Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 7 - Unicorn of the Week and Recap

Well once again - Kipper was right. Arian Foster paid off and is the Unicorn of the Week for the second week in a row!

Then he hurt himself again. Now he is out for the season. Sigh.

This week Team Sports Go, Sports was back in business racking up 110 points. Of course we had to play against a high scoring opponent who beat us with 131. This loss stung more than any other one. You see, Kipper drafted Lamar Miller for me and I was very loyal to him for the first 6 weeks.

Week after week he brought in less than half of his projected score so I finally dropped him. Then Amy Watts picked him up and he freaking scored 35 points!! 35 points people. If I would have kept him I would have won week 7 with flying colors. Sigh.

At least we are still holding strong to 4th place and still on target for the playoffs.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cheers to 34: Grace Wins Every Time

{Disclaimer: This post is raw.  I didn't plan on sharing this but something tugged at me to do it. So I watered it down a little and hit publish. It isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but I promise it has a very happy ending!} 

Thanks to Timehop and my upcoming birthday I have been walking down memory lane the last week or so. Apps like Timehop can be really awesome as it reminds you of little moments that you might of forgotten about. Yet at the same time it can be painful as it reminds of times you might like to pretend never happened. This is where my reflection started.

A very dear friend and mentor always told me I was going to love my 30's. (I'm looking at you Melanie Wilson!) She would tell me that my 30's would be the best time of my life. I thought she was crazy!

My 20's were pretty much awesome, but the closer I got to 30 the more terrified I was. So much of my life was about checking things off a list I thought had to be completed by a certain time in my life. Don't get me wrong - I was happy and loved the path I was on. Even dealing with small bouts of depression and being medicated - I honestly didn't think life could be better. But looking back I realize I also felt this nonstop self induced pressure. I lived with the fear of missing out. The fear of not living up to the standards everyone expected me to uphold, even if those standards where created in my own head. Yet in those moments I was happy because I didn't know better. I couldn't imagine being happier.  And even though I was terrified of 30, in typical Allietober fashion I was already planning in my head the amazing 80's themed 30th birthday party I would have.  

Shortly after my 29th birthday everything changed. My world was rocked with pain and loss. Without going into details, I watched my family have the wind knocked out of it and struggle to navigate the new normal. A month later I watched a family I loved and cared about start their 6th or 7th battle with cancer - a 3rd diagnoses for sweet Lauren at only 20 years old. At this point the antidepressants no longer numbed the pain. Some days just getting dressed for work was more than I wanted to deal with. The weight began to pack on and added to my misery. This has become known as my "Dark Year" and not just because I choose to show my sadness by dying my hair dark. 

When life turned upside down, the over the top party I had planned got thrown out the window.  I vividly remember getting dressed for my 30th birthday party. Nothing fit right. I felt hideous and alone. And worst of all my heart was aching as Lauren, just a few days past her 21st birthday and being declared cancer free, had be admitted with the hospital and the family was beginning to prepare for the worst. I felt guilty for being so depressed and lackluster about going to a party where friends and family were waiting to celebrate me when someone I loved and cared about was suffering. 

I look at the photos from that night I am reminded how I kept reminding myself to smile.   Over and over I told myself to "fake it till you make it" because everyone is there to have fun and no one wants to be around a broken person.

At this point I still couldn't imagine my 30's being great. I was broken. I was hurting. I felt like God had abandoned me. Over the course of the next month or so I would hit my rock bottom. I became bitter and cynical. The thought of going to church or even opening my bible made me cringe. Yet in my weakest moments I found myself asking God to show me a sign He was still there.

Then something happened. In a moment of sheer desperation to feel normal and alive again I made a bet with my husband to run a mud run. That day in the mud changed me. I specifically remember a moment on top of a wall where I was terrified to come down. Again I asked God to show me a sign He was there. Seconds later a yellow butterfly landed right next to me and it was almost as if all my fear melted away. That might sound cheesy but its the truth. Even now when I am scared or feeling alone, I think about that moment and the impact it held on me. 

The truth is God never turned His back on me, it was in fact the opposite. I was so lost in my own pain and darkness I shut Him out. Looking back I see that He was always there, I was just too blind and self consumed to see it.

I've heard it said to truly find yourself you have to hit rock bottom. And while I would never wish the "Dark Year" on anyone else, for me that was the truth. 

So in the end Melanie was right - my 30's have been so much more than my 20's ever dreamed of being. My relationship God is stronger than ever before. Those dark times turned dear friends into family. And the bond with my husband is far stronger than I realized it ever could be. Finding true joy in God's love and incredible grace is so healing. 

The crazy part of all of this is that we have gone through some really rough things the last 4 years. From infertility and health scares to financial struggles and major life changes - things that would have broken me to the core before. They still hurt and I still struggled but it is different. Being completely honest, I struggle with depression but I never feel completely helpless or alone like before. The day that happens I know it is time to revisit the idea of going back on meds.  In the last 4 years I have found myself and my purpose. I am learning to love the body I have been blessed with. While it doesn't look too hot in a bikini anymore it can do some pretty darn incredible things that size 2 Allie would have never dared to try. (I know a few of your minds just went in the gutter...I'm talking about running you crazy pants!)  I am learning to trust God's perfect plan for me.  I am learning to embrace life when it doesn't go as planned. And I choose to wake up each day and choose JOY! 

I share all of this not for sympathy or accolades, but for the girl who feels like she has hit rock bottom. For the girl who feels alone and helpless. For the girl who thinks the best is behind her. There is hope. You are loved and so much more precious than you could ever imagine. 

As I start the first day of my 34th year I want challenge each of you to choose JOY and help share a little of it every day. 
  • Reach out to a friend. You never know how a simple phone call, text or unexpected happy hour could change things for them. 
  • If you are struggling - don't make the same mistake I did and turn from God. He has you - just have faith.  And if you have never had a personal relationship with Him it is never too late! You have no idea the peace and joy that is waiting for you. 
  • Give and keep giving. 
  • Break through your comfort zone and challenge yourself to something you have only dreamed of. But remember it isn't the end goal, but the journey getting there that matters most. 
And I couldn't end this without saying thank you to each and every one of you:
  • Who have never left my side
  • Who support me even when you think I am completely insane
  • Who encourage me to be and give more 
  • Who love me unconditionally even in my darkest days
  • Who bring me so much joy each and every day!! 

Cheers to 34, my friends!! The best is yet to come!! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Week 6 - Unicorn of the Week and Recap

Kipper drafted Arian Foster and told me once he came back from being injured he would pay off in a big way. Well my friends I have been waiting and waiting and finally in Week 6 he showed up. I wish I could say the same thing for the majority of Team Sports, Go Sports. 

Another loss, worse than the week before. But I'm still hanging on to 4th place and projected for playoffs. Hoping for a better Week 7 and for life to slow down so that I can have the time to write a proper recap!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Better Late Than Never - Week 5 - Unicorn of the Week and Recap

Life has been a little CRAZY at work and home. I tried to stay on top of things but Team Sports, Go Sports felt the affects of the crazy. This week the Unicorn of the Week was easy - he was the ONLY freaking player to score above projection.


The. Only. Freaking. One.

Dion Lewis, thanks for being basically the only one who showed up and made it happen for Week 5.

Needless to say...we lost Week 5. I'm pretending not the be angry and a little bitter.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 4 - Unicorn of the Week and Recap

After team Sports, Go Sports terrible showing in Week 3, I didn't have high hopes for Week 4. But I still did my research and made my plan. Somethings worked out well for me, others not so much. Before we get into all that let's talk Unicorn of the Week (because I know the suspense is KILLING you!) 

For the first time ever we had a TIE for Unicorn of the Week! Last time I looked at my points there was 45 seconds left in the Saints vs. Cowboys game and the Panthers D/ST was the hands down winner. The suddenly my Facebook timeline started blowing up about the overtime touchdown and sure enough Drew Brees' points had jumped.

Breaking the tie was easy. Not only did Brees help win the game in overtime, he also reached two major milestones of his career. It was only natural that he had the honor of wearing the golden horn as the Unicorn of the Week for Week 4!

The winning touchdown was Brees' 400 career touchdown pass. Making him the fifth player in NFL history to reach reach this milestone. Earlier in the game he also reached 5,000 career completions to join Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the only NFL quarterbacks to ever achieve that feat. And just think, he gets to top it off with the highest honor of Unicorn of the Week!! Not a bad way to come back from an injury. :)

This week I did take chances. Thankfully two of them paid off.

1. Drew Brees I almost didn't play him this week since I wasn't 100% sure if he would be back or if he was how well he would do.  My NFL despising husband loves him and from everything I have read so do his teammates. He seems like an all around awesome guy so  at the last minute I decided to chance it. Plus his little family is really adorable. Like REALLY adorable.

2. Panthers D/ST Everything I read said that they would be the big wildcard of D/ST this week. They could pay off really well or be super disappointing. Since I knew the Texans were playing Atlanta I decided to roll the dice and see what happened. At one point they were up to 25 points but by the time it was said and done they finished with 15. Compared to the -4 by my benched Texans, I think I made a good call.

3. Arian Foster This guy has been sitting on my bench waiting for his big return. Kipper and Ricky both kept telling me once he came back he would pay off big.  Well he came back this week, but 1 stinking point is far from paying off in anyway, shape or size. I am going to chalk it up to return game jitters and the fact that he isn't completely healthy yet. If he doesn't get it together he and his grumpy face photo are going to be getting the boot!

4. Lamar Miller I don't know what it is about this guy. The first week I said he was about to be dead to me but then he pulled through. Every week since then he has fallen short of his projections but some reason I keep putting him back in. After another lousy week and only bringing in 3 points he might be done on team Sports, Go Sports. He has caused too many glittery unicorn tears to be shed.

When it was all said and done, I was able to squeak out a win by a 2 points - Thank you Drew Brees!!  Team Sports, Go Sports is now 3-1.  Till next week my friends when we take on team Shake and Bake!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Help Spread JOY To Local Homeless Children This Allietober

Everyone knows I LOVE birthdays! I am pretty sure my love of birthdays started at an early age and just keep growing. 

As a child, I was very fortunate to have a family who always hosted awesome parties and showered me with love. The older I got the more I wanted to share that feeling with those I hold near and dear, including my fur babies (don't judge) on their special day. 

When October became Allietober it wasn't because I wanted a month of gifts or parties. It was more about capturing that spirit of celebration and JOY for more than a day. This year (inspired by my boss Rachel's sweet little boy, Grant) I have decided to share the JOY I feel all Allitober and #sharemybirthday with The Birthday Party Project

The Birthday Party Project is a DFW based nonprofit who brings JOY to homeless children through the MAGIC of birthdays by throwing monthly birthday parties at local shelters. I have had the opportunity to volunteer for this organization and was incredibly touched by how a simple action such as throwing a birthday party could impact a child who is living with so many uncertainties. 
Each party has a fun theme and includes all the children staying a the shelter. In addition to all the party activities and treats, each birthday child receives their own special cake and a birthday gift valued at $30. 
Every child should have the opportunity to experience the joy and excitement we all remember from our childhood birthdays. While we can't take away the pain and uncertainty  these children experience, we can help create a special memory they can hold on to when times are really tough. This Allietober I hope you will join me in helping spread JOY to the homeless children in our community through the magic of birthdays by supporting The Birthday Party Project!  
So right about now you are probably wondering what you can do to help, aren't you?!? Well there are several, simple ways you can help out! 

Donate Dollars 
The easiest way to contribute is by making tax-deductible donation online on my #shareyourbirthday fundraising page!  The coolest part about making a financial donation is that 100% of the donation goes directly to the cost of the parties! 
Not sure how much to give? On average this is what it takes for each party to happen, 
Of course no amount is too small and every single penny goes a long way in sharing the JOY with these precious kiddos! 

Donate Items 
Another great way is by donating something from their wish list! I am more than happy to arrange pick up of your items. 

  • Birthday Gift Wrapping Supplies
  • General Party Supplies (Hats, Horns, Streamers)
  • Toys (All Ages, $30 Value)
  • Round and Rectangle Plastic Tablecloths
  • Gift Cards (Walmart, Target, Toys R Us) 

Donate Time
Become a Birthday Enthusiast and volunteer for a party! (find out more here) This is a great opportunity for just you, your family or a group of friends!  Parties fill up fast so you have to plan ahead, but I can promise you one thing - you won't regret it! 

Donate Your Status
Unable to donate or volunteer right now? Or want to do more? This is easiest way you can help - share this blog and/or the link to my #shareyourbirthday fundraising page on your social media platforms! The Birthday Party Project started as a grassroots effort in Dallas and now has expanded to over 12 cities in 8 different states in just 4 short years! People just like you spreading the word has made it possible for for over 11,000 homeless children to experience JOY through the MAGIC of birthdays!

It is my hope this Allietober that with the help of my friends and loved ones we will be able to spread the JOY to some really special children. Thank you in advance for taking the time to consider supporting this wonderful cause. And cheers to making the 34th Allietober the best one yet!