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    12 YEARS SINCE I LOST MY BEST FRIEND

    It was a Monday morning. I was so tired because I had been up late Saturday night and up early Sunday morning. I had overslept and got up sleepily to get ready for school. I was 18 years old and only had a few months left of high school. I went to the bathroom and while brushing my teeth, I heard my dad pacing back and forth in his room. He was on the phone and frantically getting ready. My mom had already left for work. My brother who is two years younger than me was still asleep in his room. Normally my dad would have already left or would be getting ready to leave, and he was never running late, so I was confused why he seemed like he was in such a hurry. I heard him say, “Yeah. He was hit by a car. Yeah. Okay.” This really got my attention.

    I walked out of the bathroom and saw my dad sitting on the edge of the bed putting his shoes on. I rubbed my eyes and yawned and said, “Did you just say someone got hit by a car?” He just kept looking down at his shoes and sighed heavily, shaking his head. I didn’t understand why he wasn’t answering me. He stood up hesitantly and hugged me tight. I was confused and started saying, “What? What’s wrong?” He rubbed my back and kept hugging me. He finally said quietly, “Andrew was hit by a car.” I said, “Andrew who?” because I didn’t want to think it was the Andrew I thought it was. He said, “Andrew Thrailkill.” I thought about this for a minute and said, “Okay, but he’s alright, right?” He squeezed me harder, and sighed. He finally said, “No, honey. He’s not. He’s dead.” I started screaming “NO!” over and over again and pushing my dad off of me. He just kept pulling me closer and saying he was sorry over and over again.

    I felt like I was in a terrible, terrible dream. The worst nightmare I could ever imagine. Just the morning before I had been with Andrew. We were sitting next to each other at church. I got sad thinking about him leaving to go into the Army. I told him I didn’t want him to go, and he told me he wanted me to come to his boot camp graduation. He said I was one of the only ones who he wanted there. I was one of the only ones he cared about. We hugged and he kissed me on the head like he had done so many times before. That moment will forever be cemented into my brain as one of the most important memories of my life.

    Luckily, that weekend, we had both gone to Anderson University. He went to see his sister and her boyfriend, and I went to see my friend who went there. So we spent most of Saturday together and then went to church together Sunday morning. When his parents came to get him Sunday afternoon, I was goofing off with his dad in the driver’s seat, and Andrew went to the other side of the truck to get in the back seat. I never gave him a formal hug goodbye. I had no idea this would be the last time I would see him alive.

    Hanging out with Andrew the day before he died

    Andrew and I were such special friends. I’ve never had a friendship like that and don’t know if I ever will again. We legitimately told each other absolutely everything. We were never scared to say anything to each other. We were completely honest with each other. We could talk about really insignificant things and really important, personal things and everything in between. We had so much fun together, no matter where we were or what was going on. He always found a way to make things interesting. He was the kind of guy who came with me to our friend’s performance of The Nutcracker and to my grandparents’ house to get my grandma to help him sew something for his girlfriend. He let my little cousin play with his hair. He wore girl’s jeans to be funny. He tipped over the kayak to throw me in the pond in my clothes in November. He would bring me food and presents when I had surgery. He would stand on his tip toes in pictures to try and not look so short. Every time you touched his arm, he would flex. He always had sweaty hands, but he would still touch everyone. He loved to give massages. He always hugged everyone when he saw them. He was so kind and could literally make anyone feel like they were his best friend. He never met a stranger. He loved to sing and play guitar. He was a genius at the rubik’s cube. He loved to play pranks on his friends. He would do almost anything for a laugh. No one could be mad at him for long. His smile was too contagious.

    The moment I found out he was gone forever was the worst moment of my life. The days following were a haze. I think the only time I wasn’t crying was when I was asleep. There is nothing that can prepare you for that unexpected pain. I felt so hopeless. Everywhere I turned, everywhere I looked, every song I heard, it all reminded me of him. I didn’t understand how I could keep living without him. I felt like a piece of me died with him.

    After my dad told me what happened, my mom came home, and we all went over to Andrew’s house where his mom, dad, and sister were. I laid in his bed with his sister and showed her pictures that I had taken of him that weekend. We laid there and cried in total and complete disbelief. It was so hard for me to look his parents in the eye. I couldn’t handle seeing them in so much pain.

    I was in denial for the first few days. At the visitation and funeral, there was an open casket. I got to lay eyes on him again. It was surreal. Some people don’t like seeing the lifeless bodies of people they love. I had to see him. It was the only way I could know for sure that it was real. Yes, it was hard to see him like that. But I still don’t know if I’d believe it to this day if I hadn’t seen him lying there. I leaned down and kissed him on the head, just like he had done to me so many times.

    My dad spoke at the funeral. So did Andrew’s sister and dad. I don’t know how they did it. I could hardly breath. I had to walk in to the funeral along with other good friends of his. We walked down the aisle and to the front where we had reserved seats. While we were waiting in the lobby, a video of him playing guitar and singing was shown in the sanctuary. When I heard his voice, I felt like all the air had been sucked out of me. It was like seeing a ghost. I felt like I was walking on air walking down the aisle. I felt everyone staring at us feeling sorry for us. I didn’t want people’s pity. I wanted my best friend back.

    That night I went to dinner with my girlfriends and laughed for the first time in days. We all just sat there laughing so hard it hurt. We needed that. But once I got home, he was still gone. And he wasn’t coming back. I didn’t know how to go on.

    Once the funeral was over, everyone just seemed to go on with their lives. It was over. But it would never be over for me.

    I would have days where everything was good. And then I would be sitting in a restaurant and look over at a booth that we once sat at, and I would just lose it.

    I tried to use the tragedy to better myself, to learn from, to be kinder to others, to not take people for granted, but eventually all the sadness closed in around me and suffocated me. I didn’t handle it well. When the first anniversary of his death came, I was a wreck. It was about this time that I started going to counseling. I really can’t say that it turned everything around for me all at once. It took years, multiple doctors, multiple medications, falling on my knees and talking to Jesus before I could say that I was in a good place.

    I still don’t understand it, and some days I still question why God had to do this. Why he had to take away the best friend I’ve ever had. But I’ve accepted that God does know better than us, and some answers we just won’t get here on earth. The hardest thing for me now is wondering what he would be doing in his life now and wishing he could meet my kids and his sisters’ kids. It’s hard going on without him, but I know he’s looking down and smiling at me and blowing me a kiss. As a mother, I have to keep going for my kids. I can’t wait until they’re old enough for me to tell them all about their Uncle Andrew and how cool he was.

    It’s so hard to believe that today marks 12 years since he’s been gone.

    Andrew and I were about 11 years old in this picture. People frequently thought we were brother and sister.

    One of the things I have found that has been good from all this, is that I have been able to be there for others who have lost really close friends. It helps when you can relate to someone who has gone through what you have gone through. So if you are a person who is dealing with the death of a close friend, I encourage you to reach out to someone who has been in your shoes. It doesn’t have to be me, but just someone who you can talk to who understands. It makes a world of a difference. If you do want to talk to me, I would be happy to talk with you. Leave a comment below, DM me on Instagram, email me, whatever you want to do. I’m here.

    How special is it that I took this picture of him on the day before he died?

    RIP James Andrew Thrailkill III

    September 11, 1989 - February 24, 2008

    Always in my heart. I miss you, brother.

    *If you knew Andrew, please leave your favorite thing about him in the comments so I can have something to smile about today 🙂

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    30 THINGS ABOUT ME ON MY 30TH BIRTHDAY

    Well the day is finally here. I am officially 30 years old. I have been dreading this day for like 9 years.

    But as I’ve been preparing for this the past few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that I am going to embrace it.

    I’m going to change my mindset. Instead of thinking about losing another year, I’m going to think of it as gaining another year. Another year that I am not promised.

    So I will be thankful for every day, every year, every birthday. Because I am so blessed. I really have more than I need.

    So for fun, I decided to share 30 random things about me today! Enjoy!

    #1- When I was 20 years old, I always said I would not have kids until I was 30. I also said I would only have 1. Now I’m 30 + have 3.

    #2- I have lived in 3 states + 9 cities.

    #3- I did a ton of different activities growing up: dance, t-ball, basketball, piano, art lessons, cheerleading. My favorites were probably art + cheerleading.

    2005

    #4- I have 2 tattoos. One on my foot that says “Only the good die young” + my best friend’s initials who died when we were 18. I have angel wings on my wrists. I got “beautiful life” added under them because people thought they were Harley Davidson wings + I couldn’t let that assumption happen.

    Andrew + I the day before he was killed

    #5- My best friend was a boy named Andrew. I met him in 3rd grade at church. We were “boyfriend + girlfriend” for a while. But we ultimately decided to just be friends in 6th grade. + what friends we were for so many years. But unfortunately not as many years as I would’ve liked. When we were 18, he was hit by a car + died immediately of blunt force trauma. I’ve never experienced such sudden + deep pain as I did during this time. + I hope I never have to experience it again.

    #6- I hate starting something + not finishing it all in 1 go. I can’t walk away from something. So many times I have ended up staying awake wayyyy past midnight because I’m working on a project + I can’t stop until it’s done.

    #7- I have only been out of the country twice: Bahamas + Mexico. I would love to travel to Canada, UK, Italy, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Greece + oh, so many more!! Traveling is one of my favorite things to do, but it is sooo expensive 🙁 Fun fact: both the times I have been out of the country have been with Brad. One was our honeymoon, but the other was our graduation cruise after high school. We were just friends then and not together until 7 years later.

    2008 in the Bahamas
    2016 in Mexico

    #8- I broke my left elbow when I was in the first grade falling off the monkey bars. I broke my left wrist in the fifth grade falling off of a scooter. I sprained ligaments in my right elbow falling out of a stunt during cheer practice when I was 15.

    #9- I have always been one of those girls who got along best with the boys, even though I’m a very girly girl.

    #10- My favorite foods are french fries, spaghetti, any kind of pasta, chicken tenders or nuggets, macaroni + cheese, any kind of potato, steak, anything chocolate, cheesecake + ice cream. Obviously you can see why I am not a size double zero anymore.

    11- I have always loved taking pictures. Some people find it annoying, but I love having the memories to be able to look back on.

    12- I was terrified when I found out I was having a boy, but he is the absolute sweetest + I wouldn’t trade him for the world. But I absolutely love my girls as well.

    #13- I went to school for business for 1 year, then went 1 semester for nursing, then went to cosmetology school. A few years later I went back to school to be a high school math teacher. I ended up changing to elementary school education. I taught 5th grade for 1 year after I graduated + haven’t been back to the classroom. I’ve never been more miserable in my life than I was as a teacher. I would rather work at Applebee’s than in a classroom. It was an absolutely terrible experience for me.

    #14- Strangers love talking to me. They love telling me their life stories. I don’t ask for this, but somehow it always ends up happening to me.

    #15- I used to watch Law + Order SVU literally every second of every day.

    #16- If Chelsea was a boy, her name was going to be Carter Andrew. If Cooper was a girl, his name was going to be Charlotte Katherine. If Camille was a boy, her name was going to be Cameron Bradley. (I really like names that start with C)

    #17- I have been in 3 car accidents where the car was totaled. I was driving in 1 of them.

    #18- I had ingrown toenails on both my big toes + had to have surgery on them both to correct it. It was extremely painful.

    #19- When I was in the second grade, I decided randomly that I wanted to be a tomboy. I cut my hair short, wore a backwards hat all the time, never wanted to wear dresses or anything girly. The cherry on top was that my left ear was infected so I couldn’t wear that earring, but I still wore my right one, so I legit looked like a boy. I luckily grew out of this quickly.

    #20- I’m OCD + very particular about certain things. Like clothes should be hung short sleeve shirts together, long sleeve shirts together, tank tops together, pants together, dresses together, etc. + then within each category I organize them from left to right, the left side being the most dressy + progressively get less dressy. I can’t stand it when I have more than like 5 unread emails. I don’t get it when people don’t have their apps in an order that has meaning behind it. Everything should have a place. + if you don’t put it back in that place when you’re done with it, what is wrong with you?

    #21- Fall is my favorite season. I love the leaves, the crisp air, college football, boots, pumpkins, leggings + oversized shirts.

    #22- I had melanoma skin cancer when I was 17 years old. You can read more about it in this blog post.

    #23- I’m super hot natured + sweat a lot. I hate being hot. I would rather it be cold any day.

    #24- I got married when I was 20 years old + we had Chelsea when we were 24. Sadly, we were divorced at 25. At 26, I married my current husband. At 27, we had Cooper + at 29, we had Camille.

    #25- I love the beach, but would honestly rather spend the most time at the pool, because sand.

    Here is me at the beach circa 1997. I probably have a pound of sand in my bathing suit.

    #26- I had my nose pierced twice, but it’s closed up now. I had 4 other piercings in my ears that are closed up now. I also have had my hair colored every color in the book.

    2009
    2011

    #27- I’m an enneagram 3, which means I love to work + be recognized for my work. I like to be seen as successful. I care about what other people think of me, even if I try + act like I don’t. I try hard to impress people + I like attention (even though I pretend I don’t). I’m competitive, hard-working, energetic, ambitious, enthusiastic, motivated + a people pleaser. Learning about the enneagram + all the types has been very eye opening for me to discover the core fears + desires of myself + those I love.

    #28- It’s reallyyyyy hard for me to spend more than $30-$40 on a piece of clothing. I like the more expensive things, but it’s very hard for me to justify spending that much on one thing.

    #29- I always wanted to live in Charleston or Atlanta. These are my favorite nearby cities. I’m smack dab in the middle of them. The cost of living is soooo much higher than where I live though + I’m pretty sure my husband is never moving again.

    #30- I love Apple products + will never own anything besides an iPhone or MacBook. I got my first MacBook in 2008 + my first iPhone in 2012. I will NEVER go back.

    So there’s a bunch of random info you probably never wanted to know. Hope you enjoyed!

    Tell me something random about you in the comments. + let’s be friends! Sign up for my email list below!

    xoxo,

    Lindsey

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    2019 – MY YEAR IN REVIEW

    My favorite and most inspirational blogger is Helene Sula of heleneinbetween.com. She was 100% the reason I decided to start this blog + helped me in countless ways in setting up my site, my writing, my social media, you name it. Her website has tons of informative information on all things blogging + how to make money doing it. But she’s also just a really cool human who enjoys traveling all over the world (like literally went to over 100 cities all over the world last year) + helping other people. So because she has been so successful with her blog, she has decided to help others who want to make a business out of blogging. + I am forever grateful that she helped me!

    ANYWAY, I say all this to say, she has an AWESOME tradition of posting a year in review blog post at the start of every new year. + not only does she share hers, but encourages other bloggers to link their post on hers! It encourages community + togetherness in the blogging world. Really cool, huh? So I am writing my year in review post inspired by the queen herself, Helene Sula. Seriously, if you don’t follow her stuff, you should. + you can check out her year in review post here.

    2019 was an amazing year. We gained another member of our family. My sweet baby girl was born in July, and she has brought so much joy to our family. This year we had so many changes and challenges, and through it all, some amazing things have happened. Here is my year in review:

    The first thing to happen in 2019 was my best friend becoming a mommy! She welcomed her over 8 lb son into the world right at the start of the new year! It is amazing to watch your friends become parents. A few months later, she would have to undergo major surgery due to an abscess that formed from her c-section scar. She had to go home with a wound vac + was stuck at home for weeks recovering. Luckily, she recovered beautifully + is doing great now! It is so scary to see your friends go through something like this though.

    I celebrated my last birthday in my 20’s.

    I won an award for Corporate Office Person of the Year at my job. I was so humbled and honored to receive this award.

    We found out that we were having another girl! Chelsea was ecstatic!

    Cooper started making this face often + developed his love for books.

    I made it to the halfway mark in my pregnancy with Camille.

    It became official that Brad was getting a new job + we would be moving! We put our house on the market.

    The kids went to see the Easter Bunny.

    My sweet niece, Callie Grace, was dedicated.

    We had a birthday party at the park to celebrate my girl turning 5. For some reason, it was 40 degrees in April + we all almost got frostbite.

    Chelsea’s birthday was the day after Easter so it was an Easter-Birthday celebration all weekend long!

    One happy 5 year old!!

    See that huge bandage on her hand? Cooper slammed her finger in a pot accidentally + it got infected. It was the biggest ordeal that led to going to the doctor + them telling us she might have to see a surgeon. Luckily with oral + topical antibiotics, saline rinses, lots of wraps + epsom salt baths, it started healing + surgery was not necessary. Her fingernail came completely off + has just recently grown back. This was not a fun time. Pictured is a girl who got to go to Target + pick out a new toy to bribe her into not complaining about the finger so much.

    Another one of my best friends had her baby boy! I have been friends with her since we were this little–actually before because our moms are best friends and were pregnant at the same time. It was so special to see her become a mommy!

    Celebrated Mother’s Day with the sweetest two and one in my belly.

    Celebrated my mom on Mother’s Day!

    My girl had her third dance recital! This time she had two numbers, and she rocked them both!

    We started going to Easley to explore our new town that we would soon move to. Little did we know we would become regulars at this place.

    I had just a little over a month until I would meet my sweet baby. We only had a few weeks left in our house until we moved. My last day at work was approaching soon.

    Chelsea graduated preschool and was headed for Kindergarten. I couldn’t be prouder of her.

    Last few days in our house.

    Celebrated my dad on Father’s Day! He’s really cool.

    Moving day! These two little homeless children were entertaining themselves.

    It was official! We closed on our old house and the new house in the same day in addition to moving everything out of the old house and into the new house. (Click here to see a bunch of pictures of the new house.)

    I worked frantically to get everything in order before baby joined us. These two got settled in.

    My blood pressure had started to rise early on, so they were keeping a close eye on me. I got to see my baby girl on ultrasound + I cried when I saw this little face because it looks so much like her big brother.

    The kids made themselves at home and were loving the new house.

    My sweet friends came to see the new house + celebrate baby girl.

    New neighborhood came with a perk–a pool.

    I got the house ready for baby to make her appearance. It was decided that I would be induced at 37 weeks since my blood pressure had continued to be an issue.

    My sweet Camille was born on July 11th weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces, my smallest baby. She didn’t make a sound when she was born. She just looked all around, eyes wide open, + didn’t even cry when they gave her a shot. She was so little + so sweet. (Click here to read my suggestions for what you should pack in your hospital bag.)

    Big brother + big sister were in love. My heart was full.

    We got to come home as a family of five, but it would be short lived…

    My cousin took these sweet newborn photos for us.

    After taking our newborn pictures, we took Camille to the doctor + they weren’t happy with her bilirubin levels. So she was set up to receive light treatment at home. But I had been not feeling right all day + my blood pressure had been high. When I made a call to my OB, they told me to go to the hospital to be evaluated. I ended up being admitted for postpartum preeclampsia. Luckily my sweet girl got to come with us to the hospital, light and all. I was given a magnesium treatment to try + lower my blood pressure. After almost 24 hours in the hospital, I was discharged + we got to come home again (but not for good).

    That weekend we celebrated my sweet Mammy turning 80. I thought we were on the other side of all the health issues. I was wrong.

    That weekend I started having pains + bad bleeding. So the next week I called my OB again + they scheduled me to come in for an ultrasound. After the ultrasound, the tech said, “Well, you know your body. Something’s wrong.” I said, “What is it?” She said, “I can’t say, the doctor will have to tell you, but it’s ok, they can fix it.” I then had to wait about an hour and a half to see the doctor. I was going crazy. Turns out, I had a blood clot in my uterus + would need to have surgery that day to remove it. Back we went to the hospital. I got home after midnight that night, but thankfully this would be the end of my saga.

    So then we did a thing. A stupid thing, some might say. We took three kids (one who was not even 3 weeks old) + went on vacation. It was a last minute, spur of the moment trip because I just had to get away for a bit. It was wonderful. (Click here to read about a 3 day itinerary for a trip to Charleston.)

    Cooper learned how to climb + jump out of his crib, so we were forced to change his crib to a toddler bed. He was thrilled, obviously.

    This little girl turned one whole month.

    All too quickly, my husband had to start regular football practices + then had to start teaching too. He was gone 7am-8pm Monday-Wednesday. Thursdays + Fridays when he had games, he wouldn’t be home until 11 or 12, sometimes later. Saturdays were his only day off + Sunday he had to go to school for coach’s meetings. So on days like this when I got all three of them dressed, I was really proud of myself. Camille was having to wear a hat all the time because she wasn’t gaining weight + the doctor suggested that she might be burning calories by being cold. So we were instructed to have her wear a hat at all times to keep her warm. (Click here to read my confessions of a mom of three.)

    Chelsea officially started Kindergarten!

    I got to spend some quality time with these two while big sissy went to school. Camille finally made it over 7 pounds + didn’t have to wear a hat all the time!

    This little boy started preschool three days a week. He wasn’t a fan at first, but by the second day, he had warmed up + now he absolutely loves it.

    Camille turned two months. I started working from home for an online business consultant. (Click here to read ways you can earn money + still stay home with your kids.)

    Chelsea started her fourth year of dance at a new dance studio.

    Camille got to go to school with big brother! At almost 3 months, she started going three days a week to the same school as Cooper. She absolutely loved it from the beginning. She has had no problem + everyone there loves her.

    This little boy turned TWO somehow (+ it was 90+ degrees in October. Yeah, remember how it was 40 degrees at my daughter’s birthday in April?).

    My niece turned ONE + she’s just the cutest, sweetest little thing.

    Another month down…

    I went on tv to support a friend + her local business opening.

    I had the cutest pineapple, Spiderman + Jojo Siwa on Halloween!

    I bit the bullet + got botox + now I’m obsessed. (Click here to read all about my experience.)

    I launched my blog!!! I spent basically one entire weekend creating my website from scratch + planning + writing + obsessing over every little detail. (Click here to read my first post about why I started the blog.)

    Did a photoshoot with the wonderful Hannah Kerr to get some professional shots for my site.

    She finally started to chunk up a little bit + I can’t handle it.

    I discovered that Cooper despises taking pictures almost as much as he despises going to bed. I had to do ninja things to be able to get this picture.

    We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary at the place where we had our first date.

    We learned a hack to get Cooper to take pictures: Brad stands behind me + lifts his shirt up to show his belly. Genius.

    These two were in a Thanksgiving parade at their school. Neither had any idea what was going on.

    Friendsgiving celebration with these sweet girls is always one of my favorite traditions. (missing one)

    Thanksgiving was extra sweet this year.

    Baby’s first Christmas is always a special time.

    I’m in literal shock that she’s this big.

    We had the best Christmas. Love these kids with all my heart. (Click here to see what some of my kids’ favorite gifts were.)

    Ringing in the new year with these babes. Saying goodbye to 2019 + welcoming 2020 with open arms.

    Last picture of 2019. (Click here to read about my word of the year + goals for 2020.)

    Here’s to 2020, friends! Leave a comment with your favorite memory of 2019! Mine of course was my sweet baby girl being born!

    Let’s be friends. Life is so much better when we do it with others! Sign up for my email list below! (No spam!)

    xoxo,

    Lindsey

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    MY WORD OF THE YEAR + GOALS FOR 2020

    a new decade has come + gone – goodbye 2019 – hello 2020

    a whole year has come and gone. tomorrow will be the beginning of a new month, a new year, + a new decade.

    i have been seeing everyone’s posts about their new year’s resolutions + things they want to stop or start in 2020. anyone else out there feel like thinking of new year’s resolutions feels a lot like just shaming yourself on everything you’re doing wrong?

    i have fallen down this rabbit hole of “you need to work out more + eat better + clean more + be a better mom + write more + not sleep in so much + not look like a bum 75% of the time”. don’t get me wrong, i’m all about bettering yourself + setting goals, but not at the expense of your mental health. because that list of things i need to do also sounds like this: “you are fat + eat like crap + your house is an embarrassment + you’re a bad mom + you suck at blogging + you sleep all the time, yet you’re always tired + you look terrible 75% of the time”.

    these thoughts are self sabotaging. i’ve been in + out of a funk the past few days because of this. i have goals for 2020, + i definitely want to see them through, but i also don’t want to be so hard on myself. like, i raised three children, including a newborn, pretty much all by myself this fall. (my husband is a high school teacher + football coach so he was NEVER home from august-november.) my house is 80-90% picked up all the time. there are days i don’t put on makeup or nice clothes, but there are also a lot of days when i dress up + do my hair + makeup when i have nowhere to be. yes, i don’t write as much as i should, but i also have another job plus 3 kids to raise. writing can wait. my babies are growing up in front of my eyes. the working out + eating better topic is the worst. i am not a great eater. i don’t love + crave healthy things. in fact, i crave the exact opposite: carbs + sweets. i actually do enjoy working out (depending on what it is), but my excuse is always, “i don’t have enough time.” my younger two are in mother’s morning out for only 12 hours a week. those 12 hours i need to spend to do my work from home job, plus my design company, plus my blog. i also use that time to run any errands i need to run or make any appointments. i know that i need to workout more than i’ve been doing. + i’m just going to have to suck it up + do it. MAKE the time. because i’m a firm believer that you make time for the things you want to make time for. no one is EVER too busy to do the things they truly WANT to do.

    so i try to cut myself some slack + not go into the new year in a complete funk feeling crappy about myself + the life i have. i am trying to be optimistic + realistic with myself.

    i’ve been thinking for a while now about what my “word” of 2020 is going to be. i see people doing this every year, but i’ve never done it. + this year i want to do one that aligns with my goals.

    so my word of the year for 2020 is FREE:

    FREE from criticizing myself.

    FREE from fear.

    FREE from worrying.

    FREE from financial strain.

    FREE from this extra weight.

    here are my goals for 2020:

    • i’m going to try my best to eat better + cook more healthy meals at home.
    • i’m going to join the gym by my kids’ daycare + go workout at least 2 times a week after i drop them off.
    • i’m going to compliment myself every time i find i’m criticizing myself.
    • i’m going to work work work on my blog + my brand. take chances. go for the collaboration or partnership that i feel is “too big” for little ole me. i’m going to continue to connect, ask for help, + learn as much as i can.
    • i’m not going to worry about things i cannot control. i’m going to take control of everything i can take control of.
    • i’m going to spend more deliberate time engaging with my kids. “the days are long, but the years are short.”
    • i’m going to work hard at real relationships, not just those online friendships, but actually seeing people in person. there’s nothing like actually being there with someone face to face.
    • i’m going to work hard at making money + saving money.
    • i’m going to go on vacations with my family this year.
    • i’m going to try + not wallow in the fact that i’m turning 30 very, very soon (less than a month). this might be the hardest one of all.

    these might seem pretty obvious + redundant like the goals that pretty much everyone has every year, but they truly do mean a lot to me, + i have put a lot of time + reflection into these. by the end of 2020, i hope i can see that i’ve spent a ton of quality time with my kids + my family, i’ve not criticized myself so much, i’ve gotten in better shape + overall am in better health, i’ve made a lot more money + saved a lot more money, i’m embracing my 30s + killin’ it at being a 30 year old mom of three!

    i hope this year doesn’t fly by, but man i can’t wait to see what all i accomplish this year!

    do you have a word of the year for 2020?

    what are your goals for yourself or your business in 2020?

    leave a comment below or email me or find me on insta! i’d love to chat + be friends! life is so much better when we do it with others. join my email list below!

    xoxo,

    lindsey

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    MY MELANOMA DIAGNOSIS AT 17

    i had a mole on my right lower leg since i was born. i never thought anything of it. the summer before my senior year of high school, my aunt started noticing it and suggesting i get it checked out. she said it looked as if it were getting darker and possibly bigger. i didn’t think there was anything to be worried about and never went to the dr. finally she told my mom one day, “if you don’t take her to the dr, i will!” that got our attention. so my mom took me to our family dr.

    our family dr referred us to a dermatologist. i went to see her + she said they needed to do a biopsy to see if there was anything wrong. so she numbed my leg with a numbing shot + sliced a little piece of the mole off. we scheduled a follow up appt to get the results.

    my dad took me when we went to hear the results of the biopsy. i was sitting on the exam table + my dad was sitting in the little chair in the room. the dr came in + had a piece of paper in her hand. she didn’t waste any time with small talk. she went straight to it. she said something to the effect of, “the results of your biopsy came back as melanoma. we’re going to need to refer you to a surgeon to go deeper + remove it all.”

    she pointed to the piece of paper where the word “melanoma” was spelled out. i stared at that piece of paper + couldn’t look up bc i was afraid i’d cry if i did. it was one of those out of body experiences where i could hear her talking but it sounded like i was listening from afar. it sounded like i was underwater + she was talking to me from the surface. i was in a daze. i recalled just a few months earlier when my mom told me of two teenage girls who had died of melanoma. i felt suffocated. i never thought this would happen to me.

    we went to see the surgeon, my parents and i. he told us how he would cut my leg open + stitch me back up. he also told us we had some decisions to make. we had no way of knowing if this had spread unless they removed a lymph node to see. in this case, the lymph node would have to come from my groin meaning another incision, more stitches, a permanent scar + a more involved surgery.

    we didn’t have to do it. it was optional + of course, it would cost more money if we chose to do it. my dad looked at the surgeon + said, “doc, what would you do if it were your daughter?” he said, “i would do it.” that was it. we decided to do it to be safe + have peace of mind.

    getting the dye injected in my leg before the surgery

    leading up to the surgery, i was a wreck. as a teenage girl, it was very confusing for me. i didn’t understand it. i remember asking God if i was useless on earth + he was taking me away. on the day of the surgery, over 12 years ago now, i was nervous. first, i had to get dye injected into my leg 4 times. the dye would travel up to my lymph nodes so they could find where to take them out. i was tired laying on the table.

    just to make sure they didn't operate on the wrong leg

    after that, we had to wait to get to a room + get the iv going + everything. they had to write “yes” on my right leg so they would know which one to operate on. once they got my iv in, a bunch of emergency surgeries starting coming in + my surgery kept getting moved back. they gave me some medicine in the iv to relax me bc i was having to wait so long. i had so many family members + loved ones there in the room waiting with me, but i wasn’t talking much. i just waited quietly to be taken back.

    waiting to be taken back to surgery

    when i woke up, i could taste the plastic from the tube they had down my throat. i opened my eyes + saw my mom + dad standing at the end of the bed. my dad had a plastic bag in his hand pointing to it + laughing, saying, “look! they put your underwear in a bag that says biohazard!” i didn’t find it funny at the time. they almost immediately wanted me to get up + practice using my new crutches. “are you serious?” i was thinking. i don’t remember much about being discharged or getting home. i do remember when we got home, my dad picked me up out of the front seat + he couldn’t close the car door since he had me with both arms, but he couldn’t get to the house without the car door being closed. he told my mom to close the door + it slammed right on my leg that i just had surgery on. i just buried my head in his chest.

    that was the worst of it. i did pretty good with recovery as far as pain. it was just extremely inconvenient bc i couldn’t submerge my leg in water, it had to remain wrapped up. but i couldn’t take showers bc i couldn’t stand up for that long on one leg. i was not to put any weight on that leg for at least 3 weeks. the crutches were terrible. they hurt my underarms + i was a senior in high school having to walk all over the huge school to get to my classes. i even went to football games with my crutches. i couldn’t drive bc i couldn’t put any weight on my right leg. so my little brother had to drive me to school everyday. in my car. those three weeks felt like three years but i finally made it. i remember the day i was cleared to not use the crutches anymore. i was so excited, i drove myself to school + parked as far away as possible. i started walking to the school + quickly realized it was a pretty long walk for someone who hadn’t really walked in three weeks. a friend drove by + stopped to say hey. i was like, “um, can you drive me up to the entrance?” so much for that.

    the best news was when we heard that the results from the lymph node they took were negative. the cancer had not spread! they got it all out + i was clear! the nightmare was over, but the whole ordeal will never leave me. it was hard to go through as a confused teenage girl. + it effected me in more ways than just the physical. but i can’t imagine if we hadn’t listened to my aunt. what would have happened? would it have spread? would i have died? i don’t think i want to know the answers to those questions. i’m just so thankful it was caught early + taken care of.

    if you have not been to the dermatologist lately, or ever, i would urge you to make sure + get your skin checked out. especially if you have moles or if you notice that any place on your body is changing in color or size. there is no harm in going + them telling you that there is nothing wrong. but there could be some harm if you don’t go. everyone thinks this could never happen to them. i did too. but it did happen to me.

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    WHAT I’M ABOUT

    you’re probably wondering who this chick is & what she’s about. well lucky (or unlucky) for you, i’m going to tell you.

    first & foremost, i’m a mom. i have three beautiful children, chelsea, cooper & camille. they are my whole world. they drive me crazy & melt my heart all at the same time.

    i am married to my husband who i have known since i was two years old. we didn’t start dating though until i was a 25 year old single mom. he really knows how to work the timing.

    i have an amazing family–a mom and dad who have been happily married for over 30 years, a brother who is married to an amazing woman and has a beautiful daughter who made me an aunt. i (miraculously) have all four grandparents still alive, and they are absolutely perfect. i have two aunts, an uncle and five girl cousins. i have lots of other extended family as well. family is the most important thing to me & that is something i hope to instill in my children.

    i love to eat & shop. if you like to do these things–we will be friends. i believe chick-fil-a has all the menu items to be the only thing i ever eat for the rest of my life. i also believe if you can’t find it at target or amazon, it probably doesn’t exist. i may or may not have a problem with buying clothes (for my kids and myself). my husband is actively hoping chick-fil-a & target go under. it would do wonders for our bank account.

    i love to take pictures & edit them. people will ask me to send them a picture right after i take it & i’m like, “uh yeah ok. i have to edit it first” (duh). lightroom presets have become my best friend.

    i love the beauty industry. i love to get my nails & hair done & anything else to pamper myself. i went to cosmetology school way back in the day, so it has always been a passion of mine. even though i didn’t pursue it as a career, i will always be obsessed with it.

    i love organization. yes, you read that right. i am that weird. i have just a little ocd in me (seriously, it’s been diagnosed), and i love nothing more than a good organizational system. keeping things in order is an obsession of mine.

    i’m one of those people who could never decide what i want to be when i grow up. some ideas i’ve had: teacher, nurse, photographer, cosmetologist–just to name a few. it’s not that i’m not good at anything, it’s that i’m not GREAT at anything. i’m good at a lot of things–but not GREAT. “jack of all trades, master of none.” i have such an extensive background of jobs: social media manager, embroiderer, human resources manager, hair stylist, nail tech, customer service representative, 5th grade teacher, manager of a gymnastics facility, tech at a pharmacy, tanning consultant, server, the list goes on and on. i feel like i have never found my “niche”. & i think that’s because i honestly don’t have one. i like so many different things. i am interested in so many different aspects of life. & i’m not sorry for that. i love all the experiences i’ve had. i love that i can say, “oh yeah i’ve done that before” to just about any job. it gives me so much life experience that some people don’t have working the same job for 30 years (don’t get me wrong, i envy the people who can work the same job for 30 years. i wish i had that dedication and loyalty). but i have learned that it is not for everyone. & it’s not for me. & i’m ok with that. i am weird. i am unique. i am me. & there’s no one else in the world just like me.

    if you can relate to any of this, please leave a comment or email me or find me on insta! just reach out! i love to make new friends! life is so much better when we do it with others.

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    SO…WHAT’S THE POINT?

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    as a mom to three, i have learned that everyday is a new adventure; no two days are the same. there’s always a story or something unbelievable that happens. i was out one day recently and heard a kid screaming, and i thought to myself, “i’m glad i’m not the only one.” and that simple thought is the inspiration for my blog–to help other parents realize they’re not the only ones going through this journey of parenthood. some days we rock it and some days we epically fail. even if parents make it seem like their life is perfect on social media, it really isn’t. their kid still pooped themselves, still had to be taught how to use a spoon, still throws up in the most inconvenient places–just like your kids. I’m not here to give you the glamorous highlight reel, but the real down and dirty truth that most people won’t admit.

    if you aren’t a parent and not interested in parenting and kids, don’t run scared! i will be talking about hair, fashion, home decor, mental health, life experiences, and so much more! (hence: lifestyle). i also would love to support local businesses in the greenville and easley area. i want to be your guide to places and events locally that you NEED to visit. so whether you’re local as well or you plan to visit the upstate, i hope i can help ya out.

    i want to make you laugh, make you cry, make you think, and most importantly, validate you as the B O M B person you are. i have learned when we can relate to others, we instantly feel better about ourselves.

    If there’s ever anything you’d like me to write about, research, elaborate on, expand, please let me know. I want to write for you, not for myself.

    basically, whatever you’re interested in, i will probably write about it. so stick around. follow along. life is so much better when we do it with others.

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