Monday, April 14, 2014

My new space!

I am so thankful for everyone who has faithfully followed my blog and supported my writing! I'm excited to announce this blog is moving to a new space. Starting today, Yankee Belle can be found at . My hope is that you continue to follow my blogging adventure. 

See you soon!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The 'S' Word

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord..." Ephesians 5:22 

It wasn't too long ago that I would cringe at this verse. I worked too hard I thought to roll over and let someone else make decisions for me. I'm an educated, hard working woman with a good head on my shoulders. I can do things on my own. I was (am) prideful.

Then one day, a few weeks ago, Chad and I wanted our family to do two different things. His decision was rooted in what was best for our family. My decision was rooted in fear. I didn't recognize either of these things until later. So, what did I do? I pouted. I protested. I lost. In the end, Chad was right.

Later that day, I recognized the magnitude of that moment. That moment was a chance for me to be submissive to my husband's decision. A chance for me to trust him as our family's leader. At the time I didn't know what was best, but Chad did.

I am learning that the word 'submit' in synonymous with 'trust'. Please don't misunderstand this post as a piece advocating for disempowering women. It's quite the opposite. Women have a voice in the world today like never before. With this voice, women teach, encourage, inspire, and empower others. For this I am so thankful! In fact, this blog is the very evidence of that voice-my voice.

In our family, every major-and most minor-decision is made together. Chad regularly solicits my advice and listens to my heart. For this, too, I am thankful. In doing so, Chad is showing me love by valuing my input. But when I am wrong, an occurrence that is less rare than I originally believed, it is Chad's duty as a husband and father to make the right choice. The choice that is best for our family. It is my duty, then, to submit. By submitting, we-as wives-are building a stronger, more unified family. In this way, women have the power to contribute to their family's fortress. A fortress built on God's Word.

So, how have you learned to submit? Where are you on the learning curve? I want to know! Let's use our voices to empower others.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Busy

A recent favorite of Nora. 
At 95 percentile for height/length, most of her pants look like this.

Trust me, I'm not trying to make this blog a once a month deal, despite the appearance to the contrary. You all know life gets busy. It's not a new revelation exclusive to me. It just so happens when my life gets busy, this space seems to be the first thing that is neglected. But this time around, busy has been so good. Here are some updates.

I've been able to watch Nora discover... snow || Spring's tease of warm weather and sun || Koda as more than just another fixture in the home || laughter after peek-a-boo, flying (not so high) in the air, and Koda tickling her tummy || rice cereal || rolling from back to tummy and then a consequential melt-down because she hates lying on her tummy. I'm in love with her little person, my daughter, and pray she grows up with a sweet, sweet spirit.

Chad and I celebrated a marriage between two friends who are a living testimony to God's beautiful restoration. The joining of their families was a very precious moment to witness. I'm thankful to have been a part of that day.

The Lord has been working in my heart. Recently, I have felt an urging from Him, more than ever, to walk in love. My eyes have been open to specific situations where I am prompted to carry out peace, kindness, joy, grace, patience, forgiveness, generosity and humbleness. It truly is the Lord allowing me to recognize the opportunity to change my behavior accordingly to better represent Christ. There is still-always-so much room for me to grow in these areas, and I am thankful for the ability to be aware and practice this living.

Just yesterday, my students shared their senior projects with the CSD community. Their projects featured a diversified range of topics that included defining moments in their lives or a look into a personal topic of interest. I spent the time leading up to the event editing papers and fretting over the audiences' perception of it all. When the day came, I was reminded of the depth of my students' lives. I shed tears while watching one student share the story of her sister's adoption. I shed some more while seeing others moved by the death of a young man's father. I had a few more tears to part with while another student spoke about his grandfather's influence in his life. I will forever savor those moments.

Time with friends! Chad is facilitating a weekly financial class that allows us to host several good friends every Thursday evening. As a person who cringes at the word "budget", I have really enjoyed spending time with these people. Even if the conversation revolves around money.

Trying to be two perfect parents and full-time employees is hard. (It's really, seemingly, impossible, but I couldn't commit to using that word outside of parentheses. Too final and devoid of hope.) During the weekday evenings at home filled with dinner prep, laundry, minimal cleaning, quick snuggles before bed, grading, email catch-up, and other nominal tasks, I found myself neglecting my marriage. In it's place came nagging. You're not loading the dishwasher correctly. Why don't you put the iPad down and help me do _______. Can you feed/change/hold Nora? I feel like I'm doing everything.

Sound familiar to anyone? Please say yes.

By last Friday, we (I) were (was) downright unpleasant to be around. Commence date night. I've completely underestimated the power in attentive, uninterrupted conversation with my husband. Sure, the accompaniment of good food, wine, and dessert doesn't hurt. However, it was really the investment of time, honesty, and listening that did our marriage some good. Our brief retreat from the world allowed us to return a little bit more in (appreciative) love than before.

There's my busy. Hope your's gets a rest this weekend.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Resolution Recap

Today is the 46th day of 2014. If you remember, I began the new year with a list of goals (it seemed less daunting to label them "goals" rather than "resolutions") I decided to work toward in the coming year.  I think it's about time for an update. I can use the accountability.

1. Spend more time in the Lords' Word. I'd like to say I am in His Word daily. I'm not. I could say being a working mom makes it hard to squeeze in the time, but that'd just be an excuse. I have, however, made it a point to intentionally surround my family with His promises and truths. So I bought this chalkboard/mail organizer with the intention of it featuring a new verse each week. For the first week, I found myself reading the verse whenever I passed by. I often meditated on and thanked the Lord for this promise. Then came week two when I prepared to feature a new verse and realized I used a chalk marker that didn't really like erasing. Oh well, this promise will hang around for a little while longer.

2. Write in my journal two times a week. Admittedly, not two times a week, but WAY more often than I had in the past. I'll take the improvement. 

3. Write in Nora's journal two times a week. Can you sense a theme occurring? Yup, no two times a week here either. I started strong and found myself writing the same thing just in multiple entries. Not a whole lot changes week to week in the life of an infant. So I resolved to record the most memorable days, like yesterday's snow adventures or her recent ability to reach toward the toy that's caught her attention.

4. Return to my pre-pregnancy weight by eating healthily and being more active. This weather is fierce and has trapped me indoors! On sunny days, Nora and I still enjoy our neighborhood strolls. I'm not at my pre-pregnancy weight yet, but I'm definitely getting closer!

5. Work out three times a week. Nothing overly exerting other than my walks, but I'm hoping to change that when the weather warms up some. Recently, a colleague of mine recently opened a new CrossFit with her husband. Hoping to check it out in the summer when I have more time during the day to devote to exercise. Any CrossFitters out there? Thoughts? I'd love to hear!

6. Replace one grocery list item with a healthier, organic alternative every time I shop. I'm succeeding! I've leaned more to clean, organic fruits and vegetables. I've been choosing more nutritious snack options and Chad is actually dairy-free right now. A challenge for meal planning, but looking forward to seeing the benefits for him. 

7. Establish an afternoon/evening routine. Find a time to "turn off" work. I no longer have my work email on my phone. I don't do schoolwork until Nora goes down for the night. The freedom I've allowed myself (really) to put work in my back pocket until later has allowed for such sweet times with my baby girl. 

8. Go on more (new) dates with Chad. We haven't yet gone on any new, noteworthy dates. Rather, we've been enjoying staying in and doing activities together as a small family. I wouldn't change a thing.

9. Spend more face time with friends-once a month, one on one date nights with a friend. One of my best college friends came to visit our little family over my birthday weekend. I had the best time reconnecting with her. We talked and laughed a lot, and even broke a sweat to the Wii game Just Dance. It was like old times and it warmed my soul. Can't wait to enjoy more of the amazing women in my life. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I'll take this one. It fits.

I worked a total of 1.5 days this week. Why? Well, snow. And my mother-in-law had abdominal surgery (she watches Nora), so I planned to take Friday off to allow her to rest and heal. The extra time with Nora was amazing. We did many things together: smile, laugh, lay around in pajamas (yup!), nap, play with Koda, and explore the dusting of snow.

During our time together I realized something. I like to work. Being a mom, at home, is work. It's some of the hardest work I've had. (And I've had plenty of jobs in my day.) I have a wealth of respect for mothers who stay home and raise their children. It's challenging and exhausting, to say the least. You, stay-at-home-moms, have a grace and patience I will never know. After a day with Nora, when Chad comes home, I welcome passing off our daughter for a quick moment. Knowing that I don't have to keep an ear open toward the monitor in case she cries, coughs, or chokes brings a relaxation that can only be divine.

If we were in a financial position for me to stay home with Nora, I would, in a heartbeat. I'd be the mom who arranges play dates, brings bake goods to nursery school fundraisers, serves in various PTA roles, makes daily organic lunches, and volunteers at local charities in between knitting scarves. That isn't a joke. I really desire doing such things!

But in this season that's just not possible. And that's okay because I like working...outside of the home. I think that can be a tough realization for mothers to come to and publicly admit. When I'm at work, I miss cuddling Nora and rocking her to sleep for her naps. I miss her coos and big, gummy, bubbly smiles. I miss being her mom, all day, every day. But I like getting teenagers to read a line of Macbeth and feel the weight of Shakespeare's words. I like hearing a reluctant reader say, "That book wasn't so bad." I like seeing a student, who believes he is a bad writer, delight in the story he has told because the words came easy and with power. I like working to support my family and knowing I'm providing a life for my daughter that will open doors.

Does that make me a bad mother? Judge as you wish, but for this season, my role fits quite comfortably and I'll continue to wear it.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


For as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a writer. Along the way I may not have made the best choices toward my end goal. For example, choosing physical therapy as a major during my freshman year of college. Biology, chemistry, and calculus in one semester? My roommates, some of the most loyal women I know, can attest to the ill-fitting nature of that choice.

So I changed majors and started blogging. Blogging wasn't what it is now. Today, the blogging world has exploded. It is filled with fashionistas, DIY-ers, entrepreneurs, and the like. There are many exceptional bloggers doing amazing things through their sphere of influence. Different seasons found me trying to fit into the mold other bloggers have carved out for themselves. Those attempts, too, were ill-fitting. 

Twenty-nine has brought with it a new season I'm excited to explore. This season has come with questions I've had to confront; most of which concerns what I want with my life and where, exactly, I'm going. But I don't want to talk about those questions today. Chad's sweet birthday gift to me was the promise of helping me give my blog the facelift which it so desperately needs. (He's one of the best gift givers.) Preparations for a new look made me question my writing platform. Where do I want this blog to land in the sea of its companions? What's my edge? 

I then came face to face with the reality that my blog doesn't have an "edge". I'm far from a fashionista, DIY-er or entrepreneur. I just have me, my stories, and the hope that you read them. At first I was really discouraged by this. I questioned if I should drastically reinvent myself or just abandon blogging all together.

But my God uses simple people to do great things. God has given me a story. I want my simple stories to reach others and, if only for a second, resonate in their hearts as familiar. That's my "edge", however dull it may be. I'm okay with that.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


In less than a week I will turn 29 years old. 30 has always felt far, far away. It's not. I may still feel like I'm 22 years old, but there's no denying-no matter how many adult responsibilities I pass along to Chad (oil changes, budget balancing, taxes, mortgage, to name a few)-I'm a full-fledged adult 

Blame it on getting older or recently entering motherhood, but I now have a desire to say "yes" to any dream and opportunity that presents itself before doubt creeps in and talks me out of it. Don't get me wrong, I still strive to maintain boundaries and deliver strong "no"s to things that take without giving back or may infringe too much on family time. Rather I will say "yes" to taking chances on things that may make me uncomfortable but ultimately bring along the promise of a more enriching life.


Saying "yes" has allowed me to forget about the spit up on my shirt, jeans that don't fit, and sink full of dirty dishes and instead smile and laugh more while fellowshipping with friends. Saying "yes" has allowed me to take one step closer to a dream while building confidence and witnessing Chad's love for me as shown through his unwavering encouragement. 

Yes, 2014, I'm ready for you.