Two months, two years

It’s been almost two months since we lost baby #3.

Since the miscarriage, I’ve known several people who have announced their pregnancies. And I have consciously had to choose to rejoice with them. I am truly happy for them, but I have to remember their joy or timing in sharing their joy has absolutely nothing to do with me or our losses.

Today I received an email from BabyCenter saying “Week 14! Congratulations!” Obviously, BabyCenter was happy that I supposedly made it to the second trimester. I immediately had my husband unsubscribe me from that automated “service.”

Next month will also be the 2 year mark from when we lost baby #1.

So basically today is really just a sucky day.

I am so thankful for our precious son (who is #2 in the lineup of pregnancies) and that he is growing and healthy. Not to mention sweet, smart, handsome, silly, etc, etc,….

I am also so thankful for a husband who supports me in all things, no matter how silly they are. And who lets me grieve, even two months and two years after losing our babies.

And I am mostly so thankful for God and his promises for our family. Days like today are no fun for me or anyone who gets the “joy” of interacting with me. But through it all, God is sovereign. He has already made a way. He loves and cares for us, and for my children (here, in heaven, and still to come). He will not fail.

This is my mantra today. He will not fail.

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Opening My Door…

Before I begin, I’m not trying to turn this into a super serious blog. I’ve just had a few things on my mind lately, and this happens to be a good outlet for me to express myself.

Confession: I used to be a very judgmental person.

Technically, I still am, but God is redeeming that ugly part of me, so I don’t claim it as my current identity. I also used to be obsessed with perfection, particularly in my own achievements, and am also being healed of that. But I believe my desire for perfection is what drives the judgment. High expectations of self = high (unreasonable) expectations of others.

I guess through this transformation that is taking place in my life, I am now more aware than ever of the judgment that goes on around us all. I have posted about this on my personal Facebook page, read and shared blogs on the subject, and have had countless conversations with various people about it.

The more I think about it, the more I’m realizing how we (or maybe just me) are living in this weird dichotomy of longing for authenticity, but are too ashamed of our imperfections to openly share what is really happening in our lives.

My sister and I have joked that we would post a picture of the current state of our kitchens on Facebook to see people’s reactions.

But here is my question. If I were (or we were) to be completely open and honest in these social media forums where it is so easy to project some fallacious idea of ourselves, what would be the response?

Well, I’m going to find out. This is what my kitchen looks like. right. now.

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Truthfully, the only reason it looks this good is because I spent a large portion of the day cleaning. And even though that broom has been in the corner for a week, I have yet to sweep. The bowl on the sink ledge is full of bacon grease, but we haven’t had bacon in the house in over a week. There is a pile of papers on the bookshelf that I just don’t know what to do with. There’s a lid on the floor next to the pack ‘n’ play that I’ve walked by 1,000 times today and have yet to pick it up.

The reason I share all of this is because I am guilty of both longing for authenticity but also trying to make my life look perfect on these various social media outlets (and in person, for that matter). While sharing my thoughts and opinions with people, I always consider how it will come across to others, but not in the sense that I don’t want to offend. I do it in the sense that I want to make sure I am showing that I have my life together.

These photos are a very shallow depiction of how my life isn’t perfect. From time to time, I get the energy and/or desire to get things in order and make it all pretty and ready for others to view, assuming we have scheduled that viewing with ample time for me to get everything back to a state of perfection.

But this post is me opening my front door in my pjs, no make-up, letting you into my house unannounced, and allowing you to see and think whatever you want. Will you do the same?

I am tired of the façade. Let’s be real with one another. And let’s not judge when someone’s life doesn’t meet the unrealistic expectations that we project onto others–when we probably don’t meet those expectations ourselves.

I hope that this post may help to continue the conversation about authenticity and not judging others for the things that make them human.

Love you all.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I am honored that my friend Heather at Simply Save would nominate me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  If you are looking for another great money-saving blog, this gal is the real deal.  Her concept is “living the good life at a cheaper price,” which I love.  I only know her through the blogging world, but I’m pretty sure if I knew her outside of wordpress, we’d be friends.  Also, I strongly support her use of the Oxford comma 🙂

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Here are the rules of the award:

  1. Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Proudly display the logo on your blog and follow the bloggers who nominated you.

Here are seven facts about myself…

  1. My full name is Mariam, but I have gone by Mary my entire life.
  2. I am married to… literally… the hottest guy on the face of the earth.  I would share a photo, but I can’t for fear that all women would envy me 😉
  3. I have one son here with me and two babies in heaven.
  4. I accepted Jesus and was baptized on April 18, 2004.  It has been just over 10 years since I made this decision, and since then my life has been absolutely transformed.  If you ever want to know what I mean by that, don’t hesitate to ask!
  5. I started this blog because I wanted to share with others how we are paying down our (read: my) student debt by making radical lifestyle choices.  I know it’s not for everyone, but my hope is for someone to find a few things that will encourage them along their journey as well.
  6. I have a photographic memory.  Growing up and in college I never studied for tests.  I just memorized what my notes looked like.  Don’t tell my profs.  I don’t want them to revoke my diplomas.
  7. Speaking of which, I have 2 degrees in music (a Bachelors in Church Music and a Masters in Vocal Performance).  I always thought my life after my schooling would heavily involve music, but it turned out God had other plans for me.  I am very thankful to get to stay home with our son, and even though I honestly never thought I would be a stay at home mom, it is clearly where I need to be right now.

Now for the fun part… My nominations (in alphabetical order):

Amber Under Construction is awesome.  Her tagline is “More like Him and less like Me.”  She shares her journey through this life with such authenticity and is definitely one inspiring lady.

Indebted Mom has a fantastic blog with a unique perspective on debt.  We have very similar stories, which I think is cool.  She has also been a great encouragement as I’ve continued my blogging journey, and you need to check her out.

The World of J Patrick Avery is my brother who is a fantastic writer.  He shares excerpts from the novel he is currently writing, flash fiction, streams of consciousness, etc., as well as tons of information about writing and grammar.

The Zero Waste Chef  is super cool.  She strives to live a lifestyle of zero waste (thus, the title, I’m assuming), and has great ideas for utilizing every aspect of food, making things from scratch, and eliminating waste.

Well, that’s not 15 people, but I firmly stand behind these blogs and the causes and concepts they support.  I hope you will check them out and enjoy them as much as I have 🙂

10 Surefire Ways to Build an Emergency Fund Now!

Just found this great blog! She covers lots of ground, but I especially liked this post “10 Surefire Ways to Build an Emergency Fund Now!” You’ll definitely want to check it out!!

Modern Hen home

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Do you have at least $1,000 tucked away for a short-term crisis? Emergencies always happen when we least expect them and can be financially devastating when they do. How we manage our lives and stress, unfortunately have a lot to do with money, or lack thereof. Most financial experts suggest every household should have a minimum of $1,000 in savings to cover unexpected calamity. If you have less than this in savings, or nothing at all, it’s time to focus on changing that.

The following 10 surefire ways worked to build my family’s emergency fund and can make a huge difference in your path to financial freedom, too.

1. Make the decision you MUST, CAN and WILL save for an emergency. To inspire you read, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. It’s a step-by-step guide based on biblical principles with simple strategies to guide you out of debt for good. No matter your circumstances, it’s never too late to change the direction of your…

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13 Tips for Saving $1300 on Your Grocery Bill This Year

My blogger friend at Three Peas Consignments wrote this GREAT post on saving tons of money on your grocery bill! Lots of fantastic ideas for saving $1300 this year!!

Three Peas Services

Whether you’re shopping for 2 or 22, you can’t deny that the price of food goods has increased exponentially over the past decade. Many families have resorted to creative (yet time consuming) strategies such as extreme couponing and monthly meal planning. While these are great, the average working mom and dad, does not have the time, knowledge, or resources to plan out these strategies effectively. However there are several small changes that you can make today to help fight the battle of the waning wallet.

1. Build your core grocery list

Write out a core shopping list of items you purchase regularly, but make sure they are:

  • Nutritious
  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile

You’re looking for items that will give you the most bang for your buck! Things like potatoes are cheap and can be prepared in many different recipes. For the most part, stick with individual ingredients, which can be made into many…

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