Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The sun came out today.

I've been on a long journey to good health...well for about the last 9 years when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, then later with Hypothyroidism, among many other autoimmune diseases. Through many years of ups and downs, I have found that there is no substitution for good health. There have been so many horrible days with aches and pains, blinding migraines, indescribable fatigue and depression beyond hope. However, with the elimination of gluten from my diet eight years ago, my brain fog has decreased significantly and my energy levels have increased. I have gone from 4 to 5 migraines a WEEK to about 1 or 2 a month. But the effects of gluten were still there and the damage had been done almost beyond repair. Soon after the diagnosis of Celiac, the Thyroid problems started and have not ended. The energy comes and goes, along with the depression and anxiety. Some days are harder than others. The weather affects me greatly. It has been raining for 4 days straight... and then today the sun came out. It was like I could breath again. It was like God saying, there is an end to all of this. You can do this, girl! 

So today as the sun is shining down, I am starting a new journey of eliminating all processed foods, dairy, and grains and sugar. I will do it consistently and without any cheat days until Thanksgiving which is exactly 30 days from now. I feel like the last 10 years have been leading up to this corny as that sounds. I have been on a roller coaster of eliminating chemicals, processed foods and meats pumped with hormones. I'll juice for a week and feel fabulous and then fall off the wagon and eat a bag of chips and immediately regret it. 

There is no substitution for good health.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that the foods I put in my mouth affect me not only physically but emotionally. I am excited about the next 30 days and plan to blog about this journey along the way so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

At first glance...

I recently pulled out my wedding DVD with my bridal images, our wedding images and these lovely gems, our engagement photos. These images were taken almost 8 years ago in Little Rock by a dear friend of ours. They are dear to my heart for many reasons. When I look back at these images at first I notice how much skinner I look - how depressing. At first glance I might, I might say, "Wow, my teeth look so white! I need to cut back on the coffee!" I might even notice that my Buie is a few pounds lighter in these photos, too (sorry babe) but none of those things matter.  At first glance, I thought, "oh I remember that shirt! I wonder where it is...not that I could fit in it anymore..."

Despite the physical changes we have gone through since these pictures were taken, when I look at these images taken just a couple months before we were married, it reminds me of the beginning...when everything was fresh and new. It reminds me that I had no clue what love was. Yes, we look blissfully happy like someone spiked our morning coffee or perhaps we were just drunk in love as Beyonce would say. While I'm pretty sure our friend, Christen, just said something funny to make us laugh, it's still nice to think about how excited we were to be planning our wedding. (And I must mention that my mom did everything. So thanks, mom.) While we had already been together for 3 years at this point, conquered a breakup and been a part while I traveled to not one but two different countries... we were still in the beginning of love. 

What I have learned about love in the last 10+ years is that LOVE is not what I thought love was at all.  Love is not a white horse or climbing up a balcony or a red single rose glittering in the spotlight or dancing the night away at a ball and loosing your slipper. Love is not some crazy romantic proclamation of affection in some grand place with fireworks going off in the background and your own 4 string quartet playing and an audience cheering in the background. Love isn't even finding your soulmate or finding "the one" that was meant for you. I know this is debatable for some so let's just move on, shall we? :) 

Love is a decision to put someone in your life and continually walk beside them hand in hand no matter what life throws your way. Love is a sacrifice. Love is the hardest thing I have ever done. Love is getting up every single day and forgetting yourself and your selfish instinct.  Love is holding your hair back while your throwing up. Love is checking a tick bite in places you can't reach or even see! :) Love is bringing you home your favorite snack because you'd had a horrible day. Love is watching Project Runway instead of your twelfth football game of the day because you know it's your wife's favorite. ;) Love is forgiving before the other one even say they're sorry. Love is sometimes so ugly, it's beautiful. Do you know what I mean? Love is no makeup, no shaving, no showering for a week and still falling helplessly in each others arms because that is the only place that feels like home. 

Another thing I have learned is that I may be THE most stubborn person on the face of this planet... No, seriously. When we got married it was a major wake up call to me how selfish and stubborn I am...and still am. Well, we are BOTH pretty stubborn. ;) But it's been almost 8 years of learning to give and take, learning HOW to communicate with each other and learning how to sacrifice and possibility even letting the other be right every now and then. ;) 

So when I look at the these images now, I don't see how we've changed physically, although we have and we will continue to grow old together. I don't see a giddy engaged couple ready to tie the knot. I see how much our LOVE has grown over the past 10+ years (including our dating years). I love this man more this morning than I did yesterday morning. The difference? Everyday I wake up and pray for our marriage, I pray for me, I pray for him, I pray for our future children (if God's chooses to bless us with any). I choose to love him every day. He is the best roommate I could ask for. He is the best movie partner, jeopardy teammate, dog dad, best friend that I could ask for. Some times I don't always *like* him (and I KNOW he would say the same) but I will always wake up and *choose* him. Every single day. 

That, to me, is love. 

photography by Christen Byrd

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Camping:: It's intense!

Get it? It's intense! IN TENTS! Camping?.... IN TENTS?!

Ok, Sorry for that. It has been raining here. A LOT. Like all the time, all day long. We did get a break yesterday and that was nice. But today here we are again.

I have had to cancel, postpone and reschedule so many sessions this Spring because of the rain. It is beyond frustrating. I absolutely HATE having to reschedule a session for any reason, even if it is out of my control. My clients are wonderful and completely understand because they don't want to shoot their session in the rain either. This week when yet another session got canceled, I let my frustration out in the form of a tent....a huge tent in the middle of our living room with every single sheet that we own!
It did the trick. It's amazing how twinkle lights and an indoor fort can be so comforting. I felt like I was 4 years old again! Buie and I stayed in our fort all day Monday and talked and watched crime detective shows which is one of our favorite things to watch.

 All of the animals slept for hours. It was like we drugged them. ha! (It was probably the essential oils we had diffusing IN the tent!) Monday night we slept in the tent with all the animals except for Spring because she's not house trained yet. She did come hang out for a few hours with us. I think the dogs thought we had built them a huge kennel for our entire pack. :) 

Yes, I realize we are crazy but hey you only live once, right?! Our tent is still up- going on Day 4. I'm going out of town this weekend so I'm thinking we have to leave it up at least til the nieces and nephews can come play sometime next week. :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Oops, I did it again!

Oops, I did it again! I found a cute dog and decided to keep it. Yup. That's right. The Buies Zoo just added ANOTHER one. We are back up to 12. We lost a bunny a couple months ago so we were down to 11, but now we have an even 4/4/4:: four dogs, four cats and four bunnies.

 Last Sunday morning our 3 dogs started barking like crazy at something in our front yard. That usually means that the FedEx guy is delivering a package to our house or there is a nosy little doggie visitor using our lawn as a place to mark his territory. Our dogs do not approve. They think it is their sole duty to guard and protect this house, even if it means chewing through the glass kitchen door to do so. I like that they sound vicious. It makes me feel safer when I'm working from home.

In our yard last Sunday was this sweet face. She was frightened yet curious. She had a blue collar with no name, no tag of any kind and a chewed of leash hanging down from her collar. Her skin looked pretty bad. She had patches of bald spots with skin shedding and scabs all over her. When I could get close enough, she would wag her tail and I could barely get a glimpse of some sort of infection underneath her tail. I couldn't tell in her anal gland was swollen or if she was in fact a he and those were just some weird looking boy parts. (sorry for the details if you aren't a dog person) We found out later she was in fact a girl and her private parts were inflamed and irritated. Poor girl. :(

I had somewhere to go that morning and all afternoon. We didn't know what to do. After calling the local rescue shelter and learning that they were at capacity, we decided to just give her some food and water and see if she would just stay in our front yard through the night. And of course she did. The next morning, she was happy to see me but still fearful. I made a vet appointment for that afternoon and spent the next few hours just sitting out in the front yard trying to gain her trust. There were many many treats involved in this process. ;)

Getting her in the car was a traumatic experience but surprisingly the actual vet appointment was great! They are so great with her. They got her cleaned up, treated the ticks and fleas and gave her a shot for the red mange. The next few days were all about making her feel at ease and comfortable.

She has made such progress over the last week. And of course we have fallen in love with her. I think it was Thursday that we officially decided to keep her and make her a part of our crazy zoo. Oh and we named her SPRING! :) When she runs, she has this little hop and a spring to it. She is so full of hope, just like each Spring is after a long hard winter. We are excited to see her progress and if you'd like to follow along over on Instagram, you can find lots more pictures and even some videos over at my instagram page #thebuieszoo or #springbuie for more pictures of just sweet Spring.

Welcome to the Zoo, Spring.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Love it or Leave it

I thought it was about time I popped back in to say hi! It's no surprise that I've been letting this little blog of mine fall by the wayside...again. Most of the time I think "no one wants to read about my boring little life," but to be completely honest, I'm not really doing this for anyone else except me. I have never admitted to being a "writer" but I find it therapeutic. Growing up I have always kept a journal of some sort starting with my Hello Kitty diary in 3rd grade. :) It's fun to go back and read years later, just like I do with this blog. I started this blog right before Buie and I were married and this summer we will celebrate 7 years of marriage together. It's hard to believe 7 years has already gone by. In some ways it has been some of the best years but also some of the hardest years of my life. Most of the real intimate personal stuff I don't write about here on my blog, mainly because I don't want the whole world knowing about it. But the small stuff like gardening and our animals and our home, the everyday stuff...I still want to remember all of that stuff. So here I am again.

In January I wrote about simplifying and I have really been trying to do that this year. If you know me then you know I come with a lot of stuff. ha. It sounds weird to say because I don't consider myself to be materialistic. I don't have to have stuff to make me happy. However, I am one of those inherently messy people. I think it comes naturally though if that makes any difference at all. I can remember going to visit my great grandmother, Margie, who we called "NaNa" and her place being filled with stuff. She had plants everywhere, stacks of magazines from years past that she had "plans" to do something with, unfinished ceramic projects. I remember she always had to clean a place off for us to sit down. :) Isn't it funny the little things you remember. My mom always said I have a lot of NaNa in me. We are both artists. We are both messy and creative and not at all organized. We both save every little thing to remember an event by. (I don't really do this anymore but I used to in junior high and high school.) We both have hoarding tendencies and I have a garage full of stuff to prove it. When my NaNa passed away, I felt such a connection to her that I felt like I must keep her stuff. I couldn't stand for it to go to charity. Through out the years, I would eventually lose all of my grandparents and each time, I felt like I had to hoard their belongings to keep a part of them with me. There are so many pieces that are so special to me that I would never in a million years get rid of and I am so thankful that they are in our home.
this is my MeMe's couch that is in our breakfast nook. I love this couch so much and remember spending many Christmases with all of my cousins all piled up on this couch opening presents. 

this was my MeMe's hutch that was in her kitchen that now stores our cookbooks and some of my china. 

this loveseat belonged to my Grandmother on my dad's side. It was in their Master Bedroom for as long as I remember. It is now in our living room and serves as a good cat napping bench. :)

I also have several boxes of just random trinkets and nicknacks that I have no emotional attachment to, other than I know they belonged to my grandparent. It has been somewhat therapeutic, to go through those boxes and find a special place in my home for those pieces that I do want to keep and let go of the things that I am not keeping.

On top of going through my grandparents memorabilia, I have kept so much stuff from college that I have now sold or given away. It feels good to clean out closets and purge! I highly recommend it! Is my garage clean yet? Well, heck no but I'm still working on it. :) My motto has been if I don't LOVE it then LEAVE it. I either sell it or give it away to someone who I know would appreciate it or box it up and give it to charity. Also, I'm not just keeping things for no reason anymore. I'm getting to old for trinkets. ha! It has to serve a purpose in my house. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015




Last year was a difficult year for us. This year B & I will celebrate 10 years of being together and 7 years of marriage. Each day I learn more and more about marriage, communication and selflessness. On top of loosing my grandmother, my husband and I both dealt with a lot of stress, depression, and anxiety.

This will be year two in our new home here in Louisiana and already it has been a good year. The difference? Simplifying, de-stressing, planning (yes, planning) and quit feeling sorry for myself. My house is still cluttered with Christmas decor but I'm taking it room by room. As a creative person, I tend to be messy. Ok, let's be honest, I'm usually always messy. I don't understand it. I don't know how it happens, but it always happens. But the weird thing is that I don't thrive in messiness. I like for things to be in order. So you see how this could be a problem. Also, being married to a naturally creative and messy person, we have to work hard to keep a semi-liveable home. We decided long ago that hiring a cleaning lady to come weekly was almost a requirement in a home with seven in-home animals. The $75/week is the best money we spend all week and having clean floors is priceless. 

But being 'clean' goes beyond vacuuming to me. This year it is my desire to live with less. 

To truly live simply. 

When I traveled to Nicaragua this past month, I packed everything that I needed in one backpack including my camera, three lenses and a week's worth of clothes and my Bible. That thought really resonated with me. Simplify.  Then as I served children their only meal of the day while they were clinching their only bowl and only spoon, I thought again how much I have that I do not need. 


To live a truly simple life. I don't even think I understand don't those even as I write them. With so many gifts and gadgets that fill my drawers and gadgets.... it's almost enough to make me want to go live in a grass hut somewhere. Although I don't feel like God is calling me to do that at this time, I do feel like God is calling me to simplify our lives. To give away things we do not use. To repurpose things that can be repurposed. To simply live without.

I'm looking forward to a great year! What are your goals this year?