2019: The Year That Should Have Broke Me

I just refused to let it.
I thought this would be my best year yet.
I started out 2019 traveling the US with my husband, a dream we had made a reality. When our marriage fell apart in early March, I shared about my separation and pending divorce. And as if that weren’t heart-wrenching enough for one year..
I didn’t share that my younger, older brother, was released from prison for maybe the fifth time..? I’ve honestly lost count. (And well hoping for the best, I prayed not to have to live through the worst, again.)
I didn’t share that I had a friendship-ending falling out with my “forever” best friend of 20 years in April.
Or that my step-dad was diagnosed with cancer just before Father’s day.
Or they my mom was diagnosed with cancer in August.
These things shattered my world, one by one, seemingly again and again.
So I did what I do, and I cried. I cried the tears and I felt the feels.
Then, I pulled myself together, and found strength through it all.
I cannot say the whole year was a bust. That brother I talked about is the strongest, most resilient version of himself that I have ever known, and we are closer than ever.
And that friendship I lost in April was superseded by meeting, online and then in person, the most faith-filled, beautiful inside and out, loving and caring girl that I have ever met in my entire life the month before that, and I joyously call her best friend.
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My parents are still not 100%, but are both cancer-free, praise God!
And while I don’t know where I want to live or what I want to do with my life entirely, I completed training for my new career in September and have been a flight attendant ever since, a job that I love even more than I thought I would.
In 2019, I kept select people close and I kept God closer. I put my life 100% into His hands, like never before.
I was scared and felt lost, had no idea where to live, what to do, how to feel..or how to do it all earlier this year. So I let go, and I let God.
This isn’t some miraculous turn around story and I can honestly say I’m SO happy this year is almost over.
I can also say that my work life is pretty fantastic but the rest of my life is still messy, and it still hurts.
My parents are on the mend, and I’m beyond thankful for that. My ex BFF and I have completely severed ties but I know that the people I do have in my corner are my people, my family, and my heart. I’m so blessed to have them.
And no matter what, I choose happy everyday. I choose laughing and making new IMG_20191128_130023memories to crying and replaying old ones. I choose joy and excited anticipation for the future.
I know next year won’t be perfect, and I have no false hope about creating a life without ups and downs. But at the end of this year, I find myself with a new sense of calm, a reclaimed joy, and the ability to fully-focus on the good, beautiful, and abundant blessings around me.
I didn’t write this as a pity post, or to brag on how I came out on the other side but yet to share this very real and very raw side of me as this year comes to a close. We all struggle, and we all go through hard things, whether we talk about them, or not.
If you want to share or talk through anything, please reach out to me. I will be more than happy to listen, and show you love, to pray, and be an ear for you to talk to.
And please, give yourself to God, so that He can guide you. I promise you, you can get through the hard stuff. Always believe and stay full of faith, and happy almost 2020 friends=)

Scripture Sunday: Take Today (And Every Sunday) To Rest

In a past bible study, our group talked about Sabbath and how important it is to take Sundays off. This is to be the day of God, rest, family, and friends.

But is that what we do? Do we take this day for God and our people? Or is it our only day off and so we squeeze everything into this day?

For most of us, we prepare for the next week on Sundays. We meal prep, schedule our life, and clean the house. We take kids to this sport, that sport, birthday parties, and play dates. We work and run errands.

Sunday has become the busiest day of the week and not the rest day that He wants for us.

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.

Deuteronomy 5:12-14

I work a 4 days on/2 days off schedule, so work on Sundays is a part of my life.

But a couple of weeks ago, I really prayed on this. I asked God to show me a way to not work on Sundays, to rest, to have time for my people, and Him.

Ask and you shall receive. study-862994__340

Work was very slow for one of my working weekends, I literally did not have any work come into my bin. So that Sunday was freed up for what He wanted me to be doing, resting.

Last weekend was a scheduled weekend off for me, so more rest on Sunday. (And if you saw my Facebook/Instagram post, I completely unlpugged last Sunday, for the whole day. No phone. It was great.)

And now this Sunday is an editing holiday for me. What should have been my “Day 1” is now a day off.

Now, I’m not saying every Sunday I won’t work. And this last Sunday I did spend about 30 minutes at the end of my day thinking, and planning for the next week. But I also rested and stayed 100% present in the day.

I went to church. I cuddled kiddos. I spent time talking with my BFF. And you should find a way to do this, too.

So for this Easter Sunday, do what you can to slow down. Pray extra and rest. Praise God and go to church. After all, it’s Easter and you never know what miracles may come of it.

If you’re reading this, I want to pray for you.

Dear God, Thank You for Your word. All we have to do is read the bible to see all that You have for us. Thank You for giving us a day of rest and urging us to take it. Thank You for giving us a day for You, us, and our family and friends. We are so thankful for You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Happy Easter Sunday friends=)

Where We Are Now: De Pere, Wisconsin

We’re off! We left this morning, on the way to our new life. The car was packed by 8:45AM and we were ready to walk out the door by 9AM. Scratch that, I was ready, hubby was in the bathroom. **eyeroll** haha.

This post is a new weekly (or so) blog post so that you can stay current we me and my hubby as we travel, work, and begin our new remote life. So much has been happening and we are busier than ever, more blessed than ever, and it starts now!

First stop, De Pere WI. We are staying in De Pere and visiting with Nick’s best friend and family for about a week. Him and Nick are going to the first Green Bay Packer football game tonight. (They are there now and the Packers won. What a game!)

For this week, there will be lots of time to play with his BFF’s kiddos and sit and visit with Nate and Jackie, his best friend and wife. We can’t wait to grill out and have some drinks and some laughs.

But first, I know you wonder what we’ve been up to since we left Florida. Well, we fell in love with WI all IMG_20180822_134600.jpgover again=) The summer weather has been perfect. We got to hike a lot, bike a lot, Nick golfed a lot, and we ate a lot, of beans!

My MIL has a small garden but a small amount of beans it did not produce, there were soIMG_20180729_085919_164 many fresh green beans to eat! My parents in law live in Central Wisconsin and there is everything imaginable to do for fun. We spent time with his brother and girlfriend, too and had dinners, lots of talks, and a round of mini golf. Around the area there are other events, giveaways, golf scrambles, open houses, and more. *family time*

In fact, just last night, we attended a dueling piano show. There was a huge raffle, singers, piano players, and someone even got out a trumpet. What a gas! (As my Dad would say, LOL.) Speaking of my Dad, he just happened to be working about an hour away from us, in a town named Pittsville, and we were able to see him and have dinner with him twice in these last couple of weeks. I loved that time with him, and little as it was, and can be these days, I will always be so thankful for it.

Speaking of family, we also took about a week to go see Nick’s extended family in Fargo, ND, and in Bemidji, MN. Mom and Dad drove the whole way so that Nick and I could work while on the road. That was so helpful and I hope we didn’t take too much advantage of the transportation situation, but we did get a lot of work done. (Thanks again Mom and Dad!)

And about traveling and visiting with family, I know it sounds like we were taking vacations, going to events, chilling, and simply living it up while we’ve been in WI, but IMG_20180825_085408_830the truth is, we worked a lot, too! I finished my latest book, Everything’s Better with Soup and Salad: Part Two, while we were at my in-laws. I wrote a ton of freelance work and did more edits this month than I ever have before. Such a busy work month for me. And for hubby!

Nick’s workload was pretty typical, but he also got out into the world, made some moves, and got some on-site experiences so that he could talk and write about new and fun stories to his readers. Want to know what he did? Of course you do!

Nick did a presentation on bitcoin at a rotary club meeting. His dad is a part of the club IMG_20180827_114538_1and asked him (persistently) to do a presentation. Me and mom helped push Nick to do the presentation, too. And for good reason! Nick is smart, knowledgeable, and did an amazing job explaining a hard to understand and very new to people concept. Way to go, Nick!

Nick also toured a cranberry bog and a ginseng farm, and took me along for the ride! It was awesome to see these things, not only growing but thriving in Central WI, a IMG_20180828_095113place known for both cranberries and ginseng. He talked business, and I talked fun, LOL. We got to try a cranberry, not fully ripened and picked right from the field. It tasted like an apple, not sour at all, a little sweet actually and less firm than an apple consistency but not in a mushy sort of way. We also got our first taste of ginseng via candy. It was different and good, and that’s saying a lot coming from me because I am not a huge candy lover.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you for now. September is busier than ever and filled with more visits with friends and family, fun WI events, and lots of work during the days.

Thanks for reading and make sure to stay tuned for more from our adventures. Happy Sunday!

 

Gluten-Free Ham, Egg, and Cheese Souffle

This recipe is a version of my Gluten-Free Sausage Egg Souffle but with ham and two different kinds of cheeses instead. I love how easy this dish is to put together and how homemade and wholesome it tastes.

And using cubed ham cuts your cook time down on this recipe, because it’s ready to add to the dish, you don’t have to cook it at all! So just combine everything, throw it in the oven, and in about an hour, you will have a delicious piece of breakfast to enjoy.

Gluten-Free Ham, Egg, and Cheese Souffle

  • 1 pound cubed ham IMG_20180729_120349.jpg
  • 6 pieces of Gluten-Free bread, cubed
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup medium cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • butter to grease the pan

Cube the bread into dice-sized pieces and shred the cheddar cheese. Whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pepper together.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 pan with butter and put 1/3 of the ham into the bottom of the pan. Continue layering with 1/3 of the bread and 1/3 cheese. Layer until finished and pour the egg mixture evenly over the top. Cover with foil and put into the oven.

Which version do you like better? I really enjoyed this ham and two cheese souffle. Let me know what you think!

Like this recipe? Go HERE to check out my books!

We’re Going On An Adventure

Otherwise known as our life. And we leave in less than two weeks! (Actually move from our apartment in South Florida to become gypsies, digital nomads, or like I like to call it, Airbnb’ers!)

I can hardly believe it. What once was a thought of, talked through, pipe dream is fast becoming our reality, and I cannot wait to tell you about it.

First things first, a little about my story. My hubby and I are anything but traditional. We moved and lived to Panama for 6 months early in our dating life. We came back and got married on the sly. And then, once we were back (home,) Nick found himself his dream job and we left and moved to Florida.

And today, we are coming up on almost three (HOT) years in Florida. It’s really crazy how fast it went. Wow.

And now, we’re on to the next!

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Wisconsin

We plan to spend most of August and September back home (in Wisconsin,) almost all of October traveling, November back here in the Florida life and by Christmas we will be to my mom and step dad’s in Arizona. Whew!

From there, we plan to spend most of  2019 on the west coast. We have lots of love for California, Washington and Oregon, and are excited to visit new states and areas, too!

The end of this year will go fast and there are so many things I am looking forward to. A Brewer’s game back home, seeing friends and family, walking on the lake path in Lake Geneva and my favorite egg rolls ever are just the beginning.

Maybe I should back up and preface all of this with, both my husband and I have the ability to work remotely. Travel and seeing the nation (and the world!) is on both of our hearts and with the remote work option, neither of us can say exactly where we want to live “forever” or where we want to be even for now. We want to see, and be, in it all!

We talked about this life, this dream, this possibility..all the way back when we lived in Panama. Truly, that feels like a long time ago. It’s crazy how much time has passed, how many things have changed, and all that has happened to us in the last five years.

And now, we both are in completely new professions that hold our passions and allow us to live out our other passions, too, like spending time with our people and traveling. old-1130743_1920

Life has not always been easy and sometimes, it still isn’t. But things happen and you have to be flexible, and be as positive and patient as you can!

I am so excited. It’s hard to believe. But for now, I must go. I need to pack my life, my place, and my suitcase! (We’re off to Vancouver Canada at the end of this week for 10 days,) and we move three days after coming back. Oy! Oh yes, and don’t forget about that work life, too!

Thanks for reading and do me a favor and put in a prayer for us! Life may not have turned out like we “wanted it to,” or even how we thought it would. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t turned our exactly how it was supposed to.

I can’t wait to share this journey with you and all of my continued love for natural everything, delicious food, God, workouts, friends and family, travel and everything else Emmy!

XOXO

Gluten-Free Sausage Egg Souffle

My Gram and my Dad were only technically related by marriage, but they were the cutest. Each one always said to say hi to the other, there were cards exchanged and dates with food and drink, just to catch up. So, what I tell you next won’t surprise you.

You see, I grew up eating this delicious breakfast dish, my Dad’s spicy and my Mom’s or Gram’s with ham or bacon. It was a family favorite for everyone.

It was after my Gram passed that I made this dish for Nick and I, like I had so many IMG_20171110_161416times before. But I told my Dad we had made it and how I couldn’t wait to eat it, like always, the delicious, spicy version my Dad made growing up.

It was then he told me, in fact, that this was Gram’s recipe. I didn’t know and never put the two together until then. This story made me smile and so happy to love and cook something that is such a part of my whole family.

Of course, being me, I changed the recipe a little, swapping the bread for gluten-free bread and Almond milk instead of traditional milk. But the flavors and tastes are the same, and so good!

You can put this together and let it sit overnight, ready to put in the oven or throw it IMG_20171110_163217together in the morning as well. I’m partial to using spicy breakfast sausage but you can mix or match that, too, and even add veggies if you want!

Gluten-Free Sausage Egg Souffle

  • 1 pound hot breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 6 pieces of Gluten-Free bread, cubed
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup almond milkIMG_20171110_161432
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • butter to grease the pan

In a medium-sized skillet pan over medium heat, crumble and cook the sausage. Separately, cube the bread into dice-sized pieces and shred the cheddar cheese. Whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pepper together.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 pan with butter and put 1/3 of the sausage into the bottom of the pan. Continue layering with 1/3 of the bread and 1/3 cheese. Layer until finished and pour the egg mixture over the top. Cover with foil and put into the oven.

Cook for an hour. Take the foil off and finish cooking about 10 minutes, to crisp up the top and make it bubbly.IMG_20171111_092912

Dish up and add a pat of butter to the top with an extra sprinkle of pepper. Enjoy!

Like this recipe? Check out my other books, and watch for more to come!

Want a paperback copy? Reply in the comments and I’ll send you one!