Sometimes blessings are 4ft tall..

Hello Lovelies!

It’s the first day of fall :) Ahhh..that means snuggling with blankets, smelling pumpkin spice, and the first batch of spiced tea!

This week has been full of blessings!

A few weeks ago, I got home and there was a little boy and his mom walking on our street. I’ve seen them a few times before and waved to them as I drove by. I was walking out to get my mail (my favorite part of the day!) and I heard “HELLO! HELLO! I’m walking my dog. She likes to go for walks.” There was the cutest little fella holding the tiniest little Chihuahua I’ve ever seen. I immediately squatted down to eye level and started chatting with him. I was so excited to finally meet someone else who lives on my street. Making friends with your neighbors is tough!

Gabe and I talked for a little while before his mom asked him if they could finish their walk. As he began walking away he turned and said: “By the way, I have Tourettes. So if I ever hurt your feelings I’m sorry.” I smiled and said I have a friend named Hannah who has Tourettes. His face lite up and he looked at me in awe. Gabe said: “You mean there are more people like me?”. Be still my breaking heart! I told him that my mom had several students with Tourettes and Gabe couldn’t believe it.

From what I’ve gathered here and there his classmates haven’t been very welcoming and accepting of him. So I knew we had to be friends. I make it a point to walk out to the mail box when I get home to speak to him :)

Yesterday, I pulled onto my street and saw my little neighbor out for his afternoon walk. He was quite a ways down from my house and I was a bit sad as I enjoy saying hi to him.

No sooner had I pulled into my driveway than I heard “Hello! Hello! I came to show you my tree!”

There was little Gabe and his puppy :) They’d run all the way back up the street to say Hello! My day was made! Gabe began telling me about his afternoon walk, the cool stuff he’d seen and his awesome pinecone that was going to become a Paleo tree. We talked about what color he was going to paint it and he was very excited.

Gabe is such an amazing little guy and I am so glad we’ve become friends.

Did you know that Tourettes affects over 136,000 children in the United States? Boys are affected three to five times more often than girls. Most often, in addition to having Tourette’s syndrome, 86% also have been diagnosed with at least one additional mental health, behavioral, or developmental condition.

It breaks my heart that children are not taught to be friends with children with disabilities. Growing up one of my best friends at school was a little girl with a disability. My mom said the very first day of school she hung around to watch me for a few minutes. Within 5 minutes I had marched up to the little girl (who was wheelchair bound from polio), introduced myself, and said we’re going to be friends. I immediately began pushing her around the playground and Brianna and I became fast friends. I even moved my desk in our classroom so I could sit by her. (Totally breaking the alphabetical order rule…sorry Mrs. Shiffman!). I’m so thankful that my parents raised me to look past physical and mental handicaps.

As people and parents, we need to work towards building a world where children with disabilities are not seen as disabled or handicapped. They are beautiful and deserve to be treated that way :)

How can you help you child learn to be friends with someone who suffers from Tourettes? By teaching them about Tourettes and it’s symptoms. Explain that sometimes their friends may make noises or funny movements (tics). That they aren’t being silly or rude, their body just can’t control it. Talk about that sometimes they may say something mean, but they aren’t being mean. Talk about what to do if their friend starts feeling anxious or agitated, a simple it’s ok or I’m here is very reassuring. Some people with Tourettes find a simple touch to be very calming.

There are a ton of great resources online!

Click here for more kid friendly info about Tourettes :)

XoXo!

One Neighbor Chatting Lemon

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Weekend Wrap Up

Hi Lovelies!

It’s Tuesday but feels like a Monday. I thought I’d catch you up on my lunch break today. I usually go for a run but thought blogging might be a little more fun on this insanely hot day in South Carolina.

This weekend was great. Friday night we had soccer practice at the YMCA. Our sweet little team seemed to have turned into sweet little hooligans! Last week they listened so well..this week they were all over the place. But it was fun!

I had a meeting with the student group I advise afterwards at a local restaurant and it is always such an amazing thing to help inspire the next generation of students. We had a brain storming session about events that they could implement for this semester. Our little group of 15 has grown to nearly 90 this year. It’s going to take a lot of work but I have no doubt they can get things done.

Saturday we slaved away at my house. It’s been crazy hot in SC and we’ve not had any rain for a hot minute. My brother and I got most of my living room painted before we were about to keel over from the heat. Saturday night was a blast :) I headed into town to meet up with Chris, Tom and Michelle for the Lyle Lovett concert. When they said Lyle Lovett and his large band..they weren’t joking! I loooooooved it! Chris was a bit perturbed he was missing his favorite Clemson game (aside from Clemson vs USC) but thankfully Tom helped him out and dvr’d the game. The Lyle crew did not disappoint! A 2.5 hr set with no intermission and enough jokes to keep the audience entertained between songs. It was nice to just sit and be still for 2 hours.

After the show, we headed over to Tom and Michelle’s house to watch the Clemson game. I love hanging out with Chris’ boss and his wife. They are the sweetest couple. Michelle and I have a lot in common so it’s never a struggle to make conversation. We talked remodeling while the boys watched the end of the football game.  I will say that this girl is incredibly glad it’s football season. I love, love, love college football!

It was a really fun, relaxed night with Chris. I had debating giving my ticket to one of our mutual friends but I decided to go to the concert at the last-minute. After last week, I just wasn’t really in the mood to be cute or hangout with a guy…but I’m glad I went.

Sunday was insane. Church was great. The older guys class has challenged the guys in our class to a basketball game and it’s the smack talk of the century. They rolled into our class with an air of confidence and bouncing basketballs. It’s really hilarious to see 40-year-old men talking junk.. Dad took mom and I shopping that afternoon before my study session. I was really disappointed. I usually always find cute clothes at Kohl’s but it’s been a struggle lately. I did snag a gorgeous lavender sweater for fall at a steal of $4 :)

I met up with Paden to study for our grad school class and y’all the boy is a trip. I’m really glad we’re going through this program together. We knocked our homework out fairly quickly..mostly because the library was hot as fire and we were both dying.

Sunday night was the commissioning ceremony for two of my dear friends. God has placed an amazing call on their lives and I’m excited to watch them walk this next road. It was very emotional for me. They’ve become somewhat of mentors to me and I’m going to miss studying the word at their house. I’ve no doubt that God is going to do great things through them. Kamden and I managed to cry through most of the service. When you see a mother sharing her heart and baring her soul it is a movement like none other. Rebecca shared her heart with us..her heart is beautiful and the glory that radiates from her is hard to miss. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed.

After many tears and hugs for Grant and Rebecca, the girls all headed to Starbucks. It’s somewhat of our Sunday night tradition. We were a bit downtrodden at first..but joyful by the end. We had a pizza and movie night afterwards since the majority of us were off for Labor Day. It was crazy fun..I’d forgotten how nice it is to just chill out and relax. I stay so busy 90% of the time that I miss out on those little moments.

It was a bit scary though. The house where we were had a Cocker Spaniel. During the middle of the movie, I went to close the pizza box and he attacked me. Thankfully, I’ve been around dogs my whole life and knew how to respond..but still scary! Thankfully he didn’t pierce the skin and I was able to subdue him quickly. I got him calmed down and he was fine for the next hour. Close to the end of the movie, he was stretched out beside me. I stretched and hit the pizza box with my foot. Not thinking..and he went straight for my face. THAT WAS SCARY! He’s not a big dog, but large enough to make me nervous when he’s flying towards my face. It’s very hard to subdue a dog when there are six girls screaming and a tv blaring. I managed to get my body clear of his teeth. It took a good ten minutes to get him out of the red zone that time. So that was the not so fun part..lol.

Monday was a rest day for me.  I didn’t work on my house at all. Nope. I took myself to Starbucks and grabbed a venti Iced Coffee (a deviation from my norm) then went home to stretch out on the couch. Of course my brain didn’t want to cooperate at all..running 110mph. Dad brought home the Might Ducks movie (throwback to my childhood) and we had a Mighty Ducks marathon. HILARIOUS! I did manage to catch a nap during the second one.

I packed up a good bit of stuff to move to my house. Everything is now sorted, boxed and labelled by room :)

Since my brain wasn’t tired, I decided to go ahead and knock out my grad school work for this week. Figured that would be one less thing to stress over :) So it’s turned in, I’ve made A’s on everything so far and I’m chugging along :)

My little soccer team has their first practice tonight! Can’t wait :)

XoXo,

One Soccer Playin’ Lemon

Weekend Wrap Up..When Unicorns Aren’t Enough

Hey My Lovelies!

It’s a Monday! I feel like I haven’t stopped this weekend! It’s been crazy busy..but when is my life ever slow? Never.. July is always a fun month for my family :) It’s my mom’s, brother’s and grandma’s birthday plus my gram’s anniversary and the 4th of July!

I met a new guy! I decided to branch out of my normal circles..because guys in this town are oh so immature. I’m to the point where I’m just over it. One of my friends in Charleston has been bugging me to death to meet some of the guys down there. So I figured why not? I don’t have anything to lose. She introduced me to a former Marine. (Failed to tell me he was super tall!) He’s the sweetest guy y’all & he has a dachshund..automatic brownie points right there. James and I have been talking these past few weeks and I am enjoying getting to know him. When I say talking..I mean actually talking on the phone..as in he actually knows how to call a girl. It’s amazing! I much prefer talking to texting any day.

This past weekend we celebrated my mom and brother’s birthday :) My brother was born the day after my mom’s bday..she always jokes about he wouldn’t even let her finish her dinner. I remember the day my brother was born :) My grandpa took me out for breakfast and said well Pooh..(short for pooh bear because I might have been slightly obsessed..okay I won’t lie..I’m still obsessed with Winnie the Pooh), let’s go meet your little brother! He was soo tiny!! He weighed the most out of the 3 of us..coming in at 7lbs 5oz..Hard to believe he’s 5’11 now!

Mom and I spent her birthday tooling around town :) We’ve been making bangles together and decided to buy stuff to make a burlap wreath. My aunt was in town from Virginia and we all decided to meet up for birthday lunch. It was so much fun! All of the girls (except my little sister and cousin) made it. We laughed and giggled through our soup and salad. That afternoon mom taught me how to make Pop’s secret boiled peanuts. Seriously..nobody made them better than Pop-Pop.

Friday night, my dad and I went to pick up my sister’s new ride. A few weeks ago she encountered a flash flood in Charleston and instead of driving around the water she attempted to drive through the water. Needless to say, she learned a valuable lesson about water and electricity. Thankfully she was okay..but unfortunately Henrietta the HHR..was not. Dad finally found a good deal this week and I was kind of envious! I’m not a car person generally but I love the way a Volvo and BMW handle. So we picked up her new ride and took it over to the paint shop for a few minor touch ups. She had a Volvo before her HHR and wished that she hadn’t traded it in..but hindsight is 20/20 :)

Saturday was sooo insane! I had to run into work for an hour and half to re-upload a file..then it was off to pick up the two dogs I’m dog sitting this week :) They’re two of my most favorite customers. I love when I have repeat clientele! These little guys are adorable! I’ve been keeping them for the past 6 years. Otis looks hilarious! His mom took him last week to get a haircut and he was appalled that the groomer shaved him..he told me he’s much more dapper fluffy. Needless to say Buster, Otis and I always have a fun week together.

I was sad on Saturday. Due to a conflict, I missed a very important funeral. My dad’s contractor passed away last week : ( But he’s been more than a contractor to us..he’s been family. His father married my aunt in 2002 on Valentine’s Day. Their marriage brought our families together and created a very unique blend. My aunt and uncle’s house was always the place to be. It was there that I first met Mr. Grady. He was a precious man. His life might not have been the best…but the man could do some amazing things with wood. I smile every time I walk through our house..all the projects my dad thought he could handle only to have Mr. Grady come over and fix what he messed up. He built our deck on the back of our house :) He had battled cancer valiantly this past year..but losing his dad took a toll on him. We lost my uncle and aunt last year within 2 weeks of each other last year. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever lived through in my life. This year..Uncle Frank’s sons have died within months of each other. We lost Glenn and now Grady. My mom and dad were able to make the funeral and I felt better knowing they were there in my place.

Saturday was my crazy brother’s birthday. My dad decided randomly after the funeral that we should take off and go see him. My dad’s been sick the past two weeks so I offered to drive. Well..let’s just say that mom and I were talking and I completely forgot about July beach traffic until I was stuck bumper-to-bumper in it. A trip that normally takes us about 2 hours..took us four. But..being able to spend time with your only brother is what it’s all about :) I was excited to be able to see The Village Surf Shop’s new window in person. They hired a great typographer to come do some hand lettering. I’ve been drooling over the Instagram photos since they posted them. My brother is super tight with the owner’s so we’ve done a lot of business with them over the years. They also stock our Killa Surf Squad merchandise! I’m pleased to say the t-shirts sold out within a week. But don’t worry new stock is on the way! We went to the Conch Grille to grab some dinner and dad was in rare form. I promise you his jokes get worse and worse the older he gets. Kudos to our waitress for being a good sport and putting up with him. I had the most amazing Mahi Mahi! Grilled to perfection, it literally melted in my mouth. After dinner, we headed over to Old Time Pottery, one of my absolute favorite stores in Myrtle Beach. You just never know what you’re going to find there. I discovered they have a craft section! Mom and I saw the metal wreaths we’d been searching for to make burlap wreaths. I wish I had bought more than two. They were super cheap :)

The drive home was so much better. Only took me about an hour and forty minutes. But..after doing a HIIT workout Friday, running and driving 8+ hours on Saturday..my back was so stiff. I looked like an old lady walking into church yesterday.

Sunday night was super fun! I headed over to Anna’s house for KC’s 7th birthday :) I can’t believe how big her boys are getting! They were watching the World Cup when I got there. Her dad and I had the best time doing our own running commentary. I was the only one pulling for Germany. Apparently, James was pulling for Germany too. I got a hilarious text message from him with a photo of him in his Germany jersey & jacket. It’s always fun to spend time with Anna’s family :) Both her family and her husband’s family were there. They are just a fun bunch to hangout with. I’m glad they include me in their get-togethers. KC got a metal detector for his birthday and had the best time scouring the yard for hidden treasure. He found a big treasure in the backyard. A piece of old chain was buried and Hot Rod (Anna’s Dad) helped him dig it up :) So much fun! Anna makes the cutest cakes and decorations! You could literally create an entire Pinterest board with her decorations of cuteness. KC had a Lego cake and it was balling! It was soooo yummy too! Chocolate :) My fav!

It was a really fun weekend :) I went home and made more boiled peanuts with Mom. I attempted to make a batch by myself Saturday..and I won’t lie..I must not have done something right..they were horrible!

I feel like I’ve run a marathon this weekend..it’s been non-stop. Whew..

How was your weekend? Anything fun and exciting happen?

XoXo!

One Legs Propped Up Resting Lemon

Cinco de aMayozing!

Yesterday was CINCO DE MAYO!!! I love it :) It’s like this random little holiday that pops up and says: “Hey You! Let’s go have some fun!”. I had quite a busy day yesterday!

I signed my loan papers for my house! I can honestly say I’m beginning to feel like an adult :) My loan officer was quite impressed with me. She said that I am one of the youngest people they have ever had the privileged of approving for a loan. She even brought the other loan officers in to meet me. They wanted to know about this “Dave Ramsey” thing I do. I will say that if you follow the financial peace university program it will change your life. Last year, I was struggling with my finances. I couldn’t understand why I was making more than enough money to live on but always seeming to just squeak by at the end of the month. I knew my mom and dad lived by a budget (which I had..but you know what happens when you see a cute pair of shoes..) and did this “Dave Ramsey” thing.

One weekend, I was exasperated with my finances. I took my bank statements, credit card statements and drove over to their house to ask for help. Yes, yes, I can ask for help when I need although I am typically very pig-headed about asking for help.

Mom and dad sat down and explained to me the wonders of the envelope system. One of the greatest things my grandpa taught me growing up was this..if you don’t have the money for it, don’t buy it. He used this system as well. I had to explain it to my loan officer yesterday as they were a little bewildered to why I only have about $200 in my checking account. Yet had all this cash..so here’s my explanation of how it works for me :)

Budget each paycheck! Budget is a dirty word to most people, but you must budget down to the last dime if you’re going to successfully implement the envelope system. Seriously! Get nitty-gritty! My mom and I took 6 months of my bank statements and went through them with a comb. I saw how much those random little Redbox stops were costing me and that I was overspending on food (big surprise..I love to eat).

Divide and conquer :) Of course, there will be budget items that you cannot include in your envelope system, like bills paid by check or automatic withdraw. However, you can create categories like food, gas, clothing and entertainment. I do create envelopes for anything that gets auto-drafted. They are red and I write the day they come out and how much is left to pay off for my student loans.

Fill ‘er Up, Up, Up! After you’ve categorized your cash expenses, fill each envelope with the money allotted for it in your budget. For example, if you allow $100 for clothing, put $100 in cash in your clothing envelope for the month. I then write on the back of the envelope how much is in it. If you take money out, it gets deducted on the back of the envelope.

When it’s gone, it’s gone :( Once you’ve spent all the money in a given envelope, you’re done spending for that category. If you go on a shopping spree and spend the $100 in your clothing envelope, you can’t spend any more on clothes until you budget for that category again. That means no visits to the ATM to withdraw more money! THIS ONE IS HARD! But after 16 months of living by this system, I can whole hearted-ly say its worth it. For example, my truck had to have $450 worth of work done to it last month. Instead of being freaked out because I didn’t have $400 bucks..I merely pulled out my “Truck Repairs” envelope and paid cash. Because I paid cash, the Auto repair shop dropped it down $50 :) He said they hate dealing with credit cards because it costs him extra money. So hey..you might be able to save some money here & there :)

Don’t be tempted! While debit cards can’t get you directly into debt, if used carelessly, they can cause you to over-spend. There’s something psychological about spending cash that hurts more than swiping a piece of plastic. If spending cash whenever possible can become a habit, you’ll be less likely to over-spend or buy on impulse. I have found this to be super true. If I have to hand a cashier $40 for a pair of shoes..I’m probably going to put them back.

Give it time. It will take a few months to perfect your envelope system. Don’t give up after a month or two if it’s not clicking. You’ll get the hang of it and see how beneficial the envelope system is as you dump debt, build wealth, and achieve financial peace! See … simple! I took me about 3 months to get the system fine tuned for me.

Certainly, some bills may come in at different times of the month, so you’ll need to adjust your written game plan to take it one step further. You need to plan the budget based upon your pay periods. Say that you get paid twice a month. If you can write down which bills you plan on paying from each paycheck, you will not be left with a surprise bill. Spend each month’s income and each individual paycheck on paper before it comes in.

I tell you all of this because it blew my loan officer’s mind. At 26, I drive an almost new vehicle that was paid for in cash (also got a better deal on it because I paid cash!). I have no credit card debt (I have 2 credit cards merely because I needed to build up my credit..Kohl’s & Victoria Secret). The only outstanding debt I currently have is a student loan from college that will be completely paid off on February 15th of 2015 (After-which I shall promptly dance around my living room!).  Needless to say, I am not your typical 26-year-old. However, I will tell you that utilizing the Dave Ramsey system did hurt me a little bit in my loan application process. I have great credit, but not having a lot of money in your checking account is a big red flag to a loan company. I had to write a letter explaining the Dave Ramsey system and that I have more money in cash. Who knew people didn’t like cold, hard cash anymore? Geez..

So after 2 hours of signing my life away..I was excited to meet up with my friends to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! We met up at one of the local Mexican restaurants (they have the best margaritas and fresh guacamole in town!) T-Crunk and I are both on the 24 Day Challenge so we knew we would have to make some healthy choices. Both of us had saved some calories for dinner because we had anticipated eating out. Our waiter (who knows us by name because we eat there so often) had us covered though :) He told Teri she should try the “skinny” margarita (Calories: 124). Their skinny margarita is made with fresh lime/orange juice, agave nectar and tequila. The difference in taste she said was amazing! For my dinner, I choose chicken enchiladas (393 calories for the 3) and was only able to eat 2. Teri and I split a small basket of chips and the salsa is made fresh daily :)

The boys discovered the mechanical bull outside and it was instantly a competition to see who could last the longest. There were 5 of them and 4 of us girls. Being that I was sporting white pants, I politely declined. Secretly, because I really didn’t want to lose the yummy enchiladas I just eaten. Teri said no way Jose..and then of course we tried to talk her boyfriend into it. But Bob said he was having more fun winning free t-shirts from the DJ (don’t mess with Bob if there’s music trivia..he’s the king at it.) We settled around the mechanical bull to watch the fun. Tyler made it about 5 seconds, Nick lasted a little bit longer and CB won for staying on longer than 30 seconds. CB did manage to get hung up the second time he came off. Needless to say, we spent the next five minutes treating his hands because the rope sliced it quite nicely. But what’s life if you don’t come out with a few battle scars? It got him another free t-shirt so he wasn’t really complaining. We spent the rest of the night showing the little kids how to do the hokey pokey..I seriously thought everyone knew how to do that! They didn’t know how to do the chicken dance or the macarena either!! What are they learning in school these days? It was a fun night to celebrate with friends :)

Oh! Bob came home with 5 t-shirts, CB came home with 4, Teri came home with 2 and I ended up with one & a key chain :)

What did you do for Cinco de Mayo?

XoXo!

One Chicken Dancing Lemon