Title Of My Memoir


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Happy last day of November and very last day of Blogember! Today's prompt is: if you wrote your memoir, what the title of it would be and why?

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If you are new here, this is my story.

In 1984, when I was 16 months old, I was diagnosed with the ultra rare disease, Cystinosis. Because it is so rare, it is often misdiagnosed, and several people in our community go through years and years of horror stories trying to arrive at the correct diagnosis. There was not a lot known about Cystinosis then, and still to this day there are many things that need to be investigated with research studies. My parents were basically told to take me home and enjoy their time with me, because I would not live to see my 10th birthday. The next several years were extremely rough; I had rickets, I was often hospitalized for dehydration, my parents and doctors were doing a delicate and stressful dance to keep my electrolytes in balance, I vomited constantly as a side effect of cysteamine (a medication used to slow down the progression of the disease, it can have very challenging side effects that echo chemotherapy, and lucky me I am someone who has an extremely difficult time tolerating this medication because of the havoc it causes on the body.)

Cystinosis causes the body to produce a toxic amount of cystine, which builds up in every cell in the body producing crystals. The kidney are often the first organ destroyed by the disease, I had a kidney transplant when I was 11. My incredible and selfless mother gave me life for the second time when she donated her kidney to me on October 18th, 1994.

After my transplant I experienced many obstacles, diabetes as a side effect of too high of a dose of prednisone (a steroid). Years of battles with both the EBV and CMV viruses that my pediatric transplant team believed were morphing into lymphoma.

Somehow, I powered my way through college and graduated in 2008 with my B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with a Child Life emphasis.

During 2009 to 2010, I survived an extremely high risk pregnancy. Only about 9 other women with cystinosis have been through this adventure as well. There are many factors that made my pregnancy such a risk, including the fact I had received a kidney transplant, and I had to stop taking Cystagon (the medication that slows down the build up of cystine crystals in the body). On February 1st, 2010 I conquered my own impossible and gave birth to our light, our miracle, our odd defying girl, Sookie. Not only did she survive, so did I, and so did my mother's remarkable kidney.

Currently, I am a huge advocate of organ donation, fundraising for crucial research needs for the Cystinosis Research Network, writing and maintaining my blog, working on my memoir, enjoying and cherishing the wild adventure of motherhood, and assisting the love of my life with the upkeep and growth of our two small business.

******


I think life chose me, after all.

- Dar Williams

This is the incredibly long winded way of me saying, one of my memoir titles in the final running is: After All.

How about you?

Be Ridiculous

Blogember Day 29 and we are almost done. This post and another one tomorrow and I will have successfully conquered every day for a month. Holy goodness...

I've truthfully learned so much. So much in fact, I'm going to dedicated a whole post to rambling about what I've learned in this little challenge I put myself up to. I'm glad I did it. I'm losing my mind a little too. Like all good things that bring about growth and change, it has been a journey.






Today's prompt is your take on be ridiculous.

The funny thing is, if you think about it...we are all dying.

Not that dying is funny and not that I am or anything, but I'm approaching health related fear with a healthy (if ridiculous) new sense of maybe not appropriate humor.

Because I've tried other ways and as I grow as a mother, a person, a daughter, a wife, a girl, a woman, I realize I must separate my body from my soul more. And yet encourage the vessel that is my body with the spirit of a clueless cheerleader; who sees the triumph in being in a football game down 38 to 3 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Two years ago when I had a horrible swallowing study test done at the National Institute Of Health and  I was literally knocked off my feet with the news of the results, Rory made me laugh, smile and cry in a minute I felt was one of my lowest. We had a moment alone in the hallway and he took my hand, looked right at me and said "You have a beautiful skull."




The Soundtrack Of My Life


[source]


Songs on my life's soundtrack

Patty Griffin; When It Don't Come Easy
Hanson; Dying To Be Alive (They dedicated this to me on my Make A Wish)
Dar Williams; After All
Counting Crows; Mrs Potters Lullaby


A Book That Changed Me




There is this woman. This strong, remarkable, courageous, stubborn, beautiful woman. She wrote a book called Roller Skating With Rickets. It changed me. It has changed me. In all the lovely, glorious, earth shattering and soul shaking ways the truly special books do.




Be An Enthusiast In Life



Day 26 of Blogember: A Favorite Teacher In Your Life

When I think of my favorite teacher over the years, there are two that immediately come to mind. They both had a fiery passion for teaching. I'm a firm believer that is why they are two of my most memorable. They put their everything into their profession. They cared so much, it rubbed off onto me. They had a zest for their job that bubbled over into everything.

First, my second grade teacher. She lived close to my grandma and because of this, I was able to stay in touch with her over the years beyond the ones when I was in her class. She taught us Spanish; this was a new thing way back when. None of the other 2nd grade teachers were doing Spanish. She did her own thing and showcased how fun it was to be your own person. She was kind, gentle, and always encouraging. Her son was a hero of mine was well.

The other one that comes to mind was a college professor who taught U.S. History. His class was once a week, on Wednesdays for 3 hours. It was a lecture class. Groan was my immediate reaction to this. But it worked with my schedule and I needed the credits. The combination of a lecture class on history made me want to scream. That is, before I actually met the guy. He loved talking about history so much, he pulled you in and made you care too. It was a magical thing.


Dear You...

Today's prompt on this 25th day of Blogember is to write a love letter to yourself.

I confess, I worked on some of this waiting at the pharmacy drive thru earlier today while my prescription for injectable b12 was being filled.

Here goes nothing!






*******
Hey you.

You haven't been dealt easy cards. Ever. You've experienced a lot. A lot of heartache. A lot of pain. A lot of loss. A lot of mourning. A lot of light. A lot of hope. A lot of miracles. A lot of love.

A lot of life.









You're still learning and that is wonderful. The best thing you can be doing right now actually. Personal growth is a never ending race against your best self.

20 Things




I'm in love with this photo because it captures the insanity of everything right now. Her glee over chocolate and raspberries reminds me to lean into the uncertainty of life.

Blogember Day 24 here we go!

20 things I'm grateful for?

1. A belated birthday lunch to celebrate my remarkable momma
2. B12 shots
3. A beautiful house we are making a home
4. This incredible Scentsy Fundraiser to Support Cystinosis Research
(30% will go toward CRN and assist us in funding research for better treatment!)
5. Sleep
6. Free Clinque Happy perfume with my Sephora points ;)
7. My kidney function is holding steady for the time being. Keeping a close eye on it. Prayers please?
8. Hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year!
9. Words. Gorgeous, colorful, truth filled words.
10. A rare date night with Rory in which we went on an adventure to T.J. Maxx and saw About Time where I cried for the last 20 minutes of the movie.
11. Putting our Christmas lights up outside and Sookie's fairy Christmas tree in her playroom
12. Momentum for my memoir.
13. Cystaran eyedrops that help break down the crystals in my eyes, thus helping me to keep my sight. 14. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
15. Parks & Recreation
16. My sweet nephew is turning ONE next week!
17. Last weekend Rory and I were able to runaway to Vegas to be there to watch his sister get married. I spent most of the time sleeping in the hotel, but it was a nice change to rest somewhere new. ;)
18. My stubborn heart
19. CT scan next week to check on the lymph nodes in my neck
20. Sookie's first ballet recital in a few weeks


How about you?
What are 20 things you are grateful for?

Reverse Bucket List




Happy Saturday and Happy Blogember Day 23! 

The notion of a reverse bucket list makes me so giddy I could burst! I first read about this idea on this lovely blog. The reverse bucket list works like this; you basically list all of the remarkable things you have done, already conquered, already crossed off. There is something utterly divine about celebrating all the marvelous things you've already done in your life. A way of looking back and saying, "My life is awesome."


Here we go! In no particular order...

1. Visit Paris
2. Go to college
3. Fall in love
4. Go to another country for a Hanson concert (Thank you Toronto and Make A Wish! ;)
5. Have stories to tell my daughter about loving a band so much it hurts
6. Graduate college
7. Visit Amsterdam
8. Learn French
9. Learn to cook
10. Go to Jim Morrison's grave
11. Visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa in person
12. Constantly confuse and mystify countless doctors
13. Study Child Development
14. Raise awareness of Cystinosis and hold fundraisers that make a difference
15. Survive a kidney transplant
16. Get a tattoo
17. Give birth
18. Start a blog
19. Live a life I'm proud of


I can't wait to read yours and be inspired! I'm going to come back and add more to this later! :)



Not All Who Wander Are Lost




Places I've been and loved:
Paris
Amsterdam
Toronto
New York City
Las Vegas
San Antonio

Places I haven't been yet:
Nashville
Hawaii
Italy
Australia

 Link up for Day 22 prompt of 10 places you have visited or would love to visit! :)



5 Unique Facts


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Happy Day 21 of Blogember! Today the prompt is to write 5 unique facts about yourself. Here we go!


1. When I was pregnant with Sookie, I had 5 kidneys inside of me. To this day I am still flabbergasted over this bizarre and incredible fact. ;)

2. I was named after my Great Grandmother. My mom fell head over heels in love with it and always wished it was her name.

3. I once visited Jim Morrison's grave in Paris.

4. Garth Brooks was my first celebrity crush and I met him when I was 10.

5. Rory says I have an unhealthy obsession with dishtowels. ;)   

My First Concert: The Judds




Today's topic is writing about your very first concert. My first concert was The Judds when I was 3 years old. Looking back now, I can remember bits and pieces of this show. I felt older than I actually was at the time. So many of their hits bring back such vivid memories. Love Can Build A Bridge actually still makes me all teary eyed. ;)

The Most Gorgeous Christmas Cards Ever

I can't contain the Christmas cheer this year. I want to get our tree up before Thanksgiving, something we've never done before. I'm going to have our cards ordered before December, which is a record for me. Haha. ;)

I've been hearing a lot about Minted over the past several weeks. When I jumped over to their website I was blown away by the array of designs they offer as well as their killer quality which is obviously top notch. Because honestly, look at these gorgeous christmas cards! I can't even stand it. I've been searching new places to order cards from for this year, to branch out of my comfort zone and try something new. There is something incredibly special about that holiday card that stands out from the rest. The one that perfectly captures your family in their element. The one that showcases your personalities for all who know and love you.

These would be gorgeous options if we were going for a Sookie only card this year.


Photography by



Photography by
Bluebird Pictures


Photography by
Bluebird Pictures


These are simply a few ideas I played with photos of Sookie by herself. I'm bursting with joy to send out a remarkable card from Minted this year...with our little miracle family on it. I always cry tears of happiness when we do family photos. There is nothing like living out your dream. I adore that Minted wants to help you tell your family's unique story, in only the way you can.

I also love, LOVE, love that Minted has a feature called Find It Fast. It is the best option ever for indecisive people like me who must view their photo on every single card design available  Basically, you upload which photo(s) you want to include in your card and when you enable this...BAM! Your photos immediately appear in all the designs you are browsing. It seriously saves so much time when you aren't quite sure about what you want and you are working on narrowing it down.

Best news ever? Sign up for an account through this link and you will automatically get $25 toward your cards!

What are you waiting for?! Hop on over to Minted.com and pick out some perfect cards this season. :)



** This post was sponsored by Minted.com However, all opinions are mine. I am extremely picky about what I write about here and I only go with products I truly believe in. This post also contains affiliate links.




She Works Hard For The Money, So Hard for It Honey





Happy Tuesday and also happy Blogember Day 19! How are you doing with this challenge? It truly isn't to late to try out a few prompts if you are feeling curious. It really is a wonderful exercise in blogging outside of your comfort zone. If you need to change things up a bit, please feel free to join us and link up! I started this whole endeavor as a way to propel myself forward in writing about different topics I've never approached before and also to meet new people! There are definitely no rules, so don't be shy if you haven't linked up with us yet and want to start today. It really is never too late!

Today's prompt in the challenge is writing about your first job.

Growing up with two self employed parents has been a good thing for me as Rory and I navigate the waters of entrepreneurship. There are so many things you only learn by experiencing them firsthand. My late teenage years were spent helping out and working at either my Dad's music store or my Mom's family trucking company.

During college I started nanny work for a few different families who lived close to campus. Looking back now, I find it oddly hilarious I was a nanny for about five years before I became a mother. The even more amusing thing is that I thought there wasn't really a huge difference between being a nanny and the trenches of motherhood. Hahaha... I know, right? I was overly cocky going into the sacred land of mommahood, but now I actually think that is a good thing. Needless to say, I have been humbled on a grand scale.

Working as a nanny was a fabulous gig. Sure, I was beyond exhausted balancing that and going to school, but I had so much fun. I fell in love with those kids like they were my own. And now that I really do have one of my own, I feel I am allowed to say that. Ha! ;)



A Million Happy Moments



The happiest moment of my life? Oh there are so many...so, so many. The moment I found out I was going to be a big sister. The moment I met her and our future as sisters was wide open with potential. The moment I knew my kidney would be coming from my mother and I wouldn't have to be added to the waiting list. The moment I was accepted to the University of Utah. The moment I heard Adam Duritz's voice in person for the first time ever. (I just so happened to be wearing a pink boa.) The moments in the beginning when Rory and I were first meeting and talking. (We met through match.com and chatted on the phone several times before we actually went out for coffee.) The moment of our first kiss. The moment he asked me to move in with him. The moment I threw my graduation cap into the air as I celebrated a milestone conquered. The moment I took something as foreign as a pregnancy test and the moment I saw the words "pregnant" appear on the screen. The moment we first heard her heartbeat. The moment I first felt her move inside of me, new life from a body that had been through so much and had to fight so hard to just breathe.

I keep going to the moments leaving the hospital as we took her home. It is all refreshingly vivid. THAT was the minute I let myself breathe, when we were on the freeway home. I was sitting in the back of the car with her and Rory was driving. It was then that I let go and knew she was going to be okay, I was going to be okay, and that the world needed us to have many adventures together before all was said and done.




Favorite Year In Elementary School




Today's link up for Blogember is to write about your favorite year in elementary school and why.

I keep going back and forth between saying 2nd and 4th grade were my favorites. I remember loving school days during these years. I was excited for new knowledge and all the drama of mean girls hadn't really entered my world yet. My health was somewhat stable during this time as well, which made school enjoyable and not an obstacle.

My Story In 6 Words



Happy day 16 of Blogember! If you haven't joined us yet, jump on in! There are no rules and no blog police, I simply want this to be a fun adventure in writing and meeting new people! Back In August I explored this topic on the blog for the first time. My 6 word memoir and I think I would still go with those six words I chose:

A girl who lives in miracles.


How about you? 



Favorite Halloween costume (Wreck It Ralph!)



It is Friday, otherwise known around these parts as Blogember Day 15! Today's prompt is favorite halloween costume and I'm ecstatic to finally share ours from this year! If you follow me on instagram you've already seen these but oh we had a blast this year. And the best part of all of it? The searching for the perfect pieces and making our own if we couldn't find what we needed? The absolute best part of it all is that after last year's lessons Miss S was beyond thrilled about every detail and stayed in character for a week before and about a week after. Ha!




My Fix It Felix get up was by far the easiest. I ordered the hat and shirt patch online. We found the shirt on clearance at Gap Kids. The jeans are my own. The tool belt is form a toy set. I borrowed the gloves and boots from my dad. And we spray painted a hammer! ;) Surprisingly, Rory's Ralph was the most challenging. The hardest part of his? Brown overalls. I kid you not. We ended up dying a pair of khaki colored ones with brown fabric dye. He made the hands himself! I keep telling him he needs to start a blog. The green undershirt is actually mine. (Shhhh.) and we found his orange shirt on clearance at H&M and dyed it orange. We made the medal with gold glitter paper and blue ribbon.

Sookie's Vanellope Von Schweetz was the most fun to put together! Probably because the glee in her eyes was pure magic! We dyed a hoodie with fabric dye and layered two brown skirts she already had. We threaded yard through the hoodie as well. Her tights were a blast! Painted each leg separately. Socks and shoes she already had. For her hair we (obviously) sprayed it black and tied a real piece of licorice in it. For the candy, I glued a bunch of random pieces onto black clips.

Tada!

Can't wait to see yours! :)



10 On 10

This was one of my favorite prompts of the series so far! How about you? Blogember Day 14 and the idea is to share ten photos taken on ten past the hour. I love it when Elizabeth Kartchner does this concept on her blog, so I thought it would be a fun one as a part of the challenge! In a completely uncharacteristic turn of events I actually planned ahead and did this on Tuesday. Shocker, I know. This week has my head spinning with fun things to stay on top of but also being very aware of what areas I pick to put my energy into. I'm working on a health update soon, but right now still no answers. So...we are dealing. I'm honestly not doing too great day to day but there are so many wonderful projects happening and I refuse to simply let it all go.

At the end of the day it was a bright spot to be able to look back and remember the beauty in the moments amidst all the chaos.


My favorite magazine. I actually haven't had a chance to read this issue, but I like to look at the cover for a few split seconds and daydream about when I will be able to. Ha! ;)


Blurry morning teasing Jack.




Making a family journal.



Impromptu dance party!


One of my favorite prints from Ink'd


Getting a treat with Poppa.


I have a strange obsession with dish towels. I love how they can change up your kitchen for such a thrifty price. This hot air balloon one is one of my favorites.



Sookie decorated buddha ;)


Coloring.



Happy Thursday! 








Lightness Has A Call That's Hard To Hear

Happy Wednesday and Blogember Day 13! Today's prompt is to write about an epiphany you had this summer. If you didn't have any massive realizations about life this summer, make one up. ;)




I went through a weird transition whirlwind during this summer. Those are the best words I can find to describe it. I had an incredibly difficult time being around other people, which led to the huge epiphany that I'm an introvert who loves people. I do better in small groups and one on one than in the midst of massive gatherings. (Yes, it took me 30 years of life on this awesome earth to learn and realize this about myself.) I adore people, but boy do they exhaust me sometimes. I think for a long time I've felt like it was my job to get people to see how beautiful their lives are. I felt like I had to shake everyone I saw when they where complaining about a hangnail. Gently tell them, a hangnail is not a tragedy.

I now understand the Indigo Girls 'Closer To Fine' better than I ever have. I taught Sookie the chorus this June, and it reminds me so vividly of this time where everything was so heavy and my heart was crawling, aching, desperate for answers ...I can't listen to it without crying. Which I embrace. I love it when a song digs that deep into me and latches on to my bones. Forever a part of my story.





The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It

{This is a sponsored post. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.)


We have all heard the common phrase, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Which I think is an illusion we can all fall for mistakenly from time to time. We can get caught up in our own troubles and obstacles and when our focus starts to stray from our own life, we notice the highlight reels of someone else's story. However, have you heard the notion that "The grass is greener where you water it"? The first time I ever read this quote, I fell in love with it. I adore the message; the philosophy and the motivation to focus on your own life and what you can do to make it better. The fact that it is a truth of life makes it one of my favorite sayings I've ever come across. The more you take care of and cultivate your life, the more it grows, the greener it is, the more blessings come to you. I'm a firm believer in that. The truly ironic thing is? When you sit down to think about it, all of these factors actually apply to the literal grass surrounding your home as well.




Biograss is a fabulous local Utah company that offers the best of the best in sod, soil, fertilizers and seeds. A factor that makes them stand out is that all of their products are specially formulated and tailored to Utah's unique weather patterns and seasons. An important facet to consider when you are living in such an interesting climate such as the Intermountain West.

When you are researching how to build your yard in your new home, it really is worth it to make sure you do your homework to see what is available out there. Being a homeowner is a huge undertaking (as we experienced firsthand this year!) and I love that Biograss cuts (haha, pun intended there) the guesswork out of options when it comes to making sure your yard is lush, green, and welcoming.

When you spend time learning about the details about the grass you are purchasing to blanket your yard, you are doing yourself and your family a favor. This is the first year we've had a backyard big enough for entertaining and the great thing is, when your grass is naturally beautiful it makes everything else around you better. The kids have more fun, your guests are more relaxed, and because your stress levels are lowered, you are able to enjoy yourself more and focus on the memories you are making.

Here is the thing, when you prioritize getting the best yard for your home, you are able to then focus on other aspects of your life. So much of our lives revolve around where we live. When you are happy with your surroundings, including a lush green lawn, you are more inspired to make your life even better in other ways. In turn, you can pour your energy into the things that really matter to you.


Sugar, The White Poodle





Sugar, the white poodle, was my first pet. She came into my life before my sister. I always joked she was my little sister. (My parents were understandably unsure about having another child because of the fact Cystinosis is hereditary and my sibling had a 25% chance of being born with it just like me.)

She was a fun dog with a rebellious streak too. I remember dressing her up in my cabbage patch doll clothes, pushing her around in my toy strollers and putting her ears into a ponytail. She sighed and let me do all of this to her. Did I mention she was a patient dog?

In her later years she developed diabetes. Her name became a sad irony. I refused to put her to sleep. We gave her insulin shots twice a day for her last year here with us. Most people thought I was absolutely out of my mind for giving insulin shots to a dog. My explanation was always, "Well, my parents didn't give up on me when doctors told them they should." It made so much sense to me.

She was with me through the journey of welcoming a sibling into this world after seven years of being an only child. She greeted me every day when I returned home from the ups and downs of elementary school. She was by my side throughout kidney failure and the recovery from my transplant. She was such a sweet spirit and I'm incredibly grateful for the 14 years she was a part of my life.

3 Albums I Would Take To A Deserted Island





















Can you tell I grew up surrounded by music because I refer to them as albums? Ha! For over 20 years, my dad owned and ran a local music store in the town where I was born. It was a central part of our lives for so long, and continues to be to this day both because of the relationships he built with his customers and the music which picked to live there and in our hearts.

This prompt is so much harder than I realized it would be. Seems to be the theme of Blogember, right? ;) WHO came up with these crazy difficult prompts anyway? Oh yeah...that was all my own doing.

I'm using a photo from Almost Famous for this entry because not only is this movie Cameron Crowe's love letter to music, it happens to have a huge nostalgic place in my life. The first time I saw it was when I was in Toronto on my Make A Wish meeting Hanson. So we have this huge weekend in my life combined with this insanely remarkable, perfectly wondrous movie about what it is to love music. It is all so great to the point I can't stand it.

Anyhow. ;)


Ryan Adams: Gold
This was the first I ever heard of Ryan Adams. (Yes, yes, I know he was is Whiskeytown before he went solo. A fact I'm old enough now to appreciate. ;) The memories tied to this album are delicious ones, the zest for music he injected back into my soul with this collection of songs? Stunningly priceless.





Counting Crows: August and Everything After
The songs that held in hook, line, and sinker in their arms, thus confirming these guys as one of my forever favorite bands. The lyrics that made me forever want to live in Adam Duritz's heart. I always have a hard time picking between this and Recovering The Satellites however today August wins.




Hanson: This Time Around
Yes, my name is Tahnie and I would take a Hanson album to a deserted island with me. Hear me out. This band changed my appreciation for music, but it did so much more than that as well. People I have met because of this band, are some of my closest and dearest friends today...some 15 years after my initial teenage girl fandom craziness. This album brings back many happy memories with my sister, which immediately makes it excruciatingly beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time.







When I Felt Unstoppable




This glorious day is Day 10 of Blogember and we are writing about a time when we felt unstoppable.

I would have to say, I felt unstoppable when I graduated from the University of Utah. It was an uphill battle at times, so much happening during that chapter in my life. There was that fall when I had debilitating migraines and ended up in the ER leading to a spinal tap to check to see if I had pseudotumor cerebri. (I didn't.) I lost my sister unexpectedly spring semester of 2006, promptly decided to take the rest of the semester off, only to start back that fall. Which, to be honest, felt much, much, much too soon. I still am not entirely sure how I pushed through to end up at the finish line, but my stubbornness aided me tremendously in this particular triumph. ;)





5 Favorite Places To Shop Online








Happy Blogember day 9! I apologize I'm cutting it so close in getting this up again friends. No excuses, but let's do this!

I'm a big supporter of small businesses, as we have started two of our very own... gLockets being one of them. HAPPYGIRL code will get you 20% off your purchase for a limited time. Can I get a woohoo? ;) Therefore, I wanted to make sure to include handmade shops and the like here. People who had big dreams and dared to chase them. Because honestly, what is better than that? And when you shop, you are supporting them in loving what they do and doing what they love.


Three Bird Nest
I fell instantly in love with this place. The boot socks, the infinity scarves, the gloves, the, well...everything. And get this, they have toddler boot socks, I kid you not! Bonus? The owner has a heart of gold and has donated shop credit to my Cystinosis fundraisers in the past!

Live Inspired
I recently won a giveaway from this incredible company and while browsing their website, I was drooling, wanting everything. Inspiration is practically jumping right onto you from everything they have to offer. Such a happy place!

Hoopsy Daisies
I ordered a music heart garland from this gal back in the summertime and it is gracing our mantle as I type this. All of her garlands are just darling and she offers so many varieties that you are sure to find one that fits your heart's desire.

Miss Ruby Sue
What can I say about Lori? She is a creative genius with sweet ties back to the innocence and beauty of carefree childhood. We own a few of her headbands and the craftsmanship is impeccable. I adore her use of bold color and all the different fun items she offers.

Threads
A gal can never have too many bracelets! If you haven't heard of Threads, they employ at risk youth to make fabulous bracelets and by supporting them, you are helping these kids attend college. It is a win/win for all involved! Super excited to be partnering with them soon for a Cystinosis fundraiser as well. Stay tuned for more information on that!



Can't wait to see your favorites! Happy Weekend!



Time Isn't Money, It's Only A Lie

...because everything lost can be found but your time.

That is one of my all time favorite lyrics courtesy of Brandi Carlile. The first time I heard it, I stopped what I was doing and let it sink in. There are so many quotes about time, it is one I always come back to. Today for Day 8 (!!!) of the blog every day in November challenge we are jumping into the prompt of writing for five minutes about your thoughts on the elusive, mysterious, concept of time.







The concepts of time and gift are synonymous in my head and heart. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, and Diet Coke and berry sour patch kids. Ha. Brainstorming ideas for this prompt my love kept drifting to my mom and Rory. Both have given me such massive and priceless gifts of more time. 

When my mom donated her kidney to me and gave me a second chance at the ripe age of 11, she gave me time. Time to navigate that oh so fun world of teenagedom and hormones and driving and finding my self worth and discovering the best ways for me to tend my own garden. She gave me the chance at a driver's license, a college degree, and a family of my very own. She gave me the opportunity to make more memories.

Rory has given me time in many different ways. The time to be home with Sookie during her early years, to watch her little hands grow from newborn neediness to toddler curious and on the cusp of preschool confidence. To witness her discover the ways of the world and the things that make all of this worthwhile and precious. To be so close her breath is intwined in mine.


Link up your thoughts on time!



A Day In The Life

Once again, I'm laughing and kicking myself a little bit for the prompts I went with for this challenge. One of the most gorgeous things about my life is that no two days are alike. Yes, many of them consist of the same elements and tasks, but the lessons and reflections are ever growing and evolving with each rise and set of the sun. However, my days are full. I strive each morning to remember to be present in each moment.

These days I'm embracing sweet Sookie laughter, snuggles and praying over her in the morning. Intense hugs as I realize the weight of being given another day with my family. Coffee sometimes, water always, carrot juice with morning meds. It helps to ease the unavoidable nausea from Cystagon. These days are candy pink boas, apple green fairy wings and singing at the top of our lungs. These days are rainbow colored pony tail holder soup. These days are bug pillows and grapes in bed and cozy feet snug inside slippers.










Today? I'm treading water furiously to stay afloat. I'm struggling with energy and the spoons I want to give back to the world, but my family comes first. I made scrambled eggs with garlic, rosemary and bacon. I called a specialty pharmacy back to set up a shipment of my eye drops and went over the fact that they have to be frozen (even though I do this every 4 weeks). I stayed patient while the woman explained to me that I have to unthaw them 24 hours before I put them in my eyes. I said "Yes, I understand that." when she told me they are to be put in my eyes every hour I'm awake. I grinned as Sookie splashed in the tub, reenacting scenes from Tangled.

My heart swelled to three times its original size as I watched my dad build Miss S a lion cave out of couch cushions. I giggled as he and I attempted to convince Sookie that the dragon she was fussing about wasn't really bad, he simply needed friends and perhaps we should invite him in for tea?

Driving home I chatted with Sook about the cheshire cat moon. She insisted it was a crescent. She told me a story about "Last time when I was a baby, and I was a bird and I fly high in the sky..."

My sister gave me a pair of Spongebob Squarepants earrings for the last Christmas she was here with us (8 years ago). She was bursting with joy for me to open them. I was a brat about them; ungrateful and annoyed that they weren't something else. Sookie found them tonight in my old bedroom (her playroom at my mom and dad's). I was crying, laughing, crying, crying, laughing, laughing, and crying. Life lesson: don't be a brat. Cherish Spongebob earrings.

And with that, I say goodbye to this day with these words repeating in my head:

Even scientists say
Everything is just light
Not created, destroyed
But eternally bright
- Live; They Stood Up For Love


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Link up your posts about a day in your life. I can't wait to read them. :)

5 favorite apps

Apps are a lot like blogs to me, in the essence that there are so many magnificent ones out there that it boggles my mind attempting a list of favorites. Oh wait...what? This is my own fault because I'm the one that picked this prompt for Day 5 of Blogember. Ah well. Here we go!




Photo credit of Sookie: Bluebird Pictures




Monster Meter
I adore this app for the usefulness it provides and for the whimsy that is apparent on every screen. If you are a parent or quite frankly have ever been around kids, chances are you've heard them make a remark about monsters. Monster meter provides four different scanning options to scan a room for monsters. The monster spray is so much fun to shake up (it sounds exactly like a can of spray paint when you shake your phone or iPad). Yes, I'm bias on this one because it is one of Rory's...however, the idea? Brilliant.

Snapseed
This is my go to photo editing app. I love that it boasts so many features. I'm much appreciative to House of Smiths for recommending it in one of her posts because that is how I first heard about it! A little caution though, it does have a learning curve and I'm quite proud of myself for sticking with it until I overcame that because I am impatient when it comes to an app that I just want to jump right in and know how to do everything.

Rhonna Designs
I'm head over heels in absolute love with this app! Rhonna is a person who is a sweetheart and has endless talent to boot! I play with this app when I need creative outlet time and I am always inspired by the quotes that come along with it. Rhonna put her heart and soul into every design and aspect.

Picfx
Another photo editing app I go to often to play, create, and edit all of our memories; from the every day to the once in a lifetime. I love the crop feature, and the bokeh lights could not get any better. It is user friendly and light with a lot of options and features.

Tattoo You
A fun app to play with if you want to convince people you finally went and got that ink you've been talking about forever. Ha! The different settings allow you to customize the transparency to make sure your tattoo look real. We have so much fun with this one.
(This is another one of Rory's apps. ;)


I can't wait to see your favorites and discover some fun new ones!

Lemon Coconut Christmas Cookies





Happy Day 5 of Blogember! Today I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes and since I can't get Christmas out of my brain, we are going with a festive one! Although, there is no reason this absolutely has to be a strictly Christmas cookie. This recipe is from the Rachael Ray magazine and can be found HERE. We did things a little different when we made them, we used gold sparkling sugar and a star cookie cutter instead of a snowflake one. They are out of this world yummy. I will be making these again and again. I have a weakness for anything lemon and coconut. :)


INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt 2 sticks plus 5 tbsp. (10.5 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. coconut extract
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tbsp. half-and-half
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice plus 2 tsp. lemon zest
White sparkling sugar, for decorating
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut


DIRECTIONS:
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt. Using an electric mixer, cream 11 tbsp. butter and the granulated sugar on medium-low speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and the extracts, scraping the bowl, for 2 minutes. Mix in the flour mixture in 2 batches on low speed. Divide the dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the wrap to help, shape the dough into 2 disks and seal. Chill for 2 hours. Meanwhile, using the mixer, beat the remaining 10 tbsp. butter, 1/2 tsp. salt, the confectioners’ sugar, half-and-half, lemon juice and lemon zest on low speed until smooth. Beat on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Chill the filling. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375°. Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment. Working with 1 dough disk at a time, roll out on a floured surface to 1/8 inch, rotating the dough as needed. Using a 2 1/2-inch cutter, cut out cookies. Divide the cookies among the pans, chilling the pans as you work. Sprinkle the cookies with the sparkling sugar. Bake 2 pans at a time, switching them halfway through cooking, until the edges brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack; let cool. Spread the bottom of 1 cookie with 1 tsp. of the filling. Sandwich with another cookie. Use your fingers to scoop and press the coconut onto the filling. Chill for about 30 minutes.

Freedom

Today we are starting out this new week of the Blogember challenge by writing for 5 minutes on the prompt Freedom. If you've ever done Five Minute Friday with Lisa Jo you can approach today's prompt in much the same way. Write for five minutes and don't change anything when the five minutes is up. Five Minute Friday inspired a few prompts because I love the rawness and realness that often accompanies five minutes of writing, no editing, no over thinking. The honesty has a gorgeous way of taking center focus in your words.

Are you ready? Let's go!








Freedom feels vivid, uninhibited. The complete space to live life to your own choosing and giving the rules the middle finger. My sweet incredible friend (who attended my Make A Wish trip with me all those years ago) reminded me that due to prior expectations for my life given by doctors, I was free the day I turned 11. I go back to her observation and reflect on it often. She is completely and utterly right. It took me awhile to live with this knowledge and now that I feel I can own it in a way I never could in my early 20s...things feel refreshingly different and limitless. Once you conquer two of your own impossibles (in my case, living to see my 11th birthday AND surviving an extremely rare and high risk pregnancy)...who knows what heights you can reach beyond that? It can feel frightening sometimes, the vast scope of what is left, what more is possible within my little story? I'm just a blip. However, I want to be a blip that makes a difference.

Freedom to me right now is the luxury of filling my mind with what I pick to fill it with. To pour words out whenever and wherever I can. To give my energy (even in her fairly limited supply these days) where I choose. To be generous with my love.



What does freedom mean to you?



5 Favorite Blogs

There is beautiful snow falling outside and I'm grateful for my eye sight as I see the flakes all spinning gleefully outside. (The cornea crystals caused by Cystinosis can sometimes lead to blindness, so I make a significant effort to cherish my vision.) We are watching it from our bedroom window, cozy in flannel pajamas and I smile as Sookie says "Look at the whole world!" 

I am so inspired by others all around me. Today's prompt for Day 3 of the blog every day in November challenge is 5 of your favorite blogs. Now now, I know with the amount of insanely marvelous people on the internet, it is impossible to only pick 5 favorite blogs. Go ahead and do 5 of your favorites because that is eventually what I had to do! It is a tough one.






All of these blogs inspire me in one way or another. These ladies are all tough, unstoppable and ultimately make the world a better place.


Mayhem With The Moody's
Bryn is one of the sweetest girls you will ever, ever meet in life. She has this way with words that is beyond remarkable. Her honesty is so utterly beautiful and motivational.

InkdDesigns
Amy's blog is new and she is simply marvelous. Her insights on motherhood always get to me and she is hilarious. Her Shop has incredible stuff as well.

Loves of Life
Katie is the best. I adore her writing style and the fact that she makes a serious effort to enjoy the things in life that make her happy. She doesn't make excuses and I LOVE THAT.

Lil Blue Boo
Ashley is one of my heroes. Her cancer chronicles continue to give me that push when I'm experiencing particularly tough medical weeks or months. She is refreshingly real.

Little Miss Momma
Ashley has one of the kindest hearts in all of blog land. She has this way of viewing the world that reminds me to take a step back and cherish all the little details.


Can't wait to find some new blogs to read and make some new friends! Here is the link up for today:



Above All





Today, we are writing about our favorite inspirational quote as a part of Blogember. Day 2. I am one of those people who are a little too obsessed with quotes. Isn't it incredible how a few words can transform your mood and your day? Last week, after a particularly challenging day, both physically and emotionally, I took a breath and was kind to myself. I listened to Sookie splashing and playing in the tub (Flynn Rider was bathing with her apparently...ha!) and went pinterest quote crazy. It was the best mood booster I could have picked at that given moment. A simple ten minutes of reading inspirational quotes and my faith in the world was revived. My absolute favorite though is this one:

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.
- Nora Ephron

The most astonishing people I know have become their own heroes through various different means. I strive for that every single day and it is crucial for me to showcase that choice to Sookie as well. I want her to learn to be a pillar of strength because she watches her momma. Every morning when she wakes up, I remind her she is brave and strong. She is a little warrior and somehow makes me more gutsy than I ever dreamed I would be. 

While I'm on that subject, I should mention that we watched a mermaid eat fire last night and I held a 28 pound python with Sookie. Dear life, thank you for unabashedly reminding me how fabulously magical you are.


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I can't wait to read all about your favorite inspiring quotes. Link up your entries below.








One Of Life's Best Lessons

Happy happy November to you! I hope your Halloween yesterday was filled with everything you wanted it to be! I'm exercising crazy self control not to share our costumes, but we have a party tonight and I'm hoping we can keep them a secret until then. I have to say, I'm ecstatic at how well they turned out and how we pulled off these characters!

Today, the very first prompt of the Blogember challenge is one of the best lessons life has shown you. 














I feel like I have so much left to learn about life...and I know I definitely do! The older I get, the easier it is to live each day ready for fresh knowledge or a brand new take on something I might be stuck on. One of life's BEST lessons so far has been the insurmountable strength of the human spirit. People (including myself) are remarkably resilient. They can go through hell and back 7,000 times and come through softer and kinder. The world can crush their hearts and stomp on their dreams until hope seems thousands of miles beyond reach...and they pull themselves up and cradle what they have left with the fierce preciousness it deserves.

In a way, we are all waging war on something, whether we are vocal about it or choose to keep it more private. I adore the quote the struggle is part of the story because our challenges build character. They are shaping us into who we were meant to become and creating the stepping stones so that we are armed with the tools we need to live our best life. 











You are more than welcome to put this on your blog to share the love. I would really appreciate it! :)





Let's do it! Link up your first post of Blogember below.