“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”

I have that quote framed in my bedroom – a gift from my mother-in-law for the husband and my first married Christmas. I have been a fan of that sappy-love-story quote for quite some time, and as I wake up and see it every morning, I continue to try to make it a part of my daily existence.

I haven’t written very often this summer, even though, ironically enough, my last post was entitled I’m Back. However, in my literary absence, Mr. Six Eight and I did take a two week jaunt through five states…enjoying every moment along the way.

Joplin, Missouri…talk about taking your breath away.

Somewhere between Missouri and Alabama…the midwest makes for the longest alphabet game ever. But, I love it.

New Orleans, Louisianna…where we celebrated four years of marriage and ten years together.

Gulf Shores, Alabama…where each morning when I woke up I was reminded of what God’s beauty truly is. Somehow sunshine, sand, ocean waves, and my husband constantly reminding me to apply sunscreen have the ability to bring peace to my heart.

In just a couple weeks my life will be bombarded again with school, coaching, and work. And as grateful as I am for all my opportunities coming up in the future, I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to spend such precious moments with my happiness.




A Friday Affirmation: Your Arms

I’ve always thought that limbs were kind of weird.

I mean, if you think about it, a human is a body with four limbs. Four gangly, weird limbs.

But boy oh boy, I sure do love my arms.

They let me give hugs as often as I want. They allow me to pick up my princess Tia. They give me momentum to run faster. They give me the ability to lift heavy things. They’re there to let you know that I love you this much.

Have you told your arms that they are beautiful lately? Ever?

Spread them out as wide as you can.

Remember to love your arms that much.


Worthy to Shine

Saturday was an amazing and scary day all at the same time.

I woke up early, read over my story, grabbed my old journals, and headed out the door. Each mile I got closer to my destination I could feel my heart beating a little harder. By the time I arrived I felt like my heart was pounding all the way in my throat.

On Saturday I told my recovery story at a girl’s church retreat called Worthy to Shine.

I’ve told my story several times before…at the hospital where I was treated…but never to this large of a group, this diverse of a group, and never with a microphone.

When I arrived I was greeted with smiles and a mind-blowing amount of encouragement from the leaders of the retreat. Their support and all their prayers immensely outweighed my fears so I knew I was going to be okay.

I was speaking on the second day of the retreat. The girls and the leaders had already been through an evening of activities on Friday, and one leader, Carrody, was in awe of the honesty and willingness that the girls had already shown. She immediately brought me over to a cross where the girls had pinned up their insecurities…let them go to God.

Carrody told me that when the girls shared their insecurities and struggles as a group…every one of them admitted that they struggled with body image.

Every. Single. Girl.

My eyes welled up when she told me this. This completely scares me…the fact that body image has such a big impact on young girls.

The retreat started up again and I stood in the back anxiously awaiting my turn to speak. Listening to the beautiful worship music and hearing another leader’s remarks of the morning had my tears flowing before I even set foot on the stage. I was finally introduced and I made my way up to the stage, thankful that I had snagged a napkin to carry with my journals to wipe away the tears.

I stood there as I started my story, fumbled with my papers, my napkin, my tears, my runny nose, and what to do with my hands. Finally I just sat down on the edge of the stage…I was going to do this right. I was going to be me and I was going to be honest.

Like I said earlier, I’ve told my story many times before and because I am so used to it, I rarely ever cry. I get immune, almost, to my story…like it’s just that…a story. But Saturday it felt true again. I continued talking, stuttering over my words, as usual, sniffling, sitting on the edge of the stage until I finished. I felt so relieved when I was done, but I felt honored to have been able to share my story and grateful that they all were willing to listen. I sat there staring at the girls all applauding when I looked out and saw one woman standing up. Then two.

I know that each of these girls struggle with body image. I’d guess that almost every girl in the world struggles with body image at some time in her life. I truly hope that each girl listening got a little bit of hope that they don’t have to worry about that anymore. That they should love themselves for who they are.

I felt so darn loved. And I know I am.

And so are you! And you are beautiful, too! I think so, and I know God thinks so!


Happy Holidays Indeed

I’ve spent a week filled with family, friends, a lot of working (you gotta love retail!), and cookies by the dozens. I may or may not have eaten approximately twenty cookies yesterday alone. I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

It has been an absolute blast, and when I have the opportunity to spend time with family I often walk away from it wondering why we don’t spend more time together. Seriously, when a Giambalvo met a Daleo magic happened.

Now I know why I’m getting those wrinkles…err, laugh lines.

Cutest Mamaw ever. She is pretty much the queen of this beautiful family.

Twins! For real, though.

Aunties, uncle, and momma…

I might have forced my sister to take this photo with me. Handwarmers are back baby!

Notice anything odd here?

This was one of the most famous pictures of the night…the tallest member of the family with the shortest members. My family gets a pretty big kick out of my husband’s tallest…which makes sense since our average adult height is probably around 5’0″!

Some dancing ensued…

Too much fun!

This was only the beginning of my Christmas gatherings, but unfortunately there were not eighteen italians running around with cameras at all of my other festivities. I am so blessed to have such an awesome family. I love each and every one of you! And before any of you (family) calls me and asks me to take one of these pictures down (because I know what you might be thinking)…my answer will be no (well, except maybe the shake weight picture!) You all look amazing and beautiful and gorgeous in each and every one of these, so I don’t want to hear otherwise!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, too!


Crazy, Stupid Thoughts

I love it when my husband reminds me that I’m being stupid.

If you know me at all, you know that I write just like I think. Looking at the first sentence of this post I can see how it can be taken the wrong way. Very wrong. You know when you are texting someone and they text you back with a response, and to you that response sounds really malicious? When, in all actuality, their response was innocent. Without a tone of voice, many things can become misconstrued. Case in point, my first sentence.

My husband doesn’t think I’m stupid. He just reminds me when I am being stupid.


Still not working. Let me set up the scene:

The husband and I are both getting ready to go somewhere. I’ve already fixed my hair and put on my makeup and I’m in the process of getting dressed. I put on a pair of jeans, then change them. I do the same with my shirt, and then with my shoes. I then make my way into the bathroom to check everything out as my husband does his finishing touches in the bathroom mirror.

“Do I look okay?” I say.

“Duh, you look beautiful,” he responds.

“You didn’t even look at me!”

He looks. “You always look beautiful.”

I push my way to find a spot in front of him to see myself in the bathroom mirror. I check out my behind. I leave. I go to the kitchen to check out my gooloo in a different mirror from a different angle. I sigh.

One minute later I return to the bathroom, shove my way in front of the husband again, and check out my behind…again.

“Why do you keep looking at your butt?” he asks.

I sit down on the toilet…not to use the toilet, but just as a place to sit. “I haven’t been working out as much, and I think my butt’s getting bigger,” I confess.

“You’re crazy.”

“I know, but I really do think it’s getting bigger.”

“Well, it’s not. Lots of people don’t work out all the time and their butts don’t automatically get bigger. You look beautiful.”

“Thank you. You’re pretty sweet. And smart.”

End scene.

I’m not dissatisfied with my body in any way, but crazy, stupid thoughts like that come creeping in my mind every now and then. It’s awfully nice having the perfect person there to remind me when my brain is being irrational.

Now does my first sentence make sense?



Mr. Thirteen Point One

In three short days I have a date with a very lucky fellow! His name is half marathon. Hello again thirteen point one pretty miles!

My last (and first) date with Mr. thirteen point one went very well. Better than expected. But I have high high hopes for this next date…I mean, like…flowers upon arrival, long walk on the beach ending with a bonfire and s’mores, and a kiss on the front porch kind of high hopes. The kind of date that leaves you weak in the knees and short of breath…but in a good way.

It’s going to be hard to live up to my date with Mr. twenty-six point two. Probably downright impossible…but they are two different types of guys. Mr. twenty-six point two is the kind of guy who takes weeks, sometimes excruciating long weeks, to plan an extreme romantic getaway. Finally, when the time is exactly right, he sweeps you off your feet, flies you on a private jet to a secluded island, makes you feel like a true queen…and at the end of the date he’ll plant a whirlwind of a kiss on you. It’s the kind of kiss that sets the world spinning. And then the date is over before you know it. From my experience, there are many highs and lows along the way during preparation for and the actual date with him. Sometimes he makes you hurt…sometimes he makes you cry. But sometimes, most of the time, he is amazing. Sometimes you might doubt that you deserve someone so wonderful…but then he reminds you that you are worth it.

You have to have a whole lot of heart to put up with Mr. twenty-six point two.

Now Mr. thirteen point one…this guy is sweet! Flowers, chocolates, and a kiss on the cheek sweet.

I can’t wait to see what our date goes on Sunday. I hope it will be filled with good spirits, laughter, and confidence. I know guys like confidence in a girl. I’ve put in all the effort to make the date as good as it can be. I have my outfit picked out and my mascara ready.

However…I hope it only lasts one hours and fifty-five minutes.


Eleven Eleven Eleven, Eleven Eleven

I wish for the day when all people, women and men, will truly love themselves all the way from the tops of their heads to their little pinky toes.

On a day like today, you have to wish for something big, right?!

To start making this wish a reality, allow yourself a Friday affirmation!


Happy Birthday Husband

Journal entry from 8-5-02:

I don’t write that often, but when something wonderful comes along, I have to leave a memory of it. You never know how long good things last, and this is too good to leave unsaid. I’ve known this guy for awhile because he goes to my church. We took a trip to Colorado and I think that’s when it happened. We are dating now, and it is just wonderful. The bad thing is he’s leaving. He’s going to community college two and a half hours away from me. He leaves August 24th. I don’t know what is going to happen when he leaves; I am too afraid to ask. I don’t want this to end…it’s too much happiness to end. I guess I will just have to wait and see. I just pray that everything will end well and happily ever after!…but you never know.

There is a quote that I find good for this situation…

“I don’t know how God could allow us to meet if there’s no way we can be together.”
-City of Angels

Twenty-eight years ago today the man of my dreams was born. We have been together now a little over nine years and married over three of those…and they have been the best years of my life. And the best thing of all is that I know that the best is yet to come for us.

Matt is an amazing man…he’s a great teacher, a caring person, and the most supportive and loving husband a girl could ask for. I thank God that I am the lucky one to wake up and fall asleep next to him every day.

Happy birthday husband. I absolutely love you.


A Friday Affirmation

Happy Friday everyone! I’m so looking forward to this weekend because Sunday is the twenty-eighth birthday of the most handsome man on the earth!

I have had this idea for awhile to start a series of affirmations on my blog. So, before the weekend begins, I wanted to leave you with the first ever Friday affirmation…

Tia even cherishes her pretty paws!

True story: When Matt and I got her we couldn’t decide on what to name her. She ended up being nameless for three days. We kept going back and forth suggesting different names…each of which the other one absolutely did not like. Matt, for instance, wanted to name her Slugger. Um, she’s a girl…we weren’t about to name her Slugger. I’m pretty sure he came up with a few other ridiculous names.

I, on the other hand, kept coming up with adorable names. One of the names I had come up with was Frenchie. I thought of the name because all four of her little paws had white fur on the tips…like a french manicure! The husband didn’t go for it.

We came up with her name on the fourth day of having her while the husband was brewing some sweet tea in the kitchen. He looked at the jug of tea and said, “Why don’t we name her Tea? Tea…a. Tia!” Oddly enough I loved it and it stuck!

So there you go…an affirmation and a cute story to start your weekend! Have a good one!


P.S. I’d love to have you be a part of my Friday Affirmation series with your own affirmation, so if you are interested e-mail me at! Thanks!


This past weekend I went to my bff’s house, and as usual I let myself in and screeched, “Hellooooo?” as I made my way up the staircase to the bedrooms. I dropped my stuff off in my room as she responded, “I’ll be there in a second,” from the master bedroom. I’ve never been shy before in making my way into her room and bombarding her privacy, so that’s exactly what I did.

As soon as I entered the room, she quickly told me not to come in as she was hovering over her dresser. “I’m finishing a surprise for you!”

Oh. Whoops.

But I like surprises, so I went back downstairs and waited.

Pretty soon she arrived with a little card in her hand. I rushed to open it, and out of the card popped a little keychain.

Curious, I read the card and immediately filled up with happiness, love, and appreciation. She was “noticing” me for being a friend, a blogger, and a new marathoner. Right then and there I hooked that little noticed motif onto my keys so I would be constantly reminded!

The back of the keychain has a website to go to explaining this Noticed Network. It is all about inspiring women to celebrate, honor, and “notice” each other in a personal way. You can also order these noticed motifs for yourself to give away to other women you want to celebrate. A portion of the proceeds in purchasing the keychains goes to two different, amazing charities.

It felt amazing to receive such a thoughtful and random gift from another woman that I respect and admire so much. It has definitely inspired me to continue the ripple effect of the Noticed Network. Who wouldn’t love to feel noticed?

Thank you for noticing me Heather. I have noticed your caring and giving heart on a daily basis.