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Letting It All Go

I have been thinking a lot lately about the word all.  More specifically…

Doing it all.

Having it all.

Keeping track of it all.

Controlling it all.

We live in a society that is constantly shoving in our faces that we need to have the best, biggest, newest and that we need to be going, doing, experiencing, not missing a thing. We are told that being comfortable and content is lazy and negative. We should always be pursuing people, places, and things and looking for ways to better ourselves and our lives. And it’s easy to get lost in all the noise.

I for one have definitely gotten lost. I get overwhelmed and exhausted from trying to stay busy, productive, and active. I go through stages where I can’t sit still and want to be out of the house, spending time with friends and family, and just filling my day with one activity after another until I am so burnt out and unhappy. Then I swing to the other side where I never want to leave the house, I want to turn off my phone and never fill my car up with gas so I can avoid everyone, and I just sit at home watching tv and wallowing about how I can’t do/have/keep track/control it all.

And you know what — I’m sick of it. Looking back on this past year, I believe there is a happy medium. Busy, productive days are good and needed, but so are slow, chill days. One thing I’m learning is to listen to myself, so that I don’t reach either of the above extremes. Understanding and accepting that I am an introvert, a homebody, a dreamer, and a night owl can help me be fruitful in my roles as wife, mother, daughter, and friend.

I didn’t make resolutions this year, because I decided I didn’t need a list of goals that determine if I was successful or not. Instead, I am just going with the flow.

It has taken me awhile, but I have finally realized that I need to start looking at my life through different lenses. It has been just me for so long that I had to do a lot of trial and error to figure out how to stop thinking of my time, energy, wants, and needs as just mine and instead look at them as how they fit in with my new and growing family. With that being said, it is an exciting time for me, as momma Grey, to figure out how our little family is going to flourish and thrive, but I am eager to see how I, and my family, grow in time!

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Jury Duty // A Day in the Life

For most people, jury duty is an annoyance that comes around a few times in their life. For me, I was actually stoked when I got my summons! Ever since I was in about junior high, I have been obsessed with all things law. I love reading books and watching shows and movies about court cases and controversial topics. My interest in law peaked in high school when I joined our school’s mock trial team and continued into college when I took criminal justice courses for fun. Serving on a jury was the closest I would ever come to getting in on the law action, so I was thrilled when I got my chance.

Of course being summoned doesn’t guarantee you will actually sit on a jury, so I prepared and appeared on the day I was required to hear my fate. My day of jury duty did not go at all how I had imagined (not to mention I had no clue what to actually expect), so I thought I would share a little ‘a day in the life’.

8:20 am: Arrive at the Denton County Courthouse – the letter seemed so adamant that you would be reprimanded if you arrived late or our of dress code, but the first thing I noticed was how relaxed jury duty actually was. A good third of those summoned showed up late and many were dressed very casually. This is basically just a time of awkwardness – decide which strangers look the safest to sit next to and then you decide how soon is too soon to get out your book to pass the time.

8:30 am: A lady, whose title I don’t remember, gives a little speech about donating your jury compensation and then gives you a brief overview of what to expect from the next hour. She then turns on this exceptionally cheesy – although I found it to be mildly amusing – video that explains how the court system works, what jury duty is, and a fact vs. fiction segment about the justice system. Honestly, I thought the video was unnecessary, but they included snippets from well-known law movies from the 90’s and early 2000’s such as Legally Blonde, My Cousin Vinny, and Liar Liar.

9:00 am: A judge has you take the jury duty oath and then explains all of the ways to get out of jury duty: exemptions and hardships. He goes through each one and then, for people who hadn’t done this part online, has them each come up and explain their situation and then they figure out if they can leave or if they have to stay.

9:30 am: The lady returns and explains how many cases they have to pick juries for. On my day, they would need half of us. She then says where and when the first case is being held and begins calling out names. If your name is called, you say ‘here’, retrieve your letter saying when and where you have to report to, and then you leave. My name was the first called during the second round. I was to report to a JP court in Carrollton at 1pm.

10:00 am – 1:00 pm: Kill time. Luckily, Carrollton is back towards my home, so I just stopped into the coffee shop my husband works at to chat, work, and eat. I was able to get a little work done in my down time. Just a side note: your job cannot fire you for serving on a jury, but they do not have to pay you; some can even require you to make up the work.

1:00 pm: I arrived at the Carrollton courthouse a little before 1 and had literally no idea where to go or what to do. There was no sign or receptionist, so I just kind of walked around like a moron until I saw some lady and decided to ask if she was here for jury duty. She was and instructed me to go into this door and sign in. Then more waiting.

1:15 pm: We are called into the courtroom. The judge enters and addresses the defendant, only to realize that the defendant was not present. We were then thanked for our time and released.

Yep, I finally get my chance to serve on a jury and the darn defendant didn’t show up to his own trial. I want to be a person who believes in our justice system and be excited to participate, but today definitely felt like a waste of time having to drive all over our county when the defendant doesn’t even care enough to appear. Such a disappointment!

Have you ever served on a jury? What was your experience like?

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Happy New Year + Twenty-Nineteen Goals

Happy New Year Family and Friends!

For me, twenty-nineteen is going to be a very special year full of milestones, new beginnings, and challenges. It will be a year of changes and learning + trial and error. But most of all, it is a year I have been looking forward to!

With every new year, comes new goals (or resolutions – if you’re into that sort of thing) and this one is no exception. For twenty-nineteen, I have put together a list of eleven goals to work toward. Some are specific and some are vague, but I hope to accomplish them all!

My Twenty-Nineteen Goals

Rebuild My Faith

After experiencing a miscarriage, my faith took a nosedive. I didn’t want anything to do with a God that would take away my baby, so I stopped going to church, praying, reading my Bible… I pretty much stayed away from all things religious. It took a lot of self-reflection and honest conversations with my husband before I felt ready to open my heart and mind to God again. It wasn’t until very late this past year that I got the courage to attend a church service. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I didn’t hate it and I felt like it was exactly where I needed to be.

My goal is to continue to gradually open myself back up by attending church regularly, joining a small group, opening my Bible to read and receive, and to actually pray.

Birth Our Baby Naturally

Disclaimer: I am aware that births are unpredictable. I respectfully ask that you please keep your comments about birth emergencies to yourself.

Before becoming pregnant, childbirth was my number one fear. When I got pregnant the first time, I had every intention to birth in a hospital with a doctor and an epidural. When we found out we were pregnant again, we decided to do things differently, specifically use a midwife and go the natural route. I will talk more about this decision later on this year, but ever since choosing to birth naturally, I have felt more at ease and fear free about bringing a child into this world than I ever have before. We have already signed up for a childbirth class geared toward natural birthing methods and I cannot wait to start attending. My husband and I are aware of what it takes to birth naturally and that our birth may not go according to our plan, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have a plan. Our ultimate goal is to bring a healthy baby girl into our family.

Save More, Budget Better

Although Jeremiah and I reached our savings goal last year, I believe that we can do even better! Last year, we still ate out a few times a week and bought way too much unneeded and unnecessary items. I think that if we are careful and diligent, we can put even more in savings.

I am so excited about my Golden Coil planner that came in the mail last week. It is a completely customizable planner that allows you to choose the type of layout you want and what “extra” pages you would like to add. I chose a monthly budget add-on, so that I can see exactly how much income we are bringing in, how much all of our bills add up to + when they are due, how much we have leftover, and plainly lay out money-related goals. I have already set up our budget for the month of January and I am so so thrilled to see how well we stick to it.

Exercise

Last year, my goal was to exercise daily. Ha! What a joke! That was a bit too ambitious for me, so this year, I am just focusing on exercising period.

With being pregnant, I know that adding exercise into my routine would be extremely beneficial to my overall health as well as recovery time. But making exercise a priority now will help it already be a priority when I need to start shedding all the extra weight come post-baby. I’m not expecting myself to start jogging miles or lifting weights, but just a long walk a few times a week and maybe some prenatal yoga will do the job.

Meal Plan & Cook At Home More

If it isn’t obvious, we eat out a lot! Like a lot a lot! I don’t enjoy – nor am I very good at – cooking and we are both still living off those college glory days where you barely had any financial responsibility and it was acceptable to eat fast food every day of the week. Well it is finally sinking in that those days are over. Now that we do have financial responsibilities, savings goals, and a new addition on the way, I plan to utilize meal planning + cooking at home are to help meet these goals.

Through meal planning, I can prepare myself in advance for the nights I will be cooking as well as be able to create a thorough grocery list for only needed items. Going aisle by aisle can really get us into trouble, because we end up with all this food that doesn’t actually make anything. Cooking at home will not only save us money on the gas it takes to get to a restaurant or fast food joint, but it will also help in creating leftovers for us to take to work the next day. So now I just have to psych myself up for all the time I am about to spend in the kitchen.

Monthly Family Meetings

One thing I really want to implement is a monthly family meeting where Jeremiah and I can sit down and discuss finances, goals, and events. Really, we can discuss anything, but the goal is that we stay on the same page all year. I hope to hold this meeting towards the end of every month as a means to reflect on the current month and then schedule and plan for the next month. I don’t really have any details on how this will look yet, but I am excited to see if it helps us.

Read More

Last year, I challenged myself to read 12 books – one a month. I surpassed this goal by reading 17!! But I still want to strive to read even more. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes that I sometimes forget about when life gets busy or hard or after I read a really bad book. This year I will be challenging myself to read 24 books – two a month. With the baby on the way, this might seem impossible, but I think having something to look forward to doing when the baby is napping or with grandparents will be very beneficial to not getting too overwhelmed or stressed out.

Also, let’s be friends on Goodreads!

Buy A House

Purchasing a house is probably our number one goal this year!! We have been planning and saving for over a year now in order to get out of the apartment life and move on to bigger, better things. Now that we have a baby on the way, it just seems like the perfect time, because our tiny apartment is just not big enough for three people + two animals. Last week, we started contacting realtors to get the process started. Any tips would be highly appreciated!

Love My Husband Better

Putting ‘love my husband better’ as a goal may seem a little odd or weird, but don’t get me wrong – I love my husband && he knows it! – but I think there is always room for improvement. Last year, I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and I found it very inspiring and eye-opening to understanding what Jeremiah needs from me in order to keep his “love tank” full. He and I have different love languages, so as easy as it is for me to show him love in the ways I receive it, I know I can do a better job at showing him love the way he receives it. I have been slowly trying to implement new ways, but I want to make this a priority, so that we don’t lose touch with our relationship when the baby comes and we are both sleep deprived and irritable.

Write Often

I always like to make a goal to blog more or journal daily, but I just never seem to achieve this goals. I’m not sure if it’s because I put limits on myself or if I get overwhelmed by how often I expect myself to do these tasks, so this year, I am just encouraging myself to write often. It doesn’t matter where or when or even what… I just want to get in the habit of writing.

Monthly Planned Date Night

Once you get married, you don’t necessarily put a lot of thought into date night. You see each other every day and you eat your meals together and you do just about everything together… so sometimes life just feels like one long date, until it doesn’t. Remember to date your spouse is so important. To put aside the craziness or stress of every day and be together.

Every now and then this happens to Jeremiah and I. We go to dinner and just talk or complain about work or life or bills. I want to make a point this year to plan out a date every month where we leave all of our work issues, baggage, and drama at home and just have fun and be together.

If you made it this far, I applaud and thank you! In the past, I have tried to keep my goal list short, but this year, I figured what the heck – the more goals you have, the more chances you have of achieving something. 🙂

What are your goals this year?

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My Spring Bucket List

The season of spring begins today and I could not be more excited! Besides severe allergies, spring brings beautiful blooms and warm weather… long, bright days just begging for all of your time. I’m pretty notorious for wasting away my days, so I’ve created a bucket list of activities that I want to accomplish this season to get me active and outside.

Take note: Spring is from March 20th to June 21st.

My Spring Bucket List

  • Pick Tulips
  • Shop at the Denton Community Market
    • Opening Day: April 7th @9am-1pm
  • Go for a picnic
  • Make a bird feeder
  • Visit a flea market
  • Attend a craft fair
    • Denton Spring Craft Fair
      • April 14th – Guyer High School
  • Dye Easter eggs
  • Make strawberry shortcake
  • Take spring pictures with the husband
  • Take a day trip to Austin
  • Feed ducks
  • Make homemade lemonade
  • Bake banana bread
  • Go to the zoo
  • Have a staycation with the hubby
  • Take a day trip to Fredericksburg
  • Decorate my home for under $20
  • Go rollerblading
  • Attend Deep Ellum Arts Festival
    • April 6th – 8th
  • Try new spring recipes
  • Make a smoothie

My goal is to do a fun spring activity every week and share it with you. There are 9 weeks in spring, so I think this list will keep me more than busy. Let me know your favorite spring activity or what you look forward to most this time of year!

What do you like about spring?

 

Love Always,
Lauren

 

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My Struggle with the Little Green Monster

Jealousy is a form of hatred built upon insecurity. -Unknown

Growing up, I was taught the Ten Commandments; therefore, I was taught not to covet what my neighbor has, which translates to not being jealous of those around you. Back then, I had that one in the bag. I always worked really hard at being grateful and satisfied for the things that I had and I was. I didn’t wear designer clothes or drive a new car… I grew up in a middle income family – my parents always made sure we had what we needed, but we definitely didn’t live in luxury, but this ingrained a sense of pride in what I did have and caused me to take pride in what I had. I don’t regret that for a second.

I feel that my struggle with jealousy began when I went to college. My issue isn’t with material things, but rather idealistic things such as friends and relationships. I feel like I have trouble connecting with people, so I end up isolating myself and convincing myself I’m happy to be alone when really I’m super jealous of other people’s friendships. I think social media plays a big role in my struggle, because instead of seeing authentic day to day lives, I see the fake “instagram” pic parts of people’s lives and forget to remind myself that isn’t real. What frustrates me the most is that I don’t want to feel jealous. I like my life and am so proud of where I am now: married to an amazing man; a college grad with a job; saving to buy a house; the cutest happiest pets… the list goes on.

I have realized that due to my struggle with jealousy, I have started developing some shame. I dealt with shame a few years back, but managed to get passed it, but now I have shame for a whole other reason. Now I feel shame for having to try to be happy for people instead of just automatically being happy. It sickens me that I deal with this. I know deep down I’m not the only one to have a jealous thought, but I just really want to work on being genuine and my natural thought being a positive one.

The image at the top is a bit extreme, but fairly true. I don’t believe that I hate those I am jealous of nor do I hate myself due to the jealousy, but I do feel that jealousy stems from insecurity. Everyone is insecure – I believe that with my whole heart, but some are better at overcoming it and being happy and natural with who they are. One of the things I am currently working on is being comfortable in my own skin and my own personality. I think this will help me to have thoughts that stem from happiness instead of from my insecurity.