Love and Meatballs

Hi friends!

I don’t know about you, but I am getting sick of this snow! Getting to work was a bit rough this morning (luckily Farmer Ben drove me).

Life has been crazy and I’ve been a bad blogger-my apologies!

In other news, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Doing anything special? We don’t normally do much, but I couldn’t resist doing something cheesy….So, I sent the hubby a meatball pizza at work….meatballs in a heart shape.

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He loved it! I’m so glad, because he’s pretty great… and he got to share the love with his coworkers!

That’s all for today… Have a great weekend!

Best Valentine you’ve given? Received?!


Why Can’t You Just Be Happy?

Hi Friends!

Can we have a real, honest-to-goodness conversation? I need to unload a bit…there are a lot of thoughts roaming around in my brain!

I am a big ball of nerves and randomness lately…not sure if you’ve picked up on this or not. But, as strange as it sounds, I feel more focused and clear-headed than I have in months. It’s strange; I’m all over the place, yet… I have it together (in my head anyway). Does that make any sense? Have you ever felt like that? I just feel like something big is coming… what it is, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s something important!

I’m looking forward, hopeful…but I’m also enjoying the present (mostly). This is something that I’ve always struggled with and this feeling of hope and moving forward is relatively new—and exciting! I’m ready to challenge myself and to do bigger things than I think are possible…it’s scary territory but I am finding it’s exciting and helps me push past those feelings of uncertainty.

I try to keep this relatively light-hearted on the blog… I also don’t hide my faith, but I don’t discuss it very often in this space. However, I feel like we know each other well enough that I can be truthful and open. I’ve wanted to tell this story for some time but I wasn’t sure if the time was right… today feels like the right day to take a chance and to make a confession.

The winter months are typically very difficult for me. I struggle.

I have a hard time being my best self in the winter. I don’t know how else to explain it and I never understood it in my younger years, it was just something I dealt with…I still don’t completely understand it and I still “just deal” with it.

When I was a kid,  I’d push my feelings down and focus on something else… then I would eventually have a melt-down and repeat. Not the best way to deal with things, but it got me through.

As I got older, I had a harder time dealing and pushing my feelings away. I would go to work every day, but on weekends I would hide away, not changing out of my pajamas and just trying to block the world out. Or I would cling to other people, other things, put all of my hope on them for my happiness and self-worth, which automatically set them (and me) up for failure. I never talked about my struggle.

I vividly remember a conversation with someone close to me during a particularly bad year. I was having more frequent meltdowns because I couldn’t find a good distraction and things were falling apart before my eyes, I couldn’t deny it much longer. We were having an argument and he looked at me and said “Why can’t you just be happy?”

I was stunned. And I couldn’t answer, so I did what I always did; ended the conversation and cried myself to sleep that night.

I had asked myself the same question several times but I had never uttered it out loud… I would make up excuses and just tell myself that I wasn’t happy…yet. That it wasn’t my fault. But even though the same question had always tugged at my heart, no one had ever asked me that out loud… and it hurt. It made me feel like a freak…a failure.

Even though I never answered him and that person is no longer in my life, that question has haunted me. (Looking back, I realize how completely insensitive that question was…but he had every right to ask it, even if I couldn’t answer it.)

I blamed my failure at happiness for making my life fall apart (this happened a few months after that conversation).  I took all of the blame; it was all my fault because I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t attractive enough, my job wasn’t good enough,  I wasn’t HAPPY enough. I was messed up. Looking back, I realize that this is all bull shit (pardon my French). Yes, I did some stupid, terrible things, but sometimes things happen that are out of our control. And it’s never entirely one person’s fault.

It was a God thing… I needed to be broken so I could be made stronger. And I’ve never been more grateful for a series of events.

In a recent conversation with a good friend, this time in my life came up and she asked if I was truly “over it.” Answering as honestly as I could, I said, “Yes. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t get upset thinking about certain things, but I have no ill will. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t still painful to think about at times, but it’s because I didn’t like the person I was then. And thinking about that former self is difficult.”

A lot has changed in the years that have passed since that question was spoken into existence.

I’ve regained my faith as a direct result of things falling apart.  It’s incredibly freeing to know that no matter how much I mess up, God is there. That He will take care of anything I give to him, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.  Yes, I still have responsibility, but He’s behind me.

I still struggle with “just being happy,” especially in the winter months, but I’ve been blessed with an incredible support system that gets it and the ability to find joy in the small things. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get down and I don’t get depressed…however, I don’t pin all my hopes and future happiness on other people and events…that’s just not realistic. But I do things that make me happy and I try not to over-obsess about the negative. And I try to be a better person and to help others.

If I’m having an off day, I admit it. Embrace it. And I talk about it… then I try to find the good and move on. Some days, this a lot harder than others.

In recent years, people ask me a completely new question and it always catches me off guard: Why/how am I “always so happy?” Quite a change, right? The answer is simple; I’m not. But, I don’t let my off days consume me as they once did.

In my slightly older/not-that-much-wiser years, I’ve discovered there are things that help me.

The number one thing is my faith, the second thing is my incredibly understanding and hilarious husband, Farmer Ben.

Running helps. A lot of people assume that I run because I want to get/stay in shape. That’s not the reason (most of the time). I run because it reminds me that I can survive and that I can persevere. It makes me feel strong and brings me a joy that I can’t completely explain. It’s also my time to talk to God. Running helps me get out of my head, get out my frustrations and my fears and just helps me … to be.

Speaking of talking to God, prayer. I’ve been a “re-Christian” for almost five years and sometimes I still have a hard time with prayer, especially praying in front of other people…but I’m finding that practice makes perfect and HE can do amazing things.

Another thing I’ve found is reading my Bible helps. I’ve always been bad about reading, but this year I am making a concentrated effort at making this a daily habit. It’s amazing what you find reading through this book. David, for example, was a man after God’s own heart. Yet, he STRUGGLED. He faced so many challenges; including someone trying to kill him… and he also struggled with “just being happy.” The first time I really read Psalms and paid attention, I was overwhelmed….speechless.

I had a lot of hard lessons to learn before I could “just be happy” and I probably still do. I suffered a lot of heartache and setbacks, but it forced me to take responsibility, to take a long look at myself and it made me move forward. Again, I’m far from perfect, but I’ve I feel like I am finally there–or at least a lot closer–even with my off days and my struggles…I’m in a good place and I’ve been incredibly blessed. Great things are happening, and there’s a plan for me (and you!) in spite of those times when I don’t feel like my best self.

Why can’t YOU just be happy?


To Farmer Ben

Today is a special day. You were born.

Happy birthday to an amazing husband, best friend and soul mate. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to share my life with. Cheers to the youngest 31-year-old I have the pleasure of knowing!

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I love you!

This year’s birthday celebrations will be low-key. We’ll be enjoying some of Farmer Ben’s favorites: Mac & cheese, homemade cake and some vino…or beer.

Feel free to give the hubs a birthday shout-out in the comments!


Two Years Ago…

Two years ago today, Farmer Ben and I got married. It has been an adventure, each and every day…and I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather spend this life with. This man is such a blessing!

Anyway, I was going through some old photos of us and thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane.

Our rehearsal dinner:

The day before our wedding.... August 2011

The day before our wedding…. August 2011

 

Our wedding day:

The first of many "happiest days of my life."  (photo courtesy of Jona Favreau).

The first of many “happiest days of my life.” (photo courtesy of Jona Favreau).

In the last two years, we’ve run a few races together…

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Wounded Warrior Run, May (?) 2012

Ragnar Relay Finish Line!

Ragnar Relay Finish Line! September 2012

Turkey Trot, November 2012

Turkey Trot, November 2012

We’ve taken a few road trips….

Finger Lakes Bound, August 2012

Finger Lakes Bound, August 2012

Food Experiments at the Brooklyn Brewery, December 2012

Food Experiments at the Brooklyn Brewery, December 2012

Boston for a Sox Game, June 2013

Boston for a Sox Game, June 2013

We’ve gone to some fiestas, celebrations and weddings…

Wedding, June 2012

Wedding, June 2012

And worked together…

A typical day...

A typical day…

We’ve climbed mountains together….literally and figuratively.

Catamount Mountain, August 2013

Catamount Mountain, August 2013

But the fact of the matter is that we’ve done everything together. We’re a team. Each and Every day.

Happy Anniversary, Farmer Ben. I love you, always!

Do you have an anniversary coming up? What do you and your person do together?


What to Expect…

You know that question you should never ask a woman unless you are completely sure?

You know? THAT question?

Well, this woman was asked that question yesterday.

I don’t know what to think about it, but here’s what happened:

I was at church. The hubby and I were sitting on a couch in the lobby, waiting for the teens to show up. An older gentleman that we see every week sat down and started chatting with us.

I mentioned that I was feeling tired (I had worked on Saturday night and didn’t sleep well).

His response?

“Oh, you’re tired? (He grinned) Are you going to be giving us some news?”

I didn’t get it, “What? What kind of news?”

“Oh,” he said, “well, my wife and I have been talking and she was saying she thought you’d be telling people that you were expecting soon.”

My response?

“Um… well, not that I’m aware of.” (Insert my jaw hitting the floor)

“Well, I thought you were saying you were tired because you were dropping a hint,” he said.  “You know, you don’t want to say anything too soon…so I thought you were trying to give me a hint.”

Nervously laughing, I replied, “Well… If I was expecting, I think it would be a pretty big surprise to Ben and me… I’m just tired because I worked late last night.”

*Awkward Silence*

“Oh.” He paused for a moment, unsure what to say, “Well, when the time comes, at least you’ve been blessed with a great husband. That’s a huge thing.”

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Nice save with the husband comment. Totally true. And I can imagine he was as mortified as I was for that mistake.

But I have to ask….

1. Why do people expect couples to start having babies right away?

Ben and I have been getting “so, when are you going to start a family?” for a long time (funny enough, this question comes from everyone but our families). Why do we have to rush? We haven’t even been married two years!

Honestly, it wouldn’t even be on our radar, except we’re asked this question all the time!

To put it simply, we aren’t ready. The fact that I even have to explain that is frustrating.

2. Does this mean I look like I am starting to show? Or is it ….something else?!

A few friends assured me it was the latter, but I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t bother me some. I’m going to chock it up to the age of the parties involved.

Let’s chat, have you ever gotten THAT question (or worse, made that mistake?!)? What did you do? What are your thoughts on marriage and babies?

PS. Second funny story: the same day, another man (who we see weekly at church) asked if I was the wife of Ben’s best friend…while Ben was standing two feet away…Really?!

 

 


The Art of Photo-Bombing

Not too long ago,  I had the opportunity to go and celebrate the marriage of one of my closest friends. It was so wonderful to see Kim, the bride, so happy and in love.

I’m a sucker for happy endings.

It was also pretty amazing to see some of my other college friends. We don’t get to see each other that much, but when we do, we know how to have fun.

We like to dance, shout across packed rooms at each other and just let loose. No big deal…well…kind of a big deal.

Anyway, for whatever reason, when I get with this group of women, I have a tendency to ruin photos…sometimes on purpose.

This event was all about photo-bombing. I’m pretty impressed with myself…and a few of my friends even joined in (trend-setter alert!).

Here is Noelle’s Notebook’s  fool-proof plan for amazing photo-bombs.

Step 1: Sneak into the background unnoticed. This can include casually dancing up behind the group being photographed, tucking and rolling, or just popping in unexpectedly. 

Step 2:  Pick your approach: You can be the creep, the funny face, the vixen or surprised ghost. Pick what works for you. 

Step 3: Run away or turn around immediately after the photo is taken. Or start laughing hysterically… whichever.

Step 4: Act natural. Or don’t. 

Step 5: Have fun. 

Bonus points if it looks like you are supposed to be there.  OR if it takes a moment to realize someone else is in the photo.

Be a tiger!

Thanks to JT for the photo!

Happy Tuesday!


Happy Things

I’m in an incredibly good mood today. Why?

The sun is shining.

It’s turning out to be a pretty nice day.

Coffee.

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In my ceramic travel mug. Love.

I finished last night’s run before it was completely dark out. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Spring is coming!

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Okay… it looks pitch black here, but it really wasn’t!

Spinach Soup for lunch. This stuff is so good and so good for you! I used Joy the Baker’s recipe, with a few tweaks (white potatoes, veggie stock and chili powder to start).

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Green Monster soup.

The hubby is at home,  on his day off, cooking and baking bread. I cannot wait to go home and try everything!

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Basil Bread (L) and Whole Wheat Mini Boules with Brown Butter, Sage and Flax… all in a day’s work. I know…I’m spoiled!

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Meyer Lemon Chicken Stock

Rutabaga Fries

Rutabaga Fries

We’ve decided to do a dairy CSA Share. Hello fresh milk in glass bottles! Homemade butter and cheese are going to happen!!! I’m super excited. I’ll give you details in a separate post.

I signed up for a couple more (free!) online classes, it’s definitely going to be year of learning! If you haven’t checked Coursera out, do it now!

I got an awesome pair of compression socks (the kind that go up to your knees!) as a gift last night…. perfect timing. I was pumped.

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Compression socks are sexy.

I also got these beauties.

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Love the color!

Both are made in the USA and made with sustainable products. Love this. Here is the website for more info.

I also got an awesome print of a photograph taken by my super talented aunt…which I didn’t take a picture of. Can’t wait to hang it up!

Anyway, like I said. I’m feeling pretty blessed today. Life is good and I am happy for so many reasons.

What brings a smile to your face? Tell me about it!