Mother’s Day 2017 Thoughts

Mother’s Day. It’s a special day honoring the women whose love and influence has shaped us into who we are today. This is my mother, the strongest woman I know. She is a business owner (shameless plug here), lover of the outdoors, and has taught me the importance of loving animals. She has always been the perfect balance of friend and mother, and if I can someday be half the mother she is, I’ll consider myself a good parent. I’m so grateful to have had her support over the years, including my MSW graduation THREE years ago today.


Bottom line: Treasure the time you have with your mother, because only when you move away will you realize how much having her close by was so wonderful.

Mother’s Day can also be a very rough time for those who have either lost their mothers or desire to be one and it hasn’t happened yet. It is easy to feel alone when you’re scrolling Facebook and see everyone’s Mother’s Day posts. You know what?

You’re not alone.

There is someone else out struggling just like you are.

More often than not, someone has endured a hardship and kept silent about it.

Lastly, stop scrolling.

On this particular Mother’s Day, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my husband; my church family; lunch with neighbors who took us under their wing and act as surrogate parents; and my fur babies, all five of them.


This dog has the good life.


So content in her special spot.


So many personalities in these felines.


Until the time comes for me to be a mother, I will savor every moment of my fur baby motherhood and always cherish those who have made a difference in my life: My own mother, my grandmothers I lost too soon, and my mother-in-law. Thank you for all that you are to me. I love you.


A Spring Wreath

It is hard to believe I made a spring wreath yesterday when we are supposed to get 10 inches of snow tonight, but I am ready for spring. Ready for the warm weather to stay. Ready for the sun to be out until 8pm and my dog walks can last longer than 30 minutes. Believe me, I need spring.

That is where this DIY wreath comes into play. Our Christmas lights were taken down last week (we are THOSE people who keep them up for months after the holidays), and I felt like my life needed some color again. I picked up 20 fake flower bouquets from Dollar Tree along with the wire holder and made a wreath with really no game plan on what I was doing.

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If you decide to do this at home, cut off as much of the stem as you can without the flower losing it’s pedals before you even figure out the layout on the wire. I made the mistake of putting half of it together and then realized the long stems were 1) going to be extremely difficult to cut and 2) messing with the layout because they kept overlapping each other. Thankfully, hot glue is easy to pull off depending on the material.

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Simply arrange the flowers however you desire and put hot glue wherever you feel it would need to be held to the wire. Use your creativity, especially when picking out your flowers.

After a few burnt fingertips, the wreath was finished! The whole process between cutting the stems, arranging them, gluing them, and finally rearranging them once glued, took about an hour. I feel I have made better wreaths in the past, but I still wanted to share this relatively simple and beautiful (not to mention affordable!) spring craft idea with you. The whole project cost me about $20, depending on how many flowers you choose to buy.



A Little Holiday Cheer

In the spirit of the holidays, it is easy to get caught up in the gift-giving (and receiving!), the cookies, the music, the lights, and everything that makes Christmas so exciting. We spend time with friends and family and look forward to what the new year has to bring. However, for those individuals who may not have anyone to celebrate with, the holiday may not seem too bright. If so, this post is for you.

  1. You are loved. There is Someone who wants nothing more than to hold you and tell you everything is going to be okay. Hold close to the One who can make you feel better when no one else can.jer-31-3
  2. You are worth something. You have a purpose, a reason for being here, a reason for living. Treasure every day you have and shine your light on others. quote-there-has-never-been-and-never-will-be-another-you-you-have-a-purpose-a-very-special-marie-forleo-80-84-66
  3. You can make a difference. To the life of a rescued pet, you have changed their world. Even when it seems like no one else needs you, they do. If you choose to shop, please adopt and save a life. Millions of animals are in shelters every day waiting for someone to love them just like you do. 12-30-adopt-with-quote
  4. You will be okay. Stay busy and delight in the little things. Volunteer, go for a walk, or donate to a good cause. Watch football or go see a movie. Do what makes you love and know that at the end of the day, only you choose your own happiness.3353850-everything-will-be-ok-quotes

Now I’m off to spend Christmas with my husband and five furbabies; each rescued, by the way. May your holidays be bright, your smiles wide, and your love shine to everyone. However you choose to spend the holidays, enjoy them!

From us to you, Merry Christmas!!


A Day of Thanks

No matter your thoughts on Thanksgiving, it’s still a day where most people are off work and can relax with family and friends. For me, I am simply happy eating yummy food, spending time with my husband, and possibly get a head start on my online Black Friday shopping 🙂 This year, I’m extremely thankful my dog, Leia, is going to be okay. She ate half the handle off an umbrella (note to pet parents: don’t let an umbrella fall next to the toy bin) and got plastic in her abdomen and intestines. She’s been at the vet for the past 36 hours severely dehydrated and monitored closely. If she didn’t end up passing the plastic pieces, she would surgery first thing in the morning. Well, the vet called earlier today and said she had started eating and drinking, along with taking medication. If she is like this tomorrow, chances are she’ll be home by lunchtime. I’m so grateful we know our dog enough that if she’s acting out of character, we can pick up on it. We know her daily patterns and when that changed, our pet parent cues kicked in and got in touch with the vet. If we hadn’t caught it in time, she could have faced an entire bowel obstruction or bowel perforation, neither of which are good. I had a wonderful day with my other fur babies and Matt, but I am especially thankful Leia can come home and will be herself again.

For those at the medical school who aren’t able to be with friends and/or family on Thanksgiving, the President and his wife host Thanksgiving meal in the new student center. Matt and I took advantage of this free meal and shared some time with friends we don’t see too often. Overall, it was a wonderful meal, and I’m especially thankful for the WVSOM community that surrounds us.

No matter how you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope it was a day of rest and relaxation. Happy Thanksgiving from The Smiths!!


DIY Snowman Wreath

Shortly after Matt and I moved to West Virginia, I was invited to a fall wreath making party. Needless to say, my first homemade wreath could have been better, but it was so much fun to make. I was hooked. Since that wreath, I have made some for Christmas presents, as well as one for every season to hang on our front door. There is a Sterilite tub in the basement just for my wreaths! It’s a therapeutic activity for me, which is good since I am horrible at relaxing. Being on the go ALL THE TIME gets to a person, you know?

Anyway, I was getting my car worked on a few days ago in the same area as Hobby Lobby and, well, I couldn’t NOT go in and browse. Their Christmas decor and holiday items were calling my name and before I knew it, I was in full swing of buying material for an idea running around in my head. Now, I am not artistic in any way, shape, or form. Want proof? Play Pictionary Down the Lane with me…it’s remarkable my stick figures pass as people. However, I enjoy hands-on projects and crafting is one of them. I took the idea in my head and started working as soon as I got home. I didn’t think to share this wreath here until it was halfway done, so I’ll do the best I can to describe what we did; Matt helped tremendously by creating the facial features and making the hat. He’s the artistic one for sure!

To start, I bought this wreath for $4.99. I’m sure there are other ones that would look cool too, but I loved the effect this one added to the overall project. I bought two pieces of felt, black and red, and white acrylic paint to cover the plywood discs as the body of the snowman. I bought the ribbon to wrap around it at Walmart since the idea to use it came from Matt later on. I already had a hot glue gun, so I was good to go there.



This is mine, but any hot glue gun will work.


I started by painting the discs and letting them dry. I only used a couple coats, but you can gauge it based on how white you want them to be. Once they were done, I glued the discs together and chose where I wanted to place the snowman; for me, that was the left. I cut out some buttons from the black felt and looped a strip of the red felt for his scarf. Matt drew the carrot on scrapbook paper and cut out the hat. He’s quite a dashing snowman!


I then wrapped the ribbon around the opposite side to give the winter effect. It’s not perfect, but I’m still overall satisfied with how it turned out. It may be my favorite wreath yet! The sticks are from the yard and glued on behind the middle disc for his arms. I put them on after I wrapped the ribbon because otherwise, they’d get in the way. The whole project took a little over an hour, not including the dry time for the paint. If you try this project or any other Christmas craft, I’d love to see it!!



Halloween Weekend 2016

Who doesn’t love dressing up for Halloween? For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed dressing up and playing a different role for just a few hours. This year was no exception. Our small town held their first Halloween festival, which included games for children, animals up for adoption by the local Greenbrier Humane Society, snack and craft vendors, live music, a costume contest for attendees, AND a pet costume contest. It was only appropriate that Matt and I enter our pups. Well, they won as a tie for Most Original Costume! Needless to say, I’m glad our cheap Amazon purchases and homemade costume from a pillowcase and some buttons were worthwhile 😉 Here’s our 2016 family Halloween picture!


A Jedi Knight, Rey, Leia as Princess Leia, and Miner as R2D2 🙂

Of course there were other Star Wars attendees there, so it was only fitting that dueling went on.

And of course, a couples selfie had to happen. Couples who nerd together stay together!


The force will keep us together.

While Saturday was a day of running around and having fun, Sunday was lazy. So lazy that, in fact, we slept until 11:00, ate breakfast at 1:30pm, and spent an hour driving over a one-lane road (if that’s what you want to call it) ON TOP OF the Greenbrier State Forest trying to find a hiking trail. We ended up at the exact same spot we always go (from a different direction). It was worth it though to see the autumn beauty that was all around us.



My world in one picture<3


Lastly, I couldn’t help but take a picture of the fall setup on our front porch. I enjoy decorating (to an extent), and I absolutely love fall. I’ve really gotten into wreath making too. Thanks to Hobby Lobby for their cute decor and awesome sales!


After an exhausting weekend, it’s only appropriate to end this entry with a picture of Harper, our kitten rescued from the horrendous flood this past summer. If only we all could relax like her after a busy day!