You are HERE.

Do you KNOW how many souls are YEARNING for JUST ONE MORE DAY & won’t get it??

You’re standing here NOW.

You’re breathing here NOW.

If YOU have the ability to wrap your arms around the people you love today. Then, DO IT.

Use your lips to kiss & your voice to sing & for goodness sake…. JUMP, RUN, DANCE!!!

YOU. Yes, you. You better be living the BEST VERSION possible of your life NOW!!

Not just because others CAN’T.

But, truly, because YOU CAN.

I can’t help but think about Nick‘s last months on the face of this planet. At 25 years old, there were days he was confined to a hospital bed.

At 26 years old, he could no longer lift his wife & swing her around like he used to.

And, at 27 years old, he stopped being able to talk to his baby girl, to hold her, to kiss her…

If that doesn’t convince you to get your butt moving, I don’t know what will.

Sometimes I have days where my desire to LIVE is so great! Even when life is not so great.

It BURNS through me and I like to think it’s Nick reminding me what truly matters. I have life. I have breath.

I am grateful.
& I will make it COUNT. 💕✌🏼

#onelifetolive #makeitbetter #makeitbrave #madeforbrave #lovemattersmost#prolove

True Love

True love pulls you in & holds you close, “Baby, I’ll never let you go.”

True love tells you “I’m here to stay” & “I’ll follow wherever you go.”

True love lasts long past the hour that all the lights went out.

It sounds a lot more like a whisper than it sounds like a shout.

 

True love treasures promises like it treasures gold.

True love doesn’t abandon ship because of “fat,” “ugly,” “old.”

True love latches on when darkness sets in.

True love says, “You don’t ever have to be alone again.”

 

You were right. & I was wrong.

You’re my life. You’re my song. <3

#truelove #findit #keepit

 

What I Want My Daughter to Know

What do I want my daughter to know when she grows up?

I want her to know that she CAN do hard things, that she was MADE FOR BRAVE. 💪🏼

I want her to respect what her body can do; to TAKE CARE of that body because she CAN & not because she has to. 💕

I want her to KNOW deep down in her soul that she is LOVED & that “BEING LOVED BY GOD” is the only thing that TRULY defines her. 🙏🏼

I want her to SEE her momma & all she’s been through & know that she is CAPABLE of thriving instead of just surviving even the worst of storms. ☔️

I KNOW that Courage. Faith. Hope. &&& most of all… LOVE. will ALWAYS be hers.

I only PRAY that she KNOWS it & NEVER EVER FORGETS.

(And, to each & every Momma reading this: I pray you know the same things about you, too. Courage, faith, hope & love are yours. You just have to remember to use them! 😘)

#mommydaughter #myhopesforher #wifeandwidow #loveafterloss #parenting

A Job with PURPOSE (AND, it’s paying my bills?!)

LOOKING back at my post from December &&& STANDING IN AWE!!

$1,200 made in DECEMBER…

$1,700 made in January… a 45% RAISE?! HOLLAH!!

Here is what I posted back in December… Working on a post for January! CANT WAIT to tell y’all what we did with January’s income!!

Dogs are EXPENSIVE!!!

Even ones as TINY as this!! 😮

This little girl is SUCH a sweetheart!!! 💕She was my grandfather’s pup & we knew she needed a stable place to stay. Grandpa was so sick and we wanted him to know she was being WELL LOVED. ❤ Now that grandpa’s passed… this little pup has still been with us & she’s come with quite a few BILLS. EEP!! 

It turned out that….

👉🏼vet bills
👉🏼immunizations
👉🏼haircuts
👉🏼toenail clips
👉🏼appropriate attire

(😂 Did I just say “appropriate attire” about a dog?! 😂🤗 Well, its true with this one.)

All that ended up up totaling well over $600!!! 😱

AND, Austyn’s ADOPTION?? It costed: SAMEZIES. $600 after all was said and done. 🙆🏼

That’s over $1,200 of ADDED EXPENSES, to an already SUPER EXPENSIVE holiday season. 🎄

Normally, that would make things a little:

➡️ TIGHT. ⬅️

BUT… we just got our LAST PAYCHECK for the last week of December…. The one that comes from my COACHING business.

I re-did my math for the month;

And… HOLLA!!! 💁🏼

Wouldn’t you know it?! We made an extra $1,200 almost EXACTLY.

I would do my job for FREE (no joke)…🤗

but SOMEHOW I get paid to do this…..

… and THOSE PAYCHECKS allowed us to do TWO things for our family that were plain just the RIGHT THING TO DO.

I LOVE helping people & I LOVE my family.

I’m stinking stoked that I get to do both on the SUPER REGULAR!! 😍😍😍

And, I get to do it, with this sweet little teddy-bear-lookin SIDEKICK. 🐶

I’m not telling ya all this to brag, but because I’m so excited to be mentoring OTHERS to build their businesses too.

And, an extra $1,200 for my family made ALL THE DIFFERENCE for us at the end of 2016. 🎉

#21daystofitwithalyssa #heeeeybuddy#loveyourselfchallenge #mindbodyandsoul

>> and, to make corporate happy…. *Beachbody does not guarantee any level of success or income from the Team Beachbody Coach Opportunity. Each Coach’s income depends on his or her own efforts, diligence, and skill. See our Statement of Independent Coach Earnings located in the Coach Online Office for the most recent information on our Coaches’ actual incomes. <<

We’ve Got an Announcement to Make: ADOPTED

WE’VE GOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE!! 🎉

It might not be the one you’d expect, but it DOES have to do with a BABY… my baby girl, to be exact. 😍

Austyn Elizabeth has OFFICIALLY been adopted!!!!

She OFFICIALLY has TWO daddies now…. Her sweet biological daddy in Heaven, Nick Magnotti, who stuck around as long as he POSSIBLY could. And, her amazing present daddy, Jay Galios, who fell in LOVE with her & STEPPED UP gladly to a commitment greater than almost ANY other. 🤗

This.
Is.
EVERYTHING.

… EVERYTHING!!! 💕

Being a solo* mom was one of the HARDEST things I have EVER had to do in my ENTIRE life. (Well, maybe it ties right up there with watching my husband and best friend slowly fade away…)

*Solo parenting means that there literally is no other parent AT ALL responsible for the child on the face of the planet. 🙅🏼

When Nick passed away & for two and a half years after, it was just me and my sweet baby girl. And while the challenge was ROUGH, to say the least, it also taught me sooo much about myself, about God’s love for us, AND it really showed me just how much of a FATHER & best friend that God can REALLY be.

Anyway, I digress… back to the story: When I met Jay, I wasn’t struggling. Not in the least. Not in any way. 🙆🏼

Financially… I was making good money working writing contracts. I had invested some of the insurance money Nick had left us and that was helping too so that I only had to work and have Austyn in school PART TIME.

Emotionally… I was FINALLY at a place of COMPLETE trusting in God. I had no worries or cares though I should have. I didn’t fret for the future. Or what would happen when the insurance money ran out… I was just living & ENJOYING every single day.

I was renting a house just four blocks away from Greenlake in Seattle. For those of you not familiar with the area, it’s an AMAZING little neighborhood, centered around a beautiful lake, surrounded by a green city park and fun little shops and restaurants. Just a five minutes drive from downtown. We had just moved back across the country from a sabbatical of sorts on the Gulf of Mexico. 🌴

And, I had found a perfect little 1,000 SF house for me and my just barely two year old. I had found a PERFECT Montessori school just a short five minute gorgeous drive around the lake.. And, my office was the CUTEST little local coffee shop. ☕️

I was LOVING LIFE.
And, I was committed to being the BEST single momma I could be.

I felt like I FAILED every single day at something (heck, I still do). 🤗

BUT, I was TRYING my absolute best &&& giving myself GRACE where I needed it.

So, things were GOOD. And I believed they would continue to get BETTER.

Because I FINALLY believed whole-heartedly in God’s goodness. ❤

I wasn’t a damsel in distress, by any means.
& I was fine with my lost-love-story.

I knew Nick was in Heaven. Doing miraculously well. So, I was going to be here. And do my damn best. I would make him, myself and GOD proud.

Then, Jay plopped into my life.

And everything CHANGED.

… for the even better!! 😍

This guy filled cracks that only GOD knew of… and where ONLY God knew what could be the GLUE. 💔❤️

I married Jay in June, that’s when Austyn started to call him “dad.” But, TRUTHFULLY, she stole his heart long before that. 😁

In August, Jay began the process of a step parent adoption. And, let me tell you, it WAS a PROCCCEEESSSS. 🙆🏼

We did it “pro se” (meaning we had no lawyer and did all the legal work ourselves). And, NOW I understand why lawyers get paid so much!! Holy smokes! This process was basically a part time job for me for MONTHS! 😮

Home visits, dr appointments, social worker interviews, court appointments, documents upon documents, paperwork galore, and, FINALLY, a hearing date. ☺️

Before a judge, Jay PROMISED to take full responsibility for Austyn as her father. To love her and care for her as if she was his own. 😌

My heart skipped a beat, you guys. Right there in that courtroom, SUDDENLY, I had something I had NEVER had.

An ENTIRE family; all THREE of us HEALTHY and VERY MUCH ALIVE. 👨‍👩‍👧

Jay and Austyn have a BEAUTIFUL relationship. One that I know will continue to grow and strengthen as time goes on. What an added blessing to know that Jay will be able to help me tell her all about Nick when she starts asking questions about her biological daddy.

Instead of choosing to be upset that she never got to know Nick in this life, I’m OVERJOYED that this little girl has not only ONE but TWO very committed, GENEROUS, loving and Godly daddies to look over her! ❤😁❤

When you have something to celebrate, you sing it from the ROOFTOPS & that’s what I’m doing now!!

GOD continues to bring:

BEAUTY from my ashes.
JOY from my sadness.
And a SONG from my heart.

FOREVER & EVER grateful for HIM & this crazy beautiful, broken family. For, in HIM, we are WHOLE. 💕

I will sing the Lords praise for He has been good to me!!! Psalm 13:6

#adoption #adoptionday #foreverfamily #stepparentadoption #grateful #blessed #onechildsworldchangedforever

HEY AMERICA!

Hey YOU, AMERICA!!

(And, anyone watching us!) 👋🏼

TODAY, ESPECIALLY today, I can pretty much GUARANTEE that you WILL hear or SEE or READ things that don’t make a bit of sense to you. 🙊

You might find that some of the stuff being said scares you to the core. I get it. Believe me. But, PLEASE, don’t react out of place of FEAR. 🙅🏼

💕❤️INSTEAD, ACT with LOVE. ❤️💕

Breathe in.
Breathe out.
(Then do it again.)

&, please, for the LOVE (!!), exercise your self-control. 🙏🏼

If you’re in a minority (if you’re an immigrant, a woman, an LGBTQ, a person of color, an abuse victim, if you’re Hindu, or Muslim, or some other religion, or a minority in someway that I forgot to list here), please DON’T be scared.

The United States DOES NOT hate you.

Many of us here, don’t. In fact, quite opposite, MANY of us here:

❤️ We LOVE you.
❤️ We are STANDING WITH you.
❤️ This changes NOTHING about how a LOT of people feel about you.

This change in leadership in our country is only ONE branch of a three branch system. 🙏🏼

As messed up as things can get around here, our founders actually were quite GENIUS, never allowing one group of people to rule too much of the government for their own agendas. 👌🏼

Whoever won the election last night, this post would be going up. Because in either case, I have friends who would be scared and worried.

BUT, whoever is PRESIDENT today or tomorrow (or January 1st) doesn’t affect who I AM today (or tomorrow or January 1st). And it doesn’t have to affect you EITHER. Thank goodness!!! 😁

So, today, JUST LIKE every day, I will:

❤️ Be POSITIVE and HOPEFUL.
❤️ Be the BEST me that I can be.
❤️ Stand up for what is RIGHT and TRUE.
❤️ Trust that GOD’s got this, too.

YOU DECIDE who LEADS your heart. 🙏🏼

I know who is leading mine. And, I’m feeling REALLY good about it. ✌🏼

💕💕

14947881_10206961373824386_5811165449624541997_n

#itsSTILLuptous #america #2016election

I felt alone in my last miscarriage.

Because I didn’t really tell anyone until it was all over.

The doctor said it happened to 25% of all pregnancies. Then how come I didn’t know many who had faced it?!

It felt like it had happened to NOBODY but me. COMPLETE ISOLATION.

But, after I finally opened up to people about it, I discovered so many other families had gone through this too.

So, this time, I’m not gonna hide. I’m gonna share where I’m at. Not necessarily so that *I* don’t feel alone but so others can see that they aren’t either.

People see my happy posts and sometimes I get messages of people saying they wish they had my life. Cracks me up. I’ve got sucky things in my life always, too. Believe me. Many, in fact. I just normally focus on the good. But right now, I’m gonna share a BAD that I’m in the middle of.

Right now: my worst thing?

I’m having a miscarriage.

I’ve lost one baby before. Nick (my first and late husband) and I had a miscarriage and it was horrible. Now, with my second hubby Jay, just four months into our marriage, we’ve lost one too and it hurts just as much.

My heart is in an entirely different place this time though.

Not because God’s taken everything from me… again. But, because He is everything TO me.

I’m not quite as confused. Not because I understand WHY things like this happen. (I don’t!!) But, because I KNOW that He has a plan and that it is better than mine.

I’m sad, disappointed, heartbroken but still JOYFUL. How can that be? I think happiness is a feeling but JOY is a state of mind. And, for me… these last few years, since I really found HIM, I’ve honestly found that my JOY won’t ever be shaken. No matter what I face. My joy can’t be twisted or buried or drowned.

Because it’s anchored in a foundation that’s indestructible.

I know He hears me.
I know He sees me.
I know His plans are for me.
I trust HIS plan and HIS timing more than I trust my own feelings and guesses at what might be best.

I’ve lost two babies.
I’ve lost my first husband.
But, I will NEVER lose my joy.

This is my second miscarriage. And it hurts as much as the first.

But, my heart is in an entirely different place this time. It’s almost like it’s been made new. In fact, it kind of has. Sure, it’s been broken, but it’s been broken a few times before. And every time it breaks, it comes back together, the cracks remain but they’re healed. Like scars that have allowed openness, stretching and growth.

Every time my heart breaks, I choose to open it up again.

Not because He’s taken everything from me.

But because He IS everything to me. 💓

Happy 30th, My Love.

Happy Birthday, my love, my friend.

I miss you.

Today, your daughter sat snug in my lap while we watched morning cartoons. We were 30 min away from having to leave and I was still in my pajamas, breakfast uneaten, makeup not done… But I couldn’t get up. Because, as I do many days, I was SOAKING her up.

Every so often, in between her crunching and munching on apples, our 3-year-old tilts her head back far and looks up at me. Her eyes sparkle and a grin spreads across her face. Oh, how that grin reminds me of you.

This is the third year that we are celebrating your birthday without you here. That seems impossible, for two reasons. 1. How could it be 3 years? On one hand, it feels like you were here yesterday! And, 2. How could it be ONLY 3 years? I’ve lived a lifetimes since I last saw your face.

Things have changed around here. Your girls have moved 4 times since you left, we’ve crossed from one side of the country to the other; twice. We’ve adopted a new man into our little family and we are working hard to make it the best little patched-up glorious family that we can.

Almost all the furniture is different. My style has changed a bit and I gravitate so much more to the things that I love instead of the things people always told me I should.

I do still decorate for all the little holidays. The fall stuff is up now. I remember how you always told me how much you loved that I did that. Back when we were dating and I lived in that tiny apartment, I remember how enamored you were that I decorated. At the time, I thought it was silly. But, now, I love how much you loved it. I love that you noticed and smiled that I took the time and spent the money to get dollar store autumn leaves on the window, because it made me happy inside.

I’m so different now, too. Not just where we live. As a person, I am different entirely. I’m not sure you would recognize this soul so well. It’s old now. Weathered and strong. I’m BRAVER now than ever before. I’m not scared of anything. Literally. Isn’t that crazy? Remember when I told you that I wouldn’t be able to live without you? I told you (and believed) that if you died, I would die. But, you swore to me I wouldn’t.

You said I was stronger than I thought. That God would carry me through. That our little babe needed me.

I cried then, in your arms, imagining the nightmare that loomed ahead and wishing with all my being that we could switch places. Oh, how I longed to switch places with you.

It’s crazy now, looking at what you said. That I would be okay. You said it with such confidence. How did you know? You knew that you knew. And I had NO idea. I truly think that ONLY God could have helped you see and given you that peace. It was ALL true. Now, I see what you saw then.

I think, I kept on living at first mainly because, I took a long, hard look at your short life and figured that… You wanted to live SO BAD and you didn’t get to. So, I better truly LIVE my days out in your honor. Not surviving, but thriving. Not wallowing, but celebrating. Not wishing I was dead, but creating a life I WANTED.

Like you always said He would, God came near during the darkest times. That day they told us your cancer was back and I collapsed to the floor, clutching the new life in my stomach as if I could somehow protect her from those words. That day 3 years ago, almost to the date, that you started hospice when your eyes were glazed over from the pain and yet you still breathed the word “blessed.” That day that they came and took you away and your hospice bed lay empty, all of you GONE in a single day.

In the end looking days like today straight in the face, can be hard for me. Only because I wish that maybe, as some sort of birthday miracle, you could come down and give me a little sign. But, I know how selfish that is. I’m lucky enough to have seen signs of you often and feel your love settling down on us every single day. Like gently falling snow, you are here.

It’s different now. But, our love is the same. It’s different now. But, you’re smile graces my presence every day. It’s different now, but somehow, it’s all okay.

It’s been 5 years since I celebrated a HEALTHY birthday of yours with you. 5 long years. And, though, the many healthy happy birthdays spent with you were FUN, none of them actually compare to all of these since. Because, once you got sick. EVERYTHING became clearer than it’s ever been.

God opened up my eyes to LIFE because of YOUR life. He showed me what being grateful truly meant. That life is so much more about living for people, for love, for hopes and dreams than it is living for money, or boats, or houses, retirement or things.

Your love, our love, has wings.

I’m so grateful I get to see it fly.

Happy 30th, Nicholas. Forever and a day.

Alyssa

 

Following God When It Seems Crazy

I’ve definitely experienced periods in my life where I didn’t feel like I knew which way God wanted me to go. Where I felt like God wasn’t really giving me direction and I didn’t know what His will was. But, none of those periods were quite as QUIET as when I lived in Florida.

I had felt a tugging to move to Pensacola…. a tiny beach town on the Gulf of Mexico, and I hadn’t known WHY, really. I knew God wanted me there, I had made a few friends in the area, had spent a month vacationing there, had a little crush on a local, but none of THAT constituted a move. I mean it was BEAUTIFUL there too, but NOT like Washington-beautiful.

So, why??

I didn’t know the answer but I KNEW I had to answer the call anyway. My husband, the love of my life, and my baby daddy, had passed just a year before, I would have to sell the house and uproot my one year old and, as a SINGLE WIDOWED Mom, trek across the country, THOUSANDS of miles away from my family and all reliable babysitters.

It didn’t make sense. It was nuts. My friends and family (most of them) didn’t really get it, but I shrugged my shoulders and told them, “Neither do I. I just know I have to go.”

When I started making plans, God moved in big ways, assuring me that He wanted me down there. I had an offer on my house for ABOVE asking within five days of listing it. I found a moving company within my budget quickly and felt ok trusting them with all my stuff. A town house the PERFECT size for Austyn and I basically fell into my lap that was just minutes from the beach. And, I secured new contracts with local Pensacola businesses in a matter of weeks.

When God gives you marching orders and you follow, He sure will make sure your path is straight.

So, I went through 45 days of hustle and got everything set… Flew across the country, settled in, found a part timeChristian pre-preschool for Austyn for while I worked, I went to markets, I dated that local, I joined a gym, I raised my baby girl, I made some great friends… and then, the rest of the time, I prayed a TON.

“What now, God?”

My question seemed to go unanswered, for so long.

“Helllllooooo? YOU brought me down here. What do you want me to do?”

Finally, one day, I got it. “Be still.”

“That’s it?! Really. Move across the country… and then…. Do NOTHING?!”

At first I felt cheated. And confused. Like why?? But, then I decided just to listen and do what He asked. Because, in my experience, even when it doesn’t make sense in the moment, God always makes sense later. So, I stilled. I worked on me and on work and on Austyn but other than that, I was still, UN-PLANNING (which is so UNLIKE me).

So, for months, there was:

NO moving forward with my book like I was planning.

NO direction or heading for my relationship with my then-boyfriend-now-ex.

NO direction on my career, which I knew would be more than just a writer.

NO planning of a family or a house or a future.

Just, me. Still. Waiting. Listening.

Waiting is hard. I kind of hate it. But I did my best to do it anyway. And to stay grateful in the waiting. I prayed. And did my best each day to listen.

EVENTUALLY, piece-by-piece He revealed a bit of the next steps for His plan. But ONLY one step at a time. I couldn’t see the whole staircase, as they say.

First step was to break it off with the local which was so scary, especially because he was one of the only people I had come to know in Fl and also because my heart was still so very fragile from losing Nick.

Months later, it was a direction to move home. To give up the life I had just finally gotten used to, the white sand beached and the salty air. The best friend who lives just a few miles away….. Just up and pack AGAIN.

And, revealing the next step in my career path didn’t even come for almost a YEAR after that.

I think, in the end, following Gods will is all about TRUST. It’s about taking it a step at a time. A day at a time. And trusting, that, in th is end, HOW He’s leading will all make sense in the end.

Sometimes that means quitting something even when we don’t see where we are going to next.

Sometimes it means resting where we are without even attempting to plan the future.

Sometimes it means starting something new.

But only you can know what God is speaking to your heart.

Continue to pray, read His word, and TRUST that HE can figure it all out for you. One step and one day at a time.

Oh, and now, looking back on my time in Florida…. I can see SO MANY REASONS for my time there. SOOOOOO MANY.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the time spent on, what felt like, the other side of the world. My trust in God and my dependence on Him wouldn’t be as strong. My confidence in myself and appreciation for silence wouldn’t be so ingrained. And I might not have this thick skin that formed from following God even when everyone else thought I was whacko.

NONE of those reasons were apparent to me BEFORE I moved there or even immediately upon returning to Seattle. Funny, isn’t it, what God and Time can reveal to us, when we give them the room to not make sense?

#godswill #godsplan #itdoesntalwaysmakesense 

Life’s TOUGH? Sure is…

Life’s hard?

Yeah… It can be.

But, guess what?

You were MADE to do hard things.

Literally, you were CREATED to live this life and point to ALL THE GLORY despite the crap.

You were made for brave.

So, cheer up friend… It may be tough, but you’re equipped to handle this.