About Me

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Wife, doggy-mother, Jesus follower, CANCER FIGHTER! Just enjoying each day as it comes and remembering what is really important - family and GOD.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nothing Interesting....

I am a little boring today. I've been in a sort of "limbo" most of this week.... But I think today ended that. I am looking forward to a couple of days off - this weekend will be a much needed little rest.

This has been a hectic week at work.... I have been feeling a little burnt-out and overworked. So I am taking a little break in new cases, trying to close out what I have, and just breathe.

Next week I have my mentor coming in from Jeff City for two days, and presenting a Pro Se Divorce & Custody class, and leaving Thursday for a three-day training. Granted, the training is at Lake of the Ozarks at the Four Seasons Lodge and Justin is going with me, so it will be like a mini-vacation!

My new healthier lifestyle is going well. I lost two more pounds this week! I would like to lose about twelve more, then see where my body naturally evens out. It has been a little bit of a struggle the last few days. I am fairly certain it is because I am an emotional eater - and boy, I have had some emotions going on.

I am tired today.... I need to work out. I did not go yesterday. But I just don't know if I have it in me. I will try to force myself to go at least for some cardio. I have been taking my Nook with me to read on the stationary bike, and it is a really good distraction! I rarely have the chance to read anymore, so that works out pretty well. Plus, I forget about how many minutes I have left ;-)

Maybe I will have something more inspired to write tomorrow? Doubt it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Happy Weekend

We had a great weekend. Friday afternoon, a friend called and said she had extra tickets to the Cards-Cubbies game. We literally had about 4 hours to get ready, grab our stuff and take Oreo to my parents and make the 2hr 45min drive. We walked in the stadium RIGHT on time! It was such a nice spontaneous surprise! I really true to stop and appreciate the fact that we have the ability to get up and go like that at twice last second. I want to always remember these days we have together, just us two. The game was awesome! Cards ended up sweeping the Cubs this weekend. Always great :-)

Yesterday we laid around and I did some deep cleaning in our main living spaces. And we went to get groceries. Always fun.

Today we went to church and then to Justin's Grandma Jo's for lunch with all his family. Or G Jo's as Sophie would say. We also visited with my parents for a while.

Now, I'm hoping to get my exercise on - I've ate horribly the past few days!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Healthy Living Update

I am starting my 5th week of Weight Watchers. So far, so good. I have notice the weight is not coming off as fast anymore, but that is to be expected. I have hit a pretty steady weight loss. That is a much healthier approach, and I believe what will make the difference in this being a lifestyle change.

As far as meals go, I have been cooking a LOT of fresh, seasonal vegetables. My Dad has a garden, and right now zucchini, squash, cucumbers and okra are in full season, so we eat a combination of those almost every day! I roast, grill, saute. Whatever sounds good for the night. We have been using a lot of the Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning blends to change up the flavors. Amazingly, I think our grocery bill has actually decreased. Because we are not buying hardly anything that is processed or frozen, and trying to eat fresh, seasonal produce. Also, I have been putting more thought into meals so that we aren't as wasteful. I eat a lot of leftovers for lunches, too. For examples, when I make turkey burgers, I will put the extras in a container in the fridge. Then at lunch I can pop one in the toaster oven with a slice of reduced-fat cheese, and serve it over a bed of greens, topped with tomatoes and onion. YUM!

I have also been trying to increase my weekly workouts. My goal has been to "work-out" at least four times a week. Whether this is in the gym or by riding our bikes, I want to get some type of physical activity where I am out of breath and sweating. I also have some videos that I can do at home. I recently bought a new yoga mat, block and strap so I can start working on my stretching. Yoga was a great way for me to change my body, in that it helped elongate my muscles and give me that "lean" look I am striving for. So my goal is to get back into that, although there are not any classes offered around here. I guess I am on my own!

It helps greatly that I have a wonderful support system at home. Jay has made a drastic change in his lifestyle. I am so unbelievably proud of him! He has made some serious changes, and the difference in his body is already amazing. We both decided this was something we wanted to do for not only ourselves, but our future children. I don't want to be so tired and sluggish that when I do get pregnant I am miserable. We also both want to be able to run around and play with our kids, not just come home and plop down on the couch because we are tired.

So here is to the next few weeks, I guess. I still would like to lose about 15 more pounds, give or take. Once I get to that point, I would like to go into maintenance and see where my body "naturally" falls within a few pound range.

Thirty Things: Day 24

Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.

I don't think our family dynamic has changed THAT much, quite frankly. My sister was ten years & thirteen years older than myself and my brother. She has always been in a much different life stage. I have always been very bossy and maternal. My brother has always been very outgoing and the life of the party. My parents have always done everything they could to keep us all happy, grounded, and most importantly - loved.

My childhood was a typical, Mayberry-ish, television sitcom childhood. Although both of my parents worked, I never felt "abandoned" or that they didn't have time for me. Weekends were spent together, playing in the yard or with friends. I always felt an immense amount of love for and from my family. 

None of that has changed. Although we have all grown up and now have lives and families of our own, I still feel that love. Weekends are typically spent, at least in part, with my parents, siblings or niece and nephew - or a combination of all the above. 

So I guess this was kind of hard for me to answer. Because while the dynamic has changed as we've grown, I still have the same loving, caring and wonderful feelings today.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Love Never Fails


 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

This was our message yesterday in church. I have to say, when I saw this was our verse for the day, I smiled. This is one of my absolute favorite verses in the Bible. Although Justin & I chose not to have this verse read during our wedding - it still is one that serves as such a reminder to me of what love should really be. I expected the Preacher to give a sermon about love and its beauty and how we all are so blessed by the love of Jesus. I was looking forward to having a "feel-good" sermon that would leave me warm and fuzzy.

However, he took it a little different path than what I expected. And I liked it. A few months ago, Justin and I both read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  I highly, highly recommend it. It really gives you an entirely different perspective about what it means to truly LOVE Jesus with all your heart. As excerpted from the website, "God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts — it's falling in love with God. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything."
It is true. When you are SO wildly in love, you will do anything. As the Preacher described it, when you are that in LOVE, you will drop whatever you have for the other person. You will drive hours to see that person just for a short time, because you cannot bear the thought of being away from one another. (Which, by the way, is why my vehicle has 160,000 miles on it!! Driving back and forth and back and forth from St. Louis to home for years.) You will do anything it takes just for a few minutes.
Why aren't we like that with God? Clamoring to just have a few breathless seconds with Him every day? Why doesn't our heart beat uncontrollably and we feel the little butterflies at the thought of spending time with Him? I don't know, honestly. But I want to feel that. I need to feel that. I pray all the time. Literally. I have never been one to only pray once a day. I pray at work before I answer the phone or visit with a client, that God will speak THROUGH me and that I will do His will in whatever I say. I pray that Justin has a good day, a safe day. I thank God constantly for the fact that Justin is His miracle and his body is healed. I pray for a baby and our home to sell. But I need to start taking that time where I just focus on my relationship with God each and every day. Even if it is just a few minutes where I focus on nothing but Him.
At the end of the sermon, the Preacher had us all look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and place our name into the verses. So instead of "Love is patient, Love is kind" we instead said "Claire is patient, Claire is kind." 
Claire is patient. Claire is kind.
Am I? I do believe I am kind. I have the biggest heart. But patience? That is a downfall of mine, for sure!
Claire is does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud.
Again. It caused me to step back and think. I am probably one of the least boastful and proud people I know - at least in my profession. But what about envy? As we embark on this journey to start a family, I have felt envious of others. Of those who have children and don't appreciate them. Of those who think "oh, I'll just have another baby" without even stopping to look at the repercussions. Of those who get pregnant and think "oh my gosh, WHY did this happen now?" And that is NOT, I repeat NOT, the person I want to be! I want to be happy, joyful, excited for anyone who experiences that blessing.
Claire does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs.
Do I forgive? Realize that everyone is human, a sinner, and mistakes are made? Let it go? Sometimes I fail at this. I try. But I also sin. I heard some comments made about/towards me by someone that I love. I was upset. Hurt. Even angry. But I made the conscious decision to just let it go. Move on. Keep no record.

Claire does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.

I need to remember this. Cast away the devil and remember to focus on the good.
Claire always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Claire never fails.
I am a fierce protector of what is good in my life. I have an enormous amount of faith and hope in the good. But am I always a beacon of that hope? Do I fail at shining down God's love on others?
I definitely have some praying and thinking to do. What do you all think? Be honest with me - where are my downfalls? What should I strive to work on? Am I seeing myself clearly, or do I present as someone completely different? How do you feel when instead of seeing Claire in the blanks, you substitute your name? What about your spouse's name or the name of a significant other? 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy With Less

Source: piccsy.com via Claire on Pinterest

I have been struggling lately. Feeling unsettled. Like I should be striving for more. When in reality, I think I just need to be content. We are so unbelievably blessed. No doubts about it.

I think a lot of this stems from the stress of my job. I always feel like I am not doing enough. And honestly, I don't care for conflict. What a career I have picked, right?! So I go home at night and am still worrying about all the files piled up on my desk. Because to me, they aren't just files or clients. They are people. People who have trusted ME with their life, in a way.

Then there is this indescribable want, desire, need - to be parents. To have a baby. OUR baby. Made with our parts. The old fashioned way. Not with test tubes and needles and prodding and anesthesia.  I am trying SO hard to be patient. I am. But then I hear people complaining about having a child. Mad because they have to change their schedule to accommodate their baby. J & I would give ANYTHING to have the luxury of fighting over who gets to change a diaper or rock a newborn or play outside with a toddler in the sprinklers.  Or I see someone who has struggled for years - YEARS - and is finally blessed only to have it all taken away in a second. I read the news and see the story about a mother who beat her toddler with a skillet. And I want to scream. To the world, to anyone who is listening - I don't have that privilege! And it is a privilege. So be happy. Enjoy it. LOVE it.

I read a story last night about adoption. J & I have always said, from the beginning, that one day we would love to adopt a child or children. And then I have this worry. Not about our ability to love the child. Because I think anyone who knows us, who sees us interact with our nieces and nephew and little cousins, KNOWS that we have the ability to love a child that isn't our flesh in the same way as one who was. But would our family? Our friends? Would there be the contact comparing of one child who is biological to one who is not? The "oh SHE/HE acts/looks/sleeps/runs just like her/his daddy" to "oh, they adopted her/him?" I don't know.

Praise God, we have the ability to have biological children, or at least, we planned ahead for that. SO the good Lord willing, it will work one way or another.

But regardless, we are still happy. Content. We love our life just the two (or three, if you count Oreo) of us. We are happy with LESS than what others have.

And, we have so much MORE than some others too. Not in a materialistic way. Although we don't want for anything. We have a beautiful home, two working vehicles (I won't say nice, per say, but they get the job done!), good food on our table, stable and dependable jobs. Good health (PRAISE GOD!). We have a life full of love, laughter, friends. Family who is always, always there. I never go a single day without knowing that there are a handful of people who LOVE me to the ends of this Earth. So many don't have that.

So when I see someone who has the honor of being called Momma or Daddy and doesn't realize what an absolute blessing it is - I cringe. I go home and cry. I cry that this isn't fair.

But God. He has a plan. A wonderful, perfectly timed, plan.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 

Edited to Add: I don't live in a fantasy world that being a parent will be perfect. I know better. I know their will be times when we are tired, cranky, hungry, sleepy or just want a break.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Florida Sunshine

I realized last night I never shared pictures from our Florida trip! So I am going to share a few and try and remember the details :) This post is going to be all pictures & captions. Nothing too interesting - but I want to document it so we remember!

Relaxing on the beach. Love my pink 80's sunglasses!
Fishing off the rocks that created a little bay.
Perfect view.

Our resort.

Windblown on the dolphin cruise.


In-laws :)

Macey & Field

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Party in the USA

I'm in a funk. It's been a rough week so far. Hopefully things improve. My anxiety is in over-drive tonight and my old friend stomach ulcer is churning away. It is obvious by the fact that I came in exhausted, but have sat down only to write this. I made a quick supper, have scrubbed the bathroom from top to bottom and am about to clean our bedroom and change the sheets. I'm thinking I may just have to break out the good 'ol benadryl tonight to get some rest.

I wanted to share some pictures from this weekend. I have been wanting to have a BBQ ALL summer long! We finally threw one together pretty last minute. I have to say, it turned out pretty fun! I only snapped a handful of pictures - but we had a great turnout. Both mine and Jay's families and some special friends. It was hotter than you-know-where and the mosquitoes were crazy - but believe me, we had a nice night! Casey, Dani and I didn't close up shop until around 1:00am. Sometimes you just need a little girl talk.

Yummy good! We had SO much!

Dustin telling some important story, I'm sure.

Dani & Casey. Typical!

My cousin & Mom

Last three standing.

There is nothing like a fun time with friends and family to lift your spirits!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SUYL: Bathrooms

I am a little late in linking up with Kelly's Korner Show Us Your Life: Bathrooms, but I still wanted to do it. I think it is so fun to see how other people decorate!

We completely gutted and ripped apart this bathroom and replaced EVERYTHING. Shower, toliet, vanity, lighting, sheetrock, ceiling. Even had new electrical added. I LOVE our bathroom.

I know a lot of people say that sharing a bathroom as a married couple is difficult, but really - we have no issues. We have another half bath so if we both need to use the facilities at once, it is not a big deal. But sharing the shower and sink is not an issue for us.

Looking in from the door.

The new vanity and mirror.

My bird shower curtain.
The shower curtain and accessories all came from Target - where else!

Independence Day

I am a little late on updating, but better late than never.

We had a really enjoyable 4th of July. It has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not that we ever do anything super special or exciting, but there is just something I love about the whole patriotic, BBQ'ing, spending time with your family vibe.

We went to the parade that morning, and watched it from our Justin's brother's house. My mother-in-law & sister-in-laws, some friends, our niece and my SIL's mom were there. It was an enjoyable, but hot, time. Sophie really loved the parade, specifically the part where people were handing her candy left and right. After the parade was over, Sophie and I sorted all her candy by groups and counted it. She is too funny.

Later that afternoon, we went swimming at Justin's aunts house with his family. I swear, it was ridiculously hot. Even hot in the water!

Our attempt at underwater photography with J's lifeproof case.

Hey Baba, whatcha doin?

The firework cupcakes I made =)

Finally, that evening we went to watch our town's firework display. Because we were under a no-burn order from the serious heat and drought, it wasn't that special. The mosquitoes were TERRIBLE so we sat in our car to watch.

All in all, it was a great day of fun, sun and relaxation - which was exactly what I needed!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Marathons & Cupcakes ;-)


No, seriously. Most days I feel like this. I started Weight Watchers over three weeks ago. I am having a lot of success! It helps that I have a WW "buddy" - my sister-in-law actually inspired/encouraged me to start.

I was SO tired of feeling unhealthy. Having a negative body image. Always being tired and sluggish. After getting married, I gained what I like to coin the "Newlywed Twenty." I was no longer living (primarily) by myself. I wasn't rediculously stressed about studying for/taking/passing the Bar and planning a wedding. Life just happened. I cook(ed) big meals for my husband in the quest to be the perfect wife. It got cold outside. I didn't get much exercise (at least, in the gym ;-)). Aaaaand those pesky little pounds just crept right on up.

Suffice to say, this is the jump start I needed! I really am loving the WW system of counting daily points, plus having a "bank" of plus points to use throughout the week when you need a little splurge. I have also been working out a few times a week. My husband has been hitting the gym HARD and WOW, the results are amazing! His body is literally changing before my eyes.

So hopefully, this is a life long change. I don't want to diet forever, but I think every now and then you just need a little kick in the rear to get things moving.