Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Love You






















My heart is heavy today.

The time has come for me to shut down My Name is Jacy.

Unfortunately, unexpected personal circumstances have made it so.

No blog, no goal, and no mission is worth jeopardizing my family- even with something as seemingly minuscule as a blog- and so, it is with great sadness that I have decided to close it down completely.

But I do want to thank you all for your love and support these past 9 months (and even longer if you're from the old blog). You have changed my life in more ways than I could have ever comprehended. You have made me a better person. Thank you, thank you.

Because of this blog, I was not only able to grow in magnificent ways, but I also met some of the most incredible women... and I feel so fortunate to have been apart of something so authentic and real. I've said it a billion times.... but this is life... and sometimes the BEST choices are the hardest ones to make.

Hitting the publish button was hard today, but my Little Dude and my new-husband-to-be come first. And please know that this decision was not taken lightly or because of trivial reasons. I'm doing what I have to do.

With that, I am off to enjoy the new adventure ahead of me.

Happiness exists.

Love is real.

Circumstances may change really quickly, but there is always an opportunity to adapt, learn and grow.

This is where I find myself now.

I love you all.

May God bless you and watch over each and every one of you.

I can do hard things.

You can too.


All my love,

Jacy


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Bright-Side





























Last night over dinner, I asked Seth

"So, babe... what should I blog about tomorrow?"

He sat for a minute and said,

"Finding the brighter side in life!"

Perfect topic for today.

Here is something that I've slowly come to figure out in my life so far:

SO MUCH OF MY OWN HAPPINESS LIES WITHIN MY OWN HANDS.

If I am unhappy or feeling down, I don't have to change my entire life around to be happier or to find happiness. Actually, what it's really all about is changing the way you look at what you've got- viewing it with a more positive perspective.

Here's a few tips to remember when you're feeling blue and want to turn that frown upside down. They seem to work for me anyway :)

1) Change the words in your vocabulary.

Instead of always yaking about how bad it "sucks", or how it's the "worst day ever", or how "awful" your situation is, try rephrasing those words a little. Try saying (or thinking) things like "okay, this is really challenging...", or "alright, today has been tough but I can get through it...", or "this situation is unfortunate but I will use this to be more patient and kind and compassionate than in previous times..."

By changing the words we use on a daily basis out of habit, we can actually help to change how we feel.

Simple place to start- but more difficult than you'd think it would be :)

2) Try to view your life the way an outsider would.

You might think your life is crappy or mundane or too hard, but there are people out there who are dreaming to have a life as blessed and enriching as yours. Don't overlook all the wonderful things you do have... don't skip over the marvelous people, opportunities, and belongings that you have in your life right now.

There is always something... usually MANY things.... to be grateful for. Don't live your life totally used to what you've got. Look around... see the good... APPRECIATE your unique life.

3) Remember that whatever comes your way, you are going to be okay.

 I swear this is my new motto in life... and I say it all the time... but it is SO true. No matter what happens to you, what comes your way, what storms you have to face, what challenges are awaiting, you can adjust your sails, reroute your destination and find happiness anyway. It might not be the initial plan you had in mind... it might not be the exact location you expected to land... but you can ALWAYS keep a positive mental disposition about you and you can live a life full of goodness.

I don't think happiness just is. I think happiness takes effort.

**WHAT HELPS YOU TO FIND THE BRIGHT-SIDE OF LIFE?? Any other tips you'd like to add?


I love you guys. Lots and lots.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Seriously the BEST Gingersnap Cookie Ever!

Alright guys! Here it is...

The BEST Gingersnap recipe you'll find... and they are so, so, so easy! If I can make them, you can too. Check it out... I whipped these up yesterday for a family holiday shindig! YUMMO!























1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
granulated sugar
Vanilla Almond Bark

Mix brown sugar, butter, shortening, molasses and egg in medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar and bark. Cover and refrigerate dough at least one hour but no longer than 24 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough in 1 1/4" balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes or just until set.

After cookies have cooled, dip half of cookie into melted white chocolate (I have found that melting the almond bark in a bowl in the microwave is the easiest way. I bagged the white chocolate chip in a pan thing long ago- it was just too tricky and intense for me). Set on parchment paper.

These will BLOW your mind... they are soooooooooo yummy!  But here is a trick I learned... and this is the most crucial part...

If you like more chewy, flat cookies... stick with the 2 cups of flour. If you like thicker, more cake-like cookies (which I do- the thicker the better!)... add an additional 1/2 cup of flour- making it 2 1/2 cups of flour. This is the PERFECT fluffy-factor for me and they don't taste too floury.


I HOPE YOU ENJOY AS MUCH AS I DO!!



Saturday, December 8, 2012

EVERLASTING





























Today is a very special day.

My parents are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary.

I am forever grateful for their incredible example of love, commitment, evolution and loyalty. They are the best of friends and I am honored beyond belief to be their daughter, and apart of such a wonderful family and union.

On a whim, they flew into town with my sister, braving the cold from sunny Arizona, and we are celebrating tonight at a romantic little restaurant downtown called Cucina Toscana. There is no other place I'd rather be.

Wishing you all a happy Saturday!

XOXO


Friday, December 7, 2012

Blessing

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Life has its challenges. We all know this.

Last night I asked for a blessing.

A dear friend of mine, dressed in a crisp white shirt, was able, willing and ready.

I haven't had a priesthood blessing in years. Years.

As I sat on the wooden chair, I felt like I normally do. It's just a blessing, I thought. No biggie. But as his hands laid upon my head and he began the prayer, a shock of the most calming and reassuring feeling came over my body. I could hear the words being spoken, but my mind was processing the unexpected wave of emotions even more. For those first few seconds, I felt as if I was a lightweight feather floating in the air. A surge of goose-pimples ran from the back of my neck, down to my toes.

I remember this feeling.

It was all coming back to me.

I then focused on the message being said.

The blessing is personal and I'd like to keep it that way... but I would like to share with you one thing that resounded within my heart and shot through my soul like a bolt of lightening:

Heavenly Father is near. Jesus Christ is near. He has felt every bit of our fears, our pains, our anxieties, our worries, our hurt, our tears, etc. He is aware. He knows. He has also been apart of every smile, laugh, happy moment, and loving feeling experienced. He is overjoyed when we are joyous and he grieves when we suffer- no matter how big or small.

I am not alone.

I have never been alone.

You are not alone.

You have never been alone.

Even in the times when we feel so very alone, like no one could possibly get how you feel, that is never ever ever ever the case. There is someone there who gets it precisely.

A small piece of my shaking faith was restored in magnificent ways last night and I'm not sure how to describe it better, other than to say that I felt something very real last night. I felt a love so great. I felt it race through my veins. Something bigger than me. Something so profound and gentle and real.

This blessing was a blessing- for many more reasons than one.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MARRIAGE ADVICE- Reader Style

I am so excited about today's post... it's totally fun!


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As I promised last week, here are some of the best relationship tips, from YOU, my dear readers. I'll start with the two lovely ladies who sent in pictures :) THANK YOU! I wish more of you had :)


*My advice is to always make your sweetheart your #1.  Don’t let your Little Brothers and/or Sisters who might join your family EVER undermine the relationship you have with your husband.  Don’t let him play you against each other.  Make sure that your child knows that your allegiance is to your husband and that you are a team.  It may seem like a really long time until your mommy-ing days are over, but believe me: you will blink, and it will be you and your husband, and ONLY you and your husband.  Do the things now to make sure that that season is as wonderful as this season is.

If your husband does or says something (especially to or in regard to your children), talk to him about it privately.  In other words, don’t you undermine him, either. 

Laugh as much as you can.  Try not to sweat the small stuff. ~ Aundrea















*A lot of young, new couples tend to kind of avoid the hard topics. I'd say don't be afraid to talk about things...especially money. I hear statistics about how many divorces are caused by money problems and can't help thinking that so much of that could be helped if couples are willing to just talk about it. Especially/even when one partner is the main source of income or main money manager, it's still important for the other partner to know what's going on, what the budget is, what the bills are, etc. so they feel involved, one doesn't end up resenting the other or overspending, etc. That's why we call it "partners" in marriage! :D I know it's not a fun or sexy piece of advice (like fight naked ;) but marriage and life come with enough problems without adding money problems to the list. ~Mrs. Lay (married 6.5 years)















*If you are starting to think negatively about your spouse or your marriage, start thinking about the positive instead. Change the attitude to positive thinking and gratitude for the things that are good about that person or marriage. Works for me every time!! ~Lacey

*Along with what Lacey said above (which I agree with 110%), I would have to say that maintaining an attitude of thankfulness has been something that has helped tremendously in our marriage. Reminding ourselves to be thankful for the blessings that we have been given through our marriage keeps up from taking each other for granted - which is something I would like to try never to do! ;) ~{Jessica}

*My advice would be to find something active that you both love and do it together often. It gives you something you both look forward to and it is healthy :) For us, it is rock climbing. ~Sarah Jane

*Never leave or hang up the phone without saying I love you. It sounds simple, but if you start getting complacent in the little things, it's easier to stop doing the bigger things. It's especially important if you've just had a disagreement, saying I love you won't fix everything, but it's just a good reminder.

Also, my hairdresser's best advice for me before I got married was to fight naked. It's a lot harder to yell at someone whose vulnerable because he has no clothes on, and you will want to get the fight over with because its just plain awkward haha. I can't say that I've tried this, but according to her, it helps haha. ~McKae


*Don't make mountains out of mole hills. ~Amber

*I haven't been married long but we've weathered a few storms together and we're super happy! I'd say yes on the gratitude thing! Don't compare your spouse to someone else's be grateful for what s/he does every day and for the things that make your spouse unique. Whichever one of you walks through the door last should be welcomed with a hug/kiss...it makes my night when I'm the one and I race to the door when it's my husband. Kiss goodbye and good morning. Have something that is your thing...make it part of your routine. We have a nighttime routine(a board/card game or our Netflix show, brush teeth, prayers, cuddle/talk, fall asleep) and it keeps us close. Be verbal about your appreciation--including for the little things. Be verbal about your admiration/love. Say I love you as much as you can!! 

I work with a lot of women/go to church with a lot of women that like to talk openly about their husbands flaws. I was told by my mom that I shouldn't say bad things about my husband to others. It makes a difference. I know that because when I have started to join in with the "Oh, I know...it's so annoying when_________" conversations, it makes my heart feel less full and less full of that love that I feel constantly. I'd say that makes a big difference. I subscribe to a really fun blog it's www.happywivesclub.com. I love it because it's full of such positive outlooks on marriage/spouses. ~Sharlee

*Honestly, the best advice I got was to not take marriage advice from anyone. Let me explain :) Every marriage and every relationship is different. There is never one right way solve problems or make a marriage work. Phrases like "Make sure you do this..." or "Be sure to never..." is very subjective to individual relationships. I think the best way to make a marriage work is to know yourself completely and know your spouse completely. If you can do that, you will know what to say or what to do when problems arise because you know yourselves. It will be easier to pinpoint where you went wrong or what you did right. 


What works for others might not work for you, and then you'll be frustrated. Marriage is a journey and hard work. Work together to figure out how you two work together. ~Allie

*The best piece of advice I got before we were married was from my Stake President (church leader). He sat us both down as a couple during our temple interviews and told us that it was good (healthy even) to have arguments and disagree with one another. At first I thought he was nuts! I didn't think I would ever disagree with the man sitting next to me. But we soon came to realize after a few months of marriage how inspired that statement was for us as a couple. You come to realize after the dating and engagement is over that you are two completely different people, with two different backgrounds, different traditions, and different ways of doing things and it's HARD to try and mesh the two personalities together. You do not agree on everything 100% of the time like you try to do when you are in the beginning stages of a relationship. We've never had a screaming match but we have definitely had times when we do not agree. But in the end, those arguments have helped to strengthen our marriage more than anything else. During those arguments we end up thinking more about our spouse than ourselves because we have to think about their side and come up with a compromise/solution. It's in those moments that I realize just how much I love him and that I am willing to work through anything to stay in a loving marriage with him. Some people may disagree but I think it's ok to argue. It's ok to express what you are feeling and be able to let it go. We have found in our three years of marriage that sometimes we argue because we misunderstood what the other was saying. For that reason my husbands favorite quote is, "Miscommunication leads to argument." He repeats that to me ALL the time! ~Bree

*Remember why you married him! And... Date night. I didn't realize the importance if this advice until after our babe was born, but go on dates and celebrate things. We had been married almost 2.5 years, both cars were broke down, the baby was sick, school was overwhelming and my husband had just lost him job. I was crying to my mom and she came over with a cheesecake and bottle of sparkling cider, took home my sick babe and told me to celebrate that life sucked. So we did. That advice was the best i have ever gotten. We laughed so much that night and it made everything seem better. Life still sucked, but taking my moms advice to celebrate made everything seem ok, even for just a few hours. :) ~Jessica

*Best advice after more than 37 years of marriage? Remember that any job you do once will become 'your' job forever, so think carefully about what you want to take on. ;) It may seem overly simple, but makes a huge difference in the division of labor that occurs in a happy marriage. ~Sus

*I had a coworker I carpooled with that would trash talk her husband the whole 40 minutes to work and back. I usually remained silent the whole time because I didn't want my husband to be portrayed in a different light. My husband is great, but I realized it was really impacting how I felt the spirit and viewed our marriage (besides it gave me a really horrible way to start and end my day of teaching!). I found a way to get out of the carpooling situation, but it made me think a lot about how people talk about their spouses. ~Autumn

*And a dear reader, Kylie, shared this post she had written at an earlier time... check it out... I think you'll like it! 


A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR PARTICIPATING! I think there is some GREAT stuff here... some may or may not work for you personally, but we gotta start somewhere, right??

XOXOXO

Happy relationship building!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Life is Good






























The final countdown is on! This month I will become the Mrs. Man Friend! We are crazy busy right now... so this little update will have to do... but we are SO excited!

Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

YAY or NAY: Sequin Fashion?

I did it! I finally caved in and bought something with sequins on it. It's a charcoal gray and cream baseball tee with small triangle of sequins near the bust... and it is SO fantastic. It's casual, yet a little blingy... and let me tell you it looks fabulous with my olive green combat boots- unlaced- and skinnies.

I wish I had a picture of the described outfit... although, I'm not ashamed to admit that I wore it TWO days in a row over the weekend, hence it is in the washing machine as I type :)

But I'm interested to know if you're into the shimmery style this year? YAY or NAY on the sequin fashion? Is it in your closet? Your home? Or in you accessory box?

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Do you dig it? Or not so much?



Monday, December 3, 2012

The Spirit of Giving





























Some of my fondest holiday memories are delicately wrapped around the idea of giving.

I can remember feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I remember being a sophomore in high school and seeing a classmate I knew, there in line for the free meal.

I can remember so many times doing Angel Tree with my mom and sister. We'd spend hours and hours buying clothes, toys, and necessities for a little child, whom we'd only known by name written on a paper star with a sharpie.

I can remember doing countless service projects with my family, year after year.

But I have a few memories of giving that stand out amongst all the others.

I'm pretty sure I was in sixth grade. There were two  families in our neighborhood we knew were struggling to get by. It was Christmas Eve. We had a nice warm home, plenty of food in our fridge and lots of presents under the tree. But we didn't spend that night basking in our blessings- instead, we did something I will never ever forget.

Our family of 4 drove to Walmart Super Center and went totally banana's. Everything needed to prepare a nice Christmas meal, and then some, spilled over the top of the cart. When that was complete, we got another cart and headed over to the toy and clothing sections. Anything we could find that would brighten the eyes of parents and children alike, we bought.

I remember feeling overwhelmed with joy in my heart. I didn't care about my presents under the tree... I was too enthralled in making magic for someone else.

We crammed the car full of the goods and headed home.

Mom pulled out the gift wrap and bows.

Dad began organizing the food in big cardboard boxes.

Once every single item was wrapped and tied with a bow, it was time to go.

We all sat around the formal dining room table and smiled. Dad had holiday cards and signed them saying something like,

"Wishing you a very Merry Christmas this year!"

That was all.

I saw him reach into his wallet and pull out four $100 dollar bills. Even now a $100 bill seems like a lot, but back then, it was like hitting the jackpot. He folded the crisp bills and tucked them in the cards before sealing them up.

We loaded the boxes back in the car and went to make our delivery. I was nervous. The excitement of it all my made heart pump fast. I couldn't wait to drop it off!

Our car slowly drove up and down the neighborhood, passed the house a few times, ensuring that no one was outside.

"Careful John, don't let anyone see that it's our car." my mom whispered.

About a block away, we parked the car. Dad and mom hopped out, took the boxes, and made the final drop on the front door steps of two different homes.

My nerves could have killed me.

They both ran back, jumped in the car, gave each other a high five and we sped off. It was exhilarating!

This made our Christmas complete. We were all beaming. Mission accomplished.

The next week at church it was Testimony Meeting. My heart started to beat really fast when I saw one of the Dad's walk up to the pulpit. I had the worst poker face ever.

"Someone did something for our family on Christmas Eve" he said, starting to choke up a bit.

"The doorbell rang late. I opened our front door and to my surprise, I saw a Christmas that I didn't have for my children sitting right there."

Tears streamed from his cheeks.

"I was overjoyed. My wife was overjoyed. But I felt a little conflicted, too, because this meant that we were the 'needy family' on the block.  I was the guy who needed help. After we arranged the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree and stocked our fridge, I realized something. I realized that this wasn't because we were needy, but because someone else wanted to give something to us. This isn't about not having enough... this is about GIVING MORE. Whoever you are out there, thank you. Thank for not only giving us an amazing Christmas, thank you for teaching us such a valuable lesson. This is what it's all about. This is what Christmas is all about and I hope to do the same generous offering for other family's someday."

I will never forget his testimony that day. I will never forget the way my chest burned with warmth and gratitude. It was like every lesson I had ever had on serving was concreted that day... it was all truth. My mom squeezed my hand... our family sat in the dead center of the pew... and I'm willing to bet that we were all crying. Whether we looked guilty or not, it didn't matter... we had done something kind for someone else, and in return we received a priceless message back:

The confirmation of what true love is, the power of what service can do, and the FACT that giving selflessly can make you a better and stronger human being.

I am so grateful for a wonderful family who cherished the idea of giving and gave me opportunities to be apart of so many cool experiences. I am also so grateful for the many times I have been the receiver of many kind and thoughtful deeds in my life. I hope to carry on this amazing tradition in the years that I can... whether it be on Christmas or just out of the blue because you can never go wrong when you give- ever.

**What are some of your Giving Traditions? Do you have any? Have you ever been the receiver of something like this? What special memories do you have? I'd love to hear!


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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up


Happy December! I can't believe it's actually here!

Because our week was pretty uneventful, with nothing too super exciting to report, I thought I'd share a really great quote I saw the other day. It's a great reminder of one of life's greatest lessons!































Enjoy your weekend! 

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