Wednesday, September 12, 2018

40 Things About Me

A couple months ago, I turned 40 -- and I thought it might be fun to share 40 things about me... some you might know and some you might not.
  1. Growing up, I was the youngest sibling - and cousin on both sides of my family. 
  2. At age 25, I became the middle child of 5 when my parents adopted my younger siblings. 
  3. John and I met online - before it was a real thing... three different times before it stuck. 
  4. The first time we met, I scared him off by sending a photo that made me look too young. 
  5. We were married when I was 23.
  6. I cried through our entire wedding ceremony because I was so nervous about facing the congregation. 
  7. My first semester of college, I attended the University of Alabama, and remember it fondly even though at the time I thought I was miserable.
  8. I had a 12-year long career in non-profit fundraising and data management before having the boys. 
  9. In college, I interned for Children's Miracle Network and fell in love with helping people through charities. 
  10. While working with Children's Miracle Network, I worked on their annual telethon... it was amazing and exhausting.
  11. I was the only Ring Dance coordinator (think, 7 proms with different themes & entertainment all happening at the same time) my senior year at Texas A&M, it was a huge undertaking, but I learned a LOT about myself that year. 
  12. My senior year at A&M was the year of the Bonfire Collapse, and I've never been more proud and humbled of my Aggie Family than I was during those excruciatingly painful days. 
  13. I began a new job on September 11, 2001 -- and watched the events of that day unfold on a television in their lobby before being sent home for the day. 
  14. I was supposed to fly to Chicago on September 12, 2001, for a trip with my sisters and stepmom, but that trip never happened due to the closure of all the air travel at that time. (I've still never been to Chicago.)
  15. Two of my favorite places that I've ever been are - New York City and Washington, D.C. 
  16. In the summer between 7th & 8th grade, I went on a 3-week long bus tour of the West Coast with my school. 
  17. When I was very young, my grandfather had his own airplane so if I wanted to visit... I'd call him and ask him to send the plane to get me. 
  18. I couldn't be more grateful that I was able to grow up without social media... I can't imagine if the antics we lived back then were on social media. 🙅
  19. I won my first computer at my after-prom party... I actually won a stereo but traded it with a friend for the computer & that's the computer I had when I met John. 
  20. I am allergic to saltwater -- and apparently my own sweat if it stays on my skin for too long.
  21. As a small child, I wanted to be a marine biologist, which would have been problematic with my saltwater allergy. 
  22. After an 8 year battle through infertility, James was born.
  23. Tyler was born 6 months later after an intense pregnancy.
  24. I was 32 years old when they were born.
  25. We moved to Memphis for a couple of years when the boys were 9 & 15 months old. 
  26. I've suffered from migraines since high school.
  27. My first mini-stroke was in January 2013, and I spent several days in the hospital because of it. 
  28. We moved home in October 2013, and I had a second mini-stroke in my Dad's driveway. 
  29. In March 2014, I finally was diagnosed with MoyaMoya Disease.
  30. I had two brain surgeries in the summer of 2014, and the first one mostly cured me of daily migraine headaches and periods of not being able to control my muscles.
  31. We chose to homeschool because of some learning challenges that James deals with. 
  32. I used to make beaded jewelry as a side business.
  33. I've tried several MLM companies, and while I love the products... I am just NOT cut out for that work. 
  34. I've always dreamed of writing a book, and I'm now making it happen! 
  35. I'm a self-proclaimed planner junkie... I need a 12-step program.
  36. Baking and cooking relax me, but meal planning stresses me out. 
  37. Reading is one of my favorite past-times, and I try to read between 35-50 books every year. 
  38. I love giving gifts, but birthdays and Christmas stress me out because I want to get the perfect gift for each person. I'm never confident that they will like the gift. 
  39. In 6th grade, I won a solo singing competition... but I quickly retired afterward. 
  40. Last but not least... and I take a lot of heat for this one... but I'm not a fan of bacon or seafood. I will tolerate bacon in recipes, but I'd never crave it. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

What Are We Doing?

I'm going to start by saying that I realize that people won't agree with me and, that's okay. Just please be respectful of all points of view.

Here I sit on the 17th anniversary of September 11th, and I wonder often... how did we get here? In so many ways we've gone backward on the unity of that time. I remember the incredible resilience and pride that you could visibly see for days, weeks, and months after that horrible day. So how is it that we got to this place in 2018?

What place, you might ask? The place where we are so divided on EVERYTHING. Is it the social media factor? I don't know... is it the keyboard warrior mentality? Maybe. Is it the complete lack of even attempting to see things from the other side? More on point.

I remember the days when we could freely be different - and that was okay. I mean, some of my dearest friends spend a lot of their time doing things that I don't agree with politically, but I respect their right to do that. We're even so aware of it that it's a joke now... she will call me out and say... I know you won't agree with this, Kim, but... You know what? It doesn't hurt me.

For me, I'm a firm believer in the "You Do You" way of life. If you want to do something, go all in. Many of my friends look completely different from me, and I think that is really cool... at least until my 8-year-olds ask them what a tattoo is... they were just curious why my friend drew on herself every day. HAHA Oh, kids. But, I digress.

More to the point - there are two things that I'm seeing lately and they just blow my mind.

One -- this whole Nike thing. Look, I stand for the anthem and for the flag. Last I checked, it's legal to burn that same flag... the fundamental difference for me is that you're not allowed to burn said flag at work... but that isn't the point either for this argument. Nike chose their spokesperson, and you don't agree with them. No problem. Burning shoes and clothing is a bit too far though. Donate them! There are plenty of people in your own backyard in need of those items and, they don't care what logo is on the item. If you want to boycott, fine... if you don't, fine. See, You Do You. It's okay to choose another brand to spend your dollars on, but it's also okay to continue wearing the items you already purchased. It's a commercial, and honestly... when was the last time you watched a commercial? I spend all of my time DVRing things or streaming them so that I DON'T have to watch them anymore.

Now for point 2 -- I've seen several articles, and I even believe there is a whole Facebook group devoted to this cause... but there is an uprising over the book Girl, Wash Your Face... such an uprise that when I posted about hosting a book club on the book - I got a message from a friend who I love and respect asking me to reconsider hosting or reading the book.

Her concern was that Rachel's theology wasn't sound, and she didn't want me to be swayed. Here is where I'm at with this. I love and respect this friend, but on this point and others, we don't agree. This can happen between people sitting next to you at church too. Fundamentally, those within the walls of your church will agree on salvation and that it comes from Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. From there, most of the rest is up to your interpretation... and how you read the Bible scriptures that day. Haven't you noticed that you can read a verse and it means one thing to you today... and if you read it again a couple years later - you might take something completely different way from the words.

This book is written by a woman that believes in Jesus. That's where her need for sound theology stops for this book because that isn't what the book is about. She is an imperfect Christian writing a book about things that she has believed in her life. I'm a Christian woman who has faced some of those same things in my life. So it resonates with me. It won't with everyone, I've seen some posts from people that just don't see what the hype is for... and that's okay too. It's not going to be for everyone, but that doesn't make her wrong.

I think the danger here comes when we put these expectations on Christians that everything they write, say, or do has to be theologically sound. We are sinners. We are broken people. There is only ONE perfect person, no one else will ever measure up to Him. Christians can write books that are not spiritually based... or at least I hope so.

I'm currently writing a book, and I would hope that people aren't looking for me to teach them anything beyond my words. My book is about our journey to parenthood, and it's about finding hope in God to endure the journey. I'm not trying to teach anyone how to apply it in their own lives, but sharing our story of hope and redemption for them to apply however they see fit. Not every book written by a Christian is meant to teach theology... there are plenty of them that are meant for that... Rachel's is not.

I pray for a day when life isn't this US or THEM mentality that we've got going right now because it's only serving to break us farther apart. If you don't agree with my points on these issues, that's perfectly okay because you haven't lived in my shoes... you've lived in yours, and you've got different filters. The fundamental difference is how you approach this information - do you attack first, or do you attempt to see it the way that I do - then disagree respectfully. That respectful disagreement and mutual respect is able to live and breathe again.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Simplified Planner 2019

Academic Agenda, Daily or Weekly by Emily Ley
Hi, my name is Kim. I am a planner junkie. You name a planner and I've likely tried it. There are two daily planners out there that I currently love. Ok, maybe three... but that's neither here nor there. I need a 12-step program seriously... but anywho... 
I'm here today to tell you about the Simplified Planner. I am in LOVE with the Blue Tile pattern, as well as the Watercolor Floral... and the Mint Pineapple too! These planners come in both a daily planner and a weekly planner version. 

They've got 6 GORGEOUS covers for both the weekly and the daily versions... although a few of the daily versions are sold out. 

The Daily Planner is 7"x 9" and is made with high-quality materials, it is for you if you need to plan out your days by the hour. If you just need more space for notes and long to-do lists... this is your girl. I've used the daily before, but I just found it to be more space than I needed - so I've chosen a weekly, and I think it'll suit me a bit better going forward. 

 This is the weekly is 6" x 8" and a good bit thinner. It lays completely flat as you see below, and is more for the high lights and a few other to-do list items.

In both versions, there is a prefilled section on your Sunday layouts with your Sunday-Prep work. These are things that are designed to help set you up ahead of the game for the week ahead... easy things that just make you feel ready to tackle the coming week. 
If you're looking for a high-quality planner that is simple enough that you can customize it to fit the needs to whatever you're tracking -- look no further than the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. 
In addition to the planner - if you're a reader -- Emily has penned two books, Grace Not Perfection was her first book, but I can't recommend her second book Simplified Life anymore - it is a tactical guide to simplifying your life... check it out! 
Emily Ley, Simplified Planner, Grace Not Perfection

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Intentional Bites

I want to tell you about an amazing new planner that is hitting the market very soon! I've got an advanced copy so that I can help get the word out about it. The Intentional Bites Planner is going to be a game changer!

The idea behind this planner is that no two bodies respond to the same things, and we all have our own challenges that we are trying to combat. Erin, the creator of the planner has a great video on the waiting list page that explains her inspiration. With this product, you can work through some planning pages to discover your goals, and then you can track your daily food intake as well as how you are feeling as you make necessary changes to your meals. In addition, you can track your grocery lists and meal plan both weekly and monthly!

I'm filling out my planner this weekend as I begin to uncover my new food goals in relation to my health journey. I am tired of trying every diet out there, no longer am I going to try to live my life around my diet... I'm going to change my eating plan to fit my life. I won't be cutting out entire food groups anymore -- I'll just learn how to work in the things that I want while continuing to work toward my goals.

I've done every diet in the book -- from the cabbage soup diet, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins, and 21 Day Fix containers -- you name it... I've tried it. Some I was set up to fail from the very beginning with the ultra-restrictive nature and burn out... others just weren't good at preparing you for a life after their plan. I once begged for a plan for Christmas and failed it before the end of the first day because I was STARVING... so I ended that day gorging on pizza. I've felt every sort of sting of disappointment. Now it's time to try something completely different.

Does this sound like something you'd like to do too? Get yourself on the waiting list for the Intentional Bites Planner today! Then follow along on our journey to health here... in addition to using the planner - I'm reading the book Intuitive Eating so I'll be working through my overall food demons with that as well. I'll be posting pictures and more about our weekly intentional eating prep-work too!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Neurologist Update

Today, we had our follow-up appointment with our Pediatric Neurologist. We love Dr. Jones, and it's always fun getting to spend a few minutes with her. We talked about all of the issues that have been going on - especially the day that James nabbed my phone. We talked about how in some ways it seems like we are reverting back to those crazy toddler days before we even knew what was going on with James.

We started off with her letting me know that his MRI looks exactly the same as it did the last time it was done... which is a GOOD thing. Don't get me wrong - I love that result, but I was wondering if these behavioral issues were the result of a change there. That isn't the case - so we're back to the drawing board of finding the balance for James.

She gave us the all-clear on the MRI for 18-24 months -- so we don't have to worry about that again for a good while... which is nice.

We also talked about a test that a friend of mine mentioned -- it's a cheek swab test that brings back a list of what medications work well for the patient and what won't work at all. The website for the test paints it a bit differently - as in the test is a miracle that will magically tell you the exact medications that will work best... sadly, that isn't reality. Dr. Jones explained that it basically brings back the patient's detailed liver reaction to each medication -- which can be helpful, but it doesn't directly point you to specific meds. She did say that one benefit to the test is that it can stay with him for life -- so if anyone ever needs to put him on medications later in life for whatever chronic illness may or may not come... it'll have information on what drugs might work best for him.

I feel good about that given that I can't help guide him on what he might be allergic to - where I can with Tyler to a certain degree. At least as far as my medical background goes - so the only mystery for Tyler would be John's medical background... but even there - we know that John isn't allergic to anything.

After talking through that test - we looked at what tweaks we can make to his medicines - so for the next couple of weeks, we are going to try a new patch that gradually doses his medicine over 9 hours. I don't know how the patch will work, but it's the same medication that he has been on and we've had success with it -- so as long as he will keep the patch on, it might work well. Additionally, we are going to give him one of his other pills a couple hours earlier to see if that'll help slow him down in the witching hour when he just seems to be like a tornado.

Lastly, we talked about how he is doing academically - which is hard for me to answer. I'm of the mindset that they are always behind, but I know that is partially me being hard on myself. I feel like in some areas they are doing well, and others we are a bit behind... but I think overall we are doing as well as we can. Everyone keeps up for the most part - so we will just keep plugging away. I hope everyone is having a great start to their week... and I'm hoping to get back to this blogging thing more often -- since we're 95% over this flu now.