Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015

I am not really sure where to begin in summarizing 2015.
It was a year of learning and growing in every aspect. There have been a lot of tears but more laughter. Life is good because God is good. He has been with us every step of the way. Even when we weren't walking towards Him, He was ready and waiting with open arms.

Ann Rainey has grown so very much and it has been such a fun journey watching her learn and develop. Her little personality is so fun and I am so excited to watch her continue to grow... but time PLEASE slow down!
Financially it has been a hard year of dealing with consequences of bad decisions, doing without and learning the hard way. I feel like we are finally taking baby steps in the right directions. It has been a year of job loss and job changes.
We are healthy. It has been a year of relapses, struggles, early discoveries and treatments. These don't make the financial end any better or easier but we are making it.
We are in a beautiful house now instead of our tiny townhouse. I am so ready to be fully settled in and make it HOME.
I think mentally and spiritually this has been a year of discovery for me. I started going to a Celebrate Recovery group with JP. It was initially "to support him" but I know now that I have SO much to work on and deal with. My addiction? Control. I plan everything. And when it doesn't go the way I expect I don't know how to function or react. I really want to focus on this in the next year. Now that I realize what my problem is, I want to acknowledge it more and recognize when I am starting to go into freak out mode. We finally found a church home after trying several. We met with our small group for the first time at their Christmas party at the beginning of December and we had such a good time. I am so excited about getting more involved there in the next year.

I have realized that I don't always use my time wisely. I think it is so easy for us to say "I don't waste any of my time" but in all honesty, I know there are better ways I could have used a LOT of my time in 2015. My hope and prayer for 2016 is that I am more intentional with my time and that my efforts are relevant in respect to my role as a wife and mother. The first step in this was deleting Facebook(and messenger) off of my phone several days ago. It has been so freeing but also very eye opening. I catch myself picking up my phone and going to check facebook way more than I would like to admit. I can't completely delete my account because I have to have a personal account in order to be an admin on a business page but I am going to making more of an effort to steer clear of it whenever I am on my laptop. It is way too easy to get caught up in scrolling, looking and browsing. And it usually is more negative than positive. I am not saying I will never check facebook but I want to be use that the time I am on it is spent wisely and not when I could be(and usually should be) doing something else. I would love to post here rather than on facebook, even if it is short and sweet - something for our little family to look back on in the future.

I hope 2015 has been a year of blessing, growth, fun, adventure and love for you and your family. I look forward to recording more of our life here in 2016.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


This year has been one of the best and the hardest of my life. There have been so many days that I just wanted to throw my hands up in the arm... but with each of those days there have been lessons learned. Some of those lessons were more easily seen and learned than other. Some I am still trying to figure out and learn from them.

 For weeks, months, I have been dealing with consistent exhaustion, an unusually upset stomach, changing sleeping patterns, moments of trying to grasp my thoughts or words, and even some crazy moments of blacking out. Honestly, I chalked it all up to stress. But there was more to it than that. A few weeks ago, I went in for a biopsy and another procedure. My doctor found 4 tumors. The results of the biopsy was that they were moderate, borderline severe. Thankfully, they caught them at the precancerous stage! But my doctor advised immediate, invasive treatment to remove the tumors before they cross over into the severe stage. Today will be my first treatment and I have so many thoughts and prayers going through my head.  I don't know how many times I've read this verse but "with thanksgiving" is what has recently stuck out to me. This time has held some serious lessons in faith and trust in God's provision and healing. How many times have I taken my anxiety to Him but not thanked Him ahead of time for what He is going to do with this situation? He will provide. So thank Him now. He will heal. So thank Him now. He will restore. So thank Him now.
So what am I praying for and thankful for?

I am praying for an effective treatment and that my doctor will be able to remove them in as few treatments as possible.
I am praying that my body will accept the treatments well.
I am praying for patience and endurance. For me, for JP, for ARG... all of us! With this I have been very limited in being able to pick up ARG or carry her. This is definitely something that I will NEVER take for granted again.

I am thankful for a job that is flexible and understanding. I am able to work from home when I can so that I am not completely missing out on work(which means hours and income).
I am thankful that after several weeks of JP being out of work that he has started a new job that he seems to love.
I am thankful that he is getting a LOT of overtime hours which will help tremendously in helping us catch up on bills.
I am thankful for a few close friends who are always checking on me and willing to help.
I am thankful for family. Heather came to visit for AR's first birthday and she worked for hours to put up 14 freezer meals for us(plus several for mom). JP's mom is staying in town for my first treatment and to take care of AR for the first few days afterwards.
I am thankful for early detection.
I am thankful for a Father who is a God of grace, mercy, healing and restoration.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tiny Moments

Today is a special day. Today is Ann Rainey's first birthday. This year has gone by so very quickly. It has had some good moments, some bad moments, and some downright struggles. But no matter what, getting to be this girl's momma is honestly the sweetest and most treasured blessing of my entire life.

Everyone tells you that time will fly once you become a parent. Nothing can ever prepare you for it. It feels like just yesterday when we were waiting for our Squidget to make her arrival. I remember waking up in the early AM hours being completely uncomfortable and going downstairs to watch Christmas movies. I remember my water breaking, though at the time I really didn't realize that was what was happening. Seriously though... But let me just point out that it is not at all as dramatic as the movies make it out to be. HA. That morning I went ahead and showered, waiting and timing the contractions. When JP's alarm went off at 3:30am I told him that he wouldn't be going to work today because we would be having a baby that morning. I am so glad that Ann Rainey is ours.

The last year has flown by but it has been made of tiny moments, memories that are forever ingrained in my mind. Tonight AR was exhausted and ready for bed way before her usual time because she didn't take an afternoon nap. We fought to keep her awake until 7 and she went straight into her bed and fell asleep. Less than 30 minutes later she was awake again, crying out terrified, most likely because of the bad weather we are having. I had been working in the living room so I tried to cuddle with her on the couch until she calmed down. Then we went into her room, turned on her music and enjoyed the scents from her diffuser. It is something we do nightly, something so familiar and so soothing(for her AND for me). We don't rock her to sleep anymore. Instead we read together, feed her a night time bottle, cuddle and sing for a few minutes. Then we place her in her bed and, on the nights she doesn't fall asleep quickly, she self soothes (Honestly, one of the best decisions we have ever made in this crazy thing called parenthood but that is another subject all together). But those tiny, perfect moments are what matters. There is plenty of lack of sleep, hard nights, laundry, tears with no explanation, and feeling completely helpless. But in those moments I know I am living out my purpose. I know that I am relevant and that I am making a difference, not to the world but in her world. Thankfully we have been blessed with the opportunity where work is flexible and it can wait so that I can enjoy those tiny moments. I hope I never take the little pieces of time for granted.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hello There, 2015

Somehow this post has been sitting as a draft for a month. I think it was because I was going to add pictures. Who knows? 

2014 was such a wonderful year for us. It was not perfect by any means and it definitely had some rough patches but it really was a very blessed year. We moved to Mississippi, which was returning home for me. We both got jobs that we really enjoy. We had a smooth pregnancy and delivery of our sweet baby girl. The last few weeks of 2014 were spent enjoying the best Christmas present we ever could have asked for, as well as traveling to Louisiana and Alabama to spend time with family. 

Last weekend, we drove to Louisiana to spend time with my grandmother and my dad's siblings. It was Ann Rainey's first time out of Mississippi and her first time in the car for an extended period of time and she was great! Sunday was Ann Rainey's first time in church. But this wasn't just any church. This was the church my dad and his siblings grew up in, where my granddaddy was pastor for many, many years, the church where I was baptized by granddaddy, where so many precious people identify me as a Clegg as soon as I walk through the door. Granddaddy was very much missed today. I can still hear his voice preaching, talking about sports and woodwork and singing Jesus Loves Me in multiple languages every night before we went to bed. I know he would have had AR in his arms, proudly introducing her to everyone, including taking her up to the pulpit and formally letting everyone meet his first great grandchild.

Sunday afternoon JP, Ann Rainey and I went to New Orleans to see my oldest sister, Rachel. It was rainy and nasty out so we ended up just spending a few hours at the zoo and going back to Rachel's apartment for dinner before heading home.

We were supposed to go to Gadsden for Christmas with JP's mom and his brother's family Wednesday through Sunday but ended up going Monday night through Thursday night so JP could be back to work for Friday morning. This trip was longer but she still did such a great job on the ride there and back. 

Ann Rainey and I spent the time trying to unpack, tackle several things on my to do list and straighten the house. But my biggest priority has just been spending time with her. I go back to work tomorrow and I am not ready for it at all. We haven't established a sleeping schedule whatsoever. She usually falls into a good sleep around midnight and will sleep anywhere from 3-5 hours. And I have NO idea how in the world I am going to get up and get both of us ready to go out the door. I feel like I've struggled to get anywhere on time despite trying to establish a routine the last several weeks. Ha! Any tips in that area would be greatly appreciated. I know the first few weeks will be the hardest. I am already prepared to have an emotional breakdown after I drop her off at daycare in the morning. And I know I have a mountain of work to tackle when I get back to work, so I am hoping that will make the time pass quickly.

Here's to 2015 and settling into our new "normal" as a little family. Praying your 2015 will be overflowing with blessings!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Disney College Program Alumni Business Directory!

I am so excited to put this together and watch it grow. I knew there are plenty of creative people in our DCP(Disney College Program) Alumni Association group on facebook and I wanted to make a go to list for others to be able to use when shopping. Though the group is a Disney group, I wanted the list to include shops/businesses whether they were Disney related or not.

This is such a good way to support each other and I thought it would be a creative source for those who are participating in the Secret Cupid gift exchange.

This will be an ongoing, growing list so if you would like to be included, please let me know!

Christin Couture by Christin Shirazi
"I love to knit, crochet, bead, and create things. Each item in my store is designed and made by me."

Abigail Gawron's Etsy shop

CraftsbyJayy by Justina Worland
I paint both canvases and shoes and I knit scarves and princess themed hats!

Glo's Collectibles by Gloria So

Katie Mae Quilts by Kate Muter Starcher
Custom quilts. Disney fabric options available!

Southern Comforts - A Vintage Boutique by Magdaly Rivera- Newsome (Program - Fall Adv. 2006 - MK Fantasyland) 

SewSewFunByAmy by Amy Satterfield by Lindsay Balaka (costuming CP from May 2011-May 2012)
I offer ready made, made to order, and completely custom work. (I used to do a lot of costumes/cosplay but clients have been coming to me with Disneybound projects lately so I've been moving in that direction.) Past work is here:

Flora and Fauna Vintage by Megan DeWeerdt and Brooke Traitz

KreativeStitchins by Elisabeth Hausler
Kreative Stitchin - Where creativity and embroidery meet!

Our Imaginarium by Jayoung Lee

A Beautiful Horizon by Alaina Brogan