Matt

When I met Matt, I was a single mom. Elle was only a year old and her dad wasn’t in the picture for the past 10 months.  I was entirely focused on becoming the best mom possible and I couldn’t imagine anyone else in our life. 

But I saw Matt for the very first time and everything changed. He was too good to be true, honestly. And he absolutely adored Elle. 


We had a few months that were so perfect and then our entire world was rocked. I was just beginning to navigate the court process, hiring an attorney who filed paperwork to establish custody of Elle. This set off a chain of events that led to the most stressful time of my life. I’m not ready to talk about the details, but it completely changed everything. 

I was forced to move back to South Carolina after establishing my independence with a full time job and apartment in Utah. Matt was finishing his undergrad there and I didn’t know how we were going to make it work. 

He had no idea how incredibly hard this situation would be when we met. He didn’t sign up for any of this. But he stayed. And he supported us. He loved me and my daughter unconditionally and we endured together.  



He became a dad when it would have been so much easier to walk away. He still held me together when everything was falling apart. We’ve always been a family, he wouldn’t have it any other way. 

The best of both

This moment is so bittersweet. As I wait at the airport, I am looking forward to seeing Matt and my little ones but I already miss Elle Kade so much. 


My heart wishes that I could be in two places at once. 

I love the life we have created in Idaho and I fully support Matt in his career that has established our family. We knew the challenge ahead of us when Matt accepted an amazing job offer after law school and now he is pursuing his dream. I am so proud of him and I am so happy living in Idaho. 


I am so lucky to be able to visit Elle Kade anytime, I have an amazing support system that makes these trips possible! And I know that she can always fly to Idaho to see us over long school breaks.


But for just a split second as I sit here in between these two worlds, I wish there was a way to have the best of everything. To live wherever we want to live and have Elle Kade with us all the time. To be a “normal” family. 

I know it will never happen, and I really can’t complain… I just had the most amazing vacation in Florida where I was able to spend quality time with Elle Kade and now I can fly home and squeeze my family in just a few hours. 

So maybe that is what it means to have the best of both worlds ❤️

the good with the bad

I’ve been looking forward to this trip with Elle Kade for such a long time! I knew that she would only be able to stay with me for 3 days before going back to school but that I would do my best to maximize our time and make the most of such a short visit. We made a list of everything she wanted to do and spent the entire time checking things off! 

We had ice cream for breakfast and painted pottery at a studio in Hyde Park


We went roller skating and bought a new doll from the toy store


We spent hours playing at the beach


We went to the salon and got manicures and pedicures then had lunch at our favorite hibachi restaurant


We were intentional with our time and made the most of every moment!

Which made it so much harder to say goodbye last night. 

I had to drive 2 hours to drop her off and when we got in the car, she laid her head on my arm and said “why do we always have to say goodbye” … my heart shattered. She started to cry and I had to hold back tears because we both knew that this would be the last time we would spend together this trip. 


And then waking up this morning and realizing she was gone… that is always the hardest part. The very next day when her dirty clothes are still on the floor and her toothbrush is on the sink, the little traces of her linger but she is so far away. 

I can’t say that I always focus on the good, because in moments like this, how can I? This weekend was amazing, and we created so many special memories… but it always has to end. We always have to say goodbye and that will never change. 

But all it takes is for me to pause and allow myself the grace to feel true sadness, take a deep breath, and shift my mindset to remember that the good always outweighs the bad. The happiness is always greater than the sorrow, and every moment I spend with her is worth the days and weeks without. 

Isn’t that what life is all about- Having faith that there is always sunshine after rain. There is will always be a Hello after a Goodbye. 

We would never fully comprehend true happiness if we didn’t first experience challenges, failures, and loss. 

The most incredible triumph comes from choosing joy through our trials regardless of our situation. 

The hardest decision


When Matt and I met, I was a single mom working full time and living in my grandparents basement in Utah. I had been legally separated from Elle Kade’s dad for a year and was just beginning the court process to finalize my divorce and determine a custody arrangement. 
After months of court hearings and failed mediation, we finally reached a compromise. Elle Kade would live with me full time and visitation would be every 3rd week until she began kindergarten and it would change to every other weekend and all summer. We included revisions to provide for the fact that we would be moving to Utah after Matt graduated from law school. 


Everything went as planned and Matt accepted a job in Utah. We were prepared to pay for plane tickets every month and fly her out based on the visitation agreement of one weekend of their choosing per month (which would include all holidays) and then all summer. It seemed so simple on paper. 

I had no idea how difficult it would really be. There was enough ambiguity in the paperwork to cause contention with every single visitation. We assumed that she would be allowed to fly alone based on universal flight policy, but her dad refused to let her. So I was forced to fly back and forth with her every single month, usually over a holiday weekend, leaving my 2 babes and husband home alone. Not to mention the added expense in which the plane tickets alone cost over $1000 monthly. 

On top of the inconvenience and expense, Elle Kade would miss school because of the fact that they strictly enforced the fact that she needed to be at their house by 6 pm on Friday- it was physically impossible to fly across the country after school to arrive in South Carolina by the time their visitation started so she was missing school in order for her to be there on time. Not to mention the fact that she had to fly back on Sunday night and adjust to a time difference before school the next day. 


The entire situation was unsustainable. I was overwhelmed and completely stressed out. We scheduled a phone conference with our attorney to go back to court and address the issues we were having. I knew it was necessary but I dreaded beginning the whole court process over again. 

I remember getting off the phone with our attorney and just crying. Matt and I had been praying for an answer and it just didn’t feel right. I told Matt that I felt really strongly that maybe the best thing would be to allow her to live with them for a while. That’s exactly what they wanted and she had been asking to live there as well. I couldn’t imagine actually making that decision, but it seemed like the only possible solution. 

Making the phone call to her stepmom to say that we had been considering the possibility of her living with them was the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make. It was the one thing I said I would never ever do. 

Even though I had an incredibly strong prompting and deep feeling within my heart that I was making the right decision, it was so hard. My faith has always sustained me during times of doubt, but it was so incredibly difficult to ignore what the logical solution would be and follow the answer to my prayer.  But just because that answer wasn’t what I expected or wanted to hear doesn’t give me the right to deny it. And just because my prayer was answered doesn’t meant that all of my problems were solved.


One thing that I’ve intentionally changed is my perspective and how I communicate with Elle Kade. Instead of referring to who she “lives with” we talk about who she spends the school year with and who she spends the summer and breaks with. Just making that small change has reinforced the fact that she is so loved and our custody arrangement is as close to even as it will ever be. Our situation isn’t perfect but as long as Elle Kade is healthy, happy, and well adjusted then that’s enough for me ❤️

When “good” doesn’t feel like enough

Feelings of failure… 


This topic has been on my mind a lot lately because I feel like I am failing at everything. But I’m here to tell you that those feelings of failure serve a purpose and that failure is not final.

If we aren’t failing, then we aren’t trying.

Recently, I’ve accepted many challenging and new opportunities that pushed me so far out of my comfort zone. It would have been easy to say no but we are guaranteed to fail if we never even try. 

I believe that everything happens for a reason, so I’m not trying to defy what is meant to be.

But what happens when something that you work hard for, put passion and energy into, that aligns with your goals doesn’t work out? It isn’t always easy to say “well it just wasn’t meant to be”. 

It’s ok to say “This FREAKING sucks”.  It is ok to be frustrated and disappointed. 

Maybe you searched for hours on Pinterest for your daughter’s birthday party, spent late nights and a lot of money making it happen, and everything turned out to be a complete disaster. Are you supposed to just brush it off? Or is it ok to acknowledge the fact that you failed and now you feel the repercussions of that. 

Maybe you apply for a job that seems perfect, you nail the interview, get a call back, but something falls through and you don’t actually get the job. Are you just supposed to brush that off and pretend to be good with it?

I’m pretty sure that we aren’t actually human unless we fail at something. There are small failures and there are BIG failures and life is full of both.


This is so hard for me to say, but I’m here to tell you that I am a complete failure. There are things that I am not very good at. Admitting that, out loud, to the world is not easy. It’s vulnerable and scary, but I want you to know that perfection is not realistic. And the people who make things look perfect are probably the ones who are failing the most. I know that because I used to be that girl. The one that was good at everything.

When I was a little girl, I really wanted to play softball. When I mentioned it to my mom, she had her doubts because I was a girly girl, but she signed me up anyway. The first day on the field, I was a natural. I loved the game and I was really good at it. It was easy and I didn’t have to try hard to make any All Star teams or win state championships. I continued to play softball throughout middle school and I made the high school softball team in 9th grade. I was taking pitching lessons, going to practice, doing well in all of the games… but I wasn’t even trying. Eventually I just quit. I had the potential to be offered a college scholarship for softball but I never even gave myself the chance because I decided that I didn’t want to put the time or effort into showing up at practice or games anymore. I didn’t value the opportunity because I took my talent for granted. 

Our experiences shape our perspective, and maybe the fact that I never let myself fail is the reason why I am struggling so much right now. 

 And maybe that’s the point. We cannot grow within our comfort zone. We cannot succeed unless we try. We can’t truly appreciate our success if we don’t earn it. 

So for those of you reading this, thinking about something in your life that you really want to try… I say GO FOR IT! Maybe you will put your heart and soul into it, only to be completely crushed. Or maybe you will exceed your expectations and soar!  How will you ever know what the outcome will be if you don’t ever begin?


As you take time to reflect on your choices this year and set resolutions for 2017, give yourself the opportunity to fail! Set goals so high that you know you will not achieve all of them. Give yourself grace for making the effort and don’t let any of your failures become final.

 God has a plan for you that is so much bigger than you can imagine, but He cannot bless our lives if we aren’t prepared to multiply our talents. 

The parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30 indicates that we will be blessed if we invest the gifts we are given, but it never reveals how many times those servants failed. I have to assume that it happened, because great rewards aren’t received without great risk. The only servant who was reprimanded was the one who didn’t even try. 

As I study that parable and seek to understand God’s will, I realize that our Savior’s infinite Atonement is the guarantee that we will never truly fail at anything. The difference between success and failure will always be accounted for. I am so grateful for the opportunity to fail and for a loving Father in Heaven who has given us a Savior to atone (compensate) for our shortcomings. With that knowledge, why do we still fear failure? Instead, let’s embrace it and try to fail again 💗

A Perfect Fall Picnic

Summer heat is giving way to crisp fall air and there is no better time to have a picnic!  


Italian salami, Mediterranean cheese, freshly baked olive loaf, grapes on the vine, honey crisp apples and sparkling water complete the spread.

We went on a picnic for one of our very first dates and it’s a memory that I will never forget. We were young and in love and always looking to find ways to spend every moment together! Here we are 7 years later, and I am still completely smitten.

“We’ll look back someday

 at this moment that we’re in 

and I’ll look at you and say, 

I thought I loved you then”

 

Chambray Top: J. Crew

Embroidered skirt: Anthropologie

Wedges: Prada

Photography by Sophia Nolan


Make it a Habit

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If you could do one thing to create a more positive, impactful, purposeful day… Would you do it?

Studies show that waking up early is directly correlated with a successful day. According to Forbes.com early risers are more proactive, anticipate problems, are better planners, and are more optimistic! Now those are some qualities I would like to take advantage of.

My journey as an early riser began a few months ago when I decided to work from home. I didn’t want my business to impact the quality time I was spending with my children, so I created a routine that allowed me to accomplish all the necessary tasks before they woke up every morning.

And what I discovered in the process was life changing! On the days that I woke up early I was more patient, slow to anger, had MORE energy, and felt so much happier overall.

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Creating a morning routine was critical in the process of learning to wake up earlier. After reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I adopted a few of his S.A.V.E.R.S. to incorporate into my morning ritual.

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Each morning I take the opportunity to go for a quick jog. (Disclaimer: I hate to run!) I’ve discovered that I actually love to be outside before the sun comes up and the world is still asleep so I just happen to run/jog/walk or whatever you want to call it at the same time. Sometimes in silence, sometimes with a good audiobook, and sometimes I turn up whatever music I’m in the mood for! The point is to find a way to silence your thoughts and enjoy the fresh air (the peace and quiet) before the chaos of the day begins.

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Affirmations have such a positive impact on our energy. By creating a pattern of uplifting and encouraging thoughts, we have a natural tendency to believe what we are saying. If you have self doubt or worry, make a list of affirmations to repeat every morning and before long, you will notice a difference in how you think and act!

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As soon as you wake up, drink a large glass of ice water. It will help awaken your senses and also jump start your metabolism! Fuel your body with whole foods and always start your day out with a good breakfast. It doesn’t have to be complicated… Try making overnight oats or have some hard boiled eggs and fruit ready to go so you don’t have to overthink what you’re going to eat first thing in the morning.

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I’ve always loved to read, but learning to incorporate at least 30 minutes of personal development was something that totally changed my day. Instead of diving into fiction where I could lose myself for hours (not always a good thing!) I reach for a self improvement book and take notes as I strive to implement the practices I learn from each author. Not only do I get a daily reminder of habits I’m striving to develop, but reading establishes a pattern of higher education which we should all have a goal of attaining!

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Exercise!! I mentioned going on a quick walk earlier which is a great way to start. But I’ve found that incorporating weights and high intensity interval training not only helps boost my mood, but has also helped me lose and keep off the baby weight I had gained with 3 pregnancies. I ENJOY working out from home and look forward to pressing play every morning!

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Change doesn’t just happen. You have to challenge yourself and push past your comfort zone to really see what you are capable of. And creating habits like waking up early might begin as a struggle, but someday you will see how far you’ve come. And that’s what life is all about- making progress!

 

This is the Hardest Part

This is the hardest part.

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Sitting with my sweet girl before she boards the plane and leaves for the school year- it breaks my heart. And once she walks through the gate, I have to watch and wait as she sits right there- so close- before the plane takes off.

And then she’s gone.

I walk back to the car alone, her radio station is still playing. Her water bottle from breakfast is still in my cup holder. The little traces of her linger and I don’t want to wash her clothes and put them away until next time.

I pick Carter and Clare up and we go to lunch. I feel like something is missing, and it is. She is always in the back of my mind.

Carter and Clare still ask about her, he slips up and calls me Elle Kade on accident. They don’t understand the concept of time and how long it will be until they will see her again.

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I take the kids to lunch and Carter chooses pizza. I don’t even bother ordering a salad and choose to eat my feelings instead. Is that justified? No. Do I feel better now? No.

So we go thrift shopping to distract. We spend hours wandering the stores and I only end up buying books (tons of books) for the kids and a few to mail Elle Kade. Retail Therapy.

It’s bedtime now and I’ve tucked my babies in and kissed them good night, all but one. That void is so real right now, and I just lay on her bed as I write this trying to connect with her somehow. She was here just a few hours ago. And I don’t know when I’ll see her again.

It gets easier. Some days are better than others, not every day is like today. I still get to see her beautiful face when we FaceTime and I can call her tomorrow. I am so grateful for the time that she spent with us this summer, and I am already looking forward to the next time I get to visit her. Until then, this is the hardest part.

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Full Circle

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You know when you have those moments when everything comes full circle and you start to see the bigger picture? You almost have to catch your breath and you have goosebumps because you realize that your divine potential is greater than anything you could have imagined for yourself?

As I was washing the dishes today, I had one of those moments. And when I think about everything that I had to go through, all of the challenges and struggles that placed me exactly where I stand today, I am reminded that everything happens for a reason.
If you could rewind for a minute and see what my life was like in my darkest times- during a custody battle that lasted for years, while I struggled to find peace as a new mom, all of the moments when I felt burdened with more than I could bear… All of those trials made me stronger.

And all along, that strength was always there. It needed to be refined and molded into something recognizable, but I can see it now. I know that I am capable of doing hard things. I know that I can lift others and share my story so those situations might not be so hard for someone else. I can comfort and empathize with other mamas who have heavy hearts.
And none of that would have been possible without the mental, physical, and emotional transformation that has happened since I became a coach.

Everything is so interconnected… If we are struggling with something emotional, it manifests itself physically and mentally. Finding a way to overcome one area will inevitably begin the overall healing process. Until eventually we look back and realize that everything fell into place exactly how it should.

People enter our lives, opportunities present themselves, daily reminders appear and we just have to learn to wait for them, watch for them, and act on them when the time is right.
So take a moment to reflect tonight on where you are in your journey and visualize where you want to go. Wherever you are is exactly where you are supposed to be in this moment, but you are capable of so much more than settling for limiting beliefs. You are capable of changing your life, you just have to be willing to do whatever it takes to become the person you are meant to be