Monday, June 30, 2014

Never a Dull Moment...

This weekend started with a bang, literally!

Jim threw a fit, refusing to eat what the family was having for dinner and decided to go get pizza.  Not even 20 minutes after he left my mom called up the stairs, "Jim's been in an accident, we have to go to the hospital."  Not gonna lie, my immediate reaction was "are you f---ing kidding me?!"  I was livid.

We drove to the hospital, passing the scene of the accident on the way there- the car is bad but he was fine.  The passenger side was hit, thank God I wasn't in the car, I would have been more hurt but the air bags than anything else.  Honestly, every time we're in the car I feel like he is taking my life in his hands, he's aggressive, and outwardly says "well I'm on this side" when I ask about what would happen if we got hit on the passenger side.  To be fair, this was not his fault, and neither was the last accident, but it's still annoying.  It never would have happened if he wasn't being such a little b*tch about something as simple as what we were eating for dinner.  I won't go into details, but he's been on a slippery slop since last year and I truly believe this was the last straw!  (More on that in a later post.)

After going to the hospital and getting to see the therapy dog who was absolutely adorable, we went home, finally and dinner and went to bed.  My mom and I spent most of Saturday and Sunday shopping, oh how I love retail therapy- it really is the best therapy.  We got a huge discount at Kohl's- I'll be writing about that tomorrow- and went for lunch on Saturday.  Sunday was all about breakfast, the dollar store, Walmart, and grocery shopping.  I never realized how many awesome things you could find at such a huge discount at these places.  Seriously!  Stop going to Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Nordstroms!  Start going to these other places, for most things at least.  Anyway, I'll put away my soap box and stop yelling at the masses.

The weekend as a whole was fairly successful because of all the amazing deals we got but it was stressful to say the least and I'm honestly happy to be back at work.  At the very least, now we get to have fun riding around in this rental car...

How was your weekend?  
Hope you're all doing well!
Have you ever been in a car accident?  I've only been in one and I wasn't in the car- I'll write about that another time.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Ponderings- Free Will vs God had a plan

Happy Sunday, Friends!  I have a new thought to ponder...

Whenever I get upset or worried about the future I'm told, "don't worry, God has a plan, He knows what's going to happen, He'll take care of it."  It honestly does make me feel better but lately I've had to question that.

I've always been taught that God gave us Free Will- a right or freedom to make choices in our life- and there are many references to our right to make choices in the Bible.

Choose today whom you will service (Joshua 24:15)
Choose knowledge rather than gold (Proverbs 8:10)
Choose good (Isaiah 7:15)

Choices are every where in our lives.  Which makes me wonder- if God knows what's going to happen but we have Free Will, which one is really in control?  If He knows what's going to happen then He knows what we're going to choose. Do we really have Free Will or is God just the ultimate psychic?  

OR are our lives more like the Hindus believe.  A friend from high school once explained to me that according to her Hindu belief- our lives are like a series of train tracks.  We can start at the same point but take one of several different paths, but no matter what you'll always end up at the same place.  

So it's like God decided where we would end up, but we chose our path.  I suppose that would make the most sense but how is it possible that (for example) 3 different reactions could lead to the same result?

Thoughts and opinions are more than welcomed on this one!

Friday, June 27, 2014

H54F- A Wonderful Week and Another Giveaway!

Hey y'all!  Can you believe it's the last Friday of the month?  Where is 2014 going?!?!  I hope that your week was as good as mine!

We went to NJ for a family event, got home early to relax, work was good, the weather is nice, and I've paired up with another amazing blogger for another cool give away.  Life is good!  So here we go...

1.  We were in NJ on Saturday and I got to see this little face, could not make me any happier!

2.  We celebrated Jim's aunt and uncle's 30th wedding anniversary.
  • I can't imagine being married that long!
  • Good food, good drinks, and good company = good times!  
It was great to get to have fun with family and friends that we don't get to see very often since we've moved back to PA.

3.  I figured out how to use Pandora on my work computer.  I'm slow, I know, but holy heck, has this made my week.  Having the music going really helps the day go by and since I always have it on Contemporary Christian, I find it keeps me positive as well!

4. Jim had a procedure done on his eyes.  Not really a great moment, but it will help him retain his vision a little longer and it was kind of cool to be in the office.  Next week he'll get a laser treatment- am I the only one who says that like I'm Dr. Evil???

5.  Last but certainly not least!  Free Red Lobster as work!  I'm loving working with a sales team where I get to reap the benefits of all our hard work!  Yum!

And now for a bonus high five moment!  I've paired up with Misty over at Second Hand Goddess for another great give away!  This time it's brought to you by Newman's Own!  Check out her review and make sure to enter below for you chance to win some fantastic goodies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh!  And I ALMOST forgot!  Happy 6th wedding anniversary to these 2 love birds!  You are mine and Jim's best friends, you're our family, you're our role models in so many ways.  We're so blessed to have you in our lives and cannot express how happy we are to see you celebrate another year of love and happiness!  Enjoy your weekend!

How was your week?  I'm happy to hand out high fives for all the good things happening in your life!

As always!  Linking up with some amazing bloggers!

Barbie Bieber and Beyond

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wedding Wednesdays- Lessons from being a May Bride

(My cake topper!)

Every wedding is different- every bride and groom have different tastes, the location, day, and time, it all makes things unique.  What I didn't realize when I planned my wedding way back in 2007/2008 was what affect the month would have on my wedding.

We were married on Saturday, May 9, 2009- the day before Mother's Day.  From the moment we began planning, the date had us hitting road blocks.  The first issue was that our church, which we went to first to make sure we could get the day and time we wanted before we looked as halls, didn't even have a 2009 calendar started yet.  We were literally the first couple to book their wedding for 2009, that's what I get for having a nearly 2 year long engagement.  That was a minor and honestly funny bump in the road, the others were a bit more frustrating and taught me the following:

1. If you're going to get married in May, don't get married the weekend of Mother's Day.

I had no idea that this was the biggest holiday for sending flowers- I thought that was Valentine's Day.  Because of that statistic it took us forever to find a florist that would even be willing to work with us and they charged us extra because we were taking workers away from their MD deliveries- and they had no qualms about letting us know that was the reason for the up charge.

2. Find out when the local Proms are!

May is a big month for proms and apparently that makes it difficult to book limos.  I actually had to use 2 different companies- 1 to get us from the hotel to the church and 1 to get us from the church to the hall (our hotel provided shuttles back after the reception) because they had conflicting appointments with proms.  Apparently, proms out rank weddings!  Doesn't really make sense to me since weddings happen year round and good or bad word of mouth could make or break a business, but again they had no issues telling me I was inconveniencing them and didn't care that they inconvenienced me.

3. Weather is unpredictable!

I suppose this is common sense and is appropriate for any wedding, but I had a plan in picking a May date.  I figured "April showers bring May flowers" so it shouldn't rain, and it was late spring, so it would be warm but not hot.  It rained all morning while we got ready and it was hot as heck by the time we actually got to the ceremony- around 3 pm.  Thank goodness our church has AC and fans!  Bottom line- hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  The weather didn't really have any impact on my wedding or my pictures (my biggest concern) but it did affect my mood- so best advice- just be prepared and stay calm.

4. Just because it's spring doesn't mean your flowers are in season

Again, I suppose this is can go for any wedding, but I honestly had no idea when it came to picking my flowers.  I had a vision in mind and it was all I wanted!  (Blue hydrangeas with purple roses, oy!)  Turns out blue hydrangeas aren't in season that early in May so our florist offered us white and they would spray paint them blue.  They showed me samples and it was pretty believable so I agreed to it, turns out that wasn't a good idea.  Which leads me to my last piece of advice...

(my flowers)

5.  Make sure your vendors actually know what they're talking about!

Again, this should be common sense but as a 24 year old planning a major event for the first time in my life I took a stance with my vendors which is very similar to my stance on doctors- they're the professionals, they know best!  I'm not really sure what my first florist was thinking with the whole spray paint idea but we ended up using a different florist who actually knew a thing or 2 about flowers.  That came about when I told my best friend how much we were spending and she insisted that we speak to her florist (she was married a year before us) because he could save us money.  So about 3 months before our wedding we jumped ship and went with him and we had the most beautiful flowers I could have ever asked for.  He was creative and knowledgeable- he changed what I had asked for but still kept the hydrangeas and they weren't spray painted!  Turns out the color of hydrangeas is caused by the acidity of the soil they grow in- so if you go to the right flower farms (not really sure what they're called) you can get whatever color you want no matter what time of year.  Moral of the story- not all professionals know what they're talking about, make sure you choose people who are knowledgeable so that they can fully assist in planning your special day.

Did you get married in May?  Do you have any advice to offer to fellow May Brides?

Do you have any advice for other brides based on the month you got married?  Let me know, I'm looking for guest posters!

Linking with some phenomenal blogs!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Ponderings- Why Be Good?

So- I turned 31 a few weeks ago and wrote up a proclamation of what I would do with myself this year.  One of the things I really want to do is become a Proverbs 31 woman.  In my opinion this means being close to God, having patience, being a good wife, friend, daughter, etc... As a part of that I've gone back to reading the Bible, exploring religions, doctrines, and churches, and I'm coming up with quite a few questions.

Welcome- Sunday Ponderings.  (Yay, another series- bare with me folks, I've got a lot to say and apparently it's all gonna come out this summer!)  This is where I'll be laying out questions I come across and possibly the answers I get, but I have a feeling it'll be more questions than answers.  Please feel free to weigh in, I'd love to know what everyone else thinks about these topics.

Today I'd like to pose this question- why be good?

I was joking around with a friend the other day and realized how awful we were being.  When I said "aren't you worried you're going to hell for some of the things you say?" his reply was simple and confident-

No.  All I have to do is ask Jesus for forgiveness and I'll go to Heaven

Well that got me thinking and of course I had to over think it but this is what I came up with-

If all you have to do is apologize for the bad things you've done, why bother being good?  Also, how is that fair?  Why should a thief, rapist, murder ask for forgiveness as they're on their death bed and still get into Heaven, but then someone who works hard, volunteers, is kind, and giving goes to Heaven to?  Are there levels of Heaven like Dante's Inferno where the "better" people get to be closer to God than the last minute believers?

What's the point of caring, being good, helping others when you can be selfish and not worry but still get to see the "Big Guy in the sky?"  It makes no sense to me.  It shouldn't be that simple!  

I feel you should earn your place in Heaven, your chance to meet with Jesus.  You should be good and kind, and help others.  These are things that you should reap rewards for and it's not fair for someone who was horrible here on Earth to receive the same rewards.  

Am I wrong?  
Am I looking at this from a childish point of view?
What's your thoughts on Heaven and who gets to go?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pushing Back the Dark

It's Saturday and I feel we can all use a little encouragement in our lives.  

No matter what you're going through don't give in to your fears! 

 Don't look back- look forward.

Don't give up!  

Focus on the light, not the darkness. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

H54F- HUGE giveaway from The Orchard Valley

Hey Friends!  

We made it through another week *high five!*  

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Today's post is especially exciting because I've paired up with Jenn at Come Back Momma and a bunch of other bloggers for a HUGE giveaway.

The Orchard Valley Prize Pack includes:

1- A variety of Orchard Valley Harvest Minis- delicious and convenient, healthy snacks!  They offer several kinds of trail mix and nuts- they're the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth or add some protein when you're on the run!

2- $250 Market Basket Gift Card- a healthy market that's mostly in North East New England

3- Define Bottle Water Bottle- a fantastic way to infuse your water with healthy and tasty fruit

4- Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband- This thing is AMAZING!  It tracks everything- your steps, distance, and calories burned during the day, then your sleep patterns at night.  It's the perfect accessory for getting healthy!

We need one more thing to high five about....

5- High five for a chance to win nearly $500 worth of goodies and the start of an amazing, beautiful, rain free weekend!  

Enter the give away here! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy and good luck!

As always, linking up with some other phenomenal bloggers!

Barbie Bieber and Beyond

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wedding Wednesdays: Wed Pics

Today I'm introducing my first real series!

It's been 5 years since I tied that knot but I still love wedding "planning."  Pinterest has been a demon filling my head with all these beautiful ideas that I wish I had thought of way back when and since we're in the mist of wedding season I thought this might be a fun summer series to add to the blog.

Just over a week ago we went to our first wedding in a while and it was beautiful!  Tara, the bride, had planned everything so beautifully and it was so much fun to see everything she had shown us over the last year and a half come together.  Possibly my favorite thing about her wedding was her use of Wed Pics!

It's an app that takes wedding photo sharing to the next level.  This is a great alternative to the #hashtag instagram wedding craze that I still love, but I feel this is 100xs better!

The bride and groom set up an account, one of them will be the administrator, they give that account to their friends and through out the wedding and after guest can upload videos and pictures.  My only issue with it is that it only takes 15 seconds of video at a time, but the picture sharing works perfectly.

What makes this app stand out and above from the #hashtags on instagram is that anyone who is logged in can see all the pictures that are posted, they can be shared, and even printed out, plus the pictures can be organized by where they were taken.  It's one stop shopping at it's best.  It's like the modern version of leaving disposable cameras on the tables for guests to get candid moments that the photographer might have missed, but even better because the administrator can go through and edit any photos they deem to be inappropriate.  (Hooray for no more down the pants pics that people seem to think are so hilarious!)

Check it out, and use it for your wedding, or recommend it to your friends that are getting married.  You will not regret it!

**disclaimer** I have no been paid or contacted by Wed Pics in anyway.  This is all my own opinion!

Been to any weddings lately and want to brag on something new that you've seen?  Let me know, I'll be looking for guest posters all summer!

Linking with:


Sunday, June 15, 2014

An Ode to All the Dad's in my Life

It's Father's Day!  A day to recognize not just your dad but all the dad's in your life.  I have so many amazing men who have helped me grow and learn I wish I could give each and every one of them a huge hug and a thank you today and every day.

First and foremost my dad-

This guy is the hardest working man I have ever met.  He gives his all to his work so that he can provide for my mom and me, we've never wanted for anything and we'll never be able to let him know how grateful we are for that.  He's usually locked away on his computer but I know that he'd do anything for us, he's goofy when he wants to be, and he's so fun when he finally relaxes.  My mom is manic depressive/bipolar and she's literally put him through the ringer over the years- he's truly a saint for sticking it out and staying by her side.

My Poppie, my mom's dad-

The man who makes me laugh and always has a Hershey kiss hidden away.  The man who taught me how to ride a bike, shoot a bow and arrow, and to love good fast boat ride out on the ocean.  The man who shows me how a husband should take care of his wife, work hard, but still enjoy life.  I look forward to his hugs, he's "hey! how you doin?" when I call and see him.  I can't imagine having a more fantastic grandfather/poppie than him.

My Grandpa, my dad's dad-

He was quiet and I didn't know him very well, but he was a hard working and good man.  Check out the tribute that I wrote for him last year on the anniversary of his passing.

My Uncle Anthony- 

The goof ball of our family!  The man who would take me doll and shoe shopping as a kid, and taught me to use a gun.  The man who always promised to beat up anyone who messed with me, and would watch me while my mom was sick and play concentration until I fell asleep.  The best uncle a girl could ask for!

My Uncle Dave-

The man who married into our family but always felt like one of us.  He would take me on dates with my aunt when they went to Milford Red (a local game place) and Friendly's for ice cream sundaes.  We used to wrestle and watch movies and play basketball.  He and my aunt (pictured, who would kill me if she saw this!) taught me to love Disney and always be a kid at heart.  He's an even more amazing father to his 3 girls and such a blessing to our family.

My Uncle Phil-

My dad's little brother has turned into an amazing father and leader in his local Synagogue.  I'm ever impressed by how he's taught his children to have faith and be strong in their beliefs.  He's sarcastic, but funny, and sometimes a little tough on me, but I appreciate it because it pushed me to work hard in school.

My Uncle Ernie-

The family chef!  Another man who married into our family but has always felt like one of us.  He's strict and by the book but he is fun and lively.  I love how he's so open to share in my Aunt's Jewish faith but still holds on to his Christian traditions.  His son Michael is very lucky to have such a good role model to look up to as he becomes a college student.

My father in law- Jim Cook Sr.

Oh this wild man!  He stepped up and kept his kids together when their mother walked away.  He's worked hard and always done everything that he could.  He may not have much but what he has he would give away in a heart beat if it would help his kids.  He taught Jim a lot of bad things but also so many good things.  He's funny and opinionated and is the ultimate reminder that there "is never a dull moment."

(Jim's Uncle Ralph)

The most laid back man I've ever met.  He just goes with the flow and let's things happen but oh watch out when he gets mad he means business.  Another hard worker but lover of fun.  There is no better place to be than with him for summer bbqs, fall football games, and any holiday.  He loves with all his heart and has welcomed me into his home and family from day one!

Dave- Jim's best friend

You never know how loving and caring a man can be until he becomes a father.  Dave isn't a father figure to me but in some ways he is to Jim.  He's always setting a good example just by doing what comes naturally to him.  I'm proud to say his my friend, my best friend's husband, and the father of my favorite little boy.  I hope and pray that Jim is watching and learning so that he'll be just as good at being a daddy.

My husband- Jim

He's technically not a daddy yet, unless you count our angel baby, but I know that he'll step up and figure it out when the time comes.  It's been a rocky and tumultuous few years but he's making great strides in going in the right direction to be able to provide and care for a family.  Maybe next year we'll be celebrating your first father's day, my love...

How was your Father's Day?
What do you love most about the Dad's in your family?
Did you do anything special for the men in your life?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Who am I...

I borrowed this idea from Jessica who borrowed it from Kerry Washington.  Here's a little look into the woman behind the blog....

Who are you:?

Friday, June 13, 2014

H54F (Vol. 28)

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I must say the first week of 31 has been a success!  Let's just jump right into it!

1. Friday was wonderful.  My new coworkers graced me with gorgeous flowers, my husband gave me earrings I've been wanting for ages, and we went out for a relaxing Mexican dinner with the most delicious drinks.

2. Saturday we had the joy of watching 2 very special people get married.  They are the nicest, sweetest, most wonderful couple.  I'm so happy and excited for them to be joining the married club!

3+4. A coworker retired this week which meant parties in the office!  On Wednesday we had the most delicious Cajun food I've ever had plus the cutest little retirement cookies (the bee's are for Belinda, the lady retiring.)  Then on Thursday we had another party thanks to one of our carriers.  Plus Belinda left us all gifts (a scratch off, a wicked nice coffee mug, and a sweet little card written to each of us.)  She's such a sweet woman!  I'm so sad I only got 2 months with her.

5.  Last but certainly not least, Orange is the New Black is back!  We spent almost every night this week watching it and I'm already wanting more!  I love Netflix originals but I actually hate that the whole season comes out at once because I have no self control and will binge watch the entire season in just a few days.  Guilty pleasures are hard to control!

How was your week?
Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

(Linking up, as always, with some amazing bloggers!)

The Northwest Bloggers
Calm, Healthy, Sexy

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Barbie Bieber and Beyond

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fake it til you make it!

I'm so excited!  For my birthday I was finally given the earrings that I had been hinting that I wanted since I got my new bridal set on our 2nd anniversary.  They match my engagement ring nearly perfectly and they're the nicest earrings I've ever had!  While I was admiring the beautiful sparkles of the stones it occurred to me that this is something I needed to share with you all.

Traditionally, the suggestion for men is that they need to save a couple months salary for a ring and according to an article I found from Glamour, they spend an average of $5000 on the shiny rings they buy for their lovely ladies.  

Seriously?  In a time when we're all struggling to pay our debts, scrimping and saving to buy a home or even just rent an apartment why, WHY is it still so important to spend this much money on a piece of jewelry?!?!?!

Is it beautiful?  Yes
Is it something we desire?  Yes
Is it something we deserve?  Probably

But really, why does it have to be a perfect, real diamond when you can have a perfect fake diamond that looks just as beautiful?  It kind of makes me angry when women make these huge demands.  No one will know if your diamond is real or not unless they're an expert and how many experts do we have walking around in the general public?  I'm willing to bet that it's not many!  

My proposal is to do what we did- buy man made or fake rings.  The metal is real, in my case it's silver, but the stones are fake.  I'm in love with my rings and earrings and we spent a tiny fraction of what we would have spent if they were real.  Look at the picture of my rings and earrings!  I truly believe that you can't see a difference, they're all equally shiny and lovely and big, which is what we all want, right?  (just kidding!)

If you're a baller on a budget like us, strongly consider spending less money on the fancy stuff and put it towards important things like bills and living or heck put it towards your honeymoon!  It just seems like there are so many more practical ways to spend your money, it's almost foolish to do it the old fashioned way.

Friday, June 6, 2014

High Five for Birthdays!

As I've mentioned several times this week, today is my 31st birthday!  To celebrate, today's post will be my 5 favorite birthday parties from years past.  It'll be a nice stroll down memory lane and maybe it'll give some of you ideas for your kids birthday parties, or maybe even your own!

1. McDonald's
                 When I was 4, my party was held at a local McDonald's.  It had a huge, inside play place that would blow away the play places they have now.  There were a bunch of things to climb in and on, all inspired by the different Micky D's characters.  They provided us with a cake that had Ronald on it, and of course a ton of french fries and chicken nuggets.  It actually makes me a little sad to reminisce about this one because I know how much the chain has changed and I don't think that a party like this would be possible any more.

2.  Going to a play
                When I was 7, may parents had a small party for me (me and 5 friends) and instead of going to a movie, which is very popular, we went to a play.  The local theater was putting on Mary Poppins, my favorite.  We got dressed up, drove over, saw they play, where they even brought me on stage during intermission, and then had pizza and cake back at our house.  It was so much fun and so much more memorable than going to a movie.

3.  Taking a class
                 When I was 10, we took a class at Michael's.  We learned how to make clay beads.  They even allowed us to bring in food and cake, so everything was in one place and my parents house didn't have to get messed up.  We had so much fun being crafty and there was no need for party favors since we made jewelry to take home.

4. Water Balloons
                   When I was 13, I was about to move to NJ and literally only had 2 weeks of summer with my friends in Ohio.  I didn't know what to do with my friends but it was darn hot out that year.  I had 4 friends over, we hung out in the basement for a little bit then headed outside to enjoy a water balloon fight.  That was it- bonding with girl friends, water balloon fight, some sandwiches, and a cake- we had the time of our lives.

5. Pool Party
                   When I was 17, I was blessed to be living in a house with a pool.  10 of my friends came over for a day of swimming and bbq.  When we finally dried off and I opened presents I had received a VHS of Spaceballs so we ended the evening with a movie viewing.  Simple but fun.  Sometimes I think people just try too hard and end up going over board.  Kids just want to have fun, they could care less about all the other bells and whistles.

What was your favorite birthday party?

As always, linking up with some fantastic women:

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Barbie Bieber and Beyond

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Proclaimation 31

On the eve of my 31st birthday I'd like to lay out a plan for myself.  This won't be like the 30 before 30 list where there were a bunch of things I wanted to do to make me feel like I had lived a little in my 20's.

This will stand alone to make me a better person.  There are some things I want to learn, do, see, and try but also things I want to be or become.  In my 31st year I plan, or at least hope, to become "ME."

When I'm 31 I will....

learn to:

  • use chop sticks
  • knit or crochet
  • decorate baked goods
  • cook more unique meals
go to:
  • Vermont- my grandparent's cabin
  • Nashville- hopefully to see the next KLOVE awards
  • Philadelphia at least 3 times- I need to learn and love my new city
  • concerts- any and all that I can get to, I love music and want to see more and always hold myself back
  • a Broadway play/musical- it's been ages since I've been to one and I'm tired of waiting
  • the taping of a show- any show.  It's something I've always wanted to experience and I'm tired of waiting
  • a better listener
  • a better friend (by listening and being more attentive in general)
  • a better family member by being more involved and connected
  • a Proverbs 31 woman
  • a happy by complaining less and appreciating what I have more
  • less attached to my cell phone and start actually experiencing life
The become is absolutely the most important part of this list.  I need to become the person I've always wanted to be.  Everything else will be icing on the cake.

I'll be tracking and posting about the progress of this list as the year goes on.