Saturday, December 31, 2016


It is New Year's is nearly 11pm. One hour until a new year is upon us. There are so many things that are scary as hell about 2017. Trump. Tweeting. Tweening.  How do you like that alteration? I know so many people are so discouraged about what 2017 will bring. I am not. 2016 was the first year ever that I actually saw my resolutions through. I am a better person tonight than I was a year ago. I have made significant changes in my life and I have seen the positive changes it has made. I am so glad for every hard moment that I had to get to this moment. It has strengthened my faith and made me realize how much grace and redemption I have been blessed to receive. There is certainly work to be done. Coming to terms to with the  behaviors that led me to where I was. Appreciating every blessing I have. Waking up everyday and feeling grateful, even when the circumstances of my life don't necessarily point that attitude. Now that I feel I have a good spiritual footing, 2017 will be devoted to wellness! While all is well with my soul these wise I am a mess. Eating like there isn't a care in the world about what fuels my body, bloated, yuck. I know better but yet I know this will always be a struggle. I like food and I like the easy way out...a horrible combination when you also struggle with the concept of moderation. I usually have this happen every few years, being totally fed up and disgusted with myself and I change my ways for a good six months. But, I always find my way back to this state(gluttony and indifference). I have faith that I can change this with the right approach. The good thing about having a great 2016 is that it has you believing you can transfer the skills you used to accomplish 2016's goal to 2017's! I believe!!! Really, I have nothing to lose..ha ha..the pun! Really I have everything to lose and can not continue to gain!!
Every post this year has spoken to all we've left behind. The toxic behaviors and people. The poor choices. Leaving that behind has definitely shown me that this lesson is applicable to all struggles I have. The easy path will never produce any lasting fruit. It will wilt, it may taste good at the time, but the after taste is the most bitter you will ever taste and experience.
Financial freedom is another goal of mine and ALWAYS of Jeff's. He is so wise. He is so patient but I need to buckle down because I am desperate to leave our house. It has served us well in the nearly 12 years we've lived here but we are ready for change. Our girls need their own space. We need a bit more space and distance from some mistakes that we do not need daily reminders of. So, I will forgo the things I feel are needs because they are really wants. We have more than enough. We can conquer this and move on to a better space for our family and a place where our souls can rest easy without constant reminders of the crap we've left behind. Will me miss most of our neighbors, certainly. But, moving on is best for every single person in our family.
So many things will happen in 2017..Matthew will move on from elementary school to middle school. Caroline will start her last year of elementary. Ellie will continue to find her way in 2nd grade. I will negotiate an interesting work life and find my way.  Jeff will continue to struggle with his role and where is his future is headed. We will live our everyday lives. I have so much gratefulness for the mundane. Life is good when you know your life is normal. I work with people everyday who have to negotiate a new normal and thus I appreciate worrying about trivial things such such as how will Matthew cope with 6th grade, will Caroline hate me when she is a teenager, did we make the right decision when we held Ellie back? Because in the end, we are mostly happy, healthy and together. What I learned in 2016 is that Team Simpson sticks together and there is NO other team I'd ever want to be on!!!
Happy New Year!!! We can do 2017!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

We are a few hours from Christmas. What a wonderful season it has been for us. We've had lots of fun but have also taken the time to enjoy it all. Intentional. That is what I will remember about this holiday season. Enjoying my decorations, my tree, my family, and all my many other blessings. Feeling so grateful for this sweet spot we find ourselves.
One thing that really saddens me is that Matthew is totally suspicious  of Santa. All of his friends don't believe and he continues to ask us but you can see it in his face and his eyes through tears, that he's not ready to know. I was about to tell him a few weeks ago but I couldn't do it. Too many things are bombarding our boy right now. He's right on the cusp of boy to tween. He's struggling to find his way in all of that. I love that he comes to me to discuss all of his fears and thoughts. I know it is such a gift. And so, given all he's told me, I know if we told him, right now, that we are Santa, it would crush him. Jeff and I decided we will tackle this, together, in the New year. Oh my, growing up does suck sometimes doesn't it?
We are prepared for Christmas and for the first time ever, we aren't wrapping until the wee hours of the morning. We've spent the day with family, Jeff took the kids with his sister to do some fun activities that she gifts them for Christmas. Rock climbing for the big kids and Bounceland for the littles. I am struggling with a wicked cold and used the time to rest some and wrap a lot. Our plans were a bit jostled at the last minute and with mom feeling like crap and a house full of people arriving tomorrow afternoon we decided on a family favorite, Chinese! Well, everyone's favorite except Caroline who happily ate her Wendy's. As I watched everyone eat their respective food I felt truly happy and thankful. We are blessed. Yes, 2016 was hard and we all know that 2017 will surely throw us some doozies! But, I am hopeful. I believe in the hope and redemption that the little baby who was born all those years ago in a manger brings. He can make all things new. I have experienced it fully in 2016. I  will move forward  to whatever comes my way knowing my God will never waiver. If I continue to seek Him and His ways my life won't necessarily be easy but it will bearable.
Wishing you and yours the Merriest of Christmases and Happy Holidays and a bright and HOPEFUL New Year. We can do this. One day at a time. Heck, maybe one minute at a time.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thankful 2016

We are just one week away from Thanksgiving! I will have you know that it was 70 degrees here in Michigan today! It has been one of the loveliest falls I can remember.  I am certainly thankful for awesome fall weather! So, when I think of all the things that I enjoy about blogging, this list is certainly at the top of the list. I went through past "lists" the other week and oh my, what a walk down memory lane. The same themes are present: faith, friends and kids but the stories, they evolve and change right along with us I suppose. goes it for November 2016

10. A great boss. I appreciate how fortunate I am to be supported by an awesome manager in my work place. I have had plenty of previous jobs where this isn't the case and it is horrible. I really can't imagine juggling the already difficult task of full time mom/wife and MSW without a supportive manager!
9. Netflix. This always seems to make the list. My days can be long and oh, so sad. To be able to retreat to the comfort of my bed and unwind with a show truly is one of my top forms of self-care. I can forget about death and dying, abuse and neglect, injustice and politics and escape to some of my favorite places through Netflix!
8. Small group. We've been involved with our group for over a year now and it continues to bless us beyond measure. Not only do we grow together in our faith but we have so much fun! This summer we went camping and last weekend we raked leaves for some folks and it was a blast.
7. My kid's teachers. Our kids go to a wonderful school where the teachers really pour their hearts and souls into our children's education. They are with our children more than we are and I couldn't ask for better role models!
6. Co-workers. I love so many of the people I work with. We share the same sick sense of humor and the same struggles. We trust each other and we get each other through the toughest of days.
5. My new car! In February I got a new Ford Explorer and lordy be do I LOVE driving a new car. After driving an old car for years I do not take one drive in my car for granted!!
4. Having more than enough. It is so easy these days to play the comparison game. The truth is I am blessed beyond measure but I can be the biggest brat when it comes to always wanting more. JUST ASK MY ACCOUNTANT!
3. That brings me to my accountant, aka my JEFF. My everything. The one who keeps me real and loves me, just as I am. What more could a girl ask for?
2. My kids. Matthew, my first born, rule following, thoughtful, sports obsessed, funny, only boy. Caroline, my feisty, smart, artistic, organized, friendly, funny, creative middle girl. Ellie, my lovable, sweet, determined, sometimes hesitant and always snugly baby girl. They are the reason I do anything and honestly, they have revealed every short coming I have ever had. I am a better person or at least trying to be a better person because of these three. I pray everyday that I am not screwing it up too badly and pray daily for grace for the task I have been given.
1. Faith. This will always be my number one because it is my everything. Everything I do or don't do is impacted in some way by my faith. 2016 was the year in which I always want to remember that I found my way back. I stopped ignore that still, small voice that was trying to tell me that I wasn't the best wife, mom, friend, christian I could be. I am thankful for ALL of the lessons that 2016 held, even the incredibly tough ones. Some days my faith in my God and His promises of forgiveness and redemption were the ONLY things that got me through. With all that is going on in the world today, I am so THANKFUL that I am right with my God and my faith. Something tells me I am going to need it, in different ways, in 2017..and beyond.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Take the time to think of what you are thankful for, what you cherish, what you value. Love your people, and tell them that! Enjoy the blessings and your life and find ways to help those who may have less than you. That's my Thanksgiving advice for 2016!

Friday, October 28, 2016

A big ol'break

Hello! I haven't been blogging much lately. That's because life is CRAZY! Soccer, hockey, work, laundry, cleaning, sleeping..repeat! It seems it was just Labor Day and now it is Halloween! Life happens fast. Lately I have been feeling slightly nostalgic about that. For example this week I have been running around costuming our kids, going to our church's trunk or treat, getting the kids ready early this morning for their school parties and then tonight the Harvest Party. While it can be exhausting and admittedly the last thing I want to do after a long week of work, I tried to cherish it. These moments are flying by. I KNOW I will miss these moments. So, instead of wishing it to go by, I tried to really enjoy my babies. Matthew who dressed up like Jake from State Farm, Caroline a Ghostbuster and Ellie a Zombie cheerleader. They had fun, they looked cute, and yes, I will admit, it was busy but fun week.
Tonight I chatted with a friend who I haven't seen in awhile. She asked me, "How are things?" I answered her with most of the normal chit chat that one does when you haven't seen someone in awhile. But, as I sit and really contemplate that question, I think I'd say, "Things are awesome."  Our family was in a very hard place for a very long time. Now, with considerable distance between where we were and where we are now, can I see how truly off the beaten path we (and by that I mean mostly me) were. We lost our footing. We lost our focus. We lost our purpose. Surving life got in the way of truly LIVING life.  Our faith was muddy to say the least.  Truly, a year ago, I couldn't imagine a life without the chaos that I had created. It had become my norm. So many lessons we've learned in this year. I'd like to say I can't wait to see 2016 go ,but really its been the best year of my life. It has been the year where I have really come into my own in my work life. I love what I do. I am passionate about patients and families understanding their healthcare and their choices. I love my family. It is a big old mess most of the time but it is my mess. The other night I overheard Jeff and Ellie talking and I thought to myself..this is what I always wanted. I remember meeting Jeff and knowing instantly he'd be the best dad. I have never been more right. In addition he happens to be the most understanding husband and best match for me that I could ever imagine! Jeff Simpson is the best decision I have ever made. Content. That's what I am feeling. Sure, there is still so much work to do. We have miles to go before we sleep. But, I no longer wake up feeling anxious and yucky ALL THE TIME. I rarely second guess myself and feel that I have surrounded our family and myself with people who ADD value. Compared to the last three years of is BLISS,
The kids are doing good. Caroline is doing well in fourth grade. She has a great teacher and a good group of kids. She had a great fall soccer season and is looking forward to indoor. Matthew, our fifth grader continues to tolerate school. He really misses his teacher from last year. But, I am realizing that my boy doesn't really like change. He is full throttle into hockey and doing well. Ellie, who is repeating first grade has struggled some. My confidant girl has become more anxious about going to school. I definitely underestimated how much she would miss her friends from last year. However, academically Ellie is doing well and we are confident that, in time, she will find a new friend group  and be just fine.
Jeff and I are still involved in our small group from church and continued to be blessed by the fellowship and accountability this group has given us.
We are looking forward to the coziness of the upcoming seasons of spending time with family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are thankful for new friendships and the grace that God has allowed in letting go of what wasn't meant to be. Life is good and God, most certainly is.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Summer wrap up

The other day I was reading a blog where the mom did a recap of what her kids were up to.  I like that idea and haven't really done that much in the past year. Times flies and I can barely remember last week let alone last year! I thought this would be a good way to remember what my little hooligans were like in August of 2016.
Matthew..age 11, about to enter fifth grade. I can hardly believe this boy is entering his last year of elementary school. He is not exactly a fan of school and would love everyday to be a stay at home day. He's a homebody and is most comfortable hanging out here. Matthew has a great group of buddies and I am so thankful for that. I pray that he continues to foster these relationships. One of things I worry most about with my kids is who their friends are. Friends can make or break you. Matthew loves sports! He is a little encyclopedia of sports facts. He especially loves the Tigers, Cubs, Lions, and Red Wings. Matthew is gearing up to play hockey again. He is a little sad this year to start again because many of his buddies from his beloved last year's team have moved on to different teams. He had such an amazing experience last year. His team won a lot, he developed his skills and we had some of the best kids and parents you could hope for. So many people inquire why we invest so much money and time into hockey? I am quick to defend this costly and investment of time sport because it has done so many wonderful things for our boy. Matthew has learned so many lessons and gained so much self confidence through his years of playing hockey. Matthew's personality has really blossomed over this past year. He is funny, thoughtful, kind and has a great laid back attitude most of the time. That being said, he can tend to error on the side of lazy and if you try and get him to do something he doesn't want to you start to see a "tweenager"attitude. But, overall, Matthew is really a joy to be around. He still loves to chat with me and don't tell him I told the blog world but he will still give me a hug and kiss before going anywhere!  I am proud of the young man he's become.
Caroline, age 9, nearly 10, is about to enter fourth grade. Caroline is one of the most creative people I have ever met. She can create a story, video, project out of nothing. Caroline is smart and driven, especially when she is motivated. Something I will remember about her from this summer is her soccer tryout experience. Caroline had been playing for a club for the past two years but this year they did not have enough kids for two teams and she was cut. Rather than give up and throw the towel in with soccer, she decided to go out for another team, the day after she was cut. She was not dismayed and showed her new team that she has what it takes to be a part of their team. I can see a change in her over the past few weeks since practices have begun. She wants to work on her skills and impress her coaches. Caroline can really accomplish anything she sets her mind to. She is the most fabulous organizer! She can clean like nobody's business! Caroline is independent and that certainly serves his well in many circumstances but she is also incredibly stubborn. This has been a constant source of strife for us over the years and I have especially struggled with this trait over the summer. Sometimes she is just relentless and it can be frustrating. However, we are determined not to break our dear girl's spirit. She has so much potential and I'll be damned if I am the one that squashes her will. It will always be a work in progress, Caroline and I. That girl has taught me so much about myself and definitely about my shortcomings. Caroline will have the same teacher that Matthew had last year. I love Mrs. Konkel and think she will be an excellent match for our Sweet Caroline.
Ellie, is less than a week away from turning 7! SEVEN!! How can that be? It really does seem like yesterday that she surprised us all with her early arrival! Ellie is full of life. She is dramatic and girlie and loves to act much older than she is. We are going to have to keep tabs on this one for sure. Ellie struggled a bit last year in first grade and after thoughtful consideration, we've decided she will repeat first grade. Academically Ellie struggled with reading last year but ,honestly, she's come leaps and bounds. We've continued with a tutor this summer who is a retired reading specialist. Ellie adored her and despite the challenges she's faced with reading, she's continued to persevere and I am happy to report she loves to read! She is so proud of how far she's come and so are we! This year Ellie has a teacher that Matthew also had in first grade. She is an excellent teacher and I think she will compliment Ellie well and challenge her during this "extra" practice of a year. The other day a friend asked Ellie what grade she was entering and Ellie proudly said, " I am going to do first grade again, I need a little extra time." That's exactly right sweet girl! Ellie is thrilled to be turning seven and can not wait to get a new bike and her ear's pierced! Ellie is playing AYSO soccer this fall and can't wait to start
This summer we've had a great "manny" who has held tight with these somewhat challenging Simpson kids. Christian was fun and laid back and held his own with those little girls! We will all miss him. We are excited to get back into our routines. Wait, who am I kidding, mom and dad are excited for earlier bedtimes and regular activities to resume. We're excited to watch them compete in soccer and hockey. This summer we did lots of fun things like our trip to Silver Lake, camp Grandma in Chicago for the big kids, real tent camping with our small group from church, bonfires and swimming with friends. We've made new friends and in many ways are the happiest we've been in years. Sure we struggle.Usually daily with this, that or the other thing. We are all works in progress. But, we are determined to keep on working on it,whatever IT may be!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer 16

 We are more than half way through this!! I admit, I used to be the mom who hated summer. It meant chasing toddlers around, and never feeling like I had a moment to myself. But now, eleven years in, it means no homework, no sports, no lunches to pack, no making sure planners are is bliss! Even though I work full time, the pace of summer is a welcome reprieve from the rest of the year! The kids have a fabulous sitter name Christian who is going to be a sophomore at MSU! He is the perfect mix of laid back and fun and my kids love him. Jeff and I are plugging away at work and it is busy for both of us so the break from the rest of the stress of the year is welcomed!
I feel at peace this summer. We are on track, for the first time in years. We are in a good place in our lives and in our marriage. It doesn't seem like it's all work. Instead it seems like a comfortable routine. I love evenings spent on our deck chatting away with the kids and Jeff. The past few years were full of drama and lots of unnecessary yuck.  I realize now much of this was much of my own doing. I am so grateful for God's provision and protection. Even when I was far, far away from Him, He stood by me and I am not sure I will ever be able to fully comprehend that kind of grace. I have made and fostered some incredible relationships in the past year. I have realized that life is indeed too short for bullshit and anything that doesn't make you a better person. We spent far too long on the wrong path. I love being on a path I feel God has ordained. Life certainly isn't easy but it is hopeful.
We are slowly gearing up for fall. Hockey, soccer for both girls, travel for Caroline. Ellie trying her hand at first grade again. New routines and new adventures. We aren't quite ready for the loveliness of summer to be over just yet. We will soak up all the pool and beach days,sleeping in, hanging out and staying in our jammies all day, that we can get. For we know that just around the corner is math homework and practices and tournaments and rushing, rushing, rushing. It feels good, this place we are at, and so we will soak it all in for a little while longer. Here's hoping your summer is lovely as well!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lucky 13

 Tomorrow Jeff and I celebrate thirteen years of marriage. I thought to honor the occasion I would make a list of the 13 things I know about marriage thus far into our endeavor.

13. What idealistic idiots we were 13 years ago. Well, mainly me, I am sure Jeff, in his wisdom ,knew what he was getting himself into! I definitely had no idea how much work marriage can be.
12. Waiting a few years to have kids may have been the smartest thing we ever did. We were able to do many things that make being a married adult suck less now(like running kids around to a billion sporting events, helping with homework, and did I mention those kids expect three meals a day!??)
11. Being friends with your spouse is a good idea. Jeff and I were friends for almost five years before we tied the knot.  We lived separate lives but doing things together as friends has afforded us a bond that is pretty strong.
10. Like who you marry. If I weren't married to Jeff, I know I would love to be his pal. He is just a good, decent guy. The more I live in this world, the more I realize they are sadly hard to come by!
9. Laugh, good Lord, laugh. Some days you want to cry at the weight of it all. Adulting is so hard after all. I can't tell you how much a good laugh with Jeff cheers me up!
8. Making time for us. I am pretty decent about making date nights and couple nights a priority for us. Get away from those kids, stop talking about hockey, well, okay, if you can't stop talking about hockey, at least do it with some other adults! Go away for the weekend. Invest in the "we"!
7. Don't take your spouse for granted. The grass is never greener on the other side. In fact, that grass most certainly has hidden slugs! Be grateful for what you've been given and know that you can suck too. Don't even make giving up an option!
6. You don't wake up everyday thinking, "God, I just can't get enough of this man." Sadly, no. But, do I wake up every morning thinking, "Thank you God for blessing me with a partner like Jeff!" Yes! And I can say the days I don't, I make myself think of all the ways he blesses my life!
5. Surround yourself with like minded individuals. We have been focusing on this a lot lately and it has made such a positive impact in our marriage!
4. Forgive. Jeff is pretty much an expert at this. Grace, grace, grace and more grace.
3. Pray with and for each other. Every day.
2. Make God and your relationship with Him the focus of all you do. That, makes all the difference.
1. Finally, luck has nothing to do with it. Marriage, 13 years in looks like a lot of work, plenty of devotion, laughing everyday and plenty of grace thrown in for good measure.
I love you Jeff!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


I am overwhelmed tonight by my gratefulness. There are so many reasons that I am feeling grateful. I feel like for the first time in a long time that I have a handle on this little life of mine. I feel like my faith and relationship are where they need to be for the first time in forever. Changes I have made have stuck. Amen! Bad habits are being broken and remain broken. Broken relationships are being repaired where there needs to be healing and some breaks I am learning are best left alone.
Spring is coming..maybe this weekend? ! A new season and I am embracing it. I feel hopeful for the first time in a few years. I am realizing how much I was living for myself and not in the way my faith and my God have intended. I never want to go back to that kind of living. Uggh, I realize now how horrible it was. Life will never be perfect. Life is hard. In fact my heart breaks for all the suffering I see and the help I try my best to offer in my personal and work life. But, I have hope that if I stay on this path, those who need me, will get the best of me. I like the best of me. It feels so much better. I am grateful for the friends who have stuck with me and pray for me and with me. After all, hanging in there with me is no small feat. I am grateful for my husband whose love has never wavered in the thirteen years we've been married. Even when I have been quite unlovable. I am grateful for my kids who are always accepting of my apologies when I lose my crap over making toast(true story). I am grateful for my sister who always has wisdom and humor for me. I am grateful for our small group. Coming together every other week has much to do with the success I have had with getting myself and my faith back! I am grateful for my job that reminds every single day that this life is so precious and we never know what tomorrow will bring. Grateful, yes, that is me.