My top 16 from 2016

27 Dec

When you look back, there will be good things and bad things, happy times and sad times and sometimes mistakes. But with each year you live, you learn! You try new things, learn new things, live, push, change and grow!

2016 was a monumental year. I learned, loved and lived so much! Here are my top 16 moments of 2016!

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1: I rang in the new year in TN with some amazing people! Tennessee was beautiful, the company was great and I’m proud to say that my first kiss of 2016 will be my first kiss every year for the rest of my life!

2: I got to share in David’s first snow experience. It was a pathetic excuse for “snow” but it was so cool to be with my Floridian as the puffy white stuff hit the ground.

3: I watched the Carolina Panthers fail at the super bowl…

4: David and I got to experience Vegas together. We zip lined, dined, and learned that we are horrible gamblers.

5: I got to visit my west coast love and experience new wineries. I don’t get to see Jessica a lot but when I do, I always leave with such a positive and refreshed spirit!

6: Celebrated Mrs. Moody with lifetime friends. As everyone gets older it gets harder and harder to find time for girls trips so this trip was much needed!

7: I GOT ENGAGED!!!

8: I worked with my awesome in-laws to surprise David for his birthday. He had no idea! There is no better feeling than surprising someone you love!

9: Celebrated my engagement in the Dominican Republic.

10: Merged BFFs and now I have a BFF trio! I love all of my girls but it’s AMAZING that my Matron of Honor and Maid of Honor hit it off without a hitch! Literally, I can’t imagine a day without either of them!

11: I joined an AMAZING women’s bible study group. Every girl in our group is heaven sent. I don’t think I could have made it through the year without them!

12: I Netflixed and Chilled with my fiancé…. IRL and at a Halloween bash!

13: I ran my first (and last) 10k.

14: I got to cross off one of my bucket list items! I met my favorite author IRL! I can die happy!

15: I attended my second USMC Ball and gained better insight with the Marines.

16: I co-hosted the first annual Simmons/Bush Christmas Party. I cannot wait for the second annual!

Bring on 2017! ✌🏽 Out 2016.

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What marriage means to me…

13 Jul

I wrote this blog over two years ago. It’s funny to read it today, engaged, and be able to look back and smile because I found the one. Thank you David for loving me enough to spend the rest of your life with me. 

When I was a teenager my older brothers predicted that I would be married before my 18th birthday. They said, “You will probably marry a rich professional athlete and be a stay at home mom.” Well, almost a decade later, I am still unwed, poor and have never dated a professional athlete of any sort.

I’ve had my wedding day planned in my head since I forced GI Joe and Barbie to say “I do.” I thought it was normal to have a play-by-play of the special day… even without a suitor. But as I progressed through college and gained some professional and relationship experience, it seems that all of the girls that never planned for marriage… are now married.

So, people may think that my obsession with marriage stems from envy or pressure instilled by the parentals but I don’t want to get married because of peer-pressure or because my hypothetical “clock is ticking.” I want to get married for the marriage… for the lives that I hope to bring into this world. So, with that long winded introduction, here are my 5 reasons I want to get married.

  1. A Big Commitment. The biggest commitment that I have ever made, don’t laugh, is getting my dog Ranger. While the responsibility was initially supposed to be shared between me and Paul, may he rest in peace, I was forced to continue with our plan solo. Since the day I laid eyes on Ranger I was in love and never looked back. But as far as relationships, I have never crossed the boundary of spouse. I have never taken an international trip with a boyfriend or completely merged my life with someone. I know that when the time and the person is right, I will say those two words I forced Barbie and GI Joe to say twenty years ago- “I do.” Marriage is the highest commitment you can give to the one you love and I only plan on making that commitment one time so I have to make sure it’s right!
  2. Life Companion. Being single is fun and you learn a lot about yourself but at the end of the day all of the professional successes and personal conquests don’t matter because at the end of the day… you are alone. I have prayed endlessly for God to guide me to a life companion. Someone I can share the good, the bad and the ugly with. Someone who will be my support system, my rock and my glue. Someone to build memories and a life with. I have met many eligible candidates but I refuse to settle when it comes to my future. Like I said, I am only saying “I do” once.
  3. Tradition. I may not be the most well-mannered lady and at some stages in life lived a very unconventional lifestyle but my values are strangely very traditional. Marriage is a tradition that is meant to stand the test of time. A wedding is not just a public confirmation of your love but it is a profession in front of God. That in itself means the world to me! Take away the dress, the gorgeous ring, the presents, the music, the food and the beautiful venue… a wedding is a moment when you can tell the world you have found your soul mate and that you are starting a new life and a family together. There is no other tradition shared between two people that is that powerful!
  4. Offspring. Speaking of creating a family, I have this innate desire to be a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I need time to fully prepare my mind, body and bank account before my baby fever can be a reality but God willing, I cannot wait to add another title to my resume… mother. Finding your soul mate and life companion is step one. Step two is establishing your lives together. Step three (after house and financial stability) is starting a family.
  5. Love. I have been in love many times. Whether it was puppy love or toxic love, my heart has felt virtually everything… except the unconditional love that is shared between husband and wife. It may sound strange but it is almost scary to think that someone, hopefully, one day will look me in my eyes and ask me to spend the rest of my life with them. It’s scary because it’s a lot of pressure. If I say yes, they are stuck with me- forever. Through good, bad, crazy and insane moments. I guess it’s more scary for them than me but the point is for someone to ask you to marry them, that is their announcement to you and the world that they choose you- forever. They love you that much that they want to share the rest of their life on Earth and for eternity with YOU.

I can’t wait to be blessed with the person that chooses me!

My Favorite Love Story

22 May

In June 2015 I flew home into the Charlotte Douglas Airport tired and grumpy after a long work week in Chicago. The wonderful airline I flew with decided that my bag wanted to fly on a different plane to Charlotte so after a stressful trip I had to wait for an hour for my bag to leisurely make its way to baggage claim. As I exited my stale plane into the busy airport, I instinctively headed towards the nearest place to sit down and review my misfortune. I surely wasn’t in the mood to make conversation with others but I took the seat next a guy who made sure to leave a lasting impression.

David and I briefly spoke about him being a Marine and how he was on a layover to Florida. Nothing deep or profound. He was nice. I was tired. I stood up to go retrieve my bag from baggage claim and told him it was nice to meet him and I walked away.

When I got home I saw that I had a Facebook message from a guy named David. He found me (in a non creepy way) on social media despite me walking away without giving him my information. Obviously, I sent him a reply with my phone number after all of his effort to find me. From that day, we started to build our friendship, which turned into a relationship and developed into love. When he had layovers in Charlotte we would meet under the Concourse E sign and talk about everything and nothing while sharing our love of people watching.

Over the next couple of weeks we talked all of the time but every week I saw him I would get instant butterflies. He is so handsome and his smile is contagious! He is shy and sweet and I loved every second with him at Concourse E. On June 28th, 2015 David barely had a layover in Charlotte because his flight from Florida was delayed. I told him we had time to see each other even though he was nervous that he would miss his connecting fight back to New Bern. I sped to the airport and ran through the concourses to concourse E and as soon as I fell into his strong arms I kissed him for the first time. I didn’t know it was going to happen and frankly I didn’t want him to think I was too forward but just felt right and it was magical! I saw fireworks and during that kiss it seemed like the whole airport froze. As we walked away, a TSA guy said, “way to go!” to David and I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s crazy to tell our story because it’s completely obscene to think our relationship started in the Charlotte airport due to lost bags and lay overs. How random, right?

For our first month anniversary (yes David has celebrated our anniversary monthly and has continually been a romantic boyfriend), David gave me a three paneled photo frame. The left side held a map of Charlotte with a heart pointing to Concourse E, our airport meeting spot and in the middle panel was a quote:

“In an airport that 121,313 people pass through daily, we saw each other and our love began.”

The right panel was blank. David said, “one day we are going to fill this spot with a picture of us in concourse E.”

Fast forward to Friday, May 20th, 2016. David asked me to meet him at the airport for old times sake and to finally take our picture to fill the frame. I wore regular clothes and wore my minimal make up… I simply thought we were taking a picture.

The weather was crappy… Seemed like it had rained for a month straight. My hair was frizzy and the airport was packed with travelers. As I walked to Concourse E, I got goosebumps. It felt like last year when we would meet for layovers. I sat down and waited for David and when I saw him it was like we hadn’t seen each other in forever! I jumped up and gave him the biggest hug! My butterflies came back, just like they do every time I see him after a week apart. We (better yet, I) talked about my crazy bad week and then we took our pictures under the concourse E sign.

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Afterwards we made our way to our spot to people watch like we always do and I realized that David’s hands were pale white and super clammy. I asked him if he was cold and he said no he was fine. David began to serenade me with kind words. He said, ” babe, you inspire me so much. You have overcome more than any other person I know and I am so proud of you! You make me a better person. I love you so much!” He said more but frankly, I can’t remember it all but it was super sweet. I told him I loved him too! And then he went on rambling… “I can’t imagine my life without you. I love you so much… I just love you…” At that point I realized he was super nervous and I said… “Ok… I love you too babe…” Everything else happened so fast… Before I knew it his right hand was in his pocket and he was down on one knee. He said, ” I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

I think my mouth dropped to the floor and I immediately started Kim K ugly crying. I said, “is this real?…” in between sobs and he looked up at me on his knee still and he said, “is that a yes?” I said, “yes!!!!” And he stood up and we hugged and I gave him another first kiss… This time our first kiss as fiancés!

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I was and AM so happy that David choose me and if you know anything about me, you know it’s near impossible to surprise me but David completely caught me off guard. He did so good! Everything about the proposal was perfect (minus the weather). The place, the timing, the ring but especially the man! Who would have thought I would meet my future husband because the airline misplaced my bag. Thank goodness an idiot put my bag on the wrong flight. Had they not, I wouldn’t be telling you my favorite love story… The story of David and I!

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5 Reasons Why I Value My LDR

8 Apr

Unlike most “normal” relationships, being in a LDR we have unique challenges that most relationships will never experience and for that I will forever be grateful. And while some days it’s hard to find the silver lining, there are some aspects to LDR that I appreciate more than anyone who hasn’t been in my shoes could imagine.

  1. TIME is never taken for granted. When you only see a person that you are head over heels in love with only 2-3 times a month, you learn very quickly not to waste even a second on petty arguments or in my case sleeping in. Bless David’s heart but I never sleep in. I like to take advantage of every moment together. Whether it’s calling him at the crack of dawn inviting him to play or jumping on his bed to ensure he wakes up- I do it. He says he can’t stand it but I know secretly he loves it. James 4:1412717459_10207765967723287_8489342265562993371_n
  2. INTIMACY is deeper. I am not talking about physical intimacy (because obviously that is impossible with distance). I am talking about the GOOD stuff! Emotional, social, intellectual and recreational intimacy is so much more significant when you are in a LDR. Most “common” relationships base their relationships on physical intimacy. Whatever floats your boat is fine but for LDR you need more than that. David and I established a friendship and continued to define our morals, desires, and aspirations in life and now we can almost read each other’s mind. Not to mention, David is my best friend. Thessalonians 5:11 12814053_10208024961117960_7912320850815598936_n
  3. TRUST is key. People who are ignorant to LDR ask, “How do you know that your bf/gf isn’t cheating on you?” It’s called trust. If people decide to cheat, they will cheat. There is no distance, or lack thereof, that can prevent it. While LDR makes it tougher and exposes high vulnerability, you just have to keep faith that the person you are investing time, energy and love in is being loyal. At the end of the day, if you don’t have trust, you honestly have a pointless relationship. But know that truth seeks light. Lies seek shadow. If you are done wrong, you’ll find out eventually. Luke 8:1712670338_10208224691431093_1802501172163199964_n
  4. PLANNING is essential. Most relationships plan the day to day, David and I plan months. LDR is tough- especially with friends and family plans thrown in the mix. Schedules vary and seasons bring new challenges. David and I make it a point before we depart each time to plan the next time and place we will see each other next. Proverbs 16:912244046_10207217121482474_125237007_n
  5. INDEPENDENCE. I am a very independent person and a LDR works for me. It allows me to continue my professional career and allows David to progress as well. We recap our successes and downfalls daily but not having each other as a crutch is actually a motivating factor for us to try harder. The individual independence that we exude will one day create a strong household and base for our future. Proverbs 31:2512744069_10207792513386912_5010281038403885462_n

Don’t get me wrong, LDR are hard. David and I have experienced many trials and tribulations. Various people trying to break us down and apart. Imagine fighting with someone hundreds of miles away… being stubborn (as I am) is not an option. Experiencing new and exciting things while apart is very hard when you want your best friend to beside you celebrating with you. But at the end of the day, the long distance is temporary. Our plan is to one day live Happily Ever After in the same city and ultimately live together forever. But until we can make that a reality, we have to have faith, pray and stay strong together. Mark 11:24 12717253_10153615736979737_2263613841450997730_n

 

Easter is My Favorite Holiday

24 Mar

If you ask most people “what is your favorite holiday?” most people will say Christmas because of presents or Thanksgiving because of food or if they are really full of themselves they will say their birthday because it’s a day dedicated to themselves. Not going to lie, I love my birthday. 

But to me, no other holiday is as critical to the Christian faith as Easter. The very foundation of Christianity is Easter: the resurrection of the Son of God. But I have 5 reasons why I personally claim Easter to be my #1 favorite holiday.

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1. Lent is traditionally for Catholics and while I don’t follow Catholicism anymore, I still participate because it means so much to me. Lent is a time of dedication, to show repentance and to be renewed. In addition, during Lent  you traditionally give up something as a form of sacrifice beginning Ashe Wednesday and ending on Holy Thursday. Matthew 4:1-4 says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ‘” For three years I tried to give up cursing but after three failed attempts I gave up something even crazier… Reese’s. If you know me, you  know I eat Reese’s day and night! But for 2016, I have broken my failure spree and have stayed strong. Come Sunday, I will be over indulging in Reese’s eggs.

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2. Easter Church Services are always packed! It seems like for Easter and Christmas, the Chreasters flock to churches. Yes, that is what they are called according to Urban Dictionary. Some Christians may find it annoying but I love it! Luke 6:37 says “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” It’s not your place to judge- if anything you should embrace! My heart is so full when I see a full church. After all, His glorious promises of eternal life is for all who believe in Him. What better time to participate in worshiping Him than when He has risen? Matthew 28:6fdc902ffcedadda5bdb246b6169b4471

3. Ranger was born on Good Friday, March 29th, 2013. I already wrote the 5 Ways I Know I Was Meant To Be Ranger’s Mommy but I will reiterate. For me, as a Christian, Good Friday is one of the most important days of the year because it kicks off the most monumental weekend in history! Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, died for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected on the third day, Easter. 2013 was a very crazy year for me but Easter 2013 was the most significant day for Paul and my relationship, Lord bless his soul. Little did we know, our puppy was 3 days old! In many ways, I can feel Paul’s spirit in Ranger. It may sound strange but I truly believe that Ranger and I were meant to find each other.  1 Corinthians 15:3
12336246_10207339760308368_1934657168_n4. Everyone is in their Sunday Best on Easter. On Christmas, my family is lucky if we get out of our pajamas but on Easter Sunday, everyone pulls out their best. The girls invest in a new dress, the guys pull out their ties and the food is top-notch. Family time is amazing in general but when your beautiful family is dressed to impress it just puts the icing on the Easter cake. Not to mention the photo ops are in full swing.

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5. Family time is essential. Joshua 24:15 says, “as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” And this rings true at our Easter table. Family is life’s greatest blessing and though we deserve nothing, God continually blesses us. He forgives us, loves us, heals us and rescues us. As I sit at the Easter table this year and prepare to say the blessing, I look around at my beautiful family and thank God for blessing me much more than I deserve.

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Not to mention for the first time ever, my father and my boyfriend will be at the same table. Wish me luck! Better yet- say a prayer for me.

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5 Reasons Why I Decided to Donate my Platelets

10 Mar

Growing up I was that kid that screamed like I was dying when anyone came near me with a needle. I have always despised giving blood samples at the doctor and when I had the surgeries to remove my tumors, I bout fell out when the nurses even talked about putting in my IVs.

Needless to say, I suffer from trypanophobia, also known as the fear of needles. It’s a real thing! Supposedly 10% of people suffer from this phobia. Unfortunately, my handsome Marine suffers from this phobia as well. So if and when we have kids, they are destined to be cursed with this fear because the fear of needles is both a learned and an inherited condition.

None the less, over the years, I have used various methods to try to get over my phobia. I have used numbing creams, changed injection areas, tried to desensitize myself and even got a tattoo to watch the process but the real issue in that instance was the pain… not the needles. Tattoo needles are not like a scary shot or an IV but it was definitely a step in the right direction to dissolve my fear. But it wasn’t until recently that I finally made big strides to overcome my fear.

I was determined to donate blood. The first time, I tried and failed. I was so nervous my blood pressure was insanely high. To donate blood your vitals have to be within a certain normal range and mine definitely were not. I literally cried when they told me that I could not donate. That failed attempt encouraged me more than ever to successfully donate. So, a month later I tried and I succeeded in my first blood donation! It was invigorating and didn’t hurt at all. Afterwards, the nurse told me that my donation could save up to 3 lives. I was so proud of myself. So today, I am donating my platelets. Why? I’ll tell you!

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I know what platelets are. Platelets are the cells that circulate within your blood and bind together when they recognize damaged blood vessels- also known as clotting.

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I know who platelets help. The people that need platelets are undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplant and have weakened immune systems. A single platelet donation can provide enough platelets for a full therapeutic dose for a patient in need.

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I know my blood type. I am A+ but all blood donors with A+, B+, and AB blood types are considered ideal candidates for platelet donation. One platelet donation can be worth from 12 to 18 whole blood donations.

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I know her. The day that I saw Lauren’s face in one of the Red Cross email campaigns, I knew it was fate. Lauren is my beautiful friend that was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only 6-years old. She survived because she is a strong Godly woman but also because of amazing donors.

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I want to help. There is nothing more rewarding in this world than helping someone who needs it. Donating blood and platelets are free! All a donation costs you is time. If taking a little bit of time out of your day could potential save not just one but multiple people’s lives, can you really justify not doing it? I can’t. And that is why I am an advocate for donating.

Please contact your community blood center for information on how you can become a donor.

5 Things I Want To Thank You For

12 Feb

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For Endlessly Taking Picture After Picture After Picture. As we all know, men are never thrilled about taking pictures… especially when one picture turns into a photo shoot. When the sun is blinding you and your face is hurting from holding your super forced smile for ten minutes, just know that I love you for putting up with my camerawork demands. After all, memories sometimes fade but our pictures won’t.

bagFor Reassuring Me That Chivalry Is Not Dead. Whether it is footing a bill, opening my car door, surprising me with flowers or carrying my numerous bags, you constantly remind me of your gentleman ways. Being a male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of age, but being a gentleman is a matter of choice and I am so unbelievably lucky to call you mine!

youFor Allowing Me to Have Dibs On Your Entire Wardrobe. Sweat shirts and over-sized shirts are admittedly the best forms of collateral. I may not have you next to me but I have your snuggly sweat shirt hugging me! It’s not the same but it makes me miss you a little less when you are away.

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For Encouraging A Christ Centered Relationship. A man that will lead you to God and not to sin is a blessing that should never be taken for granted. And while I do not tell you as much as I should, I love you so much for being a devoted Christian. It is one of the main reasons that I fell in love with you. I want not only a man that fights for my heart but also a man that fights for my salvation and having you beside me as I continue my walk with Christ makes you the epitome of my Knight in Shining Armor.

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For Loving Me… For Me. I may not be the first choice for many people in your life and I may be a brat (occasionally), but you have never given up on us… and more importantly you have never given up on me. With a past where I have constantly been abandoned and rejected, you have always made me feel like I am more than enough and worthy of love. Since the first day that we ran into each other in the food line… or Food Lion in the New York… or Chicago… or Charlotte airport, I instantly knew you were the man that God chose for me.

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So I may not say all of these things as much as I should but just know, David, that I thank God every chance I get for bringing me my favorite blessing… You!