Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cara Box Reveal


 Life here has gotten quite crazy these last few months. I need to get my blogging mojo back. We are getting into the holiday season, and couldn't be more excited to start some new family traditions... On that note, our new family traditions would make a great future blog post.  Our little man will be turning 3 on Christmas Eve. With the holidays in full force, my  Origami Owl business has been keeping me on my toes as well!  During the busy month, I was able to participate in the Cara Box Exchange:

The blog Wifessionals does a gift exchange throughout the year. This time around was the Fall theme--which I love!!!  Anything to do with Fall I'm all over it!  I was partnered up with 2 wonderful ladies, both of whom got married within the last month.

My other partner, Betsey, sent me these awesome items!!! 

~A recipe book filled with Fall recipes (my favorite! very thoughtful)
~Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai :)
~Rice Krispy treat owls (perfect for craft day with my toddler)
~Cute Mug
~Monster Bash treat book
~Chicken Soup for the Soup (I used to read these as a teen! love inspirational stuff) 

I sent Danielle some Fall goodies, which you can view at  Sweet Southern Girl.

Cara Box


Thursday, October 17, 2013

At the Well

Centuries ago, there was a Samaritan woman who would travel to the well to collect her water. During those times, the women of that region would travel together during the cooler parts of the day, gather their water, and travel back to town. The Samaritan woman was in no place emotionally or mentally to travel with these ladies. There were experiences in her life that led her to believe that being surrounded by these other women would only lead to ridicule, judgement, and "looks".  She had been married 5 different times, and her husbands divorced her. During that time, this was often unheard of. Now she was living with a man that was not her even bigger no-no during that time. For a lady to be married this many times and be disowned by her husbands meant that she was unclean, unworthy, and unwanted. It was very much frowned upon by that society. 

The Samaritan woman traveled to the well during the hottest part of the day to avoid the chastising. Who wants to feel like they are unworthy of love and are ridiculed by others?  So to avoid the "heat" from others, she decided to travel alone. Alone--to think about her problems and to replay those negative thoughts of being unworthy of love.

When she arrived to the well, she was surprised to see another person there--a man. Most men during those times were not the ones in charge of going to the well. I believe they left that job for the women. The Samaritan cautiously gathered her water until this man approached her asking for a drink. She asked him how he could be talking to a Samaritan when he was evidently a Jew (Samaritans and Jews NEVER conversed with each other. Not only that, but a man to be openly talking to any woman was also unheard of). This man's boldness and lack of what society would consider okay was shocking. He did not care. This man invited the woman in conversation and would ask her personal questions. He knew she had been married 5 different times, he knew why she was there alone, he knew the pain and ridicule this woman had to confront on a daily basis. He comforted her. He provided answers to how she could be free from the pain of shame. This man was Jesus.

Jesus meets you where you are today. Just like the Samaritan woman was dealing with the shame, fear, and sadness of her life, Jesus met her where she was. He provided her an opportunity to know Him and to show her that He loves her unconditionally. She does not have to live in the bondage of shame and guilt anymore.

While doing the study A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, the story of the woman at the well stood out to me. I have heard this Bible story many times while growing up, but this time it impacted me even more. There are many times when I think that I am alone in my struggles, and there is no one that would understand. These last few months, God has shown me that I am beautifully and wonderfully made and that the more I depend on Him, the more love and acceptance I will feel. I get that from knowing Jesus, and I can rest in the fact that I can accept myself. I don't need to doubt myself anymore.

The author of A Confident Heart shared in the book something that stood out to me: "Oh how I longed for someone to see past the exterior facade and look into the secret places of my heart. I wanted to be known and loved for who I was. Yet if I let my guard down, I was afraid someone would say I was too sensitive or too serious. It had happened before. So I pretended everything was fine. With each attempt to keep others impressed and distant, I stepped further into the shadows of doubt. Even though I was surrounded by people, my insecurities convinced me I was all alone."

Renee Swope talked about her relationship with her father as well, and I could relate oh so well. Many things I do in life are to find acceptance from others because I did not get that from my own father. Throughout my life I have doubted whether I am good enough. I doubt my capabilities. Some of that stems from the relationship I have with my father, while it's also how the world has impacted me. The good news is that God is really showing me what perfect love is right now. There is no need to be inflicted with doubt anymore.


If you would like to join A Confident Heart book study, click on the photo below.

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oh boy! I was gone for a long time...

Hello, Friends!

I took a pretty long break from the blogging world. It's tough to keep up with it on a daily basis, and find motivation to write about interesting topics. I have come to the point now that I will only write about something that touches my heart. Otherwise, it's a struggle to be authentic and the post will come out mediocre. I don't want that.

There has been A LOT of good things happening in my life these last few months. For most of you that have followed my blog or know me personally, you know about my struggle with anxiety and depression. There were a lot of things contributing to my anxiety that I needed to get a handle on. It was starting to become easier to be mad and have a woe-is-me attitude.

Now there is joy in the journey. These last few months I surrounded myself with support groups, counseling, new friends, and people I can trust. My journey is not yet over, and I will continue to better myself. I have learned more about myself these last few months than the 27 years of my life so far.  Today I am thanking God for my pain. If I did not go through the hardships of not having a loving father, of failing at being a first-time teacher,  experiencing having hardly any close friends and feeling lonely, I would not be where I am today. Today I am happy that those things happened because it forced me to reach out. As a result of reaching out and plugging myself into numerous groups, I have made a great group of friends, I have FINALLY figured out that getting approval and acceptance from others is not what matters, and I have worked hard on being positive.  I have been given MORE than I could have ever imagined. I pray to God to allow my hurts and disappointments to not be in vain. To allow my hurts to reach other people. Maybe there is someone struggling with something similar and needs encouragement. To go through all of this is shaping me into the person I was meant to be. When I quit teaching, I felt mediocre. To be a mom made me proud and happy, but I always felt like beyond mommyhood there was something more. I can be a mom, a wife, a friend, and still have more to give. Still not quite sure what the whole plan is or where I am headed, but the journey is exciting now. There is not as much fear taking hold of me and holding me back. Someone once said to me "the puddin' ain't set yet". We cannot see the entire picture right now. Little by little we might notice our calling or niche in life. Sometimes I think as we go through seasons of life our niche can change. I always thought being a teacher was the ONLY thing God wanted me to do. Boy, was I wrong. There is a lot more that fulfills me and gives me purpose. God has a big plan for each of our lives. We just need to be willing to experience the hardships so we can be refined and reach our full potential.

We go through what we go through to help others go thorough what we went through. - Kathe Wunnenburg

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Do you believe in premonitions? According to the dictionary, it's a strong feeling that something is about to happen, especially something unpleasant.  I honestly did not start believing in premonitions until recently.  A few weeks ago I shared with ya'll about a dream I had that had elements of true events that actually played out the next day... You can read about that hereTo me, that was a funny, weird thing to happen but I brushed it off.

Last night, my mother was digging through her dusty journals. She came across an entry that stopped her in her tracks. Mother asked me if I remembered a dream I had as a teenager about 15 years ago. My dream consisted of me waking up in the night to realize that our house had caught on fire. Opening the bedroom door, there were flames everywhere. I tried to scream to warn my family, but it seemed as though I had lost my voice completely. In an attempt to save my family I turned on the radio full blast to wake them up since my voice was subdued. Trying to save my life and free myself, I broke the window and became bloody in the process. I escaped.

When I had that dream as a teenager I woke up the next day and divulged it to my mother. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had a similar dream a few nights after mine. This is what she confided in me last night:

Mom's dream was very similar to mine. She dreamed that a fire had woken her up and she was trying to warn us kids.  She opened the bedroom door and there were flames preventing an escape. She also escaped through her bedroom window and found us kids waiting for her outside.

Mom then informs me that soon after we both had these dreams, she heard loud popping noises coming from the garage. Not thinking much of it she ignored it and continued her crafting project. Later that day, my father came home and said that the hot water heater had a big black streak across it. Apparently it had caught on fire.... (that was the popping sound my mom heard earlier).  My mom had this nudging feeling to get it checked out.

The plumber arrived and insisted we get an electrician out immediately!  The wiring was jerry-rigged... not a huge surprise since our old house had problem after problem. The electrician arrived and had a bizarre event happen. He was checking things out and found that not only did the hot water heater have a fire cause the black streak across it, but it actually had 2 other fires/electrical issues inside the heater previously. While he was checking things out, the wires started sparking and he had to run out to the electrical box and shut everything off. 

My mother said that if our dreams did not happen that it would have been easy to ignore the hot water heater and not insist on a electrician to survey it.  What an eerie thought that maybe our dreams were warning us of something???  

Also, not even 24 hours before the hot water heater caught on fire, my father had moved a bunch of spray paint away from the hot water heater....

There are just way too many things here to not think that Someone was watching out for us. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Moments Not Wasted

It is very rare to have a beautiful weather day this time of year in Arizona.  Today I am soaking up the breeze outside, and watching my son play.  My 2 year old is splashing around in the muddy, wet sand table from the rain we got the last few days.  In this moment I could care less about the dirty soaked clothes or that he's flinging muddy water everywhere. Taking in this moment instead of wishing it away.

As the news and everyone else is reflecting back on September 11th, I do not want to focus on the sadness of that day.  Instead, I want to not waste a single moment and relish these little things in life.  Every day should be cause to love your family more, to not be easily angered or frustrated, and to soak up the hugs and kisses from your children. 


Friday, September 6, 2013

Celebrity Dinner Party

You are invited to a Celebrity Dinner Party!  

You won't want to miss this because it will be 
LEGEN.....wait for it.... DARY!

 ::Robin Williams:: Brad Paisley:: Wynonna Judd :: Neil Patrick Harris::

You cannot tell me that being in the same room as Robin Williams would not knock your socks off! Better yet, his hilarious stand-up comedy would cause you to pee your pants from laughing so much.  Growing up, I loved his movies "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Patch Adams".  You never know what will come out of Robin Williams' mouth.  He can be quite raunchy at times, but then again, he would be the life of the party.  I seriously don't want my party turning out to be a dud.

Brad Paisley... hmmm....yum... enough said. He's just plain sexy! Any girl can tell you that his cowboy charm and songs tug at your heart. In real life he is married to the actress from "Father of the Bride".  Such a cute couple!  I honestly would just love to be serenaded all evening by Brad.

I need some sassy at my dinner party.  The third guest I would invite would be Wynonna Judd.  Growing up, my mom and I would listen to The Judds, and I would pretend to be a diva like her. Blaring my boombox to "Girls with Guitars" was what rocked my world back in the day.

I saved the best for last... Neil Patrick Harris!  As I picture him at my party, he is bursting through the door with a Broadway number and dancing on my dining table. My little Doogie Howser, has now grown into Barney Stedson.  Neil Patrick Harris just seems like an all-around-good-guy. When the party gets out of hand, he would be the one to rally everyone back to order.  Plus, I just want to hear him quote from the show How I Met Your Mother: “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”

Who would be at your Celebrity Dinner Party?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Best Advice I Ever Received on Motherhood

 The best advice I received was from my mother when I was about to give birth to my son. Every day I remind myself of the importance of taking every moment to heart...never take anything for granted.

 Dear Elizabeth,

"In the coming months and years you might find yourself saying such things as: “We don’t eat Bella’s dog food.” “We don’t climb on the dishwasher door.” “What’s in your mouth?” Through it all, learn to laugh at yourself, your son and remember … it’s only for a short time. You only have a limited amount of time that you will be able to guide and influence Joshua’s every action. Raising little ones is exhausting and busy and adventurous. But it is only for a season. So be present in all the moments - in the hard ones, the funny ones and the joy-filled times. Don’t wish them away. Instead, be thankful that you get to experience each and every one of them.

God gives us these little people to enjoy, love, encourage, and teach. But keep in mind that our babies are, in reality, His. They are only on loan to us. He is entrusting you with one of His most precious creations."  

Love, Mom

Thoughts inspired from: “In its time - 
He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Dream of Africa

My dream is to one day venture to Africa


The sweltering, desert that Africa consists of.
To experience their culture and the heart of the people.
I want to be greeted by the natives, 
with singing and dancing.


Most of my days I would love to be with the children.
Help and love on the kids in the orphanages and schools.
Teach them about my country, language, and my faith,
while they teach me all about theirs.


 Dreaming of African animals.
A safari to witness the grandness of all the creatures.
Lions, Tigers, Bears, Oh my! (maybe not bears...)


To lay under the stars at night and take in God's glory.
To put fear aside and go somewhere in pure faith.
No agenda, no schedule, but just to experience what Africa has to offer.
Like my own "Eat Pray Love" adventure in finding myself. 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where Do I Come From?

I was so excited to see that Story of my Life was going to do another blog-everyday challenge!  This month they are doing a "Blogtember" challenge to blog every day during the month of September.  Most of the prompts already inspire me, and I will also blog about what suits me on a daily whim.  Join me as I attempt to blog through the month!

I am the 4th generation on my Dad's side of the family to live in America.
My paternal Great-Grandparents moved from Japan to Hawaii as young adults.
My grandparents started their family in Southern California.

My mother's side of the family can be dated back to the late 1700's.
French Huguenots that fled from religious persecution
to the new land.

Growing up in Southern California for most of my childhood was grand.
We lived 5 minutes from Disneyland, and had perfect weather.
I remember making my first friend at 5 years old and 
are celebrating 22 years of friendship this year!

In 5th grade, we moved to Arizona.
Been here for 17 years.
In jr. high, I went to my church's youth camp.
It changed my life.
I rededicated my life to God and got baptized.

My teen years were difficult.
Struggled to find my identity and worth.
After years of depression and soul searching,
God once again showed me that there is more to life.

My first love was at 15 years old.
I would always get grounded for talking on the phone
for hours on end with him.
He was my first kiss...
and my last kiss.
I married this man 6 years later.

Becoming a mommy was the best thing that ever happened!
Our son is our pride and joy.
We live our lives to provide for him and bring him 
up in a Christian household.
When someone said having a little one is like
having part of your heart walking on the outside,
they had no idea how true of a statement that is.
My child is what brings purpose to my life.

Currently, I am still soul searching.
Wanting to once again hear and see God's hand working in my life.
Sometimes He is silent and I feel alone,
like the Israelites wandering through the desert for 40 years.
But through the silence I am asking for guidance and answers.
And I know if I am still and quiet, I will receive the comfort and guidance needed.

My story is not yet over.
Today is a new day
to rediscover myself,
to make amends,
love those around me,
and to live a life of meaning.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Living with the End in Sight

It is not every day someone inquiries, "How would you treat your marriage differently with the end in sight?  What would you want your husband to say at your funeral?"  That is not something I care to think about... How morbid of a thought is that?! 

After a few days of stewing over my feelings and thoughts, I came to the conclusion that these are really good questions!  I live my life thinking that I have all the time in the world to postpone thinking about such topics.  And I am sure most of you do too. 

At my funeral, I would love to think that my husband would say such things as:

 "My wife was the one and only love of my life.  She was the peanut butter to my jelly.  Life will not be the same because she was my best friend.  I loved her sense of curiosity, and love for life.  There was not a day that went by where she didn't want to fill another person's life with joy.  The most important thing was that she brought joy to my life and my son's life.  She made us feel like we were the most important people in her life and she showed that.  We took this life on together. Elizabeth was always understanding and never doubted us as a couple.  If anything, our marriage was the #1 thing that she worked hard on and was her priority.  She took her wedding vows seriously and lived up to them (beyond what was expected).  Elizabeth was the most graceful, loving, and sweetest person I knew. Her love for God was unwavering and she looked to God in everything she did. I will miss her every day of my remaining days."

Okay.... so that was difficult to write and feels like I just pumped myself up to look like a saint.  Honestly though, if my husband says that I honored our vows and he will miss me every day of his life then that is all that I wish for.  A friend of mine had mentioned that she thinks her husband would say about her at her funeral: "She was really good at paying the bills and doing her own thing. I didn't feel like I really knew her."  That was a major wake up call to do things differently. She did not want to have a mediocre marriage and have her husband resenting her. 

I want to be known as the person that did not take life for granted, and did not put our marriage on the backburner.  It is so easy to think that we have all the time in the world to get to the important things in life.... maybe we have 20 years, 50 years left, or maybe tomorrow everything can unexpectedly change.  We do not know. Therefore, we need to live every minute of our days with purpose and to let our loved ones know they are important to us. 

When I did this assignment, it was difficult to foresee the impact it would have on me. Live with every moment with the end in sight. The things I would want my husband to say about me at my funeral, I need to be putting into practice RIGHT NOW.

How can I show my love for life? How can I bring joy to others? What are ways I can live up to my vows? How can I be an example to my family with my love for God?  Those are the things I need to put into practice.

What is one thing you can do today to show your spouse that your marriage is #1 priority?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tips to Declutter

As we come to a close for the "Project Declutter" series, I wanted to share some decluttering and organization tips. This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop by Eileen Roth, the author of Organizing for Dummies.  She had some good pointers to help everyone get started on the road to a clutter-free home.  We discussed that the causes of clutter can be receiving items, buying more stuff, and saving items for later use.  I have learned that anytime you get your mail, dump the junk mail right away.  Then the remaining items that are bills or things you want to keep you can put in a file.  When it comes to saving items, ask yourself, "Have I used this in the last year?  If not, then I need to sell it or donate the item."  If you would like to declutter your closet, here is an awesome idea:  Turn all the hangers in your closet backwards.  Whenever you wear something, turn the hanger the right way.  At the end of the year, all the hangers turning the wrong way should be donated.  I love this idea to simplify your closet in a fun way, and to take tabs on items you wear or don't wear.

Do you make multiple trips to different rooms throughout each day?  Have a distributing box where you put items, and then when you pass a room you can easily put those items away.  You can also save it for the end of the evening and put everything away at once.   It saves the frustration and time you are going back and forth throughout the day just picking up and distributing stuff. 

Time Management Tips:

1. Chunk

Give yourself a reasonable space to work with.  If cleaning and organizing is not your forte and you get easily overwhelmed just pick one area.  For example, if looking at the entire dresser that has hoards of piles overwhelms you, then pick a 12x12 section to work on.

2.  Time Limit

Use a timer to limit your cleaning. If you only want to take 5 minutes to clean then use that time wisely!  You will probably get more stuff down in that 5 minutes than an hour of unplanned time.

3.  Pretend Move

Why is it that when you are paying a mover that we are gunho about packing up the boxes in a timely manner?  Pretend you are moving and need to declutter in preparation of the move.  This does not have to be a one week challenge. Even doing one room per a month is a good goal!

4.  Delegate

Have the family involved with the cleaning process.  They contribute to the mess too, so they can also help with getting the house looking presentable.  If the entire family gets involved, the sense of accomplishment can be felt by everyone. Plus, it takes all of the responsibility off yourself.

5.  Accountability

Have a friend or someone you trust to help keep you accountable.  Have them email or call you and ask, "How's the decluttering coming?"  It is not recommended to have your spouse or parent be your accountability person because it's easier to cave in and get away with it.  Choose someone you know that will encourage, and that you want to impress (you'll most likely want to clean so you can give them a good report).

If you missed the other posts in the "Project Declutter" series, here they are:
Project Declutter Intro

Declutter Your Mind

Have you found some useful tips to help with organizing or keeping the house clutter-free? Feel free to share below.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Yummi Pouch {Review}

Our family is trying to find ways to cut down costs when it comes to snacking.  Our 2 year old son loves to eat anything that comes in pouches. Most of the premade pouches at the grocery store start to add up every week. Yummi Pouch is an affordable and fun way to snack. This mama loves the versatile, vibrant colors of the Yummi Pouch Brights!  They are great to keep messes to a minimum and easy when on-the-go.  

Yummi Pouches can hold smoothies, applesauce, yogurt, or any other snack. These are better than the store-bought pouches because they are bigger--holding up to 6 ounces of goodies!  Which is fantastic for my always hungry toddler! 

 My son enjoyed the smoothie I made for him.  Yummi Pouches are easy to fill up with the wide zipper opening.  You can reseal them, and save for later too!  Little Man did not finish his smoothie so I put it in the freezer for a later time.

After enjoying some of the smoothie from the Yummi Pouch, Little Man was really curious and started blowing air through the spout.  Again, this mama is thankful for a mess-free snack time.  

 Yummi Pouches have information on the back that includes a spot for the date and contents. This feature is great to use with a dry-erase marker.  After each use, they can be cleaned with a bottle brush or easily thrown in the dishwasher.   

For $14.99 you get 4 Yummi Pouch Brights.  You can check out the different options at the  
Yummi Pouch Store.  I was not compensated for writing this review, but the company sent me a pack of Yummi Pouch Brights.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Follow the company for updates and information:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Change a Mind about Mental Illness: Bipolar

Did you know: 
1 out of 6 people have a mental illness.  
That could be your brother, mother, a friend, someone you pass on the street.

Something has been tugging on my heartstrings that I would like to shed some light on.  As I was having a conversation with some friends, someone made the comment, "I think my ex-husband is bipolar, and I'm sure some of my kids are too. They are crazy!"  This may not sound like an end of the world comment, but it took me aback.  Growing up with family members and friends who suffer from the ups and downs of dealing with bipolar makes me extra sensitive towards this topic.  Bipolar is considered a mental illness where an individual can be happy one moment and the next be completely down. Sometimes there are days or weeks where they may have a manic high (very positive, full of energy, might even tend to be more of a risk taker during this time) or a manic low (major depression).  There is not a week that goes by where I don't hear such comments from friends and strangers using the term "bipolar". Most of the time it is in a negative way... "Oh man, they must be bipolar!  You are sooo bipolar!", etc. Sometimes it's in a joking matter.  Non the less, we need to be careful what comes out of our mouth.  You never know if someone is around and it offends them.  It is rather hurtful and ignorant.  Our society has started to realize that saying such things as "What a retard! You are so retarded!" can be taken as politically incorrect and insensitive.  The same needs to go with using the word "bipolar". Everyone needs to understand that such phrases should be deemed as inappropriate and insensitive as well. 

During my 27 years of life so far, there was a huge phase growing up when "everyone is ADD or ADHD". There was a negative association attached to being ADD or ADHD.  Nowadays, I feel that the diagnosis of being bipolar has taken over society.  That's the new term doctors like to throw out there every chance they get. It's a very real mental illness.... a mental issue that affects many peoples lives and many have to manage it by taking medication.  It is a tough thing to live with day in and day out.  I had family members end up in the hospital because they were on the verge of committing suicide when they were having a major low.  It is not an easy thing to deal with. It just does not help that our society makes them out to look like fools and crazy people. They are not.  If anything, they have to work extra hard to maintain stability in their lives.  I am so proud of how far my friends and family have come while battling this mental illness. 

My biggest pet peeve pertaining to this subject is how the media portrays it.  Many of the cases people hear about on the news or through movies and tv are the absolute far end of the spectrum cases.  I remember a few years back when Britney Spears shaved her head and bashed in car windows.  A lot of people instantly went to the idea that she's got to be bipolar.  Maybe she is, maybe she's not.  All I can say is that that was an EXTREME episode.  My friends and family that struggle with being bipolar have never done anything like that.  I have seen them happy one moment and then completely depressed the next, sometimes when they are manic high they might go on a shopping spree or be highly energetic, etc.  It is nothing to the extreme that the media portrays.  Our society has a rigid view on what bipolar is all about, and has given it a negative connotation.  Based on what I have learned about it over the years, I vaguely remember hearing that there are multiple levels of bipolar.  So don't just assume that because someone is deemed bipolar that they are psycho and crazy. 

It was touching to hear actress, Glenn Close, share her personal experience pertaining to bipolar.  Her sister is bipolar and they teamed up to change minds about mental illness.  Glenn Close and her sister recently spoke in a commercial about this topic. It is very touching:


Monday, August 19, 2013

Declutter your Mind

Why is it that on the days when life is more hectic then I cannot find anything in my house?  Running late, misplacing everything, and I don't seem to have anything under control.  It can be an endless cycle when your house is cluttered and it starts affecting your every day life.  Coco Chanel said it best: "An interior is the natural projection of the soul."  I truly believe that the way my house is presented 24/7 reflects what is going on in my personal life.  It shows what is truly going on in my mind and soul.  For a long time now the house has remained cluttered. There are stacks and piles everywhere, clothes scattered all over the dresser, and there are still boxes that have not been unpacked since we moved in 3 years ago.  I am a self-proclaimed "Pack Rat". I save everything! That is also where my frame of mind has been. My own life feels out of control and hopeless, sometimes just like the mess within my house.

So here's to focusing on making a few changes!  Focus on ONE area you can work on TODAY.  The other day I organized my kitchen counters, and could finally walk in without feeling a pit in my stomach.  It was a like a breath of fresh air to see it so clean and organized.  This experience has shown me just how important it is to keep the outside organized, which makes it possible to focus on the inner peace that comes from an organized home.

"When your whole house is organized and running smoothly, you will reap the benefits: You will be saving time, You will be on time, You will be more creative, You will be less wasteful, and You will be more productive and happy." -Me to the Power of We

Next week we will be focusing on "Tips to Declutter" during our Project Declutter series!  I will be attending a workshop about organizing, and will be sharing info I learned from that also.  Hope to see you back!  Check the first part of this series: Project Declutter Intro


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Creating a "Life List"

When fear and doubt come into play they can deter you from living a life of purpose.  We all want to listen and do what our heart desires, but sometimes there is that "enemy" getting in the way--YOU.  It is easy to start doubting yourself and start questioning why you want to do this, how difficult this will be to accomplish, or the amount of patience or money this will entail.  I know because there have been many times when I gave up on a dream in an instant.  It was easier to give up than to follow through, conquer my fear or doubt, and to pursue something that might take a little energy from my part. 

 "Do you know what fear fears?  Paper."- Jon Acuff

Author and blogger, Jon Acuff, shared a wonderful way to tackle fear.  We are going to create a "life list".  This is a list to focus on your dreams, goals, and hopes.  Using this format can encourage you to take it a step further without becoming overwhelmed.  It can fight off your fears and doubts, if only you write them down. Consider the reality of your dreams and how you will get from point A to point B.  Writing down what you tend to avoid because of fear will nip it in the butt. You cannot move on and conquer your fear without doing something about it!  So get that paper out, and start creating your own life list. 

My Life List

1.  I want to conquer my phobia of storms

{Reality}  The anxiety is more than I can handle

{Questions}  Why am I fearful of storms?  What's the worst that can happen?  What are some steps and ways of overcoming this fear?

2.  I want to go back to work

{Reality}  I'm not sure what I want to do, and I have a child that I cannot leave by himself

{Questions}  Should I try teaching again or go a different route?  What are the pros/cons of daycare vs. homecare?  Can my son get into preschool next year?

3.  I want to spend more quality time with my husband

{Reality}  We don't have money to spend on date nights, and when we stay home we tend to do our own individual thing.

{Questions}  What are some ways to spice things up?  What are some things we would want to talk about/do together?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reasons to Journal

My first journal started when I was in first grade (yes, you heard that right).  It was a Hello Kitty journal that even included a lock and key.  The journal entries back then were very simple: "Dear Diary, My friend is so mean. She is not my friend anymore."  And then the next day, we were skipping along and best friends again. Oh the joys of childhood! As I become older, my journals speak from the soul and holds my innermost thoughts.  It is a window to my soul. The pages tell my story. 

What is your life story?

*Here's a few reasons to journal:

1.  Make Sense of Pain
Writing about traumatic experiences helps to release the power that is hurting you.

2.  Take Control of Your Life
Let your worries be written in your journal instead of letting the thoughts plague your mind all day.

3.  Stay Focused and Motivated
A journal can help you plan your goals and stay on track. Write down your goals, and journal about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences through the process.  It will help you stay motivated.

4.  Use Your Journal to Practice Positive Thinking
Focus on at least one thing you are grateful for each day.  Practicing positive thinking and writing it down.  It will encourage you when days aren't so peachy.

5.  Make Scribbling a Happy Habit
Jotting quick thoughts in a journal by bullet pointing can be quick for daily entries. 

Journal Prompt:  Sum up your life in only 7 words. Feel free to share it below.

Mine would say : "All I want is to be loved."

*Inspired from

Monday, August 12, 2013

Project Declutter

It has been a running joke in my house that I am one stack away from being on the show "Hoarders".   Maybe I am not that bad, but at least I have a trail in my garage to get from point A to point B.  Even though the house is messy, I know EXACTLY where everything is--it's an organized disaster.

If you are anything like me, some days you just walk by the clutter without a glance. Somehow it has become part of the fixture or has made a "home" in that spot for good. Other days when walking by the clutter it can become quite the annoyance. The clutter has somehow taken over the entire house and thinking about it can be plain overwhelming.  Some days it sounds wonderful to have a bulldozer just demolish the house so we can start new and fresh-- I wish!

To reverse the clutter and gain back control of my own house, I wanted to do a "Project Declutter" series.  Over the next few weeks, the blog will be covering different aspects of decluttering your home and your life.  It doesn't have to be overwhelming and a difficult feat as most people imagine. 

Join us through the "Project Declutter" series as we share tips to overcome clutter, ways to change our bad habits, and enjoy seeing a glimpse into my real life mess.


What are some ways you declutter and stay on top of it? 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Waking Up to a Better You!

Every day I want to wake up with a positive outlook on life.  Who doesn't want to wake up in a great mood, and start the day off right? 

Today was different than other mornings. Today I woke up motivated, with a sense of gratefulness, and feeling like today will turn out just fine.  It doesn't matter what external things are happening in my life around me--today I will focus on the positives and leave the negative thinking behind!

The other day I came across a news segment from Your Life A to Z that featured "How to Wake Up Motivated Every Day".  Dr. Alison Arnold gave some helpful tips to get the day started off right.  She recommends starting this the night before, and writing down what you want to focus on the next morning:

1.  Write down how you want to feel in the morning (ie: joy, patience, happiness, courage, etc)

2.  Write down 3 things you would like to accomplish the next day. 

Dr. Ali recommends coming up with goals that are realistic.  If you already know you will not exercise or have no motivation to do so, then do not put that as one of your goals.  You want to focus on things you can actually accomplish. Set yourself up for success!

3.  Then the next morning, read your list and write down a few things you are grateful for.  Starting the morning off with thoughts of gratefulness gets your day started off on the right foot.

4.  Make sure to review your list throughout the day to help keep you on track.

“Nothing external is stopping you from living the life you were born to live. Liberation is an inside job. Stuck in a job, relationship, or self defeating pattern? Afraid to break out of a comfort zone? You’re lying to yourself. Step out of fear and into your greatness.” -Dr. Alison Arnold

What are your thoughts about trying this out?  Let me know how it works for you. Would love to hear comments about how you try to stay positive throughout the day, and live a better you!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wedding Day Afro

This is a true story...

The night before my wedding day, I had the most bizarre dream.  Part of me wants to call it a premonition of sorts... My dream was about walking down the aisle, in a beautiful white dress, smiling from ear to ear, but there was a problem.  As I watched "myself" walk down the aisle, I noticed that I was wearing no makeup, and my hairdo was taking on a 70's afro look. What in the world?!  What a strange dream.

Then I woke up....

It was my wedding day! Of all days, I have never felt so calm or excited.  It is very unnatural for my personality to not worry or overthink when I am attending or preparing for big events--let alone, my own wedding day.  To this day, I still say that by the grace of God I was able to stay calm and feel peace because of prayer.

Well, I arrived to the hair salon to get my makeup and hair styled.  We had done a trial run a few weeks before, so I knew what to expect.  But the one thing I didn't expect was for my makeup artist to NOT show up!  My dream was becoming real....

My bridesmaids were all flipping out and saying how unreal this was.  The weirdest thing was that I calmly was like, "Everything is alright. If I have to, I will do my own makeup."  For someone that usually gets easily upset, I was so surprised that my anxiety and tension was not flying through the roof one bit.  I was as peaceful as a dove. It seemed all surreal and all day felt like an out-of-body experience.  My hairdresser insisted she try to do my makeup, even though she had never done makeup professionally.  Worth a try.

In the end, everything turned out fine.  My hair was exactly how I pictured it, and my makeup was amazingly applied just right.

I still laugh to this day about my dream and how it "prepared" me for what was to come... And thank heavens that I didn't have an afro on my wedding day.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sail Away! {Cara Box Reveal}

This month I participated in Wifessionals Cara Box Exchange.  Every month we get partnered up to send themed gifts and a note of encouragement.  For the month of July, the theme was "Sail Away" or nautical themed. I love anything that has to do with anchors and the beach scene!

Chancy was the person I sent goodies.  She is such a fun-loving girl, who is a newlywed, and an EMT. Chancy is a fairly new blogger, so go check out her page and send some love! 

My other partner was Jenny.  We found out that we both have degrees in elementary education and love kids!  Jenny is a nanny and enjoys crafting.  She was so sweet to send me some fun items for this month's exchange:

  Anchor Tote Bag
Beachy candles
Candle holders
Nautical Ribbon
Boat Cookie Cutter
Nautical Pen

Thanks, Jenny!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

DIY Rotating Goals

When I came across Cornflower Blue Studio and saw their rotating goals project, I knew I had to try it myself!  This is such a simple way to post your goals for the week/the month/the year.  This is great for those who love to make to-do lists but can never seem to stick with it, or find it overwhelming to keep up with complicated lists.  This is a way to simplify your goals and to focus on what takes priority. 

This project took me 10 minutes to complete.  The main supplies you will need to make your own are:  markers, post-it notes, and a sheet of cardstock.  You can make it as elaborate or simple as you would like.  Show off some creativity! 

I truly love this idea because there are a million to-do lists that I start and can NEVER find the lists again. The lists get stuck in piles of papers, torn up by my toddler, or get found a week after they needed to be done.  So on that note, this rotating goals sheet will be hanging near our computer--easy to see!

Anything that can simplify my hectic, overwhelming, busy, mommy life, is a lifesaver!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Overcoming a Phobia

Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; 
It is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow 
-Alice Mackenzie Swain

For 3 weeks I have barely left my house. For 3 weeks I have dealt with immense FEAR. The silly thing is that this fear is controlling my life. It takes my breath away. It consumes my every thought. I have even found myself holding my breath for too long. This phobia of mine is very embarrassing and is irrational.

For the past 2 years, I have dealt with the incline of being afraid of storms. Even if it's a little bit windy; I am afraid. Even if there is only 10% chance of rain; I am afraid.  If there is a dust storm coming my way, I want to hide in a basement. No joke. Now I check my weather apps and the news 50 times a day to prepare myself if bad weather were coming my way.  It is absurd.  This is not how I want to live my life.

This all started 2 years ago when I was big and pregnant with my son.  There was a bad monsoon storm, and all I could hear was the pelting of rain and hail on my roof, and the howling wind. Hiding in the closet, I called my mother who lived 4 hours away and frantically cried, screaming that I thought the roof was going to fly off. The only way to describe the intensity of this fear is to say that it is equivalent to the fear of being in a tornado. It makes no sense but that's how much it scares me.

Last summer, the monsoon season still scared me but not to the extent it does now. The last 3 weeks have been beyond horrible. To the point that I begged my family to put me in the hospital because it is the only place where I would feel safe.  I wanted some peace and comfort, and thought the hospital would be the only place to find that. I never got my wish, but am trying to find ways to cope with this debilitating phobia.  The crazy thing is that it didn't even dawn on me that I have developed a phobia until this week...  When my counselor showed me a work book titled "Anxiety and Phobias", that's when I knew this has gotten out of hand.  The great news is that he says it is 100% fixable. As long as I am facing my past, present, and future, and attacking this fear, then I can overcome this.

My counselor keeps asking me what happened during my childhood. He keeps asking me over and over again, trying to dig something out.  How the heck does my past have anything to do with my anxiety and fear I'm dealing with today?  To me, the honest answer was that my life felt pretty "normal".  Other than the fact that my parents ended up divorced from one night of abuse, I felt like my family life was pretty normal.  That night when I heard my parents fighting and found my dad pinning my mom on the bed was very traumatic.  I'm still very confused about some stuff though, and have never acknowledged that my dad was verbally harsh with my brother. There were two times growing up when my brother and dad got into raging arguments. When I was 5 and then again around 15, I had to witness my dad being a total jackass (no better word). He used a Judo move on my brother and sat on top of him, holding my brother's arms down to the ground. At 5 years old, I remember running behind a chair, screaming, "Get off him! I'm going to call the police if you don't stop!"  I have always questioned if that is abuse or not... I'm not sure, and that's what bothers me. Then there was the time when I was 15 and was deep in depression. For 3 days straight I did not sleep. I was on suicide watch. My mom stayed up with me for at least 2 days and then needed a break. Within the first 20 minutes of my dad taking over "the watch", he fell asleep on the couch.  I just sat next to him thinking "what in the world?  does he even care? I could go in the other room and hurt myself and he wouldn't even notice."  It was the first time I felt the deep pain of realizing my father was not there for me.  How can a parent fall asleep like that when their child might kill herself?  It is still a memory that angers me to this day.  I also discussed with the counselor that I had been in a car accident with my dad around 4 year old, and then by myself when I was in college. I was not able to get back into a car for awhile. To this day, I try to avoid freeways at all costs.

During last week's session, my counselor said that it sounds like I had a scary childhood. That I have lived in fear for a very long time now...  It didn't dawn on me until now that he is right. I kept trying to convince myself that this was normal life...that there was nothing bad about my childhood. My entire life I have felt like the people closest to me have left me, or I have fear that I will grow up to be like some of my family members. I'm not sure how it all plays into the storm phobia issue, but I am learning that the fear I have held onto my entire life is now showing it's ugly head through my anxiety.

In the last few weeks, I have felt utterly lost. Like the roof is caving in on me. It devastated me to have another major fallout with my dad a few weeks back. This time I think it's totally over. I cannot have him in my life if it's going to cause me more hurt than good.  With that happening, finding out our medical debt is beyond our control, and then the monsoon started, I crumbled. Life got to me. I couldn't take anymore. So the anxiety took the place of everything else and now I'm dealing with fear every second of the day.

But I will say that today I felt real hope.  My first trace of hope in 3 weeks!  Today I didn't have rapid heartbeat, I did not worry that a storm was coming our way. I told myself, "Nothing bad is going to happen. You will survive."  That should be my motto for life. When bad things happen or I get down on myself I should always remind myself that "Bad things might happen, but you will survive".

Although it has been really difficult to share this on social media, I hope that I am not utterly alone. I don't want anyone to think I am crazy (that's my worst fear), or to label me as a "freak". Hopefully someone can understand my "issues" and can relate in one way or another. It is not a happy post. I'm not one to sugarcoat things.  This is about real life. The ugly, the happy, and the honesty that life brings.  I am in the middle of this mess, and maybe a few months from now, a year from now, I will be writing about how I came out on the other side.  Maybe I will have an inspirational story of how I overcame my fear... But until then, I'm working through this tough stuff and becoming stronger.

Kid Stash {Review}

Kid Stash is a new subscription box that focuses on different careers for children.  I was provided with a Kid Stash box that focused on Entomology. My 2 year old son had a blast digging through the contents, and pretending he was a bug collector.

This monthly subscription comes out with new themes every month.  It is geared towards ages 3-7, and costs $27.99 per month.  You can pick whether you want a box geared towards a boy or a girl.  This is definitely worth the money you spend!  Most of the items retail for more than what you pay.  Most of the boxes come with a craft, book, and toys focused on the month's theme. 

You can follow Kid Stash on Facebook to receive the latest updates and news about the product.

Our box contained a pamphlet that described the Entomology theme, and provided details about each item that we received.  The four items we received in the box were fantastic for my bug-loving son!

The first item in the Kid Stash box was this Big View Bug Jar.  If you push the top of the ladybug, the wings pop open.  There is a huge magnifying glass to view any bugs you catch in your bug jar.  

This inflatable grasshopper was a hit with my toddler!  It was surprising to see how super-sized this inflatable insect was...about 2 feel long!  It was neat to see the details of the grasshopper up close and be able to describe the different parts of the insect.

Our Kid Stash box also contained the book "The Leaf Men" by William Joyce.  This is such a cute, illustrated story.  This imaginative story captured my son's attention, and we were able to point out different insects throughout the book.  In my opinion, the book really captured the main idea of the Entomology theme. 

The Artzooka! Clothespin Wings Craft is a great craft!  It contains enough items to make four creative insects. 

*I highly recommend Kid Stash for any occasion--birthdays, educational toys, and as a gift!  Kid Stash provided me a complimentary subscription box in exchange for my review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Book Exchange

This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the "Love Books" exchange from The Educator's Spin On It.  There were more than 30 bloggers that participated.  Everyone was paired up to send a book and activities to a partner.  I was fortunate to be partnered up with Giselle Shardlow from Kids Yoga Stories.  It was a blast to work with some great mommy and educational bloggers from around the world. Plus, receiving a box of goodies is always a great way to start the day!

Our package from Giselle was all about yoga!  Giselle is a former teacher, who now writes yoga stories for kids!  We were sent three books, a lesson plan, and material to create an activity. This was a new, exciting adventure for my 2 year old and myself.  Over the years, yoga sounded rather intriguing but I never got around to it.  This was a great way to get a little taste in it without becoming overwhelmed. The best part was being able to include my son in this process of learning about yoga too (lots of trial and error!).  To see what we sent Giselle and her 2 year old daughter, {click here}.

Intro to Yoga:

The first book I read to Joshua was Little Yoga by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway.  The book has really cute illustrations of children doing animal-inspired, yoga poses.  

After reading Little Yoga, Joshua and I practiced some of the yoga moves that the book mentioned.  Watch this video to see how Joshua did during his FIRST yoga experience. It's too funny....Gotta love the mindset of  a 2 year old :)

Alphabet Yoga:

Another book we were sent was a book written by our partner!  Luke's A to Z of Australian Animals- an alphabet coloring book was a great fit for my son since he loves to color, and loves anything to do with the alphabet (he's actually really obsessed with alphabet stuff at this point).  Joshua was able to color a few pages and we went through some of the interesting animals you only see in Australia.  With kangaroos being such a popular animal in Australia, our partner gave us supplies to create a stuffed kangaroo from Sew Fun to Learn.  Joshua loves pretending with this new toy, and carries his new "buddy" around with him.

 Beach Yoga:

Lastly, we read Luke's Beach Day by Giselle Shardlow and Emily Gedzyk.  The big, colorful illustrations are great for any young or older kids.  With it being a little lengthy, Joshua glanced through the illustrations and would point out all the crabs and beach items.  Since we live in such a dry, Arizona climate, Joshua was really taking in the beach scene while reading.  

A few days later, we went through the book again.  This time we focused on the different poses the characters were doing.  In the back of the book, it summarizes the different yoga movements with little illustrations. It really helped to have the little photo prompts since we are still new to all the yoga terms and poses. After practicing a few more poses with my son, we finished the day with a coloring page from Luke's Beach Day.


 The "Love Books" Summer Exchange was a hit!  We hope to participate again next year :)  Stay tuned for a link to see what the other participants received!

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Love Letter to Myself

 July 8, 2013

Dear Elizabeth,

Sometimes it is difficult to know why things happen. Most people would like to say there is always a lesson to be learned in every situation.  There will be times in your life when people disappoint you, and HAVE already done so. 

Remember that you are not your parents mistakes.  You open your heart again and again to your father--in hopes that things will change, that he will act differently, that he will come to his senses. Until he directly comes to YOU and shows evident good changes, do not approach him or convince yourself things are better. You have been hurt by his words and actions, and the only thing you can do is find peace in your heart so you can move on. You deserve far better and need to remind yourself of the truths of God.  Do NOT repeat the negative thoughts your father has told you. Easier said than done, right?  But you are the person in control of your own thoughts, and need to break the hurtful cycle of telling yourself you are no good, that you are broken and will never be fixed. God has bigger plans for you. Yes, you deserve a great father that understands, will comfort you, and will see his wrongdoings and will work things out.  But you do not have that, so you need to move on and understand that it is NOT because of you.  Your father has treated every family member this way, and you need to know that this is his battle that he has to overcome.  You cannot change him. Nobody can change someone if the person is unwilling to make changes or see their wrongdoings.

Break free from this negative cycle, so you can focus on beauty.  Life gets rough at times but the more you focus on your past, the less likely you will have full healing and be able to enjoy the present.  Let go of the bitterness, the anger, the lonely feelings that consume your mind.  Do something positive instead of dwelling on what you cannot change.  You will be far happier if you just remind yourself of that.

You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You have a lot to offer people and can impact people in a positive way-- That is what brings you joy.  Focus on such things. Things that bring a smile to you and others, that encourage, that inspire, and that show love.

You have come a long way in the last few years. You used to be so shy, and would not dare to think of coming up with ideas that require you to be in charge.  Something happened in the past year that has made you want to step up. When you are inspired, your anxiety and doubt seem to vanish. Two months ago you also never would have imagined of wanting to be in leadership.  Not sure what's going on, but now your heart is showing interest in that area.  What an amazing thing!  God is working in you and has better, bigger plans for you than you can even imagine!  You are an example of change. You can overcome ANYTHING that comes your way.  If you can change for the better in just one year, just think of where you will be in 5 years!

Remember that you deserve far better, and you are the one that allows people to treat you a certain way. If you do not hold yourself up to higher standards or respect, others will trample you and take advantage. *You is smart, You is kind. You is important* Believe it!

-Your Former Self

*This morning I was surfing around my favorite blogger sites. One of my favorite writers is "Me to the Power of We" .  She had a title called "Love Letter to Self". Before I could read it, I jumped on my blog and started writing a love letter to myself. After having such a tough week and feeling like there was no happiness in sight, I found this writing prompt to be very comforting. 

Friday, June 28, 2013


As I tried to fight off two men, 
All I could think about was how I was going to escape...

My legs were numb, 
My breathing was heavy, 
My mind and body were about to give up.
Then that little voice inside of me said, 
"Get up! You're not done!"

It was the last day of the RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) program, and I was in the middle of physically proving that a petite, 5 foot tall woman could defend herself.  It was the most empowering, scariest, exhausting, emotionally draining situation I have ever encountered. 

Day 1:
Walking through the doors of the Police Academy gave me a sense of pure exhilaration.  The tune to the "Police Academy" movie kept playing in my head.

Sergeant Ray* and about 5 other instructors introduced themselves and went over a rundown of what situations we all need to be extra cautious about.  They went over how to keep yourself safe when in a public parking lot, going to parties that get out of hand, date rape, carjackings, kidnappings, home invasions, etc. There were a few things that I have been taught from a young age that they debunked.  For example, when it is dark outside and a woman is walking to her car, she might hold her key inbetween her forefinger/middle finger. That way if an intruder were to attack, she could jab him in the eye sockets or slash him across the face like Wolverine.  Sergeant Ray said that this is not the most effective way to fight an intruder because you most likely will break your hand in the process.  In any given situation though, you do what you gotta do!  Slashing your attacker with keys is better than doing nothing, in my opinion. Day one was also about learning punching techniques.  It was amazing to get all that aggression and frustration out in a safe environment.  It looked a lot like martial arts which is something I never had the interest to try before. 

Day 2: 
This day focused on combining punches and kicks.  There is not much to say about this day other than we had a lot of drills.  We learned in a whole group setting and then would break off into groups to practice what was taught.  

You have to practice a move 15,000 times before it is engrained in your mind, and your body will automatically do it without thinking about it?

Day 3:
This was the day that I don't think anybody could ever be fully
prepared for.  Throughout the first few days they kept saying that Day 3 would be "The Event". Sergeant Ray would not tell anybody what it was about or what we were going to be doing. It did leave a sense of curiosity and anticipation within each of us.  We learned a few more moves and used practice dummies (pictured to the right).

Then it was time for "The Event".  My group walked into another room that reeked of mustiness, was small, and you could sense the fear/nervousness. I had NO idea what I was getting myself into...

 I was #4 in line to be "attacked". While waiting for my turn, I geared up and rooted on the ladies that were fighting with all their might.  It was very emotional because some of the "victims" were crying during their fight and the physical exertion was very evident. You have no control over what emotions show up during this time.  Even when I walked in there with a great attitude, great frame of mind, there was a rude awakening in store.  Finally it was my turn.  The instructor and I were pretending to walk down "the alleyway" when two dudes started cat calling and saying very inappropriate things. The second one guy approached and got in my face, I beat the hell out of  him!  Punching, kicking, jabbing, and of course screaming was involved. This was the easy round.  Right after that we jumped into the next scenario which involved two attackers. This round took more strength out of me and seemed to last longer.  When I got to the safety zone, I was already breathless and was like, "was that my last round?" NOPE!  Exhaustion had already set in and my breathing was labored. Round 3 was pure fear--no better way to describe it.  The difference with this round was how they started it.

They told me to close my eyes, walk to the end of the room and stand there. Your mind starts to play crazy tricks on you in this kind of situation even though you know it's all fake. Before I knew what was happening, heavy breathing and a disgusting grunting sound was next to my ear.  The intruders started to whisper dirty things in my ears. I could feel the attacker's breath on the back of my neck.  This time it did not feel like a simulation...this felt like an authentic, horrifying experience.  With the breathing and grunting going on, I screamed "Get away! Back off!"  Then he grabbed me and I threw punches.  This went on for awhile and before I knew it the other attacker picked me up from behind. It was extremely frightening and unexpected so I screamed and kicked with all my might.  My feet were dangling in the air and by this time I was so exhausted that I could barely kick my way free. Somehow I got loose but tripped and fell. This was my worst nightmare because all the instructors said specifically all week that this is NOT the position you ever want to be in. If you are in it though there are still ways to fight, but they say if you can stay on your feet during a fight then that's what they truly recommend.  Before I knew it, my attacker turned me on my stomach and got on top of me.  This was the moment I started sobbing but no tears came through. My body was weak, worn out, and my legs turned to jello.  It felt like 10 whole seconds of me lying there...doing NOTHING except having an internal battle with myself. The thought that I couldn't make it, that if I was put in this situation in real life I would be dead, and then that tiny little voice inside my head said, "GET UP! YOU'RE NOT DONE!" I'd like to think it was God speaking to me. Either way, that was all that was needed to get one last ounce of strength. At that moment I rolled him off of me and ran to the safety zone, collapsing onto the floor. It took me 30 minutes to recover and get my heart beating back to normal and to not feel like passing out.  

Honestly, this experience was the best thing I EVER did for myself.  Even when I gave birth to my son I was given an epidural and didn't feel much during my labor or during the c-section.  So being able to do this RAD program and "escaping with my life" was the most empowering thing ever. If you can get into a RAD program or self-defense class I highly recommend it. You will leave from there with confidence, information, and will know what to do in any given situation.

*By no means do I want to take this subject lightly.  Nor do I want to make it sound like I know what it is like to be a victim of an attack.  These are my own personal thoughts, and what was experienced in the RAD program. 

*Due to confidentiality, I renamed our Sergeant because every time I looked at him he reminded me of a bulky, Ray Ramone from "Every Loves Raymond"

*Most of you are probably wondering what techniques, punches, and kicks were learned. We were sworn to secrecy on that. Only RAD participants and instructors with that said: Go take a class and find out :)

*All photos taken via Google images