Lessons Learned

2022 was a hard year. Many challenges, struggles, heartache, and change happened. Quite a few lessons were learned. There were more days than I care to count that I would find myself questioning God and His plan for my life.

Why was He taking me through a storm?

Why was I losing the things I thought meant the most?

Was I truly the right soldier for the battles He had me fighting?

Were the ones in my life truly there for the right reasons?

Was I truly making a difference while battling anxiety?

Even facing some questions not being answered, I trusted the Lord and His path for my life.

As you may or may not know, Nick and I lived apart for the entire year while he worked in Michigan. Without going into detail, this was one of the hardest challenges our marriage has faced. Lots of tears, nights alone, and questioning came from not being together. I found myself losing faith and trying to fight a battle that was not mine to fight. I said things and reacted to certain situations that I am ashamed to admit. But one thing is for sure, this season of life taught me a very important lesson. Communication, faith, and prayer can resolve any issue that we face. I am thankful not only for a forgiving God but a forgiving husband.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned in 2022 was to never allow anybody to make you cruel. No matter how badly someone treats you, the awful things they say to or about you, or how much you want to give them a dose of their own medicine, it is never worth losing yourself. Life and circumstances will quickly reveal what tables saved a seat for you. Not everyone is going to be in your life forever. Some are there for a season and others for a reason. It is ok to walk away from people or situations that make you feel hard to love or make you feel unwelcome. For every door closed, God has another one ready to open. I read a quote the other day that was a complete eye opener for me. ” Learn to love the sound of your feet walking away from things not meant for you. ” – Unknown. Respect your boundaries. You cannot be everything to everybody and nothing to yourself.

We all have a tendency to let other people’s opinions, posts, and words define who we are, our self-worth, and what they think we should be doing with our life. But thank goodness the man on the middle cross doesn’t judge and reminds us of our self-worth and His path is always the path best for our life.

May we all be humble and remember where our salvation comes from. If we all (myself included) worried more about washing feet instead of casting stones, how much better the world would be? At the end of the day if we all put our stuff in a pot, who then would be picking up stones? I am the first to admit being guilty of casting stones at times when I lived in a glass house. But I thank God daily for being a sovereign and merciful God who humbles and reminds me of my own humility.

My 2023 goals:

Let the One who created me be the One who defines me.

Worship when God makes me wait.

Live like Ruth.

Don’t look back except to see how far I have come.

“He must increase, I must decrease.” John 3:30

Accept my imperfections.

Be present.

If they want to leave… let them.

No matter how big my struggle or battle, He was, is, and always will be a chain breaker!

Happy New Year! 

Sweatshirt: Raising Royals Boutique

You can’t see people’s mental health…♥️

Yes, I diet.

Yes, I exercise.

Yes, I get Botox.

Yes, I have a nightly face routine.

Yes, I’ve lost 40 pounds since December.

No, I don’t have hair extensions.

No, I haven’t had any plastic surgery.

No, I don’t have an eating disorder.

No, I’m not told what to do by Nick.

What I have developed is some sort of stomach issue that cannot be figured out. Multiple tests, doctors’ appointments, throwing up in a drive thru cup at any given time, and lots of pain, prayers, and tears has become the current new normal.

People are so quick to judge and say things that they “assume” could be going on. We live in such a sad time that any woman should have to justify anything because of hateful comments.

Can we normalize checking on each other and making sure everything is ok?

The strong friends are normally the ones dealing with the most.

Can we normalize supporting women who choose to take care of themselves?

Girl, be proud of yourself and how far you’ve come.

Can we also normalize stay at home moms who are successful and have a career they are able to do at home?

Because for those saying, “She’s spoiled, she gets to stay at home,” I have a real estate’s license in two states, work with a broker who flips multiple houses a month, run two businesses my husband and I own, and take care of three precious babies. All while my husband is 15 hours away for work.

Can we quit bashing women who like to wear makeup and dress up?

I mean have you tried Bobby Brown- Highlighting Powder? Because it’s enough to make you want to become the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry.

Can we all just be kind and spread more love?

It takes a lot more effort to gossip and try to figure out someone else’s life than it does to just be kind. Besides, would your momma be proud of the bully you’ve become?

Mental health is a real thing. Hateful comments and rumors only make certain situations worse. Those that are having hateful comments directed towards them (like me) also have feelings and are human.

Remember… The way you make people feel is your reputation.

For Better and For Worse

As moms, 97% of the time we walk around in a fog. Or maybe it is just me.
From the time my eyes open in the morning until the time I fall asleep, there
is always a sweet little human that relies on me. Whether it be breakfast,
school drop -off, wiping runny noses, kissing boo-boos, or just a quick hug in
passing, I am constantly needed. I never knew what the word
“selfless” truly meant until I became a mother.

As most of you know, Nick and I have moved and/or lived in separate states
most of our marriage. Sometimes by choice and sometimes not. I am very
fortunate to have a husband who works so hard and sacrifices so much for our
little family. Watching his perseverance and determination over the last nine
years has both humbled and blessed me. He has never given up on any of his
dreams or passions. Not only does he work every day to be a better person at
home, but he is also constantly looking for ways to improve and advance his
career. Nick is the definition of a go-getter, the role model all men need when
it comes to being a father, and a prime example of what a husband should be.

There are many days I struggle when Nick and I are apart. There are nights I
cry myself to sleep from missing my husband and wanting him to be involved with
our day-to-day lives. I long for the days our family is finally under one roof
for more than a 72-hour weekend trip. I look forward to the day we are settled
in the same state and town. Fortunately, technology allows Nick to be involved
with as much of Atticus, Ander, and Addleigh Elaine’s lives when he cannot
physically be present.

The last year I have personally learned depression is real. More real than I
could have ever imagined. I gave birth to our sweet Lainey bug, watched my best
friend’s mother pass away, lost friends, had falling outs with family, sold our
house in Indy, packed, moved, and stored our stuff in Michigan, bought land,
{temporarily… I say this very sarcastically} moved to Georgia with our children,
and supported Nick with his new transfer…. 17 hours away. I realized what
should have been some of the happiest times of my life quickly became some of
my darkest.

I truly lost myself and purpose this last year. Somedays I would walk around
in a complete fog and have no idea what I did or how I made it through the day.
If it were not for my saint of a mom and husband, I am not sure how I would be
where I am right now. I constantly questioned myself as to why I thought I
could be depressed or have anxiety. I mean my best friend lost her mom and I
was sitting here depressed over life circumstances that are beyond my control.
Kelli and I were talking about this very conversation last week and I told her
I could not believe I was even telling her how I felt with all she had been
through. But when I tell you everyone needs a Kelli in their life (but you
can’t have mine) … everyone seriously needs a Kelli in their life. Even with
everything she has been through, she told me I deserved to have those feelings
and no circumstance is more or less important based on the situation.

I have always been the “strong friend” or at least that is what my
circle of friends say. I pray for my tribe daily {because without them I would
not have been able to make it through this last year}, I root for them with any
dream or idea they have, celebrate their success, cry with them during hard
times, but I fail at telling them how I really am. I hide my personal
struggles. I internalize everything and always have. Until this year, I never
realized how important self-care and mental health matters.

Check on your friends, learn that it is ok to struggle, be content that all
things will never be picture perfect. If you throw a dirty diaper in the sink
at midnight due to pure exhaustion… laugh at yourself and pray for a better
tomorrow. Life is short. Take care of yourself, love with all you have, and
drop the embarrassment that comes with life struggles.

Shout out to all the strong friends. I personally know how you feel. But
know, it is ok to struggle. It is ok to not have it all together 100% of the
time. It is ok to ask for help. It is simply ok to not be ok. Give yourself some
grace and keep pushing forward.

” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer
and petitions, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” -Philippians 4:6


Live Like Leda

2021 ended with incredibly happy memories and incredibly sad ones. The beginning of the year brought our family so much happiness when we welcomed our sweet Addleigh Elaine but a brief time after, I was walking through one of the hardest times I have ever faced with my faith.

If you know me well, you know my best friend, Kelli. She is the Thelma to my Louise, the salt to my pepper, the adventure to my cautious. We have experienced so much over the last nine years. I have always said Kelli is more like a sister than a friend. She is honest, funny, hardworking, the best aunt to my children, and the best friend I have ever had. There are so many good things I could say about her but this last year the best word I can use for her is courageous.

May 2021 started what would become one of the hardest walks of faith for me as a friend. Kelli’s precious momma had surgery that turned into a test of
faith. A surgery we prayed about for months in preparation for what was to come. Prayers for a smooth surgery, God’s hand on all the medical staff, and a quick recovery for our precious LeLe. For five months I watched Kelli fight fearlessly to save her mom.

What I did not know, was God had a huge lesson for me during this process. For five months, Kelli and I talked everyday (multiple times a day), researched, stayed up reading medical books, formed a prayer group, prayed, cried, fell to our knees, and begged God’s mercy. Alongside an army of support warriors, I saw God in every step of those five months.

The entire process I prayed to God for healing. Begged would be a better term. Psalm twenty-three became an especially important verse during this journey.
Kelli placed a Bible on her momma’s bed opened to this verse and constantly read it to her while she was in the hospital. I did not realize, when I drove to Emory October 5, that it would be the last time I would see Momma Leda.

For nine years Momma Leda loved my family like we were her own. She treated my babies like they were hers, supported me during tough times, celebrated any
victories I had, and prayed over my and Kelli’s friendship faithfully. Her demeanor was that of a saint. Soft spoken, loving, and always smiling. I will forever be grateful for October 5th. I got to love on her, tell her how much she meant to everyone, pray over her, and watch Kelli care for her. I watched my best friend become the most selfless person I had ever seen. I watched her find strength she did not know existed. There are no words to express how proud I am of the way Kelli walked through this experience. That night Mrs. Leda squeezed my hand and mouthed for me to take care of Kelli. The promise I made to her will be a promise I will never give up on. The importance of that
promise is something I will keep with me forever.

October 10th, God healed momma Leda. It was our prayer the entire time. The realization was God healed her, but not the way we wanted. Standing by my
aunt’s side as she was getting married, God healed her. God had me standing in a happy time and a sad time at the exact same time. With tears streaming down
my face, I realized, even in the storm, we have to give God the glory.

That is the thing about faith. We must keep our faith in God no matter the outcome. We must trust that His way is always the best way. Sometimes our prayers are answered, but it may not be on our terms or how we want them to be answered. Realizing heartache and pain are sometimes a part of the unforeseen path of our lives is a hard concept to accept.

Isaiah 43:2 says, ” When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” I utterly understand the meaning of this verse after being on this walk with Kelli. I will forever be grateful God chose me to be by Kelli’s side
during this time. Not only was He teaching me a lesson, but He also drew me closer to Him, and taught me what it truly means to rely on His promises.

The light remains…

2021: The year God would put all His lessons and preparations into action.

I have not written in a while due to life and its never-ending changes. I have taken the last several months to pause and reflect on life and all I have been given. A few things the past year has taught me: stop and live for the moment, check in on your friends, and never take one second for granted.

During the last couple of months, I have seen and lived various circumstances I never dreamed of living. Overcame a lot of adversity and uncertainty. But one thing remains the same…. God is still on His throne and still in control.

-My faith was personally tested to the max.

– My fears were brought to life.

-My anxiety reached its maximum level.

But I was constantly reminded; God is still on His throne and still in control.

I did not realize God was preparing me for what was to come. He was setting me up to overcome many things and to be a version of myself I never thought possible. He was leading me to be prepared for what He had in store. Through it all I was constantly reminded: God is still on His throne and still in control.

Many more blogs to come with stories and life lessons… but for now, I will remain grateful for it all.

“Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.” -Ester 4:14

Why her and Why not me?

Over the last several months, I have had multiple women reach out who are battling infertility. I took lots of time and have written multiple stories regarding this dreaded disease. I realized not many people are open when it comes to this battle. It is embarrassing, emotional, heartbreaking, time consuming, and a multitude of things wrapped up in one. But the biggest thing I have noticed is the lack of information and knowledge we as women receive regarding infertility. I am by no means a doctor and will never claim to be, but my own battle brought me to a whole different place in finding who I was and how to navigate the steps ahead.

This is a very vulnerable topic to discuss. But I have realized many women have faced or are facing this very same thing. Even if one person is given the slightest bit of hope… it will be worth sharing.

First off, to anyone reading this who has battled or currently battling infertility, know my heart and prayers are with you. It is one of the hardest roads to travel and answers are sometimes hard to find. My one major piece of advice is be your own advocate and keep the faith. God’s ultimate plan will prevail and your path will be a story in your book no one else can tell. I am a firm believer God answers the desires of our heart if we put our trust and faith in Him fully.

In 2014,Nick and I found out infertility was something we had to battle. I was so embarrassed and heartbroken. We had planned and wanted a family of our own from the day we met. I remember sitting in my car after our initial appointment begging God to help me understand His plan. Begging Him to show me why He chose us for this path. I cried the entire way home, numb with emotions, and not sure what the next step would entail.

I cannot begin to explain the amount of paperwork, information, medication options, tests, surgery suggestions that were thrown at me in the beginning. I was completely overwhelmed and decided I needed to take a step back to make sure I could physically and emotionally face the long road ahead… especially knowing in the end a child may not have been the outcome.

After months of research, doctor appointments, and testing, I finally found Dr. A. ( I will not put his complete name for privacy). He was literally God sent. I have never had a doctor more thorough or faithful. He was a breath of fresh air in the darkness. Dr. A never once in our journey lost faith or sight of Nick and I having a child naturally. He prayed with and for us and constantly made sure we had the most up to date and newest resolutions possible.

In January of 2015 it was decided surgery was the first step to our hopeful path. I agreed (very hesitantly) to have the surgery. I really struggled with the fact all the pain and suffering could still potentially end without a child. My faith was put to the test more times than I care to admit during this time. I am ashamed to admit how many times I questioned God and His path instead of trusting. The pain from the surgery in itself was enough to make anyone want to give up. My question over and over was ” Why am I putting myself through this without complete clarity of the outcome?” Once surgery was complete there was a short “trying period”. To which Nick and I failed. There was no sign of pregnancy or hope the surgery was successful. I cannot find the words adequate enough to explain my devastation. I fell into one of the darkest times of my life.

June 2016- Nick and I went to the most dreaded appointment of my life. We took my mom to have an extra set of ears because I was an emotional wreck. It was at that time I was told I would never physically be able to have children on my own. I would have to have help… more than just a medication. I remember sitting in the consult room after the doctor told us the information, being completely numb. I could not even find words to say what I wanted to do or what I wanted the next step to be. After what seemed like forever, Nick and I decided we would start the IVF process. However, we both agreed we would wait until we returned from our trip to Australia that was scheduled in October. Little did I know this was the first step of God’s test for me.

One month later I was sitting on my bathroom floor with 17 positive pregnancy tests, crying into the phone with my aunt that I thought I had something wrong with me because there was no way I was pregnant on my own. It was not possible. She reassured me that it could in fact be true, to stay calm, and not call my mom just yet! I was quickly reminded in that same phone conversation that “Faith even as small as a mustard seed was still faith.” I will never forget the prayer I prayed to God begging Him to let this be true and that all the pain and heartache was worth it for this moment.

I am here to tell you science can only go so far and then steps in God. Just because you are told something by a doctor does not mean it is the end all be all. God has the final say and He ultimately controls your path. Atticus, Ander, and Baby Ross are proof you can have completely healthy, natural pregnancies after battling infertility and failed treatments. My faith in God remains untouched after experiencing these three miracles He has blessed Nick and I with. Every positive pregnancy test has been a reminder that God is always in control and our faith has to go far beyond what we can see.

Every shot, medication, test, and appointment led me here. It led me to be the mother I always longed to be. Led me to find a group of women who battled the same things I did whom I will cherish for the rest of my life. Led me to speak in front of multiple people on a topic so vulnerable while allowing the raw emotions to show instead of hiding the hurt it caused. Led me to be thankful for every moment because at any time, my story could have had a much more devastating ending.

If you are walking down this very same path, know your time and answer is coming. Even if IVF is the path you have to take, know you can have completely natural pregnancies, multiple times following those treatments. Know the heartache and pain will all be worth the lesson and outcome of the process. It will not be easy. There will be days you want to give up and lose faith, but know God has your hand every step of the way and if you fully rely on Him , you will see the blessing through the entire process.

This is a shout out to all the women fighting a battle that most people will never understand.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37: 4

God’s Plan >My Plan

Over the last year, I have been asked a lot what it is like to move as often as we do. I have really sat and pondered on this question. Because quite frankly, I have not had an answer. It is hard to explain the emotions, prayer, and preparation for each move. We find houses, make them home, pray for our children, and make many memories in every one of them that will forever be cherished.

But Indy… brought me clarity. Indy also gave me the answer to the burning question so many seem to have.

Many people do not know April 2019 we closed on the perfect house in Atlanta. We were content. Atticus turned two, Ander was born within two months, and we were happy with our Georgia re-location. I lost my Granddaddy two years before our move and I was really struggling being away from my family. For the first time in four years I was within reach of them. However, torn being away from Nick’s family. But, little did I know what June 2019 would bring.

Sweet Ander was born and three days later Nick was offered a different position. Were we excited about the offer? Absolutely! For three years we prayed and asked God to open the door if this was where Nick was supposed to be. Well… not only did He open it…. He swung it wide open! But… not exactly how I had it planned.

You see the funny thing about God is when you tell Him your plans, He laughs and shows you His. God also knows that I am faithful to any prayer He answers and that I also support my husband beyond words. Our initial offer was not one we wanted (well… me more than we :)). So, we prayed for clarity and after many nights of discussing the offer, we turned it down. I could instantly tell Nick was upset. This is something he had worked so hard for and prayed about since we started battling infertility. To him this was a failure.

But God was not done. Two days later he was offered the same position with a different location option. This time I smiled and said “God, I hear you! Loud and clear!” He knew Nick was meant to be in this position, but I honestly think He was testing our faithfulness to His plan.

Trusting His plan brought many hardships and lots of tears. Over the next three months, I cared for our two year old and newborn, packed our things in Valdosta, moved to Atlanta, sold our house in Atlanta, watched a moving company pack our things and take them Indy, house hunted in Indiana, all while supporting Nick while he was away at training.

I say all the above to say this. Is Indiana where we wanted to be? Absolutely not. Is Indiana where we want to stay? Also no. But the clarity Indiana has brought me is something I will forever cherish.

Indy has taught me:

  • God is always on time. Never early and never late.
  • Faithful prayer and obedience to His divine plan is always the answer.
  • God was protecting me from things I did not even know were coming.
  • But most of all, Indy has taught me that I am a lot stronger than I ever imagined.

Being 13 hours away from my family and six hours away from Nick’s family has forced us to fully rely on each other. We have been blessed with some of the best friends Indy has to offer and learned that life has so many unexpected curves but the way we face them is all that matters.

” Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” – Psalm 27:74

You’re Difficult

Have you often wondered why some people make you feel hard to love? Ever felt that no matter how nice you are or what you do for certain people it is never good enough? Or my personal favorite, “I’ve tried everything to make you happy and it is not enough!” Do not let people lead you to believe you are hard to love…. Because that is never the case. Choose people who choose you. Time and time again once you realize who your people are, suddenly all the “hard to love” scenarios disappear.

In my thirty-one years on this earth, I have encountered many relationships. But there are a few that stand out the most when it comes to my self-worth.  I have personally been told I ask and expect too much. But now looking back I realize I was never asking too much; I was just asking the wrong people. Some people will always make you feel like you are not good enough or always make you feel like everything is your fault… those are not your people.

Some of my best friendships are with people who push me daily to be better. These friends also teach me to ask for more and expect the absolute best out of everyone. They never make me feel hard to love and are not afraid to fight a battle with me. I have lost a lot of friendships but looking back I realize God was removing those people from my life for a better friendship to develop.

We are all bad in someone’s story. No one ever wants to admit when they are wrong or accept the responsibility for hurting someone else. But remember, just because you are bad in their story does not mean everyone believes them. Remain faithful to who you are and never waiver because of someone else’s opinion.

You are exactly where you need to be. Stay devoted and trust God is working to bring what you need most in your life. Let that friend go that makes you feel not good enough or that family member who says you are hard to love. Life is so much better when you find your circle and they love you regardless of your faults and failures.

You will never really see how toxic someone is until you breathe fresher air.

“They did not leave your life. I moved them.” – God

Advice from Granddaddy

“Remember, marriage is 50/50. “The one piece of advice Nick and I heard repeatedly before we got married. But I distinctly remember one very important man in my life changing my view on marriage with one simple conversation. 

“Lacie Poo, life is full of ups and downs, disappointments, loss, heartaches, failures, successes, love, and life. We all fail, and we all rise but at the end of the day, you and Nick are one. When he fails, you will be his success. When you’re down, he will lift you up. When there is death, each of you will give the other life. Marriage has never been 50/50…. it’s 100/100. Today you may be able to give 75% and Nick only 25% but tomorrow you may be only able to give 10% and you’ll need his 90%.  If you both only focus on marriage being 50/50 you will miss out on a lot of love and successes as a married couple. If you love God first, give 100%, and choose each other over and over again…. your marriage won’t fail.” – Granddaddy, Joe Reaves 6-27-2014, Rehearsal Dinner

Wow! How true were my Granddaddy’s words? I never realized how right he was until the very next year. Infertility hit us like a ton of bricks and for months I barely gave one percent. I was shattered and heartbroken with my diagnoses, but over and over again Nick picked me back up and gave 99% when I only had one. 

How different would marriages be if both the husband and wife agreed to this concept? If we ALL realize that men need to be treated like kings just like women expect to be treated like queens. 

In 2019 alone, 50% of marriages ended in divorce. Could this be because God is not the head of every household? Could this be because the wife demands to be respected but does not offer the same to her husband or vice versa? Is it because the wife and/or husband is only giving 50% instead of 100%? The answers are unknown but I bet if we get back to the basic and stop worrying so much about our outward appearance and trying to “keep up with The Joneses” we could focus more on the true fundamentals of a solid foundation to make any marriage successful. 

My Granddaddy’s advice has stuck with me for 6 years. Is marriage easy? NO! Is our marriage perfect? Absolutely not…but it’s perfect to us. Yes, we have disagreements and failures. But we choose each other over and over again, never degrade one another, and are never to prideful to acknowledge when we are wrong.  God set the firm foundation for our marriage to grow and every day we honor Him by doing our best to give 100%. 

“Your marriage is powerful in the Lord because two are better than one. You can lift each other up when one feels weak. “-Ecclesiastes 4:10

Sam, my brown friend

The words out of my two-year-old son’s mouth. To which all the other moms in the room turned to see how I was going to handle this “situation”. I could tell some were annoyed with the statement my child made, however there is a reason my child said what he did.

For two and a half years I have preached to Atticus that we should love everyone regardless of their background or the color of their skin. He has been taught that just because someone looks different than us or talks different, does not mean we should treat them any different. I know I know; I am a bad mom for teaching my child this…. I get it. I am horrible for wanting my child to love without walls or stereotypes. But here is a little insight, I will continue to be a “bad mom” if it means my child does not leave someone out or chooses to be friends with kids who look different than he does.

Sam quickly became one of Atticus’ favorite friends. We talk about him quite a bit. Atticus tells me he wishes he could see him more and that Sam is the best. I have learned living life through a two-year old’s eyes is one of the purest ways to live life. There is no hate or bitterness in his sweet little heart. The love he has for everyone he meets makes me so proud to be his mom.

The world we live in is full of hate and stereotypes. We are all held to certain standards of who we can and cannot be friends with or associate with. Why? When did we become so judgmental? Now I will be the first to say I have been guilty of being judgmental from time to time. I am human but teaching my children not to be this way has made my perspective of others and life change drastically.

Changing the way, I view life and others has been a constant lesson. Instead of letting society decide how I raise my kids or the way my children act, I have decided to be the example of how I want my children to act. I am giving daily reminders of how one person can be the change in any situation. Children learn more from what we do than what we say, so we should use this to our advantage.

So to the moms who were “disappointed” by the way my child addressed Sam… this one is for you.

“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”  — Billy Graham, Evangelist

Atticus & Sam