Jun 27, 2017

What's going on with your Land?

What's going on with your Land? I thought you were building a house. Didn't you decide on your floor plans? What's the big news with your family?

Just a few questions I've been asked lately and this is the post where I try to answer all those. Grab a coffee, this may take a while.

Before I answer those questions I want to do a quick recap for those new to this blog, my instagram and our journey to "dreamin a big dream."

February 2013 - found 12 acres of rough land and bought it (read more about it here)

For the next year we worked at clearing some trees, building a fence and cleaning up the land. We moved into my husband's grandma's vacant house for the time being and that's where we still are. Thankfully his family has let us stay a bit longer than anticipated!

August 2014 - we started work to build a pond. The land had 2 small ponds on it but my husband (civil engineer) wanted a 2-3 acre pond so he drew up the plans and constructed a pond. He even got to put his surveying skills to work!

The pond filled up and the next couple of years that followed were spent looking at floor plans, dreaming and scheming where and what house to build and working out the finances.

August - finalized house location on land and had to do a little more ground work for the pad site, which also meant dropping the pond to pull dirt for the site, thus making the pond deeper.

September 2016 -  finalized the floor plans and sent them off for various bids!

That was nearly a year ago and we still haven't started building.

So what's going on?

Well, for one, the wood company (my husband read this & told me it should be lumber company not wood company >eye roll emoji< teasing ) kept missing deadlines, forgot about our project, the holidays hit and then it was January and still no finished wood schedule. It was really frustrating but it ended up being for the best because it opened the door for our family to walk through and even bigger dream!

Here's the thing, when we bought the land we had this idea that it would be more than a place to live. We wanted chickens, goats, maybe some mini cows, basically a hobby farm. We wanted to plant a garden and small orchard. We wanted to live off the land and live a more self-sustaining life.

Since the land didn't come with a house on it or barns or anything farm related, we would have to start from scratch and that kind of requires a little more money than we expected. We got the estimates back and were left with a couple options.

1. We build but hold off several years on the hobby farming. We live happily ever after.
2. We build smaller, start a small hobby farm, live happily ever after.
3. We sell. We find something else maybe with a house on it, maybe not. We figure it out and live happily ever after.

There was a problem with options 1 & 2. To be able to afford those, it basically meant my husband working at his job until retirement. We could make it happen but it would require his steady stream of income, working 50+ hours a week which didn't leave much time to work a hobby farm.

So now what. Well, I had a mini freak out moment. I texted my sister to pray for a miracle. Little did I know that the miracle I had in my head was much smaller that the miracle God was able to do.

I was praying for God to show us what to do with the land with Eric's job.

I loved my land. I wanted my land. I had my floor plan. I had the perfect hammock spot picked out. I knew what the kitchen would look like. I had the tile planned, sink picked out, I had already had a hundred cups of coffee in my kitchen in my head. I wanted to build on my land.

But just like that, God changed my heart and allowed me to release my tight little fists and let go of the possibility of building and living there. When I opened my hands, he poured out His grace.

For the next part of this story to make sense, you have to know my husband. His name is Eric & most of you know we've known each other since middle school. Anyone that knows him knows he loves to fish, loves the outdoors and is a major people person and he always has been. But he's also super smart. He got a degree in Civil Engineering and is really good at what he does. The problem though is his current office job and passions just don't mix. He spends the majority of his life inside an office building behind a desk and while I'm thankful for the provision of his career, I've always wanted more for him. I believe God gave him those passions for the outdoors for a reason and I wasn't at peace signing those papers to build a house knowing it would mean he would be in that office for the better part of the remainder of his life.

So, I did what any normal person would do and pretty much vomited all of my thoughts, feelings and fears up at his feet. We talked. Prayed and decided to press pause on the house building and wait on God.

Well, He did not take long. The next couple of months door after door after door opened to new possibilities and opportunities neither of us could have dreamed up on our own. We didn't know where we were going but we decided as long as He kept opening the doors we were going to walk through them, trusting God.

So now here we are. Where's that? I'll just copy/paste what Eric shared on facebook:
Hi everyone. I wanted to take a quick minute to introduce myself & update my friends on some recent life changes. I know a lot of you are surprised to see my name pop up on social media but here I am!
As most of you know, my name is Eric, I'm married to my high school sweetheart Lesley Zellers and together we have 3 kids. I went to OSU where I got a degree in Civil Engineering and then worked at a great company here in Tulsa, Meshek & Associates for 10 years. I went on to get my license as a Professional Engineer and pursued surveying as well.
Those that know me best know my passion is spending time with my family and being outdoors. While I was thankful for a job that provided for my family and enabled my wife to stay home to raise our kids, I struggled with wanting to do more and be more.
I recently had the opportunity to pursue a dream that has been years in the making. Every step I've taken brought me to a point where I (and my family) had to decide to take a leap of faith & go after ours dreams or stay in the security of our current situation. We decided to take the leap, knowing and trusting that no matter what, God is there and that's all we need.
I am now working with some amazing people at Midwest Land Group as a Land Agent. In short, my office is no longer a cubicle in the middle of a city, instead it's dirt roads and wide open spaces. I get to find recreational land, farm land, ranches, hobby farms, etc...for people and help them pursue their dreams and I get to spend more time with my family. It really is a dream come true and I am so thankful and blessed for this opportunity.
And since I'll have a little more free time on my hand I thought it was the perfect time to get on social media & connect with old friends, make new friends and share a little bit of my journey on this new adventure.
Thank you to everyone that has played a part in making this dream possible, the support of my family & friends, the Meshek's and all my engineering colleagues and the guys at Midwest Land Group.
So that's where we are. My husband left his engineering job and is now working at a job where he basically helps people find the land of their dreams! How crazy is this life?!

Will we sell our land? I don't know. Maybe we'll end up building out there after all and chasing those others dreams of a simpler life living off the land. But right now everything is on hold while we adjust to his new job and our new way of living.

But you guys, house or no house, land or no land, God answered a prayer I've been seeking for over three years and that was for my outdoorsy loving husband to have an opportunity to live out his passions and now he is! He is outside every day, talking to people, sharing his skills and vision with land owners and those looking for land and nearly every day he tells me he can't believe this is his job. Also, how cute is he?!

And not to toot our horns or anything, but I will say it took a giant leap of faith to do this. Eric is responsible for 99% of our family's income and had a very steady job that he was really good at. We could have stayed in that life, knowing what our future would look like and remain pretty secure financially or we had the opportunity to take a leap of faith, jumping into a much riskier situation for our family but trusting that God that He would catch us even if this new adventure fails.

So sink or soar, we took the leap and I'm pretty excited to see where this path takes us!

I am going to end this with a video my sister sent me shortly after I asked her to pray for a miracle.

Everyone should watch this video!

P.S. If you are looking for land to build your dreams on, hunting, fishing, farming, etc. contact Eric! Some of the listings currently available are up on his agent page but he is one of the first to see properties before they are available to the public so he has "dibs" on your future property! (not so shameless plug)

Jun 7, 2017

The Great Swimsuit Saga of 2017

Before I begin, I have to say thank you to my gal, Jessie of Jessie Leigh Photography! You are a wonder woman with your camera & your MIL is the best for letting us have a swim party at her house. So no, friends, this amazing pool is not mine, although you may see me trying to crash it all summer!

Also, this is me saying, "there's nothing awkward about standing by a donut in a swimsuit while someone takes your picture." haha.Totally natural, my friends.

Totally natural.

Anyway, back to the post and how about that for a non-dramatic ;) but if you have been following me on instagram, in particularly my stories regarding finding the right swimsuit this year, you know I was having a hard time.

I first started looking for a new swimsuit several months ago & posted this:

"lesleyzellersMatchy-matchy. Also, question: where can I find a swimsuit? I need a new suit this year & have spent too much time searching the interests for one that suits me 🥁 ching! 😆. Here's the thing, I like getting in the pool with my kids, racing, jumping off the diving board & horsing around, thus, a two-piece or strapless one piece is out of the question. I don't want to worry about a wardrobe malfunction 👙🙅🏼. However. I want a cute one piece that doesn't scream mom of three! I am exhausted from all the searching so, I ask you, my instafriends, any ideas? Please only share if you have actually purchased from the company or store & have been pleased with the quality."

Little did I know just how many swimsuit companies were out there! 168 comments from y'all! Sheesh! So thank you for all the insight you guys. I looked up each company mentioned in the comments and started narrowing it down to my top ten, then top five and finally top 2.

My decision to go with Kortnie Jeane swimmers ultimately came down to these things:
  • style (loved that I could mix and match and the colors/patterns were so fun)
  • coverage (loved that they were modest but still didn't scream, "hi, I'm a mom of three")
  • matchy with my girlies (they have a matching line for little ones & since my girls LOVE matching me, these were perfect!)

A LOT of you have asked me how I like my swimmers and I figured I'd just answer all the questions here with some fun pictures from my girl, Jessie Leigh Photography.

First of all, I LOVE my swimmers!

I initially ordered a different top and bottoms than are pictured here but they just didn't quite fit the way I hoped. The top was a little lower than I wanted so I asked if I could exchange them. Thankfully, Kortnie Jeane also has great customer service and let me! I really got the feel that they really want their customers to be happy and confident in their product so that was really cool.

I ended up trying out 3 tops and 3 bottoms and was surprised that I ended up liking the ruffle bottoms the most because I wouldn't classify myself as a ruffle gal but they just fit so good! I also liked a couple of other bottoms as well.

As for the top, I ended up getting 2. The one pictured here goes great with any bottoms but I also got the racer back and love it too.

I love that they have great coverage but are also a little spunky. I don't feel weird chasing kids around, worry about anything flying places it shouldn't when jumping, flipping, diving, and honestly, and I love the ruffle on the top because I still feel fine walking around in a swimsuit after eating a burger. Hahaha.

My girls LOVE their suits. They have been wanting 2 pieces but it's really hard to find cute, modest ones until I found KJ. You guys, I didn't realize how awesome 2 pieces are for girls until now. Hello easy bathroom brakes!!! Plus, we got coordinating prints because they love matching me but each combo is uniquely them as well. So fun.

So there's my review of our swimmers. We love them. I am addicted now. I want combos in every color and pattern. And since KJ puts out a new collection every 4 months or so, there are plenty of styles to choose from!

P.S. I was not paid to review these, although KJ generously supplied us swimmers to try out, and I honestly love them and know I have a lot of friends that were interested so I'm happy to share. 

P.S.S. Thank you again, Jessie, for getting some fun pictures of me & my girls!

Oh, and FYI, KJ just released their newest line and it's SO cute! I think I need the hibiscus pink in a top. How cute would that be with the cheetah bottoms?! Click here to shop their new colloection.