post author: grace
Hello world! I'm sorry I've been a little MIA lately - it turns out babies are actually quite time consuming, who knew ;)
I've had quite a few people ask me to share my birth story, so I figured I would share it in a blog post for all of those wondering how the day went. I plan on sharing pretty much every detail, so if you don't want to hear all about labor, then I suggest skipping to the next post!
pREPARING FOR LABOR
I'm not going to lie, I had an incredible experience. However, this is not how every birth goes and it sometimes helps to have low expectations. I also believe it is key to go in open minded to how God will orchestrate the day. I had *hopes and dreams* but held them very loosely because I had never been in labor and did not know how my body would respond. So while I think it's awesome to have a birth plan, know plans can change. We ultimately are not in control and I believe it will save you a lot of heartache in the end. Preparing for labor, I read a ton of birth stories and saw a common theme - Mom's devastated that it didn't go the way they planned. It made me so sad because that's not what it's about. And if you make the plan ultimate, you miss the greatest joy - giving birth to LIFE! At the end of the day, you just want mom and baby to be safe and healthy. So if you are pregnant and expecting soon, having a plan is wonderful, but trust God's plan for you!
Okie dokie, here we go! At my 36 week checkup, my doctor started checking my cervix. Sidenote: NO ONE TOLD ME THIS IS UNCOMFORTABLE so I was completely unprepared. It was so uncomfortable that I thought surely I had not dilated past a 1. False. My doctor told me that I was between a 3 and 3.5 and 70% effaced. You hear this all the time, women can be dilated to a 3 for weeks and still need to be induced. However, when my doctor kept saying that 37.5 weeks is technically full term and that luckily she would be here for Christmas if I went into labor that week...I started to panic a bit. It also did not help that I bled quite a bit after my appointment, which is normal if it tapers off (I told you I wouldn't spare any details ha!). So after having a bit of a panic attack in the parking lot and feeling totally unprepared, I made sure my bags were packed and ready to go that night. I lost my mucus plug a few days later and the waiting game had officially begun. The last time I got checked I was between a 3.5 and a 4, so I was progressing slowly!
THE WAITING GAME
Well, Christmas came and went, and no baby. Blake's birthday is December 30th and he was selfishly happy he wasn't going to have to share HIS day with our firstborn. However, I had been having contractions on and off all day and that night around midnight we decided to go to the hospital as my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart. They checked us in, took us back to get monitored and we waited an hour. I was told that I was probably in early labor but it wasn't progressing past that so they sent me home. Nothing screams "this is my first baby" like a false alarm trip to the hospital. I felt like such a loser as I casually strolled out of the hospital. BUT safety first because you truly never know. The nurses were so sweet and reassured me I did the right thing by coming in, even though it felt like a total waste.
We made it to the New Year with no baby and I decided I would plan a "Grace day" and do all the things I would soon no longer be able to do with a baby - going to lunch without any interruptions, shopping, pampering, etc. I guess God has a sense of humor because the morning of my "Grace day," I woke up with contractions. I thought I was just having some cramping, which is normal in the morning towards the end, so I drank some water and got back in bed around 4:30 AM. I started timing them and they seemed to be progressing, so I decided to take a bath before heading to the hospital.
Once I got out of the bath my contractions were 3 minutes apart...YIKES. We called the doctor and they told us to get to the hospital quickly. We left our house around 6 AM and began the process. They admitted me after checking my cervix (I was at a 5 at this point) and timing my contractions.
We're having a baby today!
My doctor came in about an hour later, I was dilated to a 6, and she went over my options with me. She told me she could break my water to progress labor, give me pitocin, administer an epidural, etc. I casually looked at Blake and said "Let's enjoy the day, I'm getting the epidural." HA! I am terrified of needles and hated the thought of an epidural, but at that point I was ready for some relief and honestly, was a little terrified of waiting too long and not being able to lay still for an epidural if I wanted one later. I had an amazing anesthesiologist who was so good that I truly don't remember it hurting at all. Three contractions later and I was pretty much pain free. I could still feel pressure in my legs, which was encouraging because I wanted to have some feeling in order to push when it came time.
My doctor broke my water shortly after and then administered pitocin so I would keep progressing. I dilated a centimeter each hour and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to push.
The sweetest part about that day was feeling the presence of God in that room. We had worship music playing and Blake read scripture over me each hour. We invited the Holy Spirit in that room and wow did He show up. It was the sweetest day full of so much peace and joy.
I started pushing around 2:30 PM. The nurses were the BEST cheerleaders and made me feel so empowered that I felt like I could do this! They celebrated each push and kept encouraging me the entire time. Sidenote: Pushing is hard work. If you are pregnant or thinking about having kids soon, be sure to keep exercising. This will really help prepare you for pushing because it is exhausting and you don't get a break. Before we knew it, Asher was delivered by 3:23 PM. It.was.magic! I cannot even explain the moment you see your baby and hold them for the first time. It felt like I had known him forever and at the same time was meeting him for the first time.
Asher has rocked our world in more ways than one, and in the best way. Becoming a parent truly feels like an honor and is the most sanctifying thing I have ever done. It is not easy, but it is absolutely worth it in every way! My love for him grows each week which seems absolutely impossible. He is our greatest joy and we thank God for giving him to us each day.
Post Author: Rachel
Over the weekend, my husband and I gained an incredible new addition to the family! Meet Chief, a 5yr old Golden Retriever who is just the sweetest guy. His family in Oklahoma needed to find him a new home and we are so honored and excited we get to love on him. We are already obsessed with this big guy! He’s such a sweetheart and how perfect that his name is Chief?!
Post Author: Rachel
It's not often that the whole Santschi family is able to get together since we all live in different states, but over the weekend we had the opportunity to spend a few days as a unit in Nashville, TN. We had the chance to love on the newest addition to our family - Asher! It was the first time my husband and I got to meet our sweet nephew and it was so special. Asher is the first grandbaby in the Santschi family and he is already so loved!
We arrived on Saturday morning and couldn't wait to see the little man! He is an adorable little nugget and is already pretty good little sleeper.
Grandma and Grandpa Santschi have been back and forth to Nashville all month long, helping these new parents find their groove. Grace and her husband (my brother) are doing fantastic and are already getting the hang of this parenting thing.
Saturday night, while the grandparents happily babysat Asher, we took the new mom and dad out on the town! Even though it was just for a couple hours, it was such a fun time and a great outing for these new parents to get a chance to kick back and relax.
On Sunday, Asher had his next big outing when we went to one of our absolute favorites - Arrington Vineyards. It is a beautiful vineyard founded by Kix Brooks with the most gorgeous views and delicious wine. This is a treasured spot for our family. We brought plenty of snacks with us, bought a few bottles of wine and had a lovely afternoon, filled with lots of laughs, on the hillside of Arrington, TN.
Of course, it's not a trip to Nashville without some hot chicken, so before we headed back to Kansas City on Monday afternoon we stopped at Hattie B's for lunch and some lip-burning chicken paired with a cold one. Yum!
It felt like such a quick trip, but it was a much needed and wonderful time spent with family. We are already so in love with Asher and are incredibly thankful to God for this blessing and joy He brought to our family. I'm so excited to see my little nephew grow and watch my brother and sister-in-law develop in their new role as parents. I can't wait to see this sweet little squish again soon!
Merry Christmas y'all! We hope you are all having a wonderful time with family celebrating the birth of our Savior!
In Kansas City, Rachel is enjoying her day off with her husband and his side of the family. While Grace is in Nashville spending time with her husband and his parents, aka Rachel's parents and soon-to-be Asher's grandparents! Any day now.
Even though we're a few states away, as tradition goes, we're still wearing our matching pjs! Scroll through to see our holiday!
From our families to yours, Merry Christmas!!
- Rachel & Grace
POST AUTHOR: GRACE
Hi friends! Today's post is very personal for me. I'm sharing specifically what I am praying for Asher.
I've had a lot of people ask me what I have loved most about pregnancy, and the truth is I've loved how it has influenced my walk with the Lord. Don't get me wrong, I love feeling him kick and move around, but my time with the Lord has gotten even sweeter. Maybe it's because I'm realizing that once Asher is here, my uninterrupted time in the word will pretty much be non-existent.
There's also a lot of worry that comes with pregnancy. Instead of giving into my fears and concerns though, I try to immediately pray and cast my cares on Him. As you can imagine, my prayer life has exploded in the past few months!
So here's what I am praying for our little man. I hope it gives you a look into my heart for him!
First and foremost I pray every morning that Asher will have spiritual and physical strength and health. The most important thing to me is that Asher knows who God is AND what his identity in Christ is. It's important to me that he is not just strong in his faith, but also has a healthy view and relationship with God.
Growing up in the Bible Belt, it's easy to know all the right answers and have the head knowledge, but I don't want it to stop there for Asher. I want him to experience a healthy and thriving relationship with God and to walk in that all the days of his life.
One of the fears you have as a mother is your child's health and strength. When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately thought about Asher's health and how long the Lord would give him on this earth. So I started to pray for physical health and strength.
Why worry when you can pray, right? I also started praying this prayer because the blessing over the Tribe of Asher in Deuteronomy mentions strength. It's important to me to pray this specific blessing over Asher and that he walks in the fullness of his name.
I also pray that Asher is happy and knows how blessed he is. His name quite literally means happy or blessed, and I pray that he is a testimony of the happiness and blessings we receive when we walk with the Lord.
We live in such a broken world, that happiness, joy, blessings, etc. seem hard to recognize some days. I pray that Asher shines his light into every dark corner and that people are drawn to the Lord because of his happiness and joy.
Some other things I've been praying for Asher that seem basic, but again, why worry when you can pray, are....
- Safe and healthy delivery
- For our doctor and nurses
- For my hubby (hospitals make him queasy!)
- No colic (seriously have been scared for this ha!)
- That I would be able to breastfeed and supply enough milk for him
- A good sleep schedule
The list could go on and on, and so I continue to pray when I'm confronted with worry. If you are a soon-to-be momma and find yourself struggling with worry, please take this as an encouragement from me to start praying. I believe that the enemy wants to rob our joy and fill our hearts and minds with fear. However, perfect love casts out fear. So press into Jesus when you are worried or scared. He cares for us and wants to meet all of our needs, we just have to ask!
I keep a prayer journal so I can clearly express my thoughts and one day look back on all the ways God answered my prayers. It's such a cool thing to be able to do! Start today ... it’s never too late.
I hope this post encourages you and shows you a little bit of my heart for Asher. If you are a momma or soon-to-be momma, what are your hopes and dreams for your child and how do you combat worry?
Happy Father's Day! We wanted to share some photos of us with our dads and express how thankful we are to have these men in our lives. We would not be where or who we are today without our dads. We love you with all our hearts!
Post Author: Grace
Hello friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week. Mine has been pretty slammed, but I’m trying to be consistent with my daily reading.
Typically, I get up a little earlier than I’d like to so I have some built in me-time. I use this first bit of time in the morning to read my bible, journal and pray, then I read a little of my current favorite book (I read a lot, so the current favorite is always changing).
I’ve found that starting my day with God and focusing on the blessings in my life, before I jump into my work day, is for sure a game changer.
I have discovered several new and interesting reads through one simple habit. When I meet someone new, I ask them about books they have recently read. It’s a terrific icebreaker and elicits fascinating responses.
I recently asked a client this question and she shared with me how much she loved The Go-Giver. I was intrigued and added it to my “books to read” list. However, at our next meeting, she brought a copy of the book and gifted it to me! Isn’t that just the sweetest gesture?
I’m enjoying reading it and it’s already had a huge impact on my daily life. So why is this book so awesome? Because it's definitely not your typical sales pitch book. It's all about what value you can offer to someone, not what or how can you get something from them. A refreshing philosophy, don’t you agree?
This short and entertaining read is a fictitious story about Joe, a salesman, and Pindar, a mentor, who introduces Joe to five “go-givers” that have already mastered the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.
From cover to cover it’s packed full of valuable lessons, wonderful insight and motivation and it’s challenging my mindset.
Try starting your mornings with a new book! You never know what you will learn and how you will grow as a result.
What's your favorite book right now? Please share ... I’m always on the lookout for books to add to my reading list.
This week, I'm reflecting. Last year at this time, my husband - then fiance - and I were finalizing a million details for our wedding and packing for our honeymoon. We live in Kansas City, but we were married in Nashville, TN, where Grace and my brother live. We chose Nashville because it’s just so beautiful and we knew it’d be the perfect city for our guests to enjoy.
My apartment was an absolute mess. I had wedding decor, clothes, documents, etc. spread all across the living room floor. I was calling my mom in Dallas multiple times a day trying to figure out what was still on our to do list and who was doing what, along with figuring out the logistics of transporting everything to and from. Whew, it was a hectic time! Although it was a bit stressful, it was also a ton of fun planning and pepping for our big day!
One year later, I want to share with you, and especially with our bride-to-be followers, some of the details, photos, videos, wedding party gifts, dress info, and advice I learned along the way. Feel free to skip around with the links below!
Our first dance was Head Over Boots by Jon Pardi (give it a listen to the right!), so it only made sense for us to sport boots and two step our way into marriage! It was such a relief to be wearing comfortable shoes that I could dance in all night long.
Nigros is a family owned store right here in Kansas City and they were wonderfully accommodating. When they ordered my boots, the vendor told them the delivery date was going to be cutting it close. They assured me they’d arrive in time, but I think I still called every day to check in and they were so understanding and even let me pick out a second pair of boots just in case mine didn't make it in time.
Follow Nigros Western Store on Instagram.
A few months later, one of my girlfriends purchased the same boots for her wedding and she loved them every bit as much as I did. I can’t say enough good things about Nigros, their staff and their boots. Love everything about them!
Jessica Elle Photography
Follow Jessica on Instagram or Facebook.
Follow Peerless on Instagram.
Hair & Makeup
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DeLaney also styled my hair perfectly so I could wear the same floral headpiece my mother wore on her wedding day. Our florist did an amazing job adding a few fresh flowers to give it new life and it meant so much to me to wear it on my wedding day. And, yes, I’ll be saving it for many more years in hopes that I will have the chance to pass it along one day to a daughter on her wedding day.
Dresses: David's Bridal
Shirts & Ties: Dillard's
Socks: The School of Sock
We went with Kendra Scott jewelry because it never disappoints. Plus, pro tip, if you shop during your birthday month, you get 50% off one item.
I also had a hanky embroidered for my mom. It read, "Mom, If joyful tears begin to fall, wipe them away and then recall, the love and laughter we share together and how much you mean to me forever." I was very pleased with how beautifully made it was and it came in handy during the ceremony.
For the bridesmaids
When the girls visited Kansas City for the bachelorette party, I gave them each a KC heart t-shirt from Charlie Hustle. It’s one of my favorites.
On the big day, I gave them each a robe and big cozy socks along with homemade “survival kits”. I snagged some cute makeup bags at Target and filled them with essentials like lotion, tissues, Advil, mints, etc. And before the ceremony, I gave them each pearl earrings in a cute box with this note - “I couldn’t say ‘I do’ without my best girls by my side”.
My husband put together a box for each groomsman that included their tie clip, socks, a customized set of cuff-links and a small bottle of liquor.
For my dad
One of my bridesmaids made a frame etched with some sweet words and I added a photo of me laying on his chest when I was just a few weeks old.
For our little flower girl & ring bearer
My mom had cute little t-shirts made for the flower girl and ring bearer to wear at the rehearsal and dinner the night before the wedding. The flower girl’s said “Flower Power” and the ring bearer’s said “Ring Security.” They were really sweet.
We also had a special hanky made for our flower girl to carry in her basket down the aisle and one day, hopefully, it will be her “something old” when she’s a bride.
Our ring bearer carried a football instead of rings down the aisle and we gave it to him to keep. The unexpected bonus was that it also entertained him all evening!
Also, we purchased a few items to keep them busy at the reception - coloring book and crayons, a toy truck, etc and at the end of the night, they got to take them home.
With my father, brother & bridesmaids
However, I wanted to have a special first look with my dad and my brother beforehand. It was a vary special moment. We all shed a few tears, my brother wrote me a letter I’ll treasure forever, and I presented my dad with a special framed photo. It's a memory I will forever cherish.
Flower Girl & Ring Bearer
My husband's nephew rocked boots like his uncles, suspenders and a bow tie. How cute?! Instead of carrying the rings, he carried a Chiefs football down the aisle. If you don’t already know, my hubby and I met when we both worked for the Chiefs so, of course, it was a special way to represent where it all began.
It truly was one of the happiest moments of my life. Seeing my groom waiting for me at the altar and knowing this was the day we’d finally be joined as one, made it especially hard not to let the happy tears fall.
During the ceremony, Lindsey played piano and sang while we took communion (photo above), prayed together and worshiped remembering none of this would be possible without our Heavenly Father guiding us every step of the way.
Dinner & Dessert
Reception & Sparkler Exit
We are so thankful to everyone who traveled to Nashville to support us and celebrate with us. It meant the world to us to have all of you there!
Of course, a very special thank you to our parents, our families and our wedding party, we truly appreciate each of you. We couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you!
A huge shout out to my mom who helped me plan, organize, and get every single detail just right. Thanks for letting me call you 24/7 and text you a million times. Love you, mom!
To my bridesmaids - I am so thankful you are always by my side, not only on our wedding day, but through all of lives ups and downs. I truly treasure my friendship with each of you and am so thankful for your love and support.
I am also a big fan of celebrating your OWN life and today is my 27th birthday! Woohoo! I enjoy looking back on the year and seeing the hand of God in my life — where He's taken me, how He's grown me, provided for me, and the list goes ON. We serve a good God y'all.
This year I am feeling extra thankful because God has done so much in my life this past year. I grew in my faith, challenged myself, took on a new and exciting job, grew in my marriage, deepened my friendships and more. This is worth celebrating!
My husband asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate my birthday this year, and after last year’s big celebration, I really just wanted something small and intimate. So I told him to plan it, invite our two closest friends and just tell me when to get dolled up.
When I woke up this past Sunday, Blake told me I needed to get ready to celebrate. I made a quick little shopping trip and picked up a new lightweight sweater (it was freezing in Tennessee this past weekend!) and we headed to our first destination: Arrington Vineyards.
You guys, I love Arrington..all of it! I love the wine, the atmosphere, the country feel, everything. We got an incredible bottle of wine, sat by the fire and spent a little time walking around exploring the grounds.
After we finished up at Arrington, we headed to our next destination: Josephine. I have been wanting to go here since we moved to Nashville. This restaurant has amazing reviews and I was so excited when Blake surprised me with a dinner reservation here.
For starters, we ordered the brussels sprouts and Nashville hot scrapple. Scrapple is a sausage and, oh my goodness, it was to die for. For the main course, I ordered the scallops, the guys ordered the roasted chicken, and my bestie, Rachel, ordered a pasta dish. We all cleaned our plates and even splurged on some after dinner hot apple pie. I cannot say enough about the truly wonderful dining experience this place provides — the service was incredible, the atmosphere was just perfect and the food was amazing.
We ended the night with a time of affirmation. We've made this a tradition to do on birthdays and it is so special. Everyone takes a turn to verbally affirm the person whose birthday we are celebrating. I always shed a few tears, laugh a lot and felt incredibly loved.
If you've never done this, try it. It’s a beautiful way for the guest of honor to start a new year.
Bring it on 27! The best is yet to come!
Here are a few inspirational quotes and verses that I've been loving lately. The second image is actually my current phone background. I love it!
Share your favorite quotes or verses with us in the comments!
We each shared our thoughts on Valentine's Day, our special gifts and how we celebrated.
Growing up, each year, my dad would give me a box of delicious chocolates or candies and my mom would always be sure to surprise me with something special. Each gesture was a small way to show that they were thinking of me and it was always so sweet.
This year, my parents sent my brother and I some of this divine Toasted Garlic Olive Oil from our hometown in Texas. It is so good and everyone in the family has become obsessed with it. The bottle we received as a Christmas gift is long gone, so this was a wonderful surprise.
And even though I hate that roses and chocolates are extremely over-priced this time of year, or the fact that roses die and chocolates never last long around me, I love that my husband is such a prince. He spoils me rotten, takes pride in making me laugh, and always strives to make my heart happy.
So, every year, I'm always pleasantly surprised and oh-so happy to receive a special Valentine from him. He doesn't always stick to the traditional gift, but this year he did - a beautiful bouquet of roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates! I cherish each gift he sends me because I know he loves to make me feel loved...and I love it!
And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12
I got a wonderful surprise this Valentine's Day morning. Some white roses, Reese's and Burt's Bees and a sweet card from my husband.
Every year for Valentine's Day, we plan a fun little date night to a new spot we've never tried. We talk about how we've grown together, what has made us fall more in love and what we are excited about for the next year. It's always a way to get my cup filled.
This year, we celebrated a little early and hit the town this past weekend. It was wonderful and I am blessed to be so well loved by my valentine. 💕
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
- 1 Corinthians 13:7
It was my honor to say “YES!” when she asked me to participate in a Q&A with her for her blog, theperfectlittlelife.com. Now I am sharing my Q&A with y'all!
Hi! My name is Grace and I have lived in Nashville for 4 years now. I moved from College Station, Texas with my husband Blake after he graduated college. We were only supposed to be in Nashville for 1 year, but fell in love with it and have been here ever since! We have 2 miniature dachshunds, Henry and Loraine, and they are pretty ridiculous. I am the Director of Business Development at Scout Properties, a real estate company here in Nashville. I LOVE my job. I have had a few jobs and have never really loved them, so it is a breath of fresh air to love going to work and love what I do. My sister-in-law and I write a blog together which has been a fun creative outlet and a great way to bond with her! We write about our travels, food, fashion, etc. In my free time you can find me reading or sipping on some wine with good friends. People are my jam and building relationships is the best. Thanks for letting me share my life with you!
Ok I’ll be incredibly basic and admit it. I am loving JT’s new song Filthy. It’s a great one, you win JT. I also have had Reckless Love of God by Cory Asbury on repeat lately. Two total opposites, two great songs.
What’s your favorite style to wear?
I love all things black. It’s so easy, always looks good and is always chic. Plus it’s easy to wear to work and still look professional while easily transitioning to a happy hour after work and not looking boring.
What’s your guilty pleasure snack-go-to?
Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Okkkk that’s more of a meal but let me tell ya something. It’s freaking good.
What’s your MUST-HAVE beauty item that you can’t live with out?
Concealer. I love the Age Rewind that you can find at any drugstore. It’s great coverage and really brightens your eyes.
Who’s the most influential person in your life and why?
Right now in my life I would honestly have to say my boss. I know that seems very odd and random, but he is a very strong leader, loves people well, is a strong believer and a phenomenal business man. He has influenced so many lives at my company and I have reaped the benefits of working for such a phenomenal person. It’s made an impact on my marriage, faith, and just over all personal and professional development. It’s exciting to be a part of a company that is incredibly intentional in every aspect and encourages you to do the same.
What’s the one thing you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
This year a big goal of mine is to read 24 books. I grew up having to read a lot for school and hated it. Now I see what a blessing reading is and how important continuing education is. So here’s to accomplishing this (for me) big goal for 2018! I’ll let you know at the end of it how I do.
Wherever you are, in whatever season, be all in. Live life with your hands open to God because He has so much to show you and offer you. I’m convinced that life is so much richer when you live it with this mindset.
What’s your fave inspirational quote?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou
I love this quote because it’s amazing how much influence you can have over a moment in someone’s life. It reminds me to be present, leave the best impression and love someone exactly where they are at.
Where is one place you’d love to travel to?
I really want to travel to Uganda or Sudan one day. One day I would love to go and love on the orphanages there that my home church in Texas partners with.
What drives you and gives you passion in your profession?
Working with people! I get to meet new people every single day and hear their stories. Today I met someone who met their spouse while hiking in Iceland! What?! Such a cool story. Everyone I meet in my job gives me an opportunity to connect and hear their story.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
Speaking of growth, I believe the things that we absorb and put into our minds in turn reflects the kind of growth we experience and, therefore, I try to commit to reading several books a year that make me think more deeply or teach me something new. Like you, I have a limited amount of free time, so being selective when I'm choosing how to spend it, is important -- but who doesn't enjoy a good book? So for 2018, I have chosen 3 must read books for you to consider!
1. Saint Augustine's Confessions
I'm super excited to dive into this book because it details Saint Augustine's life from youth to his conversion to Christianity. Saint Augustine was one of the most influential theologians and philosophers so it feels like a gift to be able to read one of his works. I'll be reading it with a group of friends so I'm exited to see what I learn from it!
Guys, I have been meaning to read this book for the past year and this year I HAVE to read it. I have heard such great reviews and, to be quite honest, I love anything dealing with personality and why we do what we do. I've heard nothing but great things about it, so I'm definitely recommending it for you too!
This one was recommended to me by my husband. One of my goals for 2018 is to become more financially aware. My husband handles all of our finances because he truly enjoys it, but, I believe, it has become a crutch for me and I'm slowly working toward changing that. Again, I have heard great reviews and, according to my hubby, it played a big role in shaping the way that we handle our finances. So I'm committed to reading it cover to cover (which means I'll probably be asking him lots of questions about our finances along the way), but I'll also be increasing my financial understanding and awareness!
Traditions, particularly holiday traditions, are an incredible way to tie your family together and is a custom that you share with loved ones. I recently heard someone describe family traditions as "a family's love language". Isn't that the sweetest?
Well, I'm here today to share a few of my family's Christmas traditions with you. I'd also enjoy hearing what your family does year after year. Please share them with me in the comments. Don't be surprised if we like them so much, we incorporate them into ours!
I swear, I think our family can quote the entire movie beginning to end. It is one of our all time favorites and is an absolute must every Christmas. The best part is that my dad laughs so hard, like abs hurt the next day hard, that it makes all of us crack up even more!
Christmas Eve Church & Dinner
There is a house near our old neighborhood that we still go back to see year after year because it is always phenomenal! They go all out and even turn their garage into a winter wonderland. As kids, it was our all-time favorite house to see and when we go back to visit, it's like we're five years old oohhing and aahhing over it!
Now that we're married, we save all of our gifts for Christmas day, but as kids, we loved this tradition! Plus, I'm sure it was a way that my mom could get us to stop constantly asking about our presents.
After the kitchen is cleaned, we flip on some football or maybe a movie and enjoy the rest of the day together. There's usually a nap somewhere in the day along with snacking, rooting for our favorite team, playing card games and, if the weather is nice, there's some backyard football too. That evening though we'll all gather 'round the table again for a big dinner. We eat, we drink, we laugh and we love. Always a very special day with my favorite people.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
You are who I am writing to today. I am writing to you today because I think in the midst of all of the festivities, gift giving, and preparation we forget to turn our hearts towards those who are experiencing something very new and painful for the first time.
My mother is experiencing her first Christmas without her mother this year. I know that this will not be an easy Christmas for her and I want to lean in to her specifically. I want to be more sensitive, understanding, and hug her a lot more. I want to let it go when she gets flustered. I want to just lean in to where her heart is that day. I want to wake up that morning and be present for her.
Choosing joy is not easy and often frustrating, but we can choose it. For me, this looks like shifting my focus. Shifting my eyes towards heaven and the coming of my Savior when He alone will make all things right. For me, it's choosing to look heavenward at the anticipation of the second coming.
I recently spoke with my mom about how my grandfather is handling the festivities without his wife, his better half. She was so encouraged by him because he chose to decorate their home, even though his best friend wasn't there to help him. He chose to go Christmas shopping for all of his grandchildren. He chose to send out Christmas cards signing only his name. At first, this made me so sad thinking of him doing all of it alone. But then, I was immediately filled with pride for him. He chose a beautiful state. He chose to enjoy the season even in the midst of his pain and grief. Please hear me. I am not diminishing your grief and your pain. My words are only here to offer encouragement for you in this season. We often think we can't do certain things when we can. We can do more than we could ever imagine, especially with the power and help of Jesus.
If this is you, then my prayer for you this Christmas is that you see glimmers of Christ's glory. I pray that you would have incredibly special moments with family and friends. I pray that you would enjoy the little things. I pray that you would cry when you need to cry and laugh when you need to laugh. Please know that it is Christ who mourns with us and so we mourn together. But with great anticipation and joy, we look heavenward for the second coming when all will be made right. And when you make that choice to choose joy, I pray that you would be blessed tremendously with the power to do so in that moment.
If this is a Christmas that is joyful for you this year because of so many fun firsts, I am so excited for you. I pray you make many sweet memories that last a lifetime. I ask that you lean into those around you who are dreading Christmas because of loss. Send a text, write a note or just give a hug. Whatever it is that you do, just remember that leaning in is sometimes the most powerful thing you can do for someone.
During his junior year, my parents found out they were having their first child—me!
As typical first-time parents, they interviewed prospective candidates extensively, made sure to call references, and, of course, sought the advice and guidance of family and friends to ensure they were making the wisest possible choice. They selected a mature sitter who chose to care for just one infant at her home each year.
But the very first time my parents ever left me, when I was four weeks old, my life and my family’s lives were forever changed.
My cloth diaper and clothing were immediately soaked, holding in the heat, quickly adhering to my entire leg. Unfortunately, the sitter’s first reaction was to remove them. I include this part of the story in case others encounter a similar situation. The proper protocol is to run cool water over the burned area (if water isn’t available, any cold, drinkable fluid can be used) or hold a clean, cold cloth on the burn (source).
My parents never left my side, asked lots of questions, and learned all they could about the treatment of burns. Naturally, they were fraught with fear, but they had to trust that the doctors and medical staff were doing all they could to provide the best possible care for their precious baby girl.
Now that I'm old enough to fully understand the severity of the situation, I'm so proud of my parents. There were many sleepless nights in the hospital (and when we returned home), the fear of the unknown then and for my future, the anger toward the responsible party, etc. It's unimaginable to me, but they stuck together, held each other up, and when one was weak the other was strong. Amazing!
In the photos below, you see my father holding me on his chest and then my mother rocking me in the chair. The emotional toll it had to take on them watching their daughter suffer in so much pain, and yet, with the good Lord's strength, they were able to be strong throughout this journey and do what was required for me to heal.
Growing up, it was challenging—the surgeries, the crutches, the compression garments, the questions from friends, as well as strangers, about my scars. But with my incredible doctor, my faith, and the support from my wonderful family, I’ve healed and it’s part of what made me into the woman I am today.
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” – Amy Bloom
I believe God has a specific plan for each of us. As a result of this terrible accident, it led my parents straight to the doors of the nearest church. My brother and I, in turn, learned about the grace of God and the gift of salvation at an early age. Ever since, throughout every surgery and every doctors appointment, we were able to find strength and peace in our Lord. We were also lucky enough to be surrounded by a wonderful church community throughout the years.
Although there were times when I wondered, “Why did it happen to me?” or “Why were the burns so bad?” My faith gave me the strength, courage, confidence, and ability to see my scars as a reminder of what really matters in life and how grateful I am to be healthy and alive.
To Every Woman
“Someone will always be prettier. Someone will always be smarter. Someone will always be younger. But they will never be you.” – Anonymous
Regardless of your looks, your scars, your past, your waistline or calorie intake, your mistakes, or anything else you think may make you less than perfect, remember that none of us are perfect. Embrace your imperfections, because they make you, you.
And though I still get questions about my leg, I try to remember that people aren’t intending to be impolite or insensitive. Instead, I’m able to show them that my imperfections make me confidently and perfectly imperfect.
Celebrate whatever it is that makes you different, embrace your quirks, your scars or beauty marks. I share my story with you to encourage all of us to look at our imperfections differently. They are what make you, you. And no one else can ever be that.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen
What makes it work?
How often do you fight?
What do you fight about?
How do you resolve things?
How do you handle finances and a joint account?
Was it scary getting married so young?
The list goes on and on. So here I am to share with you my answers to those very questions. And if you are totally not interested in getting married any time soon, just tuck this post away for you to reference later.
*It is important to note that Blake and I do not have children. I know children add entirely new challenges to your marriage. As our family changes and evolves in the coming years, our perspective and ability to do these things well, might change as well. Thank you Jesus for your never-ending grace!*
What makes our marriage work?
For us, it’s our faith, coupled with like-mindedness and complimentary but different character traits. We are both Christians and were both raised in the church, but naturally it wasn't until adulthood that we clearly chose our faith not because of our upbringing, but because it is truly our belief. Before we got married, it was incredibly important to us that our faith be in alignment and we’re thankful for all the friends and mentors God placed in our lives along the way to help guide and direct us.
We are incredibly like-minded. Whether it's religion, how to handle our finances, politics, child rearing...we both pretty much agree on everything. Now that doesn't mean that there aren’t areas within these topics that we disagree on. If we cannot find a common ground, which honestly is fairly rare, we agree to disagree. Or I pray that God will change his heart (mine is fine, justtt kidding), because sometimes you find yourselves at an impasse and prayer is truly the only answer to change your spouse’s heart, or yours!
We are also very different. I love this about us! His strengths are not mine and vice versa. I once heard in a sermon that our strengths are meant to help raise up our spouse. Isn’t that amazing to think about? Just that simple twist helps us be far more thankful for our differences because now we realize they make us stronger. We can analyze things differently and see things in each other that we probably wouldn't be able to see if we were the same. Our differences challenge us to be better.
Every week Blake and I try to make coffee time a priority. What is coffee time? Coffee time is time set aside for one another with no distractions. It is a time to discuss what is going on in our hearts, to share our frustrations in a judgement-free zone, and to talk about areas we really want to be intentional in. This has been so incredibly helpful for us. Some weeks there is not a lot to share, and others it feels like an intense counseling session. I truly believe this has been a key factor in our marriage thriving thus far. If you are not checking in with each other and voicing your frustrations or concerns (in a loving way), how are you growing together? I think it looks very different for everyone, but for us we have to have this time regularly so that we can continue to move forward together, supporting and loving one another.
How often do we fight?
Ok, let's talk about the difference between bickering and fighting. Bickering happens a lot. It's easy to fall into when you live with someone; especially when that someone is wired differently than you. So how do we avoid bickering? By staying in the word and focusing on Him. It shifts our focus from ourselves, to our spouse. And that’s crucial, because marriage isn't about you.
Now fighting, yes, it’s true - Blake and I fight. When we fight, it is typically over a big decision or a hurt that keeps being repeated. Blake and I have fought about careers, when to have children, a harsh word, etc. But we try to always fight well, if that’s even a thing. In other words, we try to fight with purpose. We fight in order to come up with a resolution. We try to be mindful to think before we speak or pray before we confront. We fight to communicate how much something has hurt us. If you are fighting without the intention of a resolution, then you are not fighting well.
So in that regard, there will be seasons where you and your spouse will agree on what seems like everything. Yay! But there will also be seasons where you just don't seem to agree. It can be very painful. This will be a challenging season and a season where you may have to seek outside help. But that’s marriage, ups/downs, good/bad, and everything in between.
How do you resolve things?
Ok, all of my feminist girlfriends are about to cry when I say this, but I believe I am called to defer to and to support Blake’s leadership for our family. There I said it, now let me explain. There are times we have faced a difficult decision and we haven’t agreed. Even though we may each feel strongly, but differently, we pray and pray some more and, if we still feel very differently, Blake will ultimately make the choice............are you cringing? I can feel you cringing. "How can I let a man make a decision for me?” you ask. Well, that all comes down to our belief system. We believe that Blake is the leader of our family, and, as the leader, sometimes it means he has to be the one to make a difficult decision. It is vital that he makes it for our good and not his glory. 1 Peter 3:7 says to treat your wives with respect so that nothing will hinder your prayers. Do you hear that?? If a man abuses his authority, does not respect his wife, God will not hear his prayers. This is a big deal and something to take very seriously. So, if the idea of being submissive to a man makes you cringe, just remember, if your spouse does not respect you and your input, God will not hear his prayers. So, ladies, marry a man who values your wisdom, knowledge and opinions and when the time comes to make a difficult decision, you’ll already know you can trust that in his love for you he is making it for the good of your family.
How do you handle finances?
Blake should really be answering this one because this is definitely his strength. Blake loves finances! If you need help with your finances and budgeting, please contact my husband because he loves to help and I promise you, it has been what has made our marriage better. We believe that every cent we make is our money. Not my money, not his money, but our money. We also believe that our money is a gift from God, so we try to steward it well. We discuss every category in depth before we put it in the budget. We also believe in living debt-free as best as we can. This means not living like everyone else so you can live like no one else one day. It means practicing self-control. It means not saying yes to everything. It means prioritizing. It means that when we shop, we have a budget to guide us. This has taught me to stretch every dollar (keep following the blog and you’ll for sure see more about this!) and get creative. But with that being said, we set these boundaries so that we can enjoy life within reason.
Was it scary getting married young?
Lol....YES! I look back and cannot believe we got married so young. I have seen countless people our age divorced after 1, 2, 3 years of marriage. You change SO much in your twenties and you just don't know if the person you married will continue to have and support the same beliefs and convictions you have. This is real life y ‘all. It is only by the grace of God that we have thrived. We have had countless men and women pouring into us, guiding us to truth and ultimately reminding us that we made a covenant. This means good, bad, ugly days, we stick together. I do not say any of this to puff us up or make us look good, because trust me our marriage has been the furthest thing from perfect. But what I'm thankful for is this -- we believe in the covenant we made on May 18, 2013, and intend to keep it. This will take a lot of prayer, a lot of confession and repentance, a lot of guidance and a lot of good friends holding us accountable to that covenant. And, I am telling you, prayer is powerful. Praying for your husband is powerful. Praying for your wife is powerful. Prayer is just downright powerful and necessary.
And, guess what - there are as many different paths to a career in sports and television as there are folks in the business. No two stories are the same, but I have found the common denominator in most success stories include setting your goals high and relentlessly pursuing them.
So, in short, here is the story of my path to this TV gig.
In Texas, where I grew up, Friday Night Football is practically a religion and Sundays were dedicated to church and more football. It went without saying, that from the beginning of August until the end of the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl, Sunday mornings would be spent at church followed by everyone piling into the living room, flipping on the first of several games and chowing down on some delicious tailgate foods. Sundays were all about family, food and football.
From an early age, I was always on one team or another. In elementary school, I joined the local rec volleyball team, gave softball a go, and sprinkled in a season of indoor soccer. My middle/high school was small enough (just 20 students in my graduating class!), that we all had plenty of opportunity to be involved in the sports programs. Volleyball was my favorite sport and I was on the team all 3 years of middle school and all 4 years of high school. I played basketball for a few seasons, softball one season and even ran track my senior year. While I was not an all-star, going pro kind of athlete, I always made a solid effort and poured my heart into the game.
For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to go into broadcasting, but it wasn't until high school that I thought seriously about a career in sports broadcasting. The challenges were many - not only is it extremely competitive to land a gig on TV, but to do so in the male dominated sports arena, was even more daunting.
When I went off to college at the University of Oklahoma, I studied Broadcast Journalism and minored in Health and Exercise Sciences. Essentially, I wanted to learn about TV journalism and understand sports exercises and injuries. So how was I going to parlay that into a lifelong career?
That internship turned into an offer for a part-time job at the station in Oklahoma City thru my senior year. It helped me gain real world experience, gather tape for my reel and make some all-important business connections.
Everyone will tell you to "get involved" or "join a club" during college. I can't overstate this point enough - don't just pick something to pick something - take the time to get involved in organizations and look for opportunities that will help round out your resume and provide real and applicable experiences.
During my senior year, I searched for and applied for what felt like a bazillion jobs, went on countless interviews, continuously updated my reel, and reached out to the few connections I had in the industry. Finally, I got a call from the NFL!
Kansas City Chiefs
My position was designed to assist their current on-staff reporter - take over community events, write off the field stories, emcee events, etc. Well, my first day on the job he announced he had accepted another position and would be leaving in two weeks.…surprise! Talk about jumping in with both feet, but here was my chance.
I was working six days a week during the season, logging long hours. Now, I'm sure you've it heard before, and I’m here to tell you it’s true - "You have to pay your dues and work your way up." It’s not always easy, it can be humbling, but you’ll learn so much along the way and it’s worth it.
Of course, my workload grew and the hours became longer, plus I had to learn his job, along with my new job, in a department full of guys who saw me as a young female right out of school who didn't know a thing about football.
It was partially true, I didn't know as much as they did. I had a lot to learn, but I wasn’t a quitter and I wasn't going to let them be right. Every day I read about football, I wrote about football, I watched practice, I listened to podcasts, and I even asked for Madden NFL for Christmas so I could play football.
I invested my time, my energy, everything into being the best reporter I could be and learning as much as I could about the sport, the team and the fans. I was editing, writing, producing, reporting, interviewing, hosting, and the list goes on.
Admittedly, that first season was rough. The team had one of the most difficult seasons in franchise history. The Chiefs went 2-14, fans created a group called "Save The Chiefs," and a horrible tragedy occurred where life was lost. It was challenging to say the least.
After eight months of blood, sweat and tears, I was offered a permanent position. I had done it! I was a full-fledged member of the team behind the team.
I worked with the Chiefs for three seasons before I felt I had maximized my time there and was itching for a new challenge.
San Antonio Spurs
In 2015, back to Texas I went when I accepted a position in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs and Fox Sports Southwest. It was a new and exciting challenge, and the pace was far different from the NFL. Often games were back to back, nights and weekends, and from the west coast to the east coast. But, hands down, the Spurs fans made my time in San Antonio unforgettable. They are passionate and loyal and I miss their high energy and sometimes entertaining and incredible costumes.
It wasn’t long before I realized I was yearning to broaden my horizon, so I connected with a talent agent for advice. We talked through my goals, my dream job, and how to get there. His words of wisdom – “You need to be on TV every single day.” He suggested working in the news. Now, after working in sports for so long, I didn’t see myself in news. Really? News? But I wanted to grow, learn and take that next step towards my goal. So news it was.
So in the summer of 2016, I loaded up and made my way back north on I-35 to KC to be an anchor and reporter at KMBC. My role has changed a few times since I joined the crew here, but now I'm on the air everyday, for 4 ½ hours Monday through Friday. I have grown by leaps and bounds, learned a great deal, and I love being back in Kansas City!
1. Get involved – join groups and organizations at your school and/or in your community
2. Internships – take what you’ve learned in the classroom and get hands on experience
3. Network – at your school, at your job, in your community, introduce yourself, shake a lot of hands and be persistent
4. Team player – be respectful, dependable, give your best effort and go the extra mile
5. Passion – if you’re passionate about your chosen field, you’ll be far happier on the journey, and, in TV, it creates a very necessary connection with your audience
Sports and television are not easy industries to break in to, but once you’re in, it’s important that you are able to adapt, are flexible, continue to learn, and, lastly, don’t forget your integrity. Also, a side note here, there will always be naysayers who criticize. Take it in stride and don’t let them distract you from your goals.
Remember, you will have to jump a few hurdles to get where you’re going and you will certainly have to pay your dues, but don't let anything keep you from pursuing your passion. I've been fortunate enough to have done just that - pursue my passions and enjoy my work. I'm so grateful for the experiences and opportunities I've had along the way and I’m excited to see what the future holds!
Location: Kansas City
My husband and I tied the knot in Nashville, TN in April 2017! We met while we were both working in the NFL. He still works for the Chiefs, so I continue to be connected to the team and of course, I'm at Arrowhead Stadium quite often during the season.
We absolutely love living in Kansas City! There's some amazing BBQ spots, great live jazz music, plenty of farmers markets, beautiful shops on the Plaza, plus, for a big city it has a small town feel.
In a nutshell, I'm a Texas transplant, University of Oklahoma graduate, former OU Rower, sports fanatic, avid quoter of The Office, book lover and wine aficionado.
Location: Nashville, TN
Nashville is known for its southern food, views, and of course country music. However, it's so much more than that. It's one of the greatest places to be for fashion. It's an up and coming musician playing for free at your local coffee shop. It's a melting pot of different cultures of people from all over. It is the perfect mix of southern hospitality and city life.
I am currently the Director of Business Development at Scout Nashville, which is a residential real estate company that exists to make the client experience simple, stress-free, and enjoyable.
In my free time you will find me trying new foods, researching fashion trends, hiking through the beautiful parks of Nashville, traveling, and now blogging with my sister-in-law!
We are two twenty-something year old Texas girls at heart who love exploring life in our new cities. We will be sharing our experiences and adventures, while reflecting on life lessons we've learned before 30. We'll also be talking about a number of different topics - travel, sports, fashion, beauty, and delicious hot spots around town. Hope you come along for the ride!