little drops make bigger ripples.

I’ve never been a person who is big on the “one person can make a big impact”.  It’s a true statment, but I’ve just never been one for the whole get fired up, you can make a difference and change the world kind of thing.  Maybe I just lacked passion before? But today it hit me differently. 

 

I’ve got some adventures, some big dreams, and some things that have been stirring in me.  I’ve been a little – or a lot – overwhelmed lately.  Thinking there was too much for me, how could I do it, and how could I make an impact.  Wondering if anything I did would make a difference and believing the lies that work I put in would be wasted. 

 

But this afternoon, I looked out the window from our office and noticed something.  There’s a lower roof on our house that you can see out that window, and on this rainy day I noticed the rain drops dripping off the shingles.  Drop by drop the tiny rain drops would drop from the shingles into the gutter.  And with each single drop, a large ripple would follow in the gutter water.  A single drop would produce as many as 5 or 6 rings that would expand out far from the location of the first drop.  And as I watched my gutters and this repeated action, I realized that one little drop can make a big difference.  It can impact farther out than you would think.  And all of these little drops together added up to a significant pool of water in the gutter. 

 

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So it was in that moment that I realized that I can make an impact.  Although I am just one little drop, I can create ripples that reach out further than me.  It might just be to my children, but that’s something I’d be so proud of.  I don’t know where the ripples will go, but I do know that I can’t buy into the lies that it won’t be worth it to work hard and take a chance.  If no one ever leaps out and drops into the pool, then no ripples would ever reach anyone.  And that would be sad.  So as I’m challenging myself today, I also want to challenge you.  Is there something you feel a stirring to do – a risk, an adventure, a plan, a dream?  If so, I challenge you, just like I’m challenging myself, to go for it.  To take a chance.  To make a dream a reality.  To drop and make a whole bunch of ripples. 

 

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Today I’m sharing on the Knoxville Moms Blog about some of my favorite healthy crockpot meals.  Head over there and share your favorites with us, too.  I need more crockpot recipes in my book! 

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veggie chicken pasta bake.

I used to make this dish a ton pre-Jack.  It’s a little more time consuming because there are so many vegetables to cut up, but it’s totally worth it for the nutritional value.  I made this the other day – thinking our family was in need of a huge veggie boost.  Here’s the super easy recipe.

 

Ingredients:

Pasta [I used bowtie but penne and rigatoni work well, too]
1 jar of pasta sauce
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-2 zucchini
2-3 yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper

 

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta according to directions on package – cook pasta to al dente since it will be cooked more.
2.  Chop vegetables.  I cut to fairly decent size pieces to save time and because I like to get a bigger bite of vegetable.
3.  Cut chicken into strips or bite-size pieces.
4.  Place pasta, chicken, vegetables, and sauce in crockpot.  Cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours.

Top with low-fat cheese to serve.  This dish goes great with bread and a side salad.

 

This dish can also be cooked in the oven.  Just cook chicken at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Then mix pasta, chicken, vegetables, and sauce in a  large bowl.  Put in baking dish, top with cheese, and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes to heat.

 

Enjoy!

 

Vegetables

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organized friday.

Since it’s been a week since I shared about #healthyandorganized2014 I thought it might be time for an update.  The healthy aspect is not doing awesome.  Between wedding craziness last week and weekend and an autoimmune flare I’m in this week, I’ve got little to brag about.  I’m trying to take some small steps, but it’s just not going awesome.  Baby steps, right?  Small changes.  That’s what I always told patients.  Trying to remember that advice for myself. 

 

On the other hand, I am making good progress getting organized.  Things are getting cleaned up and back in shape in my house after a super messy and disorganized home last week.  We had construction going on in our living and dining rooms, meaning not only were they messy but we couldn’t use them for a week.  So other rooms got messy, too.  This week is definitely feeling better. 

 

My specific organizing piece that has helped me out so far this year is my planner.  I love to plan – probably too much.  Even as a kid I loved planners.  I loved when I would get to pick out a new planner each year.  Had to get all those 3rd grade homework assignments and sleepovers straight.  Last year I got an awesome planner that worked really well for me, but it wasn’t the perfect fit for what I needed.  I did some more research and ordered a new planner for this year.  And I love it!  It’s working out really well ten days in to the year. 

 

My planner helps me to keep my life organized.  I can write down appointments, play dates, lunches, what I’m fixing for dinner, and my to-dos.  For me, in order for the rest of my life to be organized, I have to start by being organized in my planning.  Otherwise, I have no direction and it just turns in to chaos. 

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How I use my planner: 

On Sunday, I write out plans for the week, as well as dinner plans for each night.  Then I make specific plans for Monday.  Each morning I go over my planner and add in the things I need to do that day.  Then I check them off throughout the day.  Each night I sit down and review the day, and plan for the next one.  It doesn’t take very much time, and for me it makes a big difference as to whether my week runs smoothly or not. 

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So what about you?  Are you a planner?  Does this post stress you out big time?  Do you think I’m crazy or are you just like me? 

one year later.

Today is January 7th.  On January 7th, 2013, our whole world changed forever.  What started out as an exciting day became the worst day of our lives.

It was a Monday and we were going that afternoon to have our big 20 week ultrasound and find out whether we were having a boy or a girl.  I worked part of the day, and Tommy had taken the day off.  I got up early and headed out the door for work right about the time Jack woke up.  Tommy got Jack ready and took him to preschool that day.  As soon as I left the house I felt sick, and as soon as I pulled into a parking spot at work I opened my car door and threw up.  [And since I was 20 weeks pregnant and I throw up hard, I also peed my pants.]  Not an awesome start to a work day, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down.  We were going to see our baby in a few hours.

I’m sure my patients didn’t appreciate any smells I brought into their rooms that day, but I got my work done and headed out about 2:45.  Tommy picked Jack up at preschool and got him down for his nap.  My brother came over to watch Jack while we went to the appointment.  So I ran home to meet Tommy, get Bradley set to watch Jack, and change clothes and brush my teeth!  Tommy and I took off for the doctor’s office.

Usually I went to the group’s office downtown at the hospital, but for this appointment I had scheduled it at their office out west since I would be working that day.  Tommy and I talked about life and about all of those exciting baby-dreaming things you talk about.  The sonographer called me back and gave me a cup for my urine sample.  While I was in the bathroom I realized that I hadn’t much prayed for this day or this appointment, and on my way out the bathroom door I felt it strongly pressed upon my heart to just say “His will be done”.  Which I’m not sure I’ve ever said before in my life.  And looking back on it, it’s pretty wild.

I headed into the ultrasound room where Tommy and the sonographer were waiting on me, and we got started.  What had started out chatty, quickly became just Tommy and I talking, and then just quiet.  There was nothing casual or exciting about her tone, and I just thought she wasn’t a friendly person.  Everything looked the same to me – just stuff I couldn’t identify.  She told us we were having a boy – that was the only thing I could identify.  And after 20 – 25 minutes, she said we were done.  Then she said she had some concerns and would show them to the doctor and he would talk to us about it.  So she took us out to the waiting room and said he would call us back.

We waited for what seemed like forever.  I remember telling Tommy that she really should have specified her level of concerns.  We were talking missing hand – cause I could totally handle that.  He laughed and agreed.  I don’t think either of us could have imagined how bad it would really be.  So we talked about mindless stuff – just talking to keep our minds from wondering what was going on.  I was so nervous.

Finally, a nurse called us back.  She got my weight and blood pressure – like any of that really mattered.  And she said the doctor would be right in.  We went to a big group where you rotate which doctors you see, so I had never seen this doctor before.  He was rattled.  Tommy and I learned last January that you never want to be the one who rattles doctors.  It doesn’t bode well.  He walked in the room and said there was no easy way to say this, but they saw problems with our baby’s brain, heart, and stomach and thought there were signs consistent with down syndrome.  I asked him how bad it was, and he said we should consider terminating.  He had a specific name for the heart defect the sonographer thought she saw, and Tommy memorized it so we could look it up.  The doctor told us we would go see the specialists and they would know more.  We went out to the front desk and the nice ladies there commented on how beautiful our baby was in the ultrasound pictures we had.  And they were still working on making our appointment.  They finished and gave us the instructions for where the Perinatal Center was and to be there at 1:30 the next day.

We walked out the door and just both started crying.  We stood by the elevators and cried for a few minutes before going down.  We got in the car and cried some more.  I remember needing Tommy to help me walk out of there.  I just leaned on him and walked and cried.  He drove us home.  I can’t remember much of what we talked about or how much we actually talked.  I just remember feeling helpless.  Our best case scenario at this point was a baby with Down Syndrome with a repairable heart defect.  And we prayed hard for that over the next 18 hours.

That night was a blur as we waited for our appointment the next day.  I remember us looking to the Bible for hope, I remember us praying for the best case scenario but also the ability to accept the worst.  And I remember the life of this sweet baby becoming so incredibly important to me that day.  We hadn’t talked about a name for him yet, so we sat down that night and picked out a name for him that would be as full of meaning as his life was of purpose.  And that was how we settled on Gabriel.

 

It’s hard for me to believe that we have now lived a full year of not a normal life.  It’s also really precious for me to look back on the time between January and May of last year when Gabriel was with us.  His life was precious and it’s so special to remember all of those moments we had with him.

 

I’ve never shared all of these details about January 7th before.  It’s a day that has changed my life forever, and it is certainly one of the worst days of my life.  But it doesn’t take away my hope.  It was the hardest day of my life up to that point, but we survived it.  God brought us through that day and all of the days to follow.  I wanted to share about that day one year ago because I know that some of you know exactly how that day feels.  I know you’ve lived your own version of it, and you have your story of your worst, shocking day to carry with you, too.  And I want you to know that you aren’t alone.  You are loved.  And I pray that you will carry that day as part of your beautiful story.  And for those who are walking this walk now, know it will get better.  It will never go away [and I’m thankful for that], but it will get better.  One day, you too, will be able to share your story while missing and remembering your loved one.  Or maybe celebrating their life and their healing.  And for those to come, know that your story is unique and precious, but that others have walked this before you and you will get through it, too.  And know that you can find help here.

 

Today we remember our sweet, precious boy, and celebrate a life that changed ours forever.  A life who shared about grace and love and blessings and God’s purpose.  We will always love and always miss our precious G.

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wedding weekend.

Like I mentioned on Friday, my sister-in-law’s wedding was this weekend.  It was a good weekend.  Everything was very lovely, and she was a beautiful bride! 

 

We kicked off the weekend on Thursday with a girls’ night for Molly. 

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Then Friday was a full day of wedding festivities.  Nails in the morning, luncheon at a sweet tea room, then decorating the church, errand running, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner. 

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Saturday was a busy day.  Molly was so excited and looked just beautiful.  Drew was sick – poor guy.  He made it, but I’m sure he won’t forget how sick he felt on his wedding day. 

 

Jack was the ring bearer, and he took that job very seriously.  He was beyond excited to play that role.  He absolutely  loved walking down the aisle, and he did a pretty good job overall.  He looked so adorable, too!  He refused to take his wedding clothes off last night, so he was sporting the tie and the suspenders until about 11:30 Saturday night.  So cute! 

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We are so happy for Molly and Drew.  Congratulations guys!  We love you! 

8 months.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 months since we met our sweet little baby G.

8 months

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the
Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3 

happy weekend.

Happy Friday!  This weekend my sister-in-law is getting married!  We’re excited to celebrate them and the festivities start in just a little bit.  So before I sign off for the weekend, I wanted to share a couple of things. 

 

1.  Happy New Year from the Morgans!! 

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2.  I have a post up on the Knoxville Moms Blog today talking about healthy and organized 2014. And I posted some terrible, embarrassing pictures.  Whew… what was I thinking??  You can read that post here

 

I hope you have a great weekend!!  There is snow outside my house today, so I am a happy happy camper.  Some people call this a “dusting” but it all counts to me! 

healthy and organized 2014.

A few weeks ago my friend Becca and I were talking about eating healthier, exercising, and getting organized.  You know, all those things pretty much everyone feels they need to do in a new year.  I’ve felt it coming for awhile.  I haven’t been taking good care of my family or myself.  Our nutrition, our exercise, all of that flew out the window last year.  We were in survival mode last year, but now I feel ready to do more.  To thrive in 2014. 

Between the lack of healthiness in our lives, and the total disorganization, it’s hard to be efficient and intentional in life these days.  I want to spend my time in the new year taking care of my family, being focused, loving and doing it all efficiently so that I have time to do more. 

So as Becca and I talked about this, we decided to hold each other to it.  And because Becca is awesome, she hashtagged it – healthyandorganized2014.  So that’s what we’re doing! 

I know I can’t do it all at once.  I know that’s not healthy either.  So I’m doing it bit by bit.  Small steps in healthy eating, exercising, and organization.  And I’m pretty excited to get things back in order. 

 

The first day of 2014, I started off by eating a healthier breakfast than I have been eating lately.  I had a turkey and cheese omelet, with fruit.  And just to keep it real, I had 4 slices of bacon with it.  Thin bacon – so that’s more like 1 slice, right?? 🙂 

Starting the day off on the right foot helped to set the tone for the rest of the day.  So I am glad I made the decision to do that.  It’s just the beginning.  Excited to see what all is in store this year.  

#healthyandorganized2014 … here we go! 

 

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it’s a new year.

It is refreshing to be in a new year, isn’t it?  This is by far the most that I have ever appreciated a new year.  I have plans, dreams, hopes, and goals.  I am feeling it, y’all.  Tommy and I have plans for our family and direction with clear goals.  We intend to be very intentional this year.  I have spent time reflecting on how I want to be in this new year.  Where I want to be focused, where my drive will take me and come from.  All of those things. 

 

One of my big goals is very broad and one that I’ve known I needed to get started on for awhile.  I’m excited to share about it tomorrow! 

 

Today – I hope you’re had a wonderful first day of 2014.  Happy New Year!