Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On This Veteran's Day

Most Veteran's do not like to be regarded to as heroes. In my opinion, a hero is someone that you can look up to, admire, and respect. To me, a veteran almost always fits that description.

Growing up, I didn't really know what it meant to be a veteran - to have served our country. I didn't "get it." I knew that my uncle and some of his friends were in the Navy, stationed in Virginia. I knew I only got to see him when he came home from the "big ship." I knew that my Papaw was in the Army, but only recently did I find out that he was a Sargeant 1st Class and served his country for 21 years. Neither of them ever really spoke about their service to our country; I just knew that I loved and admired both of these men that were important to me for many reasons, including their time in the military. 

As I got older, I began to have a wider perspective of the military. I have had many friends who have served and here and there I learned bits and pieces. I thought I understood what it must be like to serve and to have that kind of bond, even with perfect strangers. I still wished my veteran friends a "Happy" Veteran's Day. 

My view has changed yet again. I've chosen to spend my life with a veteran and while I will never fully "get it," there are a few things that I now know for sure. I know that Veteran's Day is not a happy day; it's a day to remember those veterans who didn't make it home and to thank the ones who did. I learned that I will never really understand why the men and women who choose to serve our country do what they do for so many who are unwilling to do the same. I will never understand the bond that they have with one another. I will never understand why the majority of veterans would drop everything and do it all over again if they could. 

My heart breaks, yet swells with pride every time I remind myself of this. I didn't choose to serve this country the way so many have. I have however, always held a deep appreciation for those who did choose that path. I am thankful for the sacrifice. I am grateful. For you, you, and you.

Thank You.

Remember today, the fallen heroes who didn't make it back home. Remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for me and for you. Remember their families and friends. Say a prayer for the veterans who we are lucky to still have with us today. Pray for them to find peace and comfort. Remember that today is not a "happy" holiday, but a day of remembrance and thanks. 

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Lighter Pumpkin Latte Courtesy of Sweet’N Low®

Temperatures at night are dropping lower, the air is feeling crisper, and folks are getting antsy for the sights, sounds, and tastes of Fall!

My absolute favorite season is Fall. I look forward to crisp, warm days, pumpkins all over the place, the excitement of Halloween, and a couple of my favorite Fall-themed beverages. It’s always fun to be a little indulgent, but if I were to drink my favorite pumpkin latte all season-long my diet plan would be way off track!

Luckily, Sweet’N Low® has got me covered! If you enjoy the sweet taste of lattes but not the calories that accompany them, then read on for a great Lighter Pumpkin Latte recipe from Sweet‘N Low®!

I’m going to share a multiple-serving recipe because even if you aren’t sharing with friends, you will probably find yourself wanting more than one latte! At only 93 calories per serving, enjoy the taste of Fall without the caloric guilt!

Lighter Pumpkin Latte Recipe
93 Calories per serving
(serves 4)

  • 12 packets Sweet‘N Low® zero calorie sweetener
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) espresso coffee (or bold coffee)
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin (not the pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cups skim milk (or plain unsweetened almond or soy milk)
  • Nutmeg, for garnish (optional)

  1. In a heatproof container, whirl the Sweet‘N Low®, espresso, pumpkin, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice using a milk frother or fork.  Pour equal amounts into 4 mugs.
  2. In a separate container, heat the milk in the microwave. Pour equal amounts of hot milk to each mug and whirl until the latte is topped with foam.
  3. Garnish with a pinch of nutmeg. Serve immediately.

Enjoy your Lighter Pumpkin Latte from Sweet‘N Low®!

This blog post is sponsored by Sweet’N Low®.
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

One Year Later

I was a nervous wreck. The moment I'd dreamt about, wished for, played over in my mind for the last 7 years was finally about to happen. I was nauseous and my stomach was in knots. My heart was pounding and I couldn't stop smiling. 

Does my hair look okay? What should I wear? Where is that perfume?? Crap! I'm going to be late!!! I run out the door in a rush telling myself to stay calm, everything is going to be fine. 

Flying down the highway, I didn't know which was moving faster - my car or my pulse. I tried to distract myself with music on the radio, but it just wasn't working. It felt like the longest 20 minutes of my life. As nervous as I was, I just couldn't get there fast enough. 

Finally, I reach the parking lot and I turn towards the back where I knew he'd be waiting. I literally can not breath; so many emotions happening at one time and I"m on overload. But then - I saw his face - his smile - the one I hadn't seen in such a long time. My nerves were gone, my fears eased and a calm washed over me. It felt like it took me forever to get out of the car, but I know it was only a matter of seconds before I got out and ran into his arms. 

With his arms wrapped around me tight, my eyes began to well up with tears. It had been 7 years since I'd laid eyes on him or felt his touch, but in an instant I knew that everything I'd ever felt for him was still there - 10 fold. I felt like I was home.  

I finally pulled my head away from his chest to look up at him; I smiled and said "hi," and then he did the same. Those dimples - good, Lord I was weak in the knees! If it hadn't felt like 100* out that day we probably would have stayed just like that for hours. Instead, we decided to go in and eat. Neither of us were hungry and we mostly held hands across the table while smiling at each other like a couple of goof balls. It was indescribable being in the presence of my best friend and true love again. 

One Year Ago
If you had told me last July that we would be where we are today, I would have laughed you off of my front porch and then gone inside and cried because everything I have now is all I've ever wanted. One year later, Chris and I are happier than we've ever been. Our love and passion for each other is more intense than it's ever been. Being around him still makes my heart race, and his smile still makes me weak in the knees. We've made plans - big plans - and we've made steps to set them in motion. It's an amazing feeling to be living life with the one person who was made for me.

Being away from my soul mate for 7 years taught me a lot of lessons, but one sticks out more than others. At the end of the day, we're together and that is all that matters. Life isn't perfect and sometimes it even sucks, but if you have the one you love by your side - you'll make it - together. 

Christopher - I love you more than words could ever explain. After all we've been through together - both good and bad - I"m so very grateful to have you by my side every single day. I'm thankful for your love and support in everything I do. I'm appreciative of you as my partner in this life and as the father of our children. I'm lucky to have you to turn to when I need a shoulder to cry on or a good laugh. I'm blessed in knowing that you love me, all of me, and only me. I'm honored that you have chosen me. 

I'm looking forward to:

  • many more mornings of making your coffee and packing your lunch (little love notes included). 
  • washing many more loads of your laundry and making your favorite meals.
  • many more confusing conversations about cars and their parts (and finally catching on!)
  • many more "honey, I made it" text messages and many more "I love you's."
  • random and last minute road trips.
  • late night giggles instead of falling asleep.
  • mid week lunch dates.
  • not ever being able to surprise you, because you know me so well.
  • all the plans we've made and the dreams we've dreamt - coming true! 
I'm looking forward to many more years with you.

I love you babe! Happy Anniversary! 

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