Friday, October 14, 2016

You Make Me Brave

"You're my person.  I need you alive.  You make me brave,"  I said to her, two years ago today.  As if those words would have some affect on the outcome.

Kathryn was one of the few people who knew the parts of me that make me feel 'untidy, less than, frightened, and ashamed.'  

"Don't hide those bits of you.  Don't be afraid to show your brokenness, because out of it, comes great beauty, and no one knows that better than you, C," she fervently responded.

"But how?  How can I do that now...when I've spent so much time hiding?  Hiding from the truth, myself.  Hiding from the pain I will undoubtedly have to feel again.  Hiding from fear of judgment...especially since I wasn't honest for so long.  Hiding from it all."

"Because you are brave.  You're one of the bravest women I know.  Because you are a deeply feeling person in a messy world.  Because while I know you think it's not just your story to tell,...just think of all the people you could potential help.  I know you can do this.  BFF," she responded.

Why does she expect ME to use MY story, MY pain, MY growth to help OTHERS?  Why does she challenge ME to grow in ways that might be more painful to ME?  

Every fiber of my being knows the answer to that.

That was Kate.



Never one to focus on the "I", "ME", "MY" in the equation, but instead...

Always using her voice to help others.

A fighter for the underdog.

A lover of life and of people.

And she was my person.


Anytime I was upset, or doubtful, or fearful, or on any spectrum of the intense feelings I would often feel, she would often simply say, 'BFF'.  It's all she needed to say because I knew that those three letters meant so much more than the typical 'best friends forever'.  She was with me.  Always.

Several months back, I stared at a blank page, ready to share.  To start at the beginning of the story.  But I couldn't.  Fear, once again, consumed me.  

How could I possibly do this without her?  It's TOO LATE! This was our thing.  These blogs.  These spaces we sometimes used to bridge the gap between the hundreds of miles between us.  How could I possibly send out into the world words that she hadn't proof-read?  I need her to remind me again.  I need her to help me be brave.  She's my person.  Why GOD?  Why did you have to take her from me?  Why? Why? Why? WHY?!?!?!?!?!    

Sometime between audibly hearing myself scream, "WHY" and a ping from my messenger app, I instantaneously felt a wave of peace wash over me.

The date was March 30.

The message was from Kate's mom.

"Hi Casondra.  I charged up Kathryn's phone yesterday and found something that I am going to send to your phone.  It is from her.  I just wanted you to be ready and aware.  It brought chills."

Rebecca went on to tell me that she was looking at our text message history and that Kate had wrote me a text....the cursor was still winking on it.  Kate never got a chance to hit send, so Rebecca was going to do that for her.

I'll forever be grateful for Rebecca's bravery that day in sending a message that would forever mean the blinking cursor would be gone on her end, because she knew the importance of receiving that message on mine.

Almost two months after she left this earthly place, I received THE message from Kate that would rock me to my core.

Three letters that would teach me one of the biggest lessons I've ever learnt in this life....

..... she's still alive.

And she will continue to be.

Inside of me.  Inside of her mom, and her dad, and her brother and her son.  Inside of every single person whose life was touched by her beautiful soul.

In August, when I was blessed to get to spend some time with her mom and son, Rebecca gave me a few gifts that I'll cherish forever:

A mouse pad with a picture of me and Kate from a trip we took to S.C. years ago, that Kate used for years.  It's found a forever home at my computer, where looking at it, daily, is a reminder to live authentically.  To strive to be the best version of me I can be.  To live with purpose.  And to never let fear prevent me from being brave.

A CD with a lot of her favorite songs that I listen to every day while waiting in car rider line to pick up my girls.

And her 'Our Lady of Grace' aka Mother Mary figurine.  It brought her comfort when she needed it the most and it brings me comfort daily.

Kinsey recently had to write a memoir at school about a painful experience in her life.  She allowed me to read it last night.  To say I cried while reading her words about one of the scariest days of her life would be an understatement.  But she was brave.  She was brave in her actions that day and she was brave to share about it now.

I hear you, Kate.

I know it's time.

It's time to show up.

Time to share my story.

My scars.

It's time to be brave.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kinsey's Room (and some updates)


The past week has been a little, errrrr, maybe LOT busy around the Price house.

For those of you who don't know yet, I left my job at RV (a digital marketing firm) due to some medical issues post-my last surgery, and let me tell you, saying, 'See you later' to some of my co-workers was hard, y'all.  They are some of the BEST, most genuine people I've ever worked with, and I'm so thankful for the 'do life together' friendships I made during my time there.

On one hand, hard, but on the other, it was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me a minute to step back and think about what I really want to be doing.  That answer came in the form of enrolling in an online program.  14 years ago, when I was blessed with the miracle of my oldest daughter, sacrifices had to be made in order to provide for her, so I quit college and got a job.  So now, with an almost 14 year old, an 11 year old, and almost 9 year old, Bill and I decided it was as good of time as ever for me to jump back in.  In all fairness to him, he's tried for several years to convince me I should do this.  I honestly thought, "It's been YEARS since I've been in school, I'm not sure I'm capable of 'doing it' and 'doing it well' at this age."  'Doing it well' is important to me because I have three girls who I'm always dwelling on the importance of doing well in school to.  And they do!  So, I need to, too.  So after years of convincing from my husband, I'm doing it.  I enrolled in an 18 month (work at your pace) program that I started talking to my friend, Andrea, about around 2 (Yes, TWO) years ago.  The wait was then on to receive all my books and syllabuses. (or is it syllabi, my grammar loving friends?  Ahem, Elaine!)

Over the summer, I've been working on a couple projects in Kinsey's room, as talked about in my previous blog post, but I hadn't finished them all.  

Fast forward to this past Monday (less than TWO weeks before we leave for Indiana to go pick up the girls) and I decided it was the perfect time to paint my kitchen cabinets.  Luckily I have THE BEST Mother-in-Law in the world (and I'm not being sarcastic) who came over, daily, and did a big portion of the painting.  My goal was to have them done by Wednesday (yes, you read that right: My goal was to have them done in three days.  Go ahead a laugh) because my books/lesson plans were supposed to be delivered on Wednesday.  BUT, they came a day early, and I had to jump right in so I would paint a few cabinets and go work on a lesson.  Sleep.  The cycle repeated itself over and over throughout the course of a week (so not three days but who's counting?), but we finished it with the help of Bill and Brandon.  And it's BEAUTIFUL.  I knew it would really change the way the kitchen looked, but I still can't get over how much brighter it is in there every single time I walk in that room.

And during that time, I finished what was supposed to be a semester class - completed all lesson plans, took 6 test, a gazillion quizzes, and my final for my first class.  I'm happy to say, I finished the class with a 97%.  I promptly sent a screenshot to my girls.  To be honest, it's important to me that they know no matter where they are in life, if they have a goal and they work hard, they can accomplish anything.  Kinsey promptly told me I need to start taking all her tests for her.  Ha!

So, here we are, two days before we leave to go pick them up and I still needed to put some finishing touches on her room.  So, I hurried up and finished what I could this morning. There's still a couple more things I'd like to add, but I've just accepted it's not happening until after she comes home.  So without further ado..... here is.....

Kinsey's Room

The biggest change you can see when you walk in is her 'glitter' wall and a photo above her chair.

Two things about this area... on the wall between the chair and vanity will eventually be a painting she had in her bedroom at our previous house.  Bill's Mom painted it, and it was perfect for her previous bedroom but she's going to make a quick color change to it and then it will match this bedroom perfectly.  

The other addition will be some string lights running from the corner behind the chair, close to the ceiling, to the corner where the glitter wall starts.  Her room theme is really clean, light colors with sparkle.

Her vanity is still the same.

I added this chair a few months ago when I was preparing for surgery and we needed a recliner in the living room for me post-surgery.  She had a bean bag chair here previously and it just didn't flow cohesively in her space, so one of the accent chairs that was in the living room got moved into her bedroom.

My mother loves these chairs (they are really comfortable) and tries to convince me to give them to her every time she comes down. Ha!  It might happen one of these days.

Above Kinsey's chair I hung a picture collage her best friend, Hannah, made for her.  These girls are just the sweetest, and I'm so glad Kinsey has a bestie like her.

The mirror beside her vanity area was white but she told me she needed a little more of her accent color in her room.  I initially glittered it but didn't like it at all, so I did what any mom would do, and I scrapped it all off and then painted it this turquoise-y color.

I love this tray her grandmother got her a couple years ago.  It's perfect for keeping all her perfumes organized.

The glitter wall.  This was a VERY quick and inexpensive addition to her bedroom.  Though I told her when she asked me to do it, that if she EVER wants to change it, she's going to be the one to sand it.

I really do love the contrast against her light bluish/green/gray walls.

Initially we were going to hang her white board back up on here, but then I found these Fleur De Lis hangers at Hobby Lobby and she loved them.  

Her bed.  The biggest change to this space was the addition of the lights and curtains behind her bed.

Her room is not that big but this wall felt big and empty when there was nothing except her 'Live in the Sunshine' picture up there.

I absolutely LOVE how this turned out.

I can not wait for her to get home and see this.  

See that lamp beside her bed?  It matches that cute tray that holds her perfume.

Her beside table isn't anything fancy...just a white/turquoise end table...but it holds one of her most prized possessions....a photo from her trip to Charleston.

One of the things I love most about where we are is the opportunities/life experiences the girls are getting to have.

The stories we got to hear when she got home from that trip were priceless.

Monday, June 06, 2016

New House UPDATE

Wow......has it really almost been a year since we moved into our new house?

Time really does fly!!!

I said almost a year ago that I'd update what we've done with the place but as you know, life gets busy, and if I'm perfectly honest, blogging is so far from my mind these days.  But this my Facebook Memories there was a sweet post about our wedding that prompted me to click on over to this place.  After reading it, I started reading my original house post and thought, 'It's really time I updated that because a few things have changed since then.'  

So without further ado....

Not much has changed on the front of the house other than Bill put down black mulch (I absolutely LOVE it but haven't managed to take an updated picture) this year.  And we recently got some stained glass landscaping lights.

And Bill pressure washed that awful black spot off the drive-way.

The backyard has gotten MANY updates.

Like a trampoline...

The back deck got a much needed paint job.

It was pretty dingy.

I love the new two-tone.  

We added a nature area that I was sitting in when I took this picture.  It's really a small piece of 'quiet' that sometimes makes me forget we live in a subdivision.

The front porch got some new rocking chairs.

Not much has changed in the entryway besides some new table decor.

The only change with the bathroom is that I painted the door black.

But the dining room got a complete make-over.

First we added a couple paintings my sister painted for us.

Then we decided that we never really use this space, and we really need an office so our pallet table went to my Mother-in-Laws house and we got a desk from her house.

I love that our office supplies are hidden in these cubbies so the room stays nice and clean.  Especially since it's one of the FIRST things you see when you walk into our house.

I LOVE this new storage for all my essential oils.  I've tried different racks and containers over the past year but I always thought they looked clutter-y.  So I was thrilled when I found this rack.

The living room hasn't changed much except for the fact that we FINALLY got our couch after over a month's wait.  And we moved the matching chairs upstairs when I had to have surgery about a month ago, because I needed a recliner to sleep in.

The oversized chair is now between the windows on the opposite wall.

And those dear friend, Christina, took them, and they are just everything.  She captured who my girls are so perfectly.

We plan to eventually open that wall up to the kitchen, so those prints will get moved to the wall above the recliner.

The eat-in has changed only in that I finally found a table I liked.  And Bill added a command station for me.

The plan for the kitchen is to eventually paint the cabinets white and take out the majority of the upper cabinets on the right hand side to open that wall up to the living room.

And I need to get the pantry door painted black this summer while the girls are gone.

Nothing has changed in the stairway and I'm not sure it ever will.

I nearly had a heart attack while Bill was painting this area.

Our entire house was an ugly yellow-y beige color before we painted everything but the girls' bedrooms/bathroom shades of grey.

Another door that STILL needs to be painted black.  

I'd love to get a beautiful sparkly chandelier to replace this one but again, Bill would get on that ridiculously tall ladder and just, NO! 

More doors....

There are so many dang doors in this house!

 The girls' bathroom still looks the same.  Though I'd love to change the color to a teal-y blue, and eventually that counter top will get replaced.

Ava's room hasn't changed at all.  This is still one of my favorite rooms in the house.
Ava and Bre shared this room up until a few months ago when Bre decided she was ready to sleep in her own room.

Bre's room was formally the girls' playroom/computer room.

When I posted the first pictures of the house last summer, we hadn't touched this room.  So, it was definitely the room that saw the biggest transformation.

Bre loves ALL things space related and the color blue.

We were able to find this really cool mural online.  It came in eight pieces that had to be lined up perfectly and the paper was super thin (read: it was a pain to put up) but she absolutely loves it.

Kinsey's room hasn't seen much change but that is going to change this summer so stay tuned for IG pictures of that progress.

We did move one of the living room chairs into her room so she has a place to sit and read.

Our bedroom is also exactly the same besides adding a chair next to the dresser.

The Master bath got quite the make-over.

We painted it ...grey, of course.

I painted the vanity black.  Refinished the counter tops with a transformation kit. And we swamped out that huge, ugly mirror.

This was before Bill installed the new faucets.  They are oil rubbed bronze.

Eventually, we plan to rip out that shower and tile it.

And last, but certainly not least, the garage got a GORGEOUS facelift.

James Dean had the best parking spot until Norma Jean kicked him out. 

We still have several projects we want to do, and hopefully, we will check a few of them off of the to-do list this summer but for only being in the house a little less than a year, we're really happy with all the progress we've made.