How I Survived Totality!

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Wow! Can I just say, wow?! The study of our galaxy the sky, the clouds, and stars and planets have always kinda fascinated me growing up. I am so thankful to have witnessed something so beautiful and incredible. God is truly an amazing creator. It blows me away after witnessing something like that, it really humbles my thoughts that how could the God who created that, love me? Oh wretched person that I am! He is so big, these plants and our world, our galaxy fits in the palms of His hands! If that doesn’t wow you, honestly I don’t know what will?!

(In this picture I drew each segment that I saw. I hope to later go back and paint it).

My art instructor in college called me a “romantic realist”, I loved that because it’s so true. I tend to romanticize things but also believe the obvious and the true and real in life. I could never understand even at a young age, how anyone could not believe a Supreme Being, the Almighty Father God, created these masterpieces that we see every single day, if we simply look around us. Yes, there is ugliness in this world because of our sin but there is still a lot of beauty making declarations to our God; glorious praises to our King!

(We went hiking after the Eclipse at Rock Island State Park there in TN these are some snippets of the hike down).

(Who says you can’t hike in flip-flops?) 😎

The world did not end and yes there were nay Sayers that our eyes would be permanently damaged and irreversible. I was careful in my glances. I wasn’t stupid. I glanced for a few seconds and waited 10-30 seconds before looking at it again. I wore NASA approved glasses and didn’t just stare at it and watch it move. Though I saw it go from a fingernail to a tiny slit in 30sec or less, to Totality! And watched the sky around us go from light to dark, the weather went from a blazing hot to a nice cool breeze. It didn’t get down to 25 degrees but it was pretty cool. Like perfect Ala/TN weather. Almost a bit like fall. (Which by the way, I cannot wait for!) 🙌🏻🍁🍂

All I can say is that it was a breathtaking 2 minutes of my life! Much like my first kiss (though my first kiss was indescribable and totally amazing and was ten times better) 😘😍 Just wish I could have witnessed it with my husband. I definitely plan to go back to Rock Island with him and hike in REAL shoes. (And this is why you don’t wear flip flops while hiking. Oops). 😜😂

Did you leave your state to see the Eclipse in another? What was it like? I would love to hear what you thought about it in the comments!

Sincerely,

Katie

Me and my sis in our cool NASA approved glasses. 😎😎

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Totality is in the Air!

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Can you believe it’s been over a year since I wrote a blog post? Wow! How time flies! This year. Has been crazy. Will talk about life as I know it later. For now, let’s talk about exciting new things!

So we all know this great phenomenon is about to take place tomorrow, August 21st, 2017!

Here’s a little info on Eclipses and how often they occur. The last great Solar Eclipse to be seen in North America was 99 years ago in the year 1918!! Who would’ve thought I would live to see this! I’m so thankful I get to witness it! 😎

“During the 21st century, there will be 224 solar eclipses of which 77 will be partial, 72 will be annular, 68 will be total and 7 will be hybrids between total and annular eclipses. In the 21st century the greatest number of eclipses in one year is four, in 2011, 2029, 2047, 2065, 2076, and 2094. These predictions given here are by NASA.” — Wikipedia

A whole lotta Eclipses. 🌎🌝🌚🌞

So tomorrow is the day! I can’t wait! Where will you be tomorrow for the Eclipse? Do you have the proper eyewear protection? I hope to be outside of Nashville, TN. And my dad has lent me his pair, he plans to wear his welding helmet which I think is absolutely clever. My hubby thought of it first, though. 😉

We’ll talk again tomorrow. Promise.

Sincerely,

Katie

P.S. I won’t be taking any pictures of the actual eclipse because I don’t want to hurt my phone. Supposedly you can fry the camera in your phone. I don’t want to risk it with a new iPhone. 😖

November Goals Report (week 1) 

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Well week one for November has almost flown by! Just three weeks and three days left! Crazy! I am getting excited about possibly moving into our new (to us) trailer this month sometime (we hope!). I may even have a room dedicated for my exercises/craft/photography studio/future nursery! We found out that its a three bedroom, two bath as a opposed to the two bedroom my hubby thought it was! I am excited! I’m excited about having a dishwasher!! Yes, I have been washing dishes by hand for 3 years straight! But no more! Or not as much! A bigger kitchen and living room!! Ah yes.  And having a bigger bedroom and bathroom will be nice and Hubby will get to have one of those bedrooms for his gunsmithing and ammo building. So I’m glad for him there. And we may actually have room to hang up all my clothes and all of his clothes! With room to spare! Closets are some of the best things in this life! And we wont have to trip over the washer and dryer in our bathroom cause there is a special place for them! I’m not wild about having two front doors and no back door but I guess we shall get more exercise! 😂

   
Lots of great things to look forward to in our future. I am rather excited! When you’ve lived in a shoebox for 3 years anything will seem bigger and better to you! And everything might actually have a place to go too. And the house will seem bigger even then since it will have less clutter! With all the rooms all my crafting/jewelry making/painting stuff will have a whole room to call its own! Yes! I am looking forward to a world with less clutter! 

  
Anyhoo! As far as this week goes. Monday I started doing Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and switching out doing her 6week 6pack as well. Both are exceptional dvd’s. Even though I have a love/hate relationship with JM, I love her workouts. They are intense and they make my muscles sore. The 6pack one left me in a bit of pain but it was the best kind of pain, that burning pain. My fat was crying real bad on Tuesday. 😂 Yesterday, was the only day I didn’t exercise a ton. A smaller amount but I did some. Today will be better. About to go get my walking in. And then get some circuit training in. Hopefully get all that done before lunch. 

  
Hoping I can share another recipe with you all tomorrow!

What kinds of stuff are yall doing lately? Exercise-wise? Would love to hear about them! 

Thanks for reading, 

Katie

November Goals. (2015)

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I still cant believe tomorrow is the first day of November! What a wonderful day to start a new month, especially a month of Thanksgiving! 

    
That’s right folks I have a new list of goals! If you want to follow my Instagram account request a follow from The_Homestead_Artist, so you can follow my everyday postings with the hashtag #thethankfulchallenge day 1-30. This is a challenge to think of at least 5 things I am thankful for that day and have a cordinating picture to go with it. Let’s face it, the world would be better place if we were a more grateful people, God has given us so much, we just have to look around us and see what he has done for us! You can join me on this challenge if you wish, just use the hashtag above and lets see if we can’t find some things to be thankful for in our everyday lives this month (and beyond).

  
Since the Trim Healthy Mama isn’t an option for me this month either I have a very simple 14 day eating plan of clean eating, no processed or boxed foods of any kind in this meal. Sounded pretty simple and easy so I will be starting that on Monday. (I may like it so much that I may continue to eat that way the rest of the month). 

  
Along with my eating plan I will be doing at least 40min of working out everyday just like before. And will be using My Fitness Pal to keep track like last month. Sundays like always are my rest days. But there are 6 other days I will do lots of working out. And at least 3 days a week of walking three miles with or without weights. 

  
I hope to share everything on Fridays or Saturdays like before but at least once extra a week I will share my favorite recipes or foods I’m eating that are simple to fix. And all of them seem pretty simple. Some you can even make the night before so you can get extra sleep. 😊 

  
So I am looking forward to tomorrow and Monday with great anticipation!! My throat is doing a lil better but no more rest times for me. I’m through with laying in bed all day. Its time to get back on my feet and work off some of this flab that is hanging off the bed!

   

“I wonder how many calories I burn running away from commitment?”  –Anonymous 

How about you? What are your goals this month? Do you have any to add to the list?

Thanks for reading,

Katie

  

A chance to love. A chance to heal. 

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I have been so blessed lately. I really do feel blessed, now that I have finally gotten off of Facebook. Technically you could say I am “still on” but I never get on except to see if people have tried to contact me through my Photography/blog or jewelry pages. All three are still up and running just not as active as they were when I was “on”. I have a new fb account but I dont choose to have friends, at least not at present. I am kinda over Facebook for many reasons. But for one, it has given me a chance to love people again, and two, it has given me a chance to heal from our recent circumstances.

  

1). A chance to love again! 

Facebook as you may have already gathered brings out the very worst in a lot of people. It really does. I have seen a mean part of me, I never wanted anyone to see. It has ruined my chances for me to many people to be considered a respectable, kind and considerate kind of person. I really have been ashamed and wonder how anyone could love me or want to be my friend after seeing my bad side. Trust me, if you haven’t seen it, yet, you don’t want too. But I have seen other people’s bad sides too, because the affect Facebook can have on certain people. Especially us, who are very passionate about what we believe are true and real in this life. We tend to show all of our sides pretty regularly on FB, the place we feel at home pouring out our hearts to. But like the Bible says our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked who can know it?! So pouring out our hearts isn’t always the best thing on FB. 

  

 
Now that I am off of this form of social media, can I just tell you, how free I feel? I feel like FB had me under a sort of spell, an enchantment, if you will, and now that I’m off, I feel so much more free! Like a bird escaped from the ensnared cage. I tell my God all my sorrows, joys, hopes and irritating moments that beset me from time to time. I’m no longer talking to a wall but talking to my Father. And isn’t that better or how it should be? 

  

 
I have been given the chance to love people again, truly love them and being with them, talking to them face to face and not screen to screen. Even voice to voice, when phone call is more convenient. I can love them like we were meant too. And I’m sure Facebook can be used for good too. I have used it for good, even when people misjudged me for using it for bad. But oh well. No matter. Its over and done with. Facebook is just not for everyone. 

  
2). A chance to heal! 

After much prayer and thought and when I finally disconnected myself and hit the delete button, after time, I have finally begun to heal.

  

 
 It wasnt an easy choice, I did have withdrawals and wondered what people were up to, but lately, if I wanted to know, I simply shot an email or a text or left a message on their phone, what they are up to? 

  

 
I found friends for accountability for exercising and more joined in wanting the same. I got back on My Fitness Pal and began getting serious about taking care of my health and body. Worked out consistently for two weeks the longest and most Ive ever taken interest in at one time. This past week I got sick…. And feeling better again. Can’t wait to get back to my daily exercise regimen. 

  
So many things to keep me busy, so many things to keep my mind occupied, to keep me keeping busy, not being idle, but keeping me busy to stay focused on the true and real. I have a photoshoot today where I hope to meet new people and a painting class tonight again, where I can meet new people. Facebook as you can see isn’t the only place to meet new people. Face to face, handshake to handshake, tangible people. I am so blessed! So very blessed! So thankful! God is so good! 

   

 
My healing is so much more easier, so much easier to bear. The everyday burdens are lighter, the grief not so deep as it was before. My hope is in my Lord who made me and formed me in my mothers womb. I have no reason to be fearful of the future, its planted in the palms of His hands. 

  
When I had a Facebook I was not given a chance to heal my broken heart. I was daily bombarded with thoughts and wishes that were crushed on a day to day basis, I was constantly reminded of my little ones who were no longer in my womb, no more to be wrapped in my aching arms, no more kisses from mama and daddy. Forever in my heart, forever wet, on my cheeks. I couldn’t get on without seeing something or someone talking about babies and their mamas and daddies, announcements and boy or girl this or that, baby camo, overalls, cowboy boots and hats, John Deere tractors, guns and hunting, black bear teddy bears, diapers and burp cloths galore. Things we will never get to do with our boys, places we’ll never get to take them, things we’ll never get to see them do… So many things that I couldn’t get away from, people I couldn’t stop talking too, I didn’t want to be bitter or rude. I was so happy for them, truly, but how do you tell people you’re happy for them when you’re choking back tears that are running down your face?

  

  
How can you say you’re happy for them when in reality you wish you could die a thousand deaths just so you could have a chance to hold and kiss your baby one last time? When they have it so easy, they can pick up their baby and cuddle them whenever they wish? 

  
You cant heal properly when you’re bombarded with all of this daily. It goes too deep, too hard to bear and still try to muster up a smile for them? It was too hard for me. I’m too weak. I have too big of a heart for my boys. They were part of my whole world! 

  
Finally, now that my Facebook account ceases to exist, no longer to be looked at or saught after. Finally my aching Mama heart is healing. I don’t daily have to be  bombarded with questions from people that have to know everything that is going on. I’m not bombarded with baby stuff day in and day out. Just on occasion seeing the little ones at church. Or the occasional photo I look forward to seeing of my neices and nephews on Instagram or those I keep in contact with. I don’t want to be cut off completely just not so heavily like FB has become. Instagram you can only share so much, Facebook is like a blog of ones entire daily life. 

   

 

I haven’t healed completely, but I cry less and less. And I rarely ever hold back tears. I try not too, but sometimes you don’t want to make a scene, ya know? I try not too. But sometimes its hard. 

  

 I’m thankful God gave me the courage to delete my FB. I am so thankful I am off. I only miss my workout accountability groups. They were something I got on for, everyday. But My Fitness Pal does a good job with that. And I have friends on there that are encouraging and hope I can be that for them as well.  

  
There are many more reasons I could share with you why I am off, but these are the main reasons, I am so thankful its working. 

   
Like, Smike, in his contentment (from Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby), “I can finally say it. I am happy!”

Thank you for reading and God bless you, 

Katie

 

 

October Goals

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I can’t believe October is finally upon us!! It seems like yesterday September was here and our familes, Spencer and I were gathered around celebrating seven or eight birthdays at Hubby’s grandparents house. Including our precious first born, John Spencer. 😀

I am actually excited about this month. I have a few goals I would like to share with you! 

1. I am excited to finally buckle down hard on my weight loss journey. Its been a constant battle for 2 years! But I am sick of myself and tired of my clothes not fitting and so, no more excuses. Just so it actually happens I will “report” my progress each week on Friday or Saturday of this month, to tell you how I did, food and exercise wise.  What recipes that stood out to me, and which ones I enjoyed better, etc. I am hoping to cook my way through the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, from now on. I am using Pinterest until I can get the book (maybe for Christmas)! But Pinterest has a ton of the recipes thanks to bloggers for sharing their favorites! 😃

2. Find more reasons to be Thankful! I have always struggled with this and I need to work on it, and stop whinning and complaining about how hard life is. I want to have a happier lifestyle, one my hubby can enjoy being around. There is something so unnerving about a complaining spirit, and something so Beautiful about a thankful, one. 🌺 

3. Pray for my husband, more. I do pray for him, but not like I used too, when we first got married. I really want to pray hard for him, and pray hard for me, that I would be better wife to him. I know I need to work on this so much! So these are big desires of my heart. 🙏🏼

4. Spend more time talking to God in general. Before I got married, I used to talk to God like a best friend, I would say, “Thank you, Lord!” Everytime something great happened or prayed loudly often. People often looked at me strangly, but I desire to be like that again. To stop being stagnet and draw closer to my Father. He can help me.

5. Start writing my cookbook. Yeah, this has been a goal/dream of mine for a long time, ever since I started cooking on a serious level. When I worked at a resturant called Curry’s or Johntson Street Cafe’, reading their “secret” recipes, I wanted to come up with my very own set of recipes, which later turned into a desire to write a cookbook. But it won’t just be cooking, it will also be other things as well. Mostly cooking though. And some survival tips. 😀 with a name like the Homestead artist, gotta have a lil bit of everything…will it be published? Ha! We will see what the bank account says. 😉 (which is one reason my children’s book never got published…too much $$$ Maybe some day, though)! 

6. Along with doing THM, this month I won’t be allowed any sugar. You know, the no in-between bit in one of my lasts posts, that applies for this kinda situation as well. I am either gonna allow myself sweets or not. What I mean is, if I do, all that hard work will go down the drain, so its either sweets or no sweets, its either start the lifestyle or don’t. I can’t eat just one piece of dark chocolate, I will eat the whole thing. So no sugar this month! Next month may be different, I may allow myself a lil here and there if I do a good job this month. 💪🏻✊🏻

I think those are simple enough goals! I hope I succede!

Do you have any big or small goals you want to achieve this month? What are they? Would love to hear about them! 😀 

Thanks for reading,

Katie

Finding Joy (Part 2 of John Spencer’s birth story).

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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. John Spencer, this is your voice, my awareness and tribute to you, my sweet precious boy! “Mama, loves you!”

As we were headed to the hospital that Sunday afternoon, the contractions were coming now so very close together, it was hard to breathe correctly ’cause honestly neither of us had been through anything like this, so neither had anything to compare it to. Spencer however as he gripped the steering wheel going 90mph and possibly pushing 100, looked at me from time to time calming me with his soothing voice. 
I got a phone call shortly after (I had called my mother as we had left the house after my midwife told me to hurry up to the hospital, so we both called our mothers). My sister in law Kelly, called me as we were driving or speeding to the hospital. I had asked her, since my sister is so young, I never had a sister who had been through a birth and since I consider her one of my best friends and a close sister I knew I could count on her being there to root for me and help me get through my birth, since I was scared to death! 

She called and asked me if I wanted her to come, of course, I did, but didnt want her to feel pressured. She came along with my mom! I cannot tell you how much the presence of family during such a difficult time can truly be on a couple who are not only clueless but hurting so deeply like nothing you could ever imagine, or maybe you could if you thought about it long and hard. Just your pressence can make such a huge impact on someones life, you could not know how much! 

We finally got to the woman’s center (hospital) and as I sat in one of the wheelchairs, I could feel something poking through, (my babies head perhaps? Was I seriously that dialated?) so I had to sit sideways cause he literally felt as though he were coming, now!

What seemed like an eternity, signing papers and forms, and what have you, and then waiting for like ever in the waiting room, Spencer tried everyway to calm me down, as I was hurting and quietly (screaming) through each contraction. The intensity level was huge, I thank God for those keegal muscles for thats the only way I can figure I was able to keep him in for that long. 

Finally they had my room ready and so the sweet nurse residing over me told me to put my gown on in the bathroom, each step to the bathroom was painful. And feeling like I needed to “poop” I thought this would be the only time I would be able to go, but what I didnt realize is that feeling was coming from down there not where I thought it was! 

To spare you some of the graphicness, (cause that’s not what I want to focus on), I thought I better move ahead. Most of it is pretty traumatic and I definitely don’t want you focused just on that, his birth was sad and traumatic but it was still beautiful even in the midst of such sorrow and heart break. 

The nurses were able to get me to the bed and I lay there looking up at my husband, big tears were rolling down this mans face, this man who rarely cries, he held my hand and as he was about to crumble, my mother slipped a loving hand around him and my sister in law as well. Kelly grabbed my hand and squeezed it and hugged my neck and prayed for me right there, how can one keep tears back when one prays sweetly such as this in such a hard and powerful time? There was not a dry eye in that room, even amongst the nurses. All I could feel as I lay flat on my back was the warm/hot flow of blood, the contractions wouldn’t stop, finally I asked through simple quiet cries, “May I push?!” No answer. I asked again, thinking, no one heard me, “May I please push, now?” Finally one of the nurses peeped her head over my mothers shoulder and said, “Go ahead, sweetie.” 

Maybe one, maybe two pushes and he was out. Maybe the nurses thought, the push or pushes would take longer? No one was there to catch my precious baby, which was why I asked in the first place. I wanted them to stop what they were doing, one nurse frantically trying to get my IV stuck in, one trying to find the babies heart beat, if there was one, another frantically moving about in and out of the room. Was there no one to catch my baby? I know he is not alive at this point but was it necessary to let him crumple to the resistance of the bed as if he was no better than a fish flopping on the bottom of a boat? I guess no one realized how fast he would come out? I dont know, I do know one thing, even though there was no one willing or ready to catch my baby, Jesus did, he caught my baby’s soul, and what a wonderful thought! That thought brings tears of rejoicing to my eyes! As he came out all I could say at that point was, “Not my will, but Thine, Oh Lord!”

How could one rejoice over somthing so traumatic, you may ask? How could one find joy in the heart wrenching reality of losing your only son, to death? My Father in Heaven heals the broken hearted, he takes them up like a parent to a child, He draws them close, and comforts them. But as I look back, in the smallest of glimpses, I see what it feels like to lose your only son to death! “Thank you, Father, for that small glimpse! What it must have been like when Your Son died for those He came to save, on the cross!” What a wonderful thought! 

As soon as he was born, the rest of the time the nurses and my Doctor finally showed up about this time, the placenta was being stubborn and wouldn’t come out.

They tried pulling on the embelical cord, they even gave me some medication to help me contract so I could push it out. Just as they were about wheel me in for a D&C, I started to feel the contractions kicking in. Once again, I asked several times if I could push, finally someone said, go ahead! One push and that hot jello-like substance came out. 

As if in a dreamy fog, my mind continued to go over what just happened. Here’s a few of my thoughts that I wrote down in my journal.

“Lord, I am so sorry! I did not love you enough! I played opposite roles of Abraham, instead of willing to give up my only son, I wanted him more than my own breath! I am sorry that I didn’t love you like I should have, I’m sorry if I showed too much love towards my baby and not enough to you!” 

I opened my eyes to find my mother and father in law, my dad and mom sitting in the room, still not a dry eye in the room, I looked about frantically for my man, he was sitting patiently waiting for me to awaken, beside me. As if I had a need to worry, My heart sank and my words flowed heavily, “Where’s my baby?!” Spencer, looked rather shocked, he patted my shoulder and said, “He’s right here, babe. He hasn’t left your side.” The tears finally came again, as I started humming the only hymn that came to mind. “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”.

Apparently I had talked a bunch out of my head after the placenta finally came out. 

Spencer later told me some of the funny things I had said, (I think it was a relief to everyone who had been there to hear my quirky side coming out as my body was wearing off the crazy side affects of the medication I had previously been administered a few hours before. 

The Nurse-“Would you like something to drink?”

Me-“I want a coke’a’cola? (In the strongest southern accent you can muster!)

Nurse as she pours a Pepsi in a cup and hands it to me-“Would a Pepsi be ok?” 

Me,As if I was a cranky old lady-“No! Pepsi is NASTY!!” Lol!!! 

Which everyone literally laughed out loud! 😆😄

There are many quotes that I could come up with regarding the sun coming up in the morning after such storms, but I won’t not now, maybe in another post, the strom blew over just a might and even though our night was a rough one there in the hospital, through many tears we managed to sleep some. 

Morning came and something strange happened, we both were able to smile, we were able to rejoice and be happy. It was like a major peace swept over us. I had to pinch myself, was I alright? Truly? Or was this just left over side affects from the meds the night before?

We named our baby and signed some paper work. We got a few sweet things from the hospital to take home, NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, Photography group) had come and taken pictures of our son, foot and hand prints among other things. 

We had a few precious moments left to spend hugging and loving on our son before we permently said out heart wrenching goodbyes. 

How can one love someone so much you never even met? Is it even possible? 

No matter what people may tell me, I have a hope and belief that I will see my baby again! Thats the only way I can rejoice, be happy and glad!

Spencer and I walked down the hallway of the woman and children center, I never noticed before the beautiful yet heart wrenching photos that covered the walls of that entire hallway. That first and only moment I questioned God, “Why Lord? We already went through so much heart ache, why must we end it by seeing these beauitful photos of parents and their healthy babies, when ours lay limp in a cooled incabator?” 

I had to stop my mean thoughts toward my loving God. And I apologized under my breath and that peace came again like a wave of hope and love! 

The only verse that comes to mind is Romans 8:28: “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.”

I am so blessed, truly. God gave me two precious boys, who are both waiting patiently for me and their Daddy. God is so good! Truly, and as crazy as it may sound, even though its not been easy and still is not, thanks to this trial I am closer to my God than I ever thought possible. He is so very good and always shall be! 

I can finally smile and say, I am happy! 💗 Thank you, Jesus!

  
In Him, 

Katie