Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.


Category : Life

Mom-Work Life

I know I share a lot about my mom-life, but I often don’t dive into my work-world. So if you don’t know, in addition to being Iris’ mom and blogging when I can, I do work full-time. I’ve actually been working a job (or jobs) of some sort since I was legally able. At the age of 15 I started out as a dishwasher at my local health food store, eventually spending much of my late-teens and early 20s working as a barista in a coffeeshop. At one point, when I was living in the Washington D.C. area, I held three jobs at once – a clothing store in Georgetown, a little lunch spot near the White House during the week, and at an after-school program/nursery at a church – all while going to school (and it’s from all of this experience that I am a devout believer that everyone should work retail and/or food service at some point in their life).

So while I spend every Monday through Friday at the office, I do realize I rarely share that side of my life – which is a pretty big chunk. Frankly, that’s kind of by design. Not only is what I do on a day-to-day basis probably boring to most folks (re: lots of paperwork and emails), but what I do for a living isn’t easily explained and most people respond in one of two ways:

“Oh…” with a confused look, then changes the subject quickly.

(insert one million questions)

I actually prefer the latter response because I love and feel strongly about what I do, so I enjoy telling people about it. Though I certainly understand the subject in general isn’t always the top item on people’s dinner party topic lists. So, on to fun stuff…

Where in the world do you work?
To completely oversimplify it, I work for a non-profit organization and manage the national licensure exam for funeral service. That’s as deep as I’ll go on here (I don’t want to bore you with the details), but if you ever see me out and are curious, I’d be happy to tell you more. I’ve been there in total for almost nine years and am very fortunate to not only love what I do, but the people that I work with as well.

How did you get into THAT?
I had just graduated from The University of Arkansas and was finishing up an internship at the Walton Arts Center, when I saw a classified ad for a “Public Relations Coordinator” position. There was no mention of funeral service, but a quick Google search of the phone number led me to the organization’s website… where I was equally confused and intrigued. Fast forward many years and I’m now in a different role, but still with the same organization. While what I do is rather complex, my day-to-day work is strictly administrative, so a background in funeral service isn’t necessary. That’s what we have the amazing volunteer experts for.

So what did you go to school for?
I graduated from the journalism department, with a concentration in advertising and public relations. That’s what led me to apply for job, thanks to the title!

How often do you travel for work?
It varies, but usually around four or five trips per year. I’ve gotten to go to some pretty awesome places, but unless I extend my stay I don’t get too much opportunity to explore. Besides our annual convention, I facilitate various committee meetings which are held in different locations across the country.

How do you balance work, being a mom, and running a blog?
I’m constantly pulled in different directions – dashing from one obligation to the next, but isn’t that what being a mom is all about? I’ve been known to take a vacation day just to get the laundry done, but thankfully Todd and I make a pretty good team. Now that Iris is a little older, I feel better about leaving her for my work trips or at preschool during the week, or even when I take a little time to myself on the weekends to work on my blog. I’ve learned that I need that creative outlet to balance out the business side of my brain, and I like that Iris gets to see what hard work looks like. At the end of the day I’m proud of the different hats I wear, even if they get a little heavy at times.

Overall, I’ve learned a lot about a field that I knew not that much about. Such as that it’s full of amazing people that are humbly serving people in their toughest times and I am lucky enough to get to work alongside some of the best in the profession. At the end of the day, I’m proud be a part of an organization that is always trying to do the right thing for the sake of public protection. So there ya have it… Probably with more questions than answers. And I’m off to put Iris in the bath because – my mom hat has once again taken priority.

March Adventures

I’m fresh off the heels of one of the busiest weeks of my job – our annual meeting. After lots of preparation, we jetted off to the beaches Hilton Head, South Carolina. While it sounds lovely (and it was), we were too swamped making sure the meeting was going as planned to truly enjoy our setting. I did manage to survive giving two presentations, one of which was an hour long of just me and a PowerPoint up at a podium. I made it back that Friday evening, just in time to keep my bags packed and hit the road bright and early Saturday to Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was my mom’s 65th birthday and she suggested an afternoon betting on the ponies at Oaklawn. Who was I to turn that down?! As exhausted as I was, it was well worth the quick trip. I even won on every race I bet on, except for one – but during that race I found 20 bucks on the ground.

After another week in the office, we were off again on another adventure the very next weekend. Our neighbors rented the sweetest, coziest little cabin in Jasper, Arkansas for the weekend and invited us along. Less than two hours from our house, it was an easy trip that forced me into a bit of needed relaxation. We even got our first (and hopefully last) snow of the season.

Now that we’re back from that little getaway, our schedule is settling down and I don’t think I’m traveling again until next month. We of course already have our annual Rosemary Beach trip booked, so I’ve already begun counting down the days. In case you’re wondering, it’s 67 days away – but not soon enough.

A Reminder

Well this past week was a good reminder that life can change at any given moment and to be thankful for every day. Just over a week ago I found out that a friend of mine’s 18-month-old baby suddenly passed away. The news hit me hard. Maybe it was because of all the memories my friend and I have had together over the years, or maybe it was because I am a mom myself. Probably a mixture of both. Anyway, I just couldn’t stop thinking about her and her family, and how their world had been shattered. Everyone wanted to do something, but with grief on that level – what can you really do? The only thing I knew to do was hop on a plane and be there, with many hugs, at the service. I booked a last minute flight and, 12 hours later, I was on a plane headed to Washington D.C.

Working in the funeral profession has taught me a lot, but one of the things that stands out the most is to go to the funeral when you can, and this NPR story captures that message perfectly. Now I certainly had special circumstances that allowed me to travel over 1,000 miles away – Plenty of frequent flier miles to cover my airfare, time off work to spare, a husband’s flexible schedule so I didn’t have to think twice about Iris’ needs, and a knowledge of the city since I used to live there.

While it was a sad and emotional whirlwind of a trip, it was also so beautiful to see so many people remember such a sweet little soul. And as soon as I delivered my first of several hugs, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.


Guess what I’ll be doing one month from today? Registering Iris for KINDERGARTEN! How did this happen? Where did my squishy, gap-toothed, too-much-hair-for-newborn baby go?! I fully acknowledge that I’m as cliche as it gets when I say this, but it’s all going too damn fast.

Now I know that registering Iris for her first “real” day of school is just dipping my toes in the waterfall of tears that will soon be the first day of kindergarten. Just like any other mom, I’m sure I will be a horrendous mess on the day she actually walks through those classroom doors, but as a mom to an only child, I might just take it to another level. For us, every “first” is also a “last”. Big life events are often a little extra bittersweet.

As for the big K, I know she’s ready. I’m so proud that she’s already very interested in reading and math – and she’s actually quite good for her age. But every night when we cuddle after our evening books, I wonder how many more years she’ll want me to “stay for just one more minute.” Or how many years until she doesn’t want me to lay with her at all? Recently she got her very own alarm clock, so now she gets herself out of bed and dresses herself. The first day was awesome. She was so excited when her Frozen clock blasted, “LET IT GOOOOO!” at 7 am (simultaneously also scaring the shit out of me across the hall). She popped right out of bed, slid on the clothes I laid out for her the night before, and was ready for her bowl of shredded mini wheats.

That lasted one day. Every morning since then, she grumpily turns off the alarm (presumably after it, now, scares the crap out of her too), and stumbles into our bedroom. “I want to keep sleeping,” she usually mumbles. “Welcome to the rest of your life,” I reply.

She’s growing up. There’s no stopping that. But I can embrace all the wonderful things that come with it – where she gains her independence and, once again, so do I.

Hello 2017

Well, we did it. We survived Christmas once again. It was hectic as hell leading up to the holidays, but once they were here I can honestly say I was able to sit back and enjoy them. It helped tremendously that I had 10 glorious days off work between Christmas and the New Year. And, for once, we weren’t traveling. Equal parts lazy and productive, I soaked it up (and, admittedly, still sent Iris to school on the days it was in session).

On Christmas morning, Iris received more than ever including the ultimate Barbie Dreamhouse. A few of our friends and family joined us as we ate, drank, and listened to Christmas tunes for one last time. I’m always sad to see Christmas go, but always a little ready to start fresh as I wonder what the year will bring. Here are a few photos from 2016’s Christmas.