “new year, new me!”

You want to know a secret? Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean you magically shed your old shelf and step into some perfect version you’ve created in your head.

So while you’re scrolling and looking at the highlight reels of others (because that’s what a lot of social media is), I hope you remember that everyone is just doing the best that they can.

Your meals don’t have to be Instagram worthy or even homemade every night for that matter. Your house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean. God knows that with a toddler, mine never is! Your workout clothes don’t have to be a cute matching set. You don’t have to have it all together all the time because that’s not real life!

My hope and prayer for you (and me) as we begin 2022 is that you give yourself more grace and expect less perfection, that you take time to see all of the good that there is in everyday, that you realize that taking care of yourself first is the least selfish thing you could ever do!

I hope you remember to be kind to yourself and that there are a million different ways to accomplish things in life. Just because your favorite influencer did it a certain way doesn’t mean it’s a one size fits all!

What are you hoping 2022 has in store for you?

XOXO,
Leah

That’s What Faith Can Do

John 13:7 says, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but someday you will.”

If we’ve talked at any point in the last several months, you probably know that this season of life had me crying out to God on a regular basis. I had never been broken down in this way before, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. This kind of soul crushing is relentless and comes and goes in waves, but it’s revealed just what I’m made of and who I truly belong to.

On the bad days, it’s had me questioning God in every single way. I just couldn’t understand why Kaz and I were being put through this. How could a good God allow this kind of thing to happen? That’s exactly what the devil wanted me to believe though, and it would have been so freaking easy to ya’ll.

The crazy thing though? I am so incredibly grateful for this breaking down of what I thought my life was and who I thought I was. You see, it’s easy when you’re in something to make the excuses and convince yourself that things aren’t that bad or maybe if I would have done or not done something it could have been prevented. That’s a whole other issue to breakdown another day though.

Without going through this, I know I wouldn’t have been able to be rebuilt so much better than I was before. I wouldn’t have been forced to strengthen certain relationships in my life. I wouldn’t have specific people in my life at all had I not gone through this, and something about that is so beautiful to watch unfolding in the midst of everything else.

People tell me how strong they think I am. They say that they don’t think they’d be doing as well as I am right now, but I can also tell that people are waiting and watching to see if I fall apart again.

The truth? Part of me knows it’s expected of me to be sad and upset at the way things are unfolding. I did the whole sitting on the kitchen floor at 3:00 AM crying my heart out. I did the struggle through the day while pouring absolutely every last bit of energy I had into taking care of Kaz only to crumble the second he was asleep thing. I did the crying out to God when all I could get out was, “Why?”. Looking back, I’m starting to be able to see why this had to happen though.

I may never fully understand. That thought alone was paralyzing at the beginning of this all but not anymore. It’s true; I may never full understand, but I no longer feel the need to in order to move forward and on.

This season of life will always be marked by some of the darkest of days I have experienced thus far, but also some of the brightest. I have had family step up and in in ways I didn’t even know to ask for. I’ve had friends, both old and new, love me (and Kaz) so fiercely and be there for us especially when family was so far away.

Life has a crazy way of doing that though, and God has an oh so perfect way of giving and taking exactly what is needed in or out of our lives.

These days I know I still have mountains to face, but instead of being scared by the size of it I’m reminded every single day that my God will always be bigger!

XOXO,
Leah

When It Wasn’t on your Calender

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; 2021 has been a year for the books so far!

If you would have asked me at the beginning of it how I thought the year was going to go, I wouldn’t have even been close in my guesses. Just like you, I had hopes and plans for things I thought the year would bring and of course the non-negotiables that the Army throws in, but God had other things in mind.

I’m not the same person I was at the start of the year, but then again, is anyone?

I’ve had to change courses more than once. I’ve had to re-evaluate my priorities and start the process of letting go of things I thought I’d never have to let go of. I’ve started down paths that weren’t even on my radar. And honestly? If I would have been given the option of them, I would have run so fast in the opposite direction!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”.

You see, I’m a planner. I like knowing what’s coming next. Most things in my life have had a list and sublists attached to them. I’m also so guilty of trying to control things that have never been mine to control. Maybe someday we’ll be able to sit down together, but for now I’ll spare you the details.

Most of this year has been defined by what’s felt like an uphill climb in which I’ve lost my footing more times than I’d like to admit.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been so many good and wonderful moments, honestly more than bad, that I am beyond grateful for! I have had so many people surround Kaz and I in the most amazing love and support. Just because there’s been so much good and growth though, doesn’t negate the bad, the tears cried, the damage done, or the questions left unanswered.

Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without the bad. I wouldn’t have had to look deep inside myself and to do and continue to do the hard work. I wouldn’t have cried out to God like I should have been doing all along. I wouldn’t have realized how misguided my faith has been in the wrong things and people for years. I would have never fully admitted that something I used to define myself by and find my identity in was never something God meant for me in the long run.

But you know what? I also wouldn’t know my true worth. I wouldn’t know that I could go through something so soul crushing and come out stronger and better than I’ve ever been. I wouldn’t know what it’s like to stare one of my biggest fears in the face and send it packing. I wouldn’t have experienced just how faithful God truly is!

One day I’m going to look back on this season of life and be able to tell the story of how I overcame this battle. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll end up being part of someone’s survival guide and a living testament that even when the giant seems big, how much bigger and greater is He who is within me than he who is in the world!

Share the Love: Top Shelf Organizing

Top Shelf Organizing helps bring all of your organizational goals to life and even some you might not have known you had. Jenna Nelson is the brains and real life person behind it all! From services for your home, to staging homes to sell, unpacking after a move, and a little bit of everything in between, Jenna is your girl (and mine)!

I’ve known Jenna for as long as I can remember and even before then! She’s been a family friend and is like a sister to me. Jenna is currently based out of Tennessee, but also offers remote services!

When we first moved into our home, I was in full nesting mode and wanted to get everything organized and put away ASAP! Not only was our little one a few shorts months away from making his debut, but we were hosting both of our families. Needless to say, I was in full on go mode. This is where Jenna was a serious God send in helping me conquer my what seemed like a huge a daunting task. Her guidance and expertise were so helpful to me so I didn’t just run out and buy everything that looked good!

Jenna had me send her lots of pictures, dimensions, and what I was wanting to do with the spaces. From there we talked about how my husband and I live and how we wanted to be able to make the space work for us. All of the bins and containers in the world are no good, no matter how pretty they look, if they don’t help make the space functional!

One of the best parts of working with Jenna is that she genuinely cared that we were happy with the outcome. It wasn’t and never is her just trying to get you to buy buy buy! In the end, we did end up getting a few of the products she recommended, but I honestly can’t imagine our home without them now! They help us make the most of the spaces they’re in and give us systems for easy organization!

Our sink caddy helps keep clutter off of the counters. I love that the rack allows things like brushes and sponges to dry as well! https://rstyle.me/+6ZP5yeQejP0NVrH-X3sRJw

We have these sink organizers under all three of our sinks; kitchen and both bathrooms! Neither bathroom is huge, so making the most of the space was a must! These allow us to take advantage of every last inch. https://rstyle.me/+QQxwScV9L7RDEnW-sqMYnw

We cook a ton in our house; everything from good old midwestern comfort food to Indian inspired and a little of everything in between. This means, we have so many different kinds of spices and seasonings! This spice stack organizer helps us keep them all in one place and not having to dig in the cabinet trying to find them. We paired them with these glass spice jars since we like being able to reuse them since we buy from bulk bins! Spice stack: https://rstyle.me/+aJWtk103VLz5av0mjGc8-A Spice jars: https://rstyle.me/+CWH0a64m0G6Ou6CBKJet8A

You can get in touch with Jenna and see her amazing work on her website: https://topshelforganizing.com or via her email jenna@topshelforganizing.com

Follow along with her and the jobs she’s worked and working on https://www.instagram.com/topshelforganizing/ or on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/tntopshelforganizing/

Military Life: Month of the Military Child

Happy Monday, y’all!

Did you know that April is the official Month of the Military Child? This is the month we recognize and celebrate the strength, bravery, flexibility, resiliency, and sacrifice that the littlest members of military families make everyday.

When my husband and I decided we wanted to try to expand our family, we knew that our little one would have a wildly different life than either of us did growing up.

In Baby K’s first year of life, his daddy will have been gone more than he’s been home. Heck, my husband was even gone for training over my due date!

While he doesn’t know life any other way, my husband and I do. We often wonder if this path we’ve picked is the right one or not.

We may not regret a second of this life we live and how far we’ve come, but that little bit of guilt is always there.

For our sweet baby it means a lot of confusion as to why we sometimes only talk to and see daddy through a screen. It means crying out for him in the middle of the night and him never coming. It means seeing a whole lot of mama and always looking for daddy.

As he gets older, it will mean having to say goodbye to friends more often than if we weren’t part of the military world. It will mean his daddy will have missed being there in person for major milestones like crawling, first words, and maybe even walking and first days of schools.

We are not the first family to face a deployment, and we certainly are not the last. There will be many more times where duty will take daddy away.

Our little boy is so kind and loving. He is made of tough stuff. He is resilient and flexible beyond belief. He is sacrificing more than he even knows while his daddy is away.

Today and every day, I am in awe of this military child of mine!

XOXO,
Leah

Military Life: Real Talk About Deployment

Happy Monday, y’all!

I had another post written and all scheduled to go up today, but in wanting this to be where I share about real life and not just the pretty things, this post felt more real for right now.

If you’re part of a military family, chances are that you’ll face a deployment sooner or later. It’s just part of the job. Now that our sweet baby boy is in the world, I was hoping it would come later, but the Army had other plans for my husband.

Where before we would go about our days and wait for my husband to get home, now we wait for FaceTime calls or text messages. Somedays we’re blessed to get a nice long call in and other times we hear nothing at all. Sometimes, no news is good news!

With this being our first deployment, it’s taken me some time to get used to single parenting and finding a new normal for Baby K, Ailey, and myself. If I’m being honest, I’m still trying to figure it out.

Even what seems like the easiest of deployments for the soldier can be freaking hard for the ones left back home.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for this life we live and everything we are able to do and the amazing people we get to meet, but there are definitely days where I count down the minutes until I can start getting Baby K ready for bed so I can have a moment to breathe.

So while for the most part, this little family of mine is doing really well, even thriving, there is nothing I wouldn’t give to have our number one guy back home with us!

XOXO,
Leah

 

 

 

 

Our Military Family

Being married to someone in the military was never anything I planned to do, but when I married my now husband, I married him for all that he is despite what he had signed up to do.

Now, over two years later, a puppy, new house, countless trainings, and a sweet baby boy later; here we are. If I’ve learned anything these last few years, it’s that even though this lifestyle is hard for me, it’s just as hard for him:

He wakes up and leaves before our baby has even started stirring each morning. He sometimes comes home with only a few hours before bedtime.

He packs his bags to leave and gives us both one last kiss and hug. He puts on a brave face to try and make it a little easier on me.

He ignores the calendar as time flies by. He knows that we’re running out of days, out of time before the inevitable “I’ll see you soon” comes around again.

He promises to call and text. He hopes our baby boy will remember him despite all of the time apart.

Before we know it, he’s gone again, and we’re wishing time would hurry up.

I know his heart breaks a little when he thinks of all the things he’ll miss out on; playing together, first steps, and all of those sweet snuggles.

I know how much he wishes our time together could just slow down a little. I wish it would too.

I know he’s conflicted between wanting to stay home with us and his sense of duty.

So for now, we’ll pack up the bags and hold on just a second longer. We’ll remind him how proud we are now and always.

We remember now and everyday that it will never be, “Goodbye”. It will always be, “I’ll see you soon”.

XOXO,
Leah

Love the Mama Too

As I sit here looking at him while he naps, I can’t help but be so thankful for him and all of the people that have poured into our little family!

Babies are such a wonderful gift. Most people you know want to come love on your little addition, but sometimes the mamas can get lost in it all.

Ask her how she’s doing and really listen. God knows she’d probably appreciate someone asking about her before the baby!

Bring or send her a favorite meal or snacks. When the decision comes down to eating or trying to get some sleep, I can almost guarantee that sleep will win out.

Take the baby for an hour or two without asking. Help is always appreciated, but if the new mama in your life is anything like me, asking for it is hard!

When you bring something for the new little one, bring something for her too; a candle she loves, a nice lotion and body wash, coffee (I’m mostly made up of coffee these days). Just a little something that says you were thinking of her too!

I know it can be easy to be sucked in by the cuteness of a new baby, but it’s just as easy for a new mama to lose herself in it all too.

Next time you go visit a new baby, don’t forget to love on the mama too!

XOXO,
Leah