Finding Joy During Chaos

Happy Monday, y’all!

Gosh, have these last few weeks been a wild ride! i hope that this post finds you healthy and safe during these crazy times!

When 2020 started, I never would have guessed that this is where we would be at now. Then again, I don’t think anyone really would have!

I definitely believe that it’s important to stay informed and up to date on the happenings, but these days, I try not to focus too much on all of the nitty gritty details. I think if I did, I just very well might lose my mind in it all.

10 Things That Are Bringing Me Joy

1. My sweet baby boy and his endless giggles.

2. Being able to keep in touch with my husband via FaceTime while he’s deployed.

3. Being in a place that we’re able to get outside in the fresh air and sunshine during the day.

4. Such great friends that check in on us not only during these crazy times, but just in general.

5. Good health; both mine and those I care about.

6. Having the best parents ever that have let Baby K, Ailey, and I stay with them throughout this all.

7. Taking this time and #socialdistancing to give my skin a break from makeup and just breathe.

8. The best pup ever that snuggles in bed with me every night.

9. Being fortunate enough to get the things we need, both my husband and Baby K and I, without having to worry about money.

10. Having this space to connect with y’all.

What’s something that’s bringing you joy right now?

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

7 Unconventional Ways to Practice Self-Care

It goes without saying that self-care and taking care of your mental health are so important! Between work, school, family, health and various other responsibilities life can get pretty tough sometimes.

I used to be so guilty of pushing things to the side until they would all blow up at once before addressing my mental health. It was an awful way to handle things, but at the time, that’s what I had going.

Now that I’m a little older and have some more life under my belt, I really do try to make taking care of myself a main priority!

It seems like everyone shares the self-care options like taking a bath, reading a book, going for a walk… While those are all great, they don’t always work for everyone. That’s why I’m sharing 10 of my favorite ways to get some self-care in that are a little different than what you see and hear about every day:

1. Baking or cooking. There’s something so therapeutic about measuring and mixing ingredients. Not to mention, there’s the amazing smells that fill your whole kitchen and you get something yummy to eat at the end of it all!

2. Taking a break from everything and everyone. It’s okay to say “no” to doing things, and it’s definitely okay to need space and time away when you’re in the middle of something too. If you need to go be by yourself somewhere away from everything, then that’s what you need to do! This is something that I still struggle with from time to time.

3. Having a good cry. Sometimes you just need a good cry to let everything out and cleanse your heart. It doesn’t make you weak or anything else others might try to say. What does matter is what you do after you allow yourself to cry it all out. Dry your tears, take a few good deep breaths, and pick yourself back up off the floor. Always remember, that’s not where you belong!

4. Arts and crafts. For me, it’s writing. There’s just something about putting your feelings out into the world and not having to hold them in any longer. For you, maybe it’s painting or singing or dancing. The great thing about creativity is that there is no wrong or right way to do it. It’s all about what makes you feel good, when all is said and done!

5. Building something with your own two hands. My husband can attest for this, but I’m not very useful when it comes to building things that require tools. Maybe working with the power tools and having a goal of what you’re end product will look like is what helps you unwind though. There really is something to be said about those that can have a vision in their head and make it come to life!

6. Working outside. This is my husband all day, every day! It doesn’t matter how long and frustrating his day was. If he’s in a bad mood or needs to work off some steam, working in the yard never fails to ease that tension that’s been built up! Cutting trees down, pulling up overgrown vines… You name it and he’s done it.

7. Volunteering. Sometimes, for me, the best way I can take care of myself is by helping others. I’ve never given my time to a cause I’m passionate about and regretted it later, but I’m always so grateful to have been able to give back in some small way! Not only does it take my mind off of whatever problem is present in my life, but it refills my cup and adds to the fuel of wanting to do and be my best!

What’s an unconventional way you like to practice self-care? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,
Leah

 

3 Moments of Joy

If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram(@alongftride) you know that most days start out with me writing down three things from the previous day that brought me joy. It’s a great way to start the day out on a positive and thankful note!

Today, I wanted to share with you my three moments from yesterday (Sunday):

1. I got in a great workout!

2. It was nice enough to have the windows open in the afternoon and let some fresh air inside!

3. My husband and I got a head start on a little spring cleaning!

Moments of joy don’t always have to be the big and extravagant things like going on vacation. While those moments are nice, for me, it’s always the little things that really add up the most for me!

What’s something that brought you joy yesterday?

XOXO,

Leah

Merry Christmas!!

Today’s post is short and sweet in honor of soaking up as much quality time as we all can this time of year!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I can tell y’all how thankful I am for each and everyone of you that has come along for the ride with me and supported me on this new adventure! It really does mean the world to me!

I hope your holiday season is merry and bright and that you are surrounded by so much love and light as 2018 comes to a close!

XOXO,

Leah

Counting My Blessings From 2018

As the days keep winding down until Christmas and the New Year, I’ve been thinking a lot more about 2018. It feels like the year flew by, but looking back there was actually so much packed into this one year!

My husband and I celebrated one year of marriage. We’ve worked to make our house feel more like a home, and we even go to host our first guests! We spent quite a bit of time apart, but we also had a lot of amazing moments together. I finally embarked on this blogging journey, and I could not be more grateful for every single one of you that reads my posts!

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Why put off until tomorrow what you could start today? Every day is really the best day to start working towards the future and best version of yourself that you can be! It’s not always about achieving the big things all at once, but also the building blocks that make them up.

As I sit and re-read through my journal where I write down three things that brought me joy each day or that I’m thankful for my heart is feeling so incredibly full, and I just have to share! In honor of the twenty-two days left of 2018, here are twenty-two things from the past year that I am so incredibly grateful for!

1. My wonderful husband.

2. Being wrapped up in love from family even though we’re hundreds of miles away.

3. My sweet Aussie pup and the absolute JOY she is in our lives.

4. One year of marriage in the books and all of the lessons learned along the way.

5. This house that we’re making a home out of. We may not own it, but it is just right for us. I definitely agree that love grows best in little houses like ours.

6. Good friends that have become family.

7. Lazy weekends at home with no one to see and nowhere to be,

8. Getting to explore this new state that we live in.

9. Date nights with my love.

10. Our cozy bed that we get to snuggle up in at the end of the day.

11. Coffee, all of the coffee.

12. Having my family a phone call, text, or FaceTime away. I’ve gotten home sick more times that I’d like to admit this past year away, but having a phone to connect helps make it seem not quite as bad.

13. Food in the fridge and pantry, lights, heat/air conditioning, and running water. I’m really trying to be better when it comes to appreciating these things that not everyone has access to!

14. Good health, both mine and my husbands.

15. The Army. As much as I hate it sometimes, it is not lost on me just how much my husband’s job provides for us. I will always be thankful for that aspect of it!

16. My job that allows me to work from where there is Wi-Fi.

17. Having money in our bank accounts. It truly is a blessing to have a safety net, especially when unexpected things come up.

18. All of the lessons that we’ve learned and have grown from in 2018.

19. Seeing just how far we’ve come this year. Looking every day, it didn’t seem like we were getting much closer to the big things we want to achieve. Now looking back over the months, it’s crazy to see just how far we really have come!

20. Realizing that I am capable of handling much more than I used to think.

21. My God. I know I would not be anywhere near where I am now without Him and His faithfulness in my life. The hardest times seemed a little easier knowing I was never truly alone.

22. This blog (and Instagram). It took a leap of faith, but I am so incredibly thankful for this chance to share a little bit of myself with y’all!

As the year draws to a close, what are you thankful for from 2018? Take the time and write them all out; the big and small things. I think it is so important to always remember just how lucky we really are and how much we truly do have to be thankful for and just how many moments of joy there really are in our everyday lives. Do we have any of the same things in common? Let me know down below!

XOXO,
Leah

Dealing with Holiday Anxiety

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time of the year where we get to reconnect and catch up with loved ones, eat yummy food, and make great memories, but what happens when it’s also the most stressful time of the year for you?

I’ve struggled with stress and anxiety, especially during the holidays, for as long as I can remember. I was always the girl that needed several hours tucked away in my room after any kind of family gathering to decompress. I still am that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the happy things that the holidays bring. Some of my best and fondest memories involve them, but I think it’s important to talk about the not so great feelings the holidays can bring with them, and most importantly, ways to help make things better.

1. I’m a people pleaser by nature. I don’t like confrontation, so I try to avoid it at all costs. The biggest thing for me around the holidays is knowing and respecting my own boundaries. It can be draining between all of the travel and going from party to party and worrying about what to get people for gifts. The older I get, the more I’m learning that it’s okay to politely say “no” when I need to. It’s not being rude, just me taking care of myself!

2. God bless my sweet husband! When someone has been in your life for a long time, chances are that they’ve picked up on when you’re getting overwhelmed and anxiety is kicking in too. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good support system in place. Having my husband there with me helps tremendously since I have that peace of mind that I have a safe spot to land. If there isn’t someone that is physically there with you, don’t underestimate the power of a quick text exchange! Even having someone to call or text when you need a break can make a big difference!

3. Whoever planned the holiday season to happen right when cold and flu season happen wasn’t planning too well. With that being said, I really try to be mindful of my physical health as well as my mental and emotional. Have you ever noticed how your anxiety seems so much worse when you’re not feeling well? I know I have! This time of year, it’s so important to try and make sure to get enough sleep, eat foods that nourish your body, and stay hydrated to combat all of those illnesses that are going around.

4. If you’re like me and the holidays kick your anxiety up a notch, chances are that you already have a few tricks up your sleeve for when you can only take a few moments to yourself. It’s especially important around the holidays to know which of your coping skills are the most effective for you. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve found a spot away from all of the noise and commotion to take a few good, deeps breaths in. No, it doesn’t magically fix everything, but it does help for the time being. For the times that taking deep breaths doesn’t work, I check in with my husband to.

5. If I got to choose between playing with my niece and nephews over another “what are you doing with your life” talk with adults, I’d choose the little ones all day! At holiday parties, most kids are just thinking about playing and having fun, not having deep conversations about life. Join in on their game and tap into their easy and fun energy! This can also be applied to pets! It’s no secret that petting a cute puppy can help reduce your blood pressure, elevate your mood, and in turn release endorphins.

At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself first! There is nothing selfish or rude about it; it’s just something that needs to happen, and there really is no time like the present! So this Holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself too!

XOXO,
Leah

Why ‘Along for the Ride’?

When I scroll through any social media platform, I always come across pages where I’m intrigued by the name and the person behind it all. It stands out to me for one reason or another, and I want to learn about the why behind it and what it is that makes it special to them!

Today, I’m taking you behind the scenes and explaining why I choose “Along for the Ride” as mine!

It started when my now husband was in the process of enlisting in the Army. People kept asking me how I felt about him leaving and everything that was involved. I would always say how proud of him I was, and still am, and that I was going to support him 100%!  Marriage isn’t something you do half-heartedly, and ours is no different,

He went several hundred miles away for almost 6 months to complete various phases of training, and now people were saying how brave I was. In my eyes, I wasn’t doing anything extraordinary. I still don’t think I am. I’m just a girl loving my husband the best I can. It was during this time that my go to answer to most things was that I was just “along for the ride”.

Fast forward to almost two years of active duty service, several more phases of training, getting married, moving across the country to be with him, our first home together, and getting our sweet pup, Ailey, and I’m still just as along for the ride as ever!

This was never the kind of life I thought I would be living. Being the girl that loves a good list with accompanying sub-lists, I probably would have told you were crazy! Now that this is crazy and unpredictable life is ours, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Thanks for coming along for the ride with me!

XOXO,
Leah