Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Monthly Archives: December 2017

I can hardly believe its almost 2018. This last year has gone by quickly. As every new year approaches, I find myself reflecting a bit on the previous year and what’s possible in the next. I had so many changes last year and a few more to come in the beginning of next year as well. 2017 brought me a graduation and a new career. It brought me some new friends and time to re-connect with some old friends. It brought me laughter and tears. Overall, 2017 was a good year. I’m facing 2018 with ongoing faith of the greatness of a new year and (hopefully) some grace to face the challenges.

I have some pretty BIG goals for 2018. Some will be easier than others. Some will require some Grit. And others will require some flexibility.  Some will just take some time. All are with it.

My Goals
1) Read 1 book a month
2) Complete 2 half-marathons (after I start running again!)
3) Approach change with optimism
4) Take time to REST
5) Re-connect with friends and family

Every year I try to come up with a word that I want to use to keep me grounded in my goals. I use it as a way to refocus myself. The word becomes a mantra of sort. It helps push me toward my goals. In the previous years, this word helped define how I look at my circumstances.

My word this year is confidence.

Confidence: self-assurance; certain one can do something. 

I chose this word because I need to remind myself to be confident. I’ve started a new career and I find myself often questioning myself. This is part of the process, but boy do I wish I was a bit more confident. I also feel like I need to be more confident in my social interactions. I feel so socially awkward and feel like some of my new relationships have me feeling insecure. I want to feel confident in my interactions. Finally, I’m re-entering the running world. I know the struggle ahead of me to accomplish that will take confidence.

With my word now chosen, I now need to choose a Bible verse for the year. I really wanted a Bible verse that not only helped me gain some confidence but also helped remind me who I am in Him. I wanted something to encourage me and move me. Here is what I picked.

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him
- Ephesians 3:12

So there it is. My New Years goals, word and Bible verse.

Do you have New Years Resolutions? Do you pick a word or Bible verse? I’d love to hear all about your new year plans.

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As I’ve stated in other posts, I did recently obtain a permit to carry. You can read my previous posts HERE. I will say, I’ve not exercised my right to carry as I’m working on practicing with my 9mm. I feel like that’s responsible thing to do.  So far I’ve logged 1 CCW class and another 1.5 hour of shooting at a range. To be honest, I’m not sure what the right number of hours one should have before carrying. I think it depends a little on the skill and comfort level of the person.

But alas, I am rambling. Here is my review.

Greystone Holster Shirt for Conceal carry

This shirt is designed for deep concealment. It allows for left or right hand draw. It has the added benefit of a compression shirt which also aids in concealment. You can view the product on Amazon HERE.

The Pros
Comfortable: I wore this over 12 hours while at work and hanging out at home
Easy to conceal: I was able to easily conceal wearing multiple shirts, blazers
and sweaters.
Its Flattering: The compression of the material helps to suck-in fat where
needed.
Its Ambidextrous: You can draw either way. This is a nice feature so you
don’t need to worry about ordering the wrong one. I also, believe you could
carry two at one time if you wanted.

The Cons 
It takes practice:
I picked this shirt because I wanted an easy way to conceal
which would work with multiple outfit types. I didn’t think through the need
to practice drawing and replacing. When I first placed my 9mm in it, it went
pretty smooth. Then the second time, I realized I had my weapon pointed at
myself and had the risk of accidental shooting myself! OUCH! So, I need to
practice some.
Its all soft: Again, I didn’t think about this originally when considering
this holster. I’d worried about it with the abdominal bands because its
easier for little fingers to slip into the trigger. A soft trigger guard
can be problematic.

Overall, I think its a great option. I’m a bit curvy and not a small woman by any means. This makes it a bit more challenging to conceal. I was glad to find this shirt that can make concealing less challenging. I also like how it looks nice under a blazer or sweater if one didn’t want to add another layer.

On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being not recommended at all to 5 being you can’t live without it, I give this a 4.  I marked it down for the lack of a firm trigger guard and the need to practice to easily holster and draw. I know that regardless of the holster, one needs to practice; However, I’ve found a belt holster to be a bit easier for a beginner.

Do you have this holster? What do you think of it? Do you have a favorite holster? I’d love to hear what you use to conceal carry.


I totally understand not everyone is pro-guns. I don’t intend to get into any debates on here. Comments that are rude or an attempt to pick a fight will not be approved.

Now with that stated, let’s move on to how I ended up with a permit to carry. I’ll admit, I’ve yet to carry. I don’t have any plans in the near future to do so. However, after the party mentioned in the previous post (which you can read here), I and my friend began talking about going to a range to shoot, for fun. We thought it might be a fun girls night. I’ll be honest, I’d been wanting to shoot since I left the military.

So we started investigating and I found most of the ranges required you to have a permit to shoot/rent. Uncertain how to get around this, I began researching how to obtain a permit. This lead me to getting my permit to carry. Since that time, several things have happened both in the local news and national news. So, I’ve explored the option of carrying.

This is what it took to get a permit to carry in my sate. Please note every state is different.

  1. Register for and take a basic permit to carry which includes passing a shooting portion
  2. Apply for a permit to carry and pass a FBI criminal background check
  3.  Have your picture taken for the permit to carry

That really is it. Its pretty simple to get a permit. One must remember  this is a big responsibility. Once you start carrying, you have increased legal risk and you need to understand those risks and accept responsibility for anything that may (hopefully not) happen.

My next post will discuss what’s next after obtaining your permit.  I’ll also be writing a product review soon.


I feel like my late 30’s has been this HUGE re-identification time. I went back and obtained an advanced degree and am now doing something I NEVER would’ve consider in my 20’s. I have switched the church we attended through most of my adult life. I’m looking for meaning and meaningful relationships which included evaluated my current relationships. This season of life has created a lot of change. I’m embracing it completely.

One change started the beginning of October, so about 2 months ago. It started with some friends inviting us over for an evening of socializing and playing games. One game was a what if game that focused on preparedness. The questions asked were similar to this, what would you do if your traveling and a major event occurred. You had to get home and travel by vehicle isn’t an option?

That got me to thinking. What would I do? How would I handle it? Then I started thinking about the hurricanes that had occurred this year in Texas and Puerto Rico. It occurred to me, there are some BIG changes I could easily make that would help my family if something happened. Specifically thinking about natural disasters because realistically, they are most common.

I made 3 changes in the last month. I started buying extra food to begin a modest food storage. I put together two backpacks with basic survival items (one for my car and one for the house), and finally, I obtained my permit to carry. That was a BIG step for me. I’ve never not liked firearms. I was in the military after all. However, I’d never really felt like I needed to own one.

I’ll be honest, I’ve always had some idea of what I’d do if something really bad happened. But, its much better to have some items here at the house in case there is a bad winter storm. It’s certainly better to have it here then having to run out with all the crowds to stock-up.

I thought I’d write a little about my experiences of what we’re doing to help our family be a bit more secure with food and financial resources but also with safety. At this point, I’m planning this to be an ongoing blog series.

My next entry will be about the my decision to obtain a conceal carry and to purchase my first firearm.

It only took one game……


As I shared before, I feel as if I’m going through a mid-life crises. Not the buy a new fancy car but the a need meaning in my life. Part of this had me questioning if we were attending the right church. Our church was a small church made-up of mostly post-retirement people. The activities and choices for family activities were minimal and children’s programs were being cut. The church was going on 3 years with no pastor. My last point of frustration was when they cut contemporary service and went down to 1 service at 9 am.

So this left us looking for another church. Since then we found another church. It got me thinking about how you know its time to move on. So I’ve compiled a list of when you know its time to break-up with your church.

  1.  Attending feels likes an obligation.  Attending church should not feel like an obligation. If you do not desire to go to church, you should take some time to consider what is causing these feelings. Are you not being spiritually? Are you not connected to the church? Do you have unmet needs? Or, maybe you need to work on your connection to God? Its best to recognize why you are feeling this way so that you can address it. For example, if its your connection with God, consider what would strengthen that connection? Do you need more quiet or Bible time? No matter the reason, maybe talking with your pastor is what you need. For us, this was a sign we needed to break-up with our church.
  2. The little things are abnormally frustrating. A good sign that you are ready to move on, is the little things are more frustrating then they should. For example, little changes in music should not be overly frustrating. The change in sermon times may be inconvenient, but should they really be extremely upsetting? For us, I had seen so many things that frustrated me that when they surveyed (keep in mind, they didn’t even change the time yet), I was angry. We were barely making it to the 10 AM service and now I would have to try to make it to a 9 AM service. The somewhat Ironic thing is, we’ve been frequently going to a 9:30 service now. So a 9 AM service would’ve been doable. If those little things are more frustrating, you may be time to break-up.
  3. You’re not feeling spiritually fed. I feel like this is a no-brainer. Who would want to attend a service where you’re not being spiritually fed? As I say this, I think its very easy to not even realize this is happening! You go to church out of obligation can be the result of this. Its easy to sit there for months and not realize this is happening. But here’s a hint that you’re not being spiritually fed, our you daydreaming or making a grocery list or checking of your weekly/daily to do list during the sermon? If so, this may apply to you or you just may have attention issues. Regardless, it would be good to stop and think about what is causing you to do this? I’m not saying church should be solely entertaining. But it should be engaging. You should be walking away from the majority of sermons with the sense of gaining. If you are mentally dosing off once the pastor starts preaching, you may need to break-up.
  4. Your needs are not being met. This was HUGE for us. I watched over the last several years programs for children and families slowly be cut. I watched as the emphasis seemed to be placed on pleasing those long-term members over change and forward movement. I heard more times than I could count, that’s not how we do it here or we’ve always done it this way. Don’t get me wrong, a church isn’t solely to meet my needs. I also need to involved and help with the running of the church. But you see, I went from being willing to volunteer and help the church to feeling out of place and not wanting to volunteer. All of this was because, the needs of my family could not be met within this church. If you are feeling like you are not getting what you need, you may need to find a church that is better aligned with you.
  5. Your values don’t align with the church’s. Ok. So you may have this far and thought, this one is a bit silly. Of course my church’s Christian values align with my values. I would certainly hope and expect that to be the case. However, consider other values. For example, financial values. Is the church handling its finances in ways you would? Is the church’s mission and how they handle that mission in agreement (generally, it may never be 100% the same) with what you value as important? If the values you hold to be important is not in agreement with the way the church’s actions, you may need to break-up.

I’m not saying even if the above applies you should quickly run away from your church into another. But, I do suggest that if one more more of those things apply, it would be good to re-evaluate your reasons for staying. I also encourage people to attempt in a productive manner to change the church if they are off-course. Specifically thinking in regards to finances or not being spiritually fed or find ways to increase programs that meet your family (and most likely others) needs.

However, there may come a time you find yourself breaking-up with your church. It took several years, probably close to 3, before I could acknowledge that we needed to break-up. It was the church my husband and I grew-up as adults. We bought our house, had children, and children were baptized in that church. It wasn’t an easy choice. I still care for the church and many of its members.

I want to leave you with one thought. It is better to leave a church than stay and cause trouble/problems within the church. People who are unhappy have a tendency to let that seep into those around them. And that could, kill a church completely.