Monday, October 29, 2012

God gave me Sunday {Re-post}

A re-post from my blog.

I posted this on my blog last week and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with yall.

Sunday, Hubs and I celebrated our Anniversary a day early. We went to six flags and it was so much fun. I can honestly say, that God gave us Sunday. Specifically, he gave me Sunday. Unplugged, not paying attention to my phone, just enjoying the day with my husband. I say this because I noticed at one point while we were waiting in the line to ride the batman {I didn't even notice before, shows you how much attention I was paying to my phone} that my phone had zero bars but my husbands did. I thought it was completely weird but I just shrugged and stuck it back in my pocket.

I didn't realize until we were in the car to leave at 9PM that my phone was in airplane mode. Which mean I couldn't receive calls, texts, emails, etc. I told my husband I think God did that. He unplugged me from my phone so I could just spend the entire day focusing on the man that has stood at my side for the past seven years & did I ever.

We laughed and we walked alot. We waited in lines that were 1 to 1 1/2 hours long and I screamed my head off as we rode the rides. Hubs even asked me why people scream on roller coasters. I told him for me, I just had to scream - there is so much fear + excitement inside of me on the roller coaster that the only way I can let it be free, is by screaming. This time of the year it is also freight fest at Six Flags - we went to two haunted houses.

I haven't been that scared in a long time and by the time we were done with the first one, I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest it was beating so fast. I screamed more times than I can count. I dug my nails into Hubs hand or arm - whatever I was holding and I laughed. I laughed everytime something scared me {after I screamed of course}. It was just a huge rush and I loved every second of it. We enjoyed lunch in my jeep. We took our shoes off, kicked back and grubbed out for a good hour before we went back in to enjoy more rides.

I wish there were more pictures to show yall. But I can't say I didn't enjoy acting as if my phone never existed, because I did enjoy that and our day was perfect.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Just Scream

Hubs and I went to six flags on Sunday to celebrate our anniversary. We have both been before, but in 7 years we had never been to six flags together and it was the perfect day. I remember waiting in line to ride the roller coaster you see above. We waited an hour or so before we could ride it. All that anticipation building. You know those nerves beginning to climb, you are asking yourself if you should just get out of line because you aren't sure if you can handle that drop, you start fidgeting with your shirt or staring off in the distance wondering if you are crazy after all. 

But your turn finally comes. You climb into that seat and glance at the person next you and smile {for me I glanced at my husband and smiled} all the while your sitting their thinking "I can't do this. This was a bad idea. Maybe I should get off." You nervously glance at all the people around you, "No, I have to stick it out. I CAN do this." Then you begin that slow climb - that one that starts giving you butterflies and you are watching the world shrink below you. Then it comes, you go over that peak and woooossshhh you are going down the slope that you weren't sure you could do. 

& before you know it - a scream so loud and freeing is coming out of your mouth. For me, that scream was from all the excitement and fear that I just had to let it out and once I did. It felt so damn good.  Life is alot like that isn't it. All this anticipation builds up, stress, fear, worry - we are waiting, just waiting for that moment when we drop. But instead of being afraid of that drop, instead of letting it hold you down. Take that ride of your life and enjoy it - put your face in a pillow or go out somewhere far away from people and just scream and let that scream free you...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Embracing the good

Pinned Image

I think there is something very poetic about being invited to write for this blog.  I've spent years on the journey to embrace my life.  There was always something holding me back.  Fear.  Uncertainty.  More fear.  I was always afraid of change.  Afraid of not being good enough.  Afraid of what people would say or think about me, even when I acted like it didn't matter.  But all of that stopped when I became a mother.  Motherhood made me.

Motherhood made me embrace those lingering ten pounds and soft tummy that may never go away.  It made me embrace a make-up less face for and extra fifteen minutes of sleep.  Motherhood made me embrace my looks in a way nothing else could.  It made me proud to wear the stretch marks on my weathered body, like badges of honor.

Motherhood forced me to embrace the chaos that is my life.  Mountains of laundry.  Fast Food dinners.  Last minute cupcake baking the night before a fourth birthday, because I had to go to three stores for Buzz Lightyear.  Target trips an hour before the store closes because there is only one diaper in the house.  I'm still embracing the chaos that is my life.  For example, I'm writing this post while the dye to cover my greys sits for thirty minutes.  Also my two year old is entertaining herself with chips ahoy.

Motherhood inspired me to embrace my story.  Becoming a mom has been my biggest struggle.  I don't think I could have ever been prepared for the reality that is motherhood.  I lived some dark days, in a fog, struggling to be a "perfect" mom, instead of focusing on being a good mom.  Living those days, knowing that there had to be others out there fumbling the same mothering tasks, I decided to start a blog.  A place to share my stories, a place to get honest with myself and others about this motherhood job.  It's brought me new friends, new perspective, and new confidence.

Motherhood allowed me to embrace my writing.  Something I had been too scared to do.  I still have days where I can't believe I'm going to hit the publish button.  After almost two years, I finally feel I've gotten my sea legs.  My blog has brought me a new found confidence, not just in my parenting life, but in my actual life.  Now, I'm not just taking a chance on my writing, but I'm taking a chance on me too. 

Most importantly, motherhood has taught me to embrace the good.  The good in my life now.  Why did I spend so much time waiting for perfection?  Nothing is perfect, but life is ultimately good.  Everyday we can pinpoint something good.  Good food, good snuggles, good laughs, good friends.  None of these are perfect, yet, they are the simplest blessings.  I'm tired of waiting for perfection.  It's time to embrace the good.


Sunday, October 21, 2012


As I was thinking about my post for Embrace Your Life, I came across this and just thought it was perfect!
This past summer, I went through a major change in my life. Now, I got married and that was huge but that's not the only change I'm talking about.
Now, if you are married, you may remember some people acting just down right strange around you after you got engaged and even worse when you got married. I've come to realize that this is normal. I have one such girl, that did not even acknowledge my husband existed, which was odd and hurt my feelings so much.
But, after some crying to Cody and some introspection, I realized that my true friends are happy for me when I'm happy, support me when I'm sad, keep my secrets and care about my life. 
Anyone that didn't fit that bill, had to go. So I either let them know how I felt if they truly did hurt me or just stopped talking to them and a weight lifted off my shoulders.
I wish that I had this list when I decided to make these changes as it really does spell out exactly what I did.
So, if you are struggling in this area of your life, I encourage you to make a change and embrace your true friends and your happiness and own it. 


Saturday, October 20, 2012

What Motivates You?

This week has been a triumphant one for me!  So I thought I would share with you all what made it so successful in the hope that maybe my adrenaline rush might rub off a little on you.  Today's entry is a little excerpt from a post from my personal blog this week:

I grew up an athlete.  I was always playing sports.  I played basketball, softball, volleyball, and I was a swimmer.  I played competitive sports all the way until my junior year in high school when I decided to get more serious about my instrument.  But I've always considered myself an athlete (especially because I'm built like one...which equals SERIOUS flab when you're no longer working out anymore...).  Even when I wasn't playing competitively anymore, I was still in marching band which really is an athletic event.  So I stayed pretty thin and fit while I was in college because of that.  But literally a MONTH after I graduated college, I started gaining weight.  There were lots of contributing factors there, but probably the most prominent one was my inactivity.  I was too busy to run, to busy to work out, maybe just TOO busy in general.  So by July after Jonathan and I got married, I had gained a little less than 30 pounds.  And I've been working for the last 5 years to shave that shame...I mean those pounds off...

Then I came here to the Bahamas with this fabulous workout plan in mind.  But my teeny little apartment is really not conducive to P90X.  I tried a few workouts in the beginning and found myself REALLY restricted.  I mean how do you do plyometric exercises in a 5X5 living room?  So I thought, "Well I'm eating less and walking more...I'll maintain and maybe lose a little weight in the meantime".  So I've probably lost a pound or two since I've been here.  Then it hit me last weekend that we are coming home in less than 5 weeks and it will be the holiday season!  And Jonathan and I will be running around like crazy people seeing friends and family and prepping for Dominica and EATING (since we are so craving like 20+ US restaurants right now...).  And then I have to move to a tropical island and rock a swimsuit again.  So I decided to start running.  It gives me an excuse to go see the ocean every day...

I decided to start out running one song and walking the next.  So I have been.  And my loop is just under a mile and a half, so I stay running for like 10-12 minutes total.  But here's my thing (hence the title of this post).  I am such a quitter when it comes to fitness.  I get within striking distance of a goal and quit because...well I don't know why.  I always have.  Maybe it's because I'm afraid of failing, maybe it's because I'm just a pansy.  I don't know.  But when I was playing competitive sports, literally every single coach I ever had (with the exception of my Daddy who fielded my famous "talk to the hand" MO with grace and was ALWAYS supportive of me...) simply put...HATED me.  They were so condescending and just plain mean.  They praised my teammates and tore me down.  "Pick up the pace Harris!", "My grandma could run faster than that!", "The whole team is gonna run horses until Harris actually runs it as fast as the rest of the team!", "Harris, get the hell out of my gym!".  Maybe now you can see why I went running to the band hall!!  But now, as an adult, I can see where they were coming from.  I was on the brink of something great.  I was within striking distance of a better time, a quicker pace, something greater than I was allowing myself to achieve.  I see that now for a lot of reasons.  Not the least of which is the fact that I DIDN'T back down when it came to French Horn stuff and I kicked butt and took names.  Where could I have gone if I'd just kept running, just got outside of my head for a minute and "picked up the pace".  What would have changed if, when the famous "get the hell out of my gym!" came, I said "No Coach" and put my head down and ran my butt off instead leaving like she said to...broken and bruised...with my morale shot.  Set the pace, lead the team, didn't take that criticism to heart, and showed my teammates that I have more willpower than that stupid woman had given me credit for...

I was always good at verbal encouragement.  Not so good at pace setting.  What would have been different if I had realized, in those days of being a true athlete, that not only could I be the "cheerleader", I could be the physical motivator too??  So today, I channeled a few of my former teammates.  And I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I kept moving.  I kept saying to myself "You're going faster than you were sitting on the couch!".  And I didn't stop from the time I walked out my front door to the time I stepped back inside.  1.48 miles later I feel like maybe I could conquer the world!  That might sound like a tiny little feat, but let me tell you that it is HUGE for me.  I honestly don't know if I've EVER done that in my life!  I always defeated myself and said I couldn't do it.  But today, I did.  Today, I didn't defeat myself.  And today I am actually REALLY proud of myself!  For the first time in way too long in regards to fitness.

So thank you to my inspiring former teammates!  And honestly, thank you to all my "crappy" coaches!  I wish I had really known what you were trying to get out of me.  Maybe if I knew that you saw how close I was to being truly fantastic at what I was doing, I would have reached a little deeper and grabbed that goal.  Or maybe I wouldn't have.  Maybe it just takes a little life experience to make you realize that you're your own worst critic, your own negative energy.  That little voice inside that says "you know you probably can't" is a big fat (emphasis on the BIG and the FAT part) liar!  Because an almost 28 year old woman who is 11 1/2 years removed from "true athlete" status reached her fitness goal today.  And it feels incredible!

So my challenge to you this week (in true EYL form) is this.  Evaluate what motivates you!  What are your goals?  What needs to happen so that you can reach out and grab that goal?  Is it as simple as just ignoring that little lying voice in your head?  Or maybe it will take more than that.  But imagine yourself REACHING that goal...maybe surpassing it!  I bet you'll be amazed at how quickly that "inability" melts away...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Live life

Today, on this beautiful Friday.
The start to a wonderful weekend {Hubby & I will be celebrating our 7 year anniversary}

All that I ask, is that this weekend
You live life.

{I got this  picture off of Facebook, I do not own it in any way shape or form}

Do something you've never done.
Spend a couple of days outdoors.
Whatever you do, shut your laptop down. Put away all your technology {Except maybe the camera ;) } and just simply live.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stop Struggling to Believe!

I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. 
I'm not exactly sure what sparks my feelings to make me so anxious towards things, but I guess that's why anxiety and depression are such difficult things for people to understand.

When I found out I was pregnant at 16 I some how got myself into gear and did nothing but focus on my life and how I was going to make it better. 
I worked every day for as long as my boss would possibly allow me to. With the money I made I saved it so I was able to care for my baby on my own (for the most part). And I also got caught up in school where before I was failing.

After I have gotten married though I have seemed to put up this wall.
I feel that the only thing that I am capable of doing now is staying at home to raise my son. I don't have money to go to school and honestly I don't even know what I really want to be when I 'grow up'. 
I find myself holding back on almost everything I do now though.
I feel like I can't go out with friends without feeling guilty for not spending more time with my son or my husband.
I feel like because I did things differently from the rest of the world I can just up and go to school, I have SO much more to focus on.
And I also feel like I can't even help out my family because everything is just too darn expensive.

But I have realized something... If I don't believe in myself, then I won't get anywhere in this life.
I look at my blog and think to myself, "Wow I put my mind to this and look what is happening!? People are liking what I have to say and supporting me!"
It is truly an amazing feeling when you take the chance that you get to strive at something you love!

And if you're feeling this way about your life.. I want you to stop.. To think.. and to realize that if you believe you can do anything! ♥
Source: via Katlyn on Pinterest

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Let them be little

There is one thing I have learned while embracing life + being a mommy. It's teaching my kids to embrace life and to do this you gotta let them be little. Let them explore this little world around them.

That puddle you don't want them splashing in because they are going to get dirty - let them.
The walk they keep begging to go on - take them.
The way their eyes light up over the acorns on the ground - let them pick em up.
The way the want to explore their surroundings - let them.

There is no greater way to embrace life then through your child's eyes. They still have this pure, innocent view of the world. A view that around every corner a new adventure is waiting. 

So let them be little.
& you be little with them.
You will be surprised at how much of life you were missing out on when you see it through your child's eyes.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Don't Give Up!

October is National Anti-Bully Awareness Month.
I for one take this month very seriously and try to do everything that I can to get the word out there about bullying and the effects that it can place on a person.

Because of bullying in high school I began to self harm myself and also acquired extreme depression and anxiety that I still struggle with today. But some how I am still here. Some how I made it through all of the crap that other kids said and did to me. And I am proud of myself for that.

There are still those people that are in the battle field. Trying to defend themselves every day for something that they cannot control. Because most of the time they are bullied for just being who they are. 

I now want you to take the time to watch this amazing girl named Jillian Jensen sing for X-Factor USA...
She is 19 years old and was severely bullied in high school for exactly what she is doing on that stage.
She is a beautiful, caring, amazing person but yet others strive to tear her down and tell her she's no go.
But my friends.. I laugh at those bullies now because they are eating their words now. 
She stuck to who she was and what she wanted to be and now she is there!!! 

Stay true to yourself, love others, and don't give up!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where is Fancy Bred? In the Heart or in the Head?

This week I decided to share a little laugh with y'all (get ready for the y'all's to come out here...I AM a Texan after all!).  I think this particular story fits right in with the "Embrace Your Life" theme.  Enjoy...and you're welcome! ;)

So the first week that Jonathan and I were here in Freeport we had seriously NO money.
We had spent literally everything we had trying to get here and buy the things we were going to need while we were here and our bank account was literally $0.  
Sad, but true.
We had enough cash to buy a loaf of bread, a half gallon of milk, and a dozen eggs.
I had one more teacher paycheck coming, but it wasn't going to be here for another week and a half.
So by the end of the week we were still broke, and had eaten all the food we'd purchased.
After a dinner of one egg scrambled and shared between the two of us, we began to get a little hungry.
My famous after dinner quote is "I think I need something sweet."
Of course there was nothing sweet in the house.  
What's the only thing two broke Caribbeans have on hand that's sweet??
You guessed it! (or maybe you didn't) We each ate one Tums...

Yes we did.  And it was delicious!
It was even the "tropical blend" so we felt it was an appropriate dessert for the Bahamas.
We closed our eyes, savored the Tums, and pretended it was the most delectable tropical dessert.

Hopefully that little story put a smile on your face.  When I remember that night, I remember laughing out loud when we both realized we were eating a stinkin' Tums for dessert!  I can tell you that some of the happiest times in our marriage have been when we were broke as billy goats.  We had lost sight of that over the years because we had both been actually making good money and didn't have a care in the world financially.  Now we're back to square one with money, and our marriage is even stronger than it was 5 years ago.  The things that make you truly happy in life cannot be bought!

So challenge #2 (I'm sensing an impending trend with my posts here at EYL):
If you had $0 in your bank account with no immediate remedy to the problem, what would you spend your time doing?  What would make you laugh?  How could you strengthen your relationships (marriage or otherwise)?  Do you really need money to be happy?

And maybe the most important question...what in the world would you eat for dessert?? :)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I do everything I do because I love them

With my life being crazy busy these days, I have had to reteach myself to slow down. To make sure that throughout the day my kids are getting enough of my attention. To make sure there is a time I "unplug" at night. To make sure I have that time with my husband. 

I'm not going to sugar coat it and say that it is. Now that I work full time from home as a Virtual Assistant + manage two blogs and all the aspects that come with those blogs, it is definitely hard to know when to stop. In between that, making sure my kids get enough of my time, my husband gets enough of my time & keeping our house in order - I am one tired lady at the end of the day. 

But there are moments, late at night - when all the world is sleeping and I lye awake and think about these things. I remind myself that I am setting two examples for my boys.

One - I am going to work hard to help provide for them.
Two - That I believed in one of my passion's enough to do something about it.

& that helps the busy days ahead, knowing that I am teaching them that if they really set their mind to something, there is nothing they can't achieve. I am letting them know that mommy wants so much for them, that yes she helps bring in money and thankfully from home. That I do everything I do because I love them and I want them to know that. I want them to know that those dreams they are going to have one day - can become reality even when raising a family. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012


We all have off days.. It's a part of life.
The thing we have to realize though, is that it isn't the end of the world!!

Last week I was feeling pretty stressed out and down about my life.. 
I felt as if I wasn't going anywhere because I didn't have a job, I wasn't going to school, and I seriously had NO friends outside of my blog (sad I know).

I would look at my son and think to myself, "Why am I so unhappy? I have a beautiful little boy who I get to stay home with and raise. What is wrong with me?"

So I prayed to God and asked him if he could help me find my niche in this world.
To give me a chance to prove myself as a working wife and mother to see if it was really what I wanted.
And you know what? The next day.. I got an email..
It was from the owner of a VA firm.. She offered me a job!!!

I am now on day 3 of working for this company and I cannot tell you how amazing I feel!
Everything seems to be falling into place.
I have the stress of having to find a job lifted off my shoulders as well as some of the stress we have been having about finances lately! 

So yes, today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry!

xo Katlyn

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pick Up Something Greater

Well, today marks my first post here on Embrace YOUR Life!  I'm so excited to be writing here and I can't wait to share with you all some insights, life lessons, life experience, and hopefully a few laughs along the way!  I decided that today I should start by sort of sharing with you some of the most life changing revelations I have learned in the past few months.  You see, I recently moved here to Freeport, Grand Bahamas with my husband Jonathan.  He is a med student at Ross University.  We left behind a cute little life in Houston, Texas where I was teaching middle school, he was teaching high school, and we were enjoying the comfort of our first home.  Then everything changed.  We had some HUGE curve balls thrown at us, and Jonathan felt highly convicted to become a physician after much thought and prayer.  And miraculously, God provided a way for us to fulfill that calling.  Hence why we left everything and came here!

So I came across this quote not too long ago and I think it is PERFECT for what we are walking right now.  I kind of wish I'd read it a few years ago:

Do you ever feel like if you take a leap of faith, even if you feel REALLY convicted to do that, that you'll lose everything you've worked for?  That taking that plunge might mean you come up with nothing in the end?  I felt that way too.  When the time came for me to quit my perfect little job and sell our perfect little house and leave our perfect little life, I thought taking that leap would mean I'd be broke, homeless, and friendless.  But let me tell you, it doesn't work like that!  When God is calling you to leave something at His feet, it's not because He thinks you shouldn't have everything wonderful that life has to offer.  It's because there's something far greater out there for you!  What you have clenched in your fists is usually miniscule in comparison to what you could pick up if you'd just let go.  What's awaiting you behind that door of "blind faith" is unfathomable.  And the minute you realize that you can't hold on forever is the minute you realize you don't need to!

I am by no means "finished" with this journey that Jonathan and I are walking right now.  But I am finding little things along the path that remind me that there are better things awaiting me if I just keep pressing on.  I've been reminded that material things (like a house, a car, money) really honestly are not the key to happiness.  I had all those things and I was happy, yes!  But now, I don't have any of those things (unless you count my one bedroom scantly furnished bungalow as a "house"), and I'm HAPPY! Go figure!  My happiness comes from the love of my friends and family, the beauty of the world around me (and the gorgeous beaches here in Freeport!), the love of my husband, and my relationship with my Lord.  There are difficult days, don't get me wrong.  But I do try to take those days in stride and keep my eyes on the prize...

My challenge to you as we go into this weekend, is to assess what it is in your life that truly makes you happy.  Think outside the box!  My question to you is this:  If you were asked to drop EVERYTHING in your life right now in order to receive something greater, would you do it?  Could you do it?  What's holding you back?  

If you think that you can't, let me be the first to tell you that YOU CAN!  The greatest things in life are not lost on a leap of faith...

Just jump...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Mother's Faith Reflected

A couple of weeks ago I asked, "What inspires you?" on my Facebook page.
I love hearing about thing things in life that people enjoy and helps them get through their days.
This question also gave me a little perspective on what I should try and write about here on EYL.

One of the main things that people replied back about was faith.
And not just faith, but their mother's faith!
As I sat back and watched the comments, tweets, and emails roll in about this I thought about my own mother and how her faith inspires me each and every day!
So I picked up my phone, and called her to thank her for living in God's light each and every day!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." 
Proverbs 3:5-6

That right there is one of my mother's favorite bible verses.
And I can honestly say that it is one of my own now as well.
As soon as she read this verse to me it spoke to me. 
I have been traveling down a road where mistakes have lead me to the right places in my life.
At the time the 'mistake' was being made I had no understanding of why this was happening. I felt frazzled and lost, but as time went on with each situation the paths of each met and became something great!
I know that if I put my heart and soul into Gods hands he will lead me to where I need to be!
Source: via Katlyn on Pinterest

I have recently been feeling like a failure. As a wife, as a mother, just in general.
Just by talking to my mom about her own faith and seeing how she makes herself vulnerable for God take her in the right directions really opened up my eyes as to why I am in the places I am.

Now one said life as easy, but when we embrace it we can see the true potential of who we can be and where God wants to lead us. It's truly amazing if you think about it!

So take the time to call your mom and thank her.
Or take the time to pick up the bible and flip through.
Odds are God will have you turn the pages to something great! Just like in life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Thief of Joy

I thought for a good long while what I wanted my next post to be here. 
I think I'm going to talk to you about an area where I'm currently struggling.

I saw this on pinterest and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head.
See, I'm big on comparison. We all are, I think, because it's so easy to do.
It's easy to see another blogger and think "Oh, why don't I have that many followers? I must not be good enough."
With that one thought, you've brought yourself down for the day.
Or how about "Why didn't I do as well as so-and-so did on that test? I studied just as hard. I'm so stupid."
I can't even tell you how many times I've thought that.
I think the quote in the picture above is completely true. Think about it. You are probably perfectly happy with your life and where you are, until you see someone else that does something you do better.
Let's all try to remember this sentiment that comparison is the thief of joy and stop those types of thoughts before you complete them.
What makes you compare yourself to others? How do you deal with it?


Monday, October 1, 2012

Stepping back

This past week I took a break from blogging
To focus on life.
To focus on my writing.
My work.
My boys.
My husband.
My family {sisters and parents}.

{Discipline is what you need to balance it all for sure}

I wanted to step away from the computer so much and just live. Do you ever have those times - where you just want to live life, be more involved in life? In life it can be so hard to balance it all and I learned a lot this past week. Like how much of my life is consumed by blogging.


and don't get me wrong - I love blogging but I love life more. 
So changes for me are coming.

Today, I encourage you - that if you are feeling overwhelmed with all you have to do. Just stop and take a break for as long as you like. Come back refreshed and ready to go again. It truly is good for the soul.

{These two graphics I pulled from facebook}