Self-Care

This is probably one of those topics you’ll hear me coming back to again and again here on the blog. It just cannot be stated enough how important it is. Self-care brings sanity, calm nerves, hope, & happiness.

I SO freakin’ wish someone would have pulled me aside as a young mom and explained just WHY self-care was SO ridiculously important. It would have made me a better wife, mom, friend. I would have just been a HAPPIER person.

Along the mothering way, I got it in my head that it wasn’t ok for me to make time for me.

Let me tell you where that (dumb) idea came from…

Several years back when I had five little ones under the age of 6 (yes, you read that right), let’s just say I was SWIMMING in exhaustion & overwhelm. I had very little support. My parents lived in another state, I was relatively new to the community, my hubby was trying to establish his business & so was gone a lot, all my friends/family were either busy with their own babies or were working. I felt so alone.

So I tried reaching out to a Christian lady from my church for help. All I needed/wanted was an afternoon off: a couple hours to regroup, take a nap, maybe get some backed-up house work accomplished. She had older kids & so I thought maybe she’d have some availability.

My request didn’t go over well. She turned on me… and I’ll never forget that look in her eye or the biting tone in which she spoke to me…

She said… “YOU got yourself into this mess…
this is YOUR problem… I will NOT help you…”

I was beside myself. It felt like someone sucker punched me in the gut & knocked all the air outta me.

If she’s thinking this… then… are other people thinking this, too?
Was there really NO ONE who’d be willing to help me?
Were my children & I really THAT much of a burden to others?

To say I was crushed was an understatement. Something inside me shriveled up & almost died that day. In my immaturity I lost hope of every asking for help in the future.

From that day forth, I was set on a mission to be absolutely independence.

I don’t need anyone anyway.
You’re right– I DID get myself into this “mess”.
I’ll carve my path out myself.
I don’t need sitters.
I don’t need help, esp if it’s going to be given begrudgingly.
I don’t need time off.
I don’t need breaks.
They’re MY “problem” & I’ll figure out how to solve things on my own.

Every time I felt like I couldn’t take any more, I’d simply need to replay this lady’s statements in my mind & I’d be able gird up my loins for more care-taking.

Fast forward four years… when I quite literally had a break. My body started shutting down with adrenal fatigue, anxiety, food sensitivities, digestive upset, & panic attacks.

So started my path to self-care.

So started my *having* to ask for help.

So started the hard task of *accepting* help.

“The Lord is Shepherd, I shall not want. He MAKES me lie down in green pastures. He LEADS me beside quiet waters. He RESTORES my soul. He GUIDES me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. ~Ps. 23:1-3

If you don’t take a rest, God may very well MAKE you take a rest as He did with me.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to something debilitating before you take a needed Sabbath.

Now that I’m older/wiser, I have completely forgiven this woman. As the years have passed, I have witnessed her go through crazy tumultuous family ordeals. Perhaps I caught her on a very bad day.

And NO… one woman’s opinion does NOT speak for everyone else!
And NO… my children & I are NOT a burden to society! (And neither are you & your children!!!)

A HUGE part of my healing has been SELF-CARE.

I’d done SO much caring for other’s that I’d nearly forgotten to take care of me!

How can I give from an empty cup?

Why do airlines say adults/caretakers get the oxygen FIRST before children?

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you & was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. ~1 Cor. 6:19-20

Take care of your temple, ladies!!!

If you’re like me a few years back, you may be thinking:
*I don’t know where to start.
*I don’t know what self-care looks like for me.

First of all, go back to your childhood. Children are FANTASTIC at self-care techniques & doing things to soothe themselves and make them happy. Start there.

*Did you spend a lot of time outdoors in nature?
*Did you like hot baths or showers (or swimming in pools/lakes/rivers)?
*Did you paint or write?
*Did you have a fuzzy blanket to snuggle to?
*Did you like warm milk or reading books before bed?
*Did you love long car rides & travel?
*Did you like to ride your bike for hours?
*Did you have a hobby?
*Were you one of the unique kids that actually liked sleep & naps?
*Did you like to play sports?
*Did you like going to your room & being in solitude?
*Did you blast your music or sing at the top of your lungs?
*Did you like cooking with your parents or grandma?
*Did you like gardening or landscaping?

What did you do as a child that you could get lost in?
What soothed you?
What calmed you after a long day?
What things made you happy?

Guess what? Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t do these same “kids activities” to bring you peace & pleasure. If it makes you feel any better, I have a special fuzzy blanket that I cuddle up to each night because I love the way it feels on my skin. So soft. Relaxes me instantly. If you had a cuddle blanket as a kid, go ahead & get you an adult version. No one will know… and honestly, no one will care. Do what you need to do for you.

Self-care can also come from another angle. Take a look at these other forms:

*If it feels wrong, don’t do it.
*Say “exactly” what you mean.
*Don’t be a people-pleaser.
*Trust your instincts.
*Never speak bad about yourself.
*Never give up on your dreams.
*Don’t be afraid to say “no”.
*Don’t be afraid to say “yes”.
*Be kind to yourself.
*Let go of what you cannot control.
*Stay away from drama & negativity as much as possible.
(This was from a meme I found online forever ago… don’t know who came up with it– but I give them credit.)

Other forms of self-care could be:
*eat life-giving/healthy foods
*don’t eat lifeless/unhealthy foods
*move your body daily with loving movement
*take a shower each day
*brush & floss regularly
*get pedicures/manicures
*get a massage
*see your doctor(s) regularly
*take your vitamins
*wear clothes that flatter you & make you look/feel great
*tame the clutter in your house

Self-care can come in so many different shapes & sizes.
It does not have to take hours & hours out of your day.
It does not have to cost a fortune.
And there ARE people that will help you get that time off!

It will make you a better person… promise you!

So what will you do today to fill your cup?
What things can you participate in that bring a smile to your face?

**Here’s an excellent template if you need help brainstorming:

#liveawakened #livefullyalive #lifeabundant #selfcare #yourenotbeingselfish #rejoice #takecareofyourtemple #SHINE

Shine

When I first became a Christian, I’m talking like mid to late 90’s y’all… the VERY first Christian song I ever listened to was Newsboys “Shine”. To this day, I STILL love it. If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, enjoy this flashback:

“Shine”– Newsboys

Dull as dirt
You can’t assert the kind of light
That might persuade
A strict dictator to retire
Fire the army
Teach the poor origami
The truth is in
The proof is when
You hear your heart start asking,
“What’s my motivation?”

And try as you may, there isn’t a way
To explain the kind of change
That would make an Eskimo renounce fur
That would make a vegetarian barbecue hamster
Unless you can trace this about-face
To a certain sign…

[Chorus]
Shine
Make ’em wonder what you’ve got
Make ’em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored
Shine
Let it shine before all men
Let’em see good works, and then
Let ’em glorify the Lord

Out of the shaker and onto the plate
It isn’t Karma
It sure ain’t fate
That would make a Deadhead sell his van
That would make a schizophrenic turn in his crayons
Oprah freaks
And science seeks a rationale
That shall excuse
This strange behavior

When you let it shine
You will inspire
The kind of entire turnaround
That would make a bouncer take ballet
(even bouncers who aren’t happy)
But out of the glare
With nowhere to turn
You ain’t gonna learn it on “What’s My Line?”

****Ahhhh, such happy teenage memories. 🙂

That word SHINE has become my life mantra.

An equally important life word: REJOICE.

To me, they go together like Indiana & sugar cream pie. Or Indiana & tenderloins. Or Indiana & corn. Or Indiana & Purdue. You catch my drift.

The two words (shine & rejoice) are absolutely inseparable in my eyes. They are my life goals:

To: Shine for Jesus.
To: Rejoice in Jesus.

It’s what I’m here on this earth to do: to spread His light in this dark world!

“In the same way, let your light SHINE before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matt. 5:16

Jesus came that we may have LIFE, and have it to the FULL.
~John 10:10

I’m done hiding in the shadows because my light might “offend” someone.

I’m done covering up my light so it’s more palatable.

I’m done fearing to risk stepping out & walking God’s adventure.

I’m done fearing man & what he thinks of me.

I’m done playing it safe.

There’s a hurting world out there that needs my light, my empathy, my compassion, my help, my heart.

I may not be everyone’s flavor, & that’s ok.

But I gotta do what God put me on this earth to do!!!

I’ve gotta live “on mission” for God!!!

He’s got people for me to shine on.
He’s got opportunities where my light can shine.
He’s got a mission field that needs my light.

And guess what…

He’s got the SAME THING GOING FOR YOU!!!

Do *you* know why you’re here?
Do *you* know what God’s mission is for you to accomplish?
Do *you* know what your skills, talents, abilities, & gifts are?

Is fear holding you back?
Does anxiety have it’s grip on you?
Are you holding back?
Are you afraid that you’re “too much” for the world?
Are you afraid that you’ll be rejected or ridiculed if you really step out?
Are you afraid of failure?
Are you bogged down with thoughts like, “other people are so much better/more gifted/more talented/more connected… I just can’t compare.. why try”?

I’ve got two very helpful words for you:

STOP IT.

Rather, tell Satan to stuff it!!! All these fears & doubts are totally from him, NOT God.

Did you catch that? Fear is a SPIRIT! And it’s NOT the spirit GOD gave us!!!

You have every right and privilege of telling Satan to go away in the name of Jesus. He HAS to listen. In fact,

Resist Satan and he WILL flee from you! He HAS to. Jesus’ name is SO powerful!

This is just a FANTASTIC song. Seriously listen to the lyrics!!!

Don’t let Satan steal from you the fullness of life that God has in store for you.

Be courageous!!!

As the leaves fall this season, focus on letting fear drop away from you!!!

#liveawakened #livefullyalive #Jesus #becourageous #shine #rejoice #bravery #takerisks #increasedfaith #abundantlife #letgooffear

The Empath’s Survival Guide

So excited my book came in at the library!!!
Typically I like to preview books at the library before purchasing.
This is one that I will DEF be buying to keep!!!

So far I’m REALLY liking Judith Orloff’s materials regarding being an Emapth. She’s not only an Empath herself, but she’s also a medical doctor. She speaks from both personal experience AND from a clinical/research base. Not all New Age-y & woo-woo. That’s more my jam.

Today I listened to a fantastic podcast from Dr. Orloff about this very topic: Surviving As An Empath. She knocked it out of the park! You can listen to it here:

https://www.transformationtalkradio.com/episode/the-christine-upchurch-show-encore-the-empaths-survival-guide-life-strategies-for-sensitive-people-with-guest-dr-judith-orloff,24308.html

Word!

#liveawakened #livefullyalive #ChristianEmpath #EmpathSurvival #JudithOrloff #SensitivityIsASuperpower #abundantlife

New Directions

For awhile now, I’ve been undecided just exactly what direction to take with this Momma Duck blog (& the Facebook page). There was always lots of ideas rattling around but no single one route that I felt should be taken. Couldn’t get focus. Def liked the “live awakened” & “live fully alive” thing. But there was still something missing.

Well this last week rocked me because I FINALLY came to grips with something that’s been going on in my life. It’s something that I’ve been fighting, resisting, ignoring, stuffing down, wishing away.

In acceptance of this “thing”, I have also found the future theme for Momma Duck. It all clicks now!

Let me first start with sharing the “thing” that I struggled to come to terms with:


I am a Christian Emapth

There. I said it. Whew!
But I’m not ashamed.
And I’m done living in the shadows fearing people will think I’m off my spiritual rocker.

You know what, though…
I know there are MANY other Christian Empaths out there in the world, too!
*highly sensitive, intuitive, big-time feelers…
*yet overwhelmed, emotional, discouraged, alone, lost, looking for answers, & possibly losing hope.

I run into these people all.the.time.

What is an Empath, you may be wondering?
Click on this link to find out: https://drjudithorloff.com/quizzes/empath-self-assessment-test/.
Does any of this resonate with you?

——————————————————————————————————————–

When I look back over my past/childhood & the things that happened to me/how I responded, it is abundantly clear that I have been an Empath all along (just didn’t know there was a name for it!).

As I have aged, my Empath capabilities have gotten so much stronger!

Problem is, I don’t quite know (yet) how to fully control it or use it. (I’m learning though!) I have this tendency to not only live life on full-blast but to also absorb all that’s going on around me.
And it’s exhausting.

For years, I have been fighting God about being an Empath. Questioning Him as to why He made me so sensitive, intuitive, aware. Asking Him to change me/take the Empath part away. Thinking He made a mistake. Feeling sorry for myself. Feeling so alone, like I was some kind of a weirdo because I reacted to/felt so different from everyone else about life.

Can’t I just be normal? Can’t my “new creation in Christ” be sans Empath?

Well I’ve never really seen it as a blessing… until now. It’s always felt more like a curse because I’ve never been taught what it was or how to live with it. Much of my life has been surviving in the realm of overwhelm–> Empath 101 is not the kind of teaching you got back in the 80’s/90’s, nor a course you can readily take at church!

It doesn’t help that in Christian circles you bring up the word “Empath” and people freak out thinking you’ve gone all New Age-y/woo-woo on them… that you’ve gone to the “dark side” or something.

But I truly, honestly, fully believe that Christians can be Empaths.

Christians (I believe) are just too scared to “go there”. They see non-believing/worldly people talking all things “Empath” & they make the broad general assumption that everything they come up with is bad/wrong/ungodly/evil. That’s just not true.

Why should non-Christians be the only one’s “going there” & talking about being an Empath? Why does the realm of darkness get to take ownership when Empaths can be both non-believers & believers alike?

Is there something sinful with having high levels of empathy?
Is there something wrong/evil about being highly sensitive, intuitive, & to feel/sense things on an incredibly deep level?

Ignoring the word “Empath” & what all it entails leaves out an entire slice of the Christian population. Those of us within this “slice” can be left wondering what’s wrong with us. We can be left feeling like we’re losing our sanity & health because of the emotional/sensory overwhelm we constantly feel. We can get totally discouraged in our walk with Christ because life for us isn’t “abundant” like other Christian’s— rather, our lives is more like daily exhaustion.

Many of us end up going to the Dr for mysterious illnesses (even though labs/tests come back negative), or for anxiety & depression symptoms– then we end up taking meds to numb it out. Or we sit through months of counseling with no relief. Or we suffer alone, potentially destroying the loving relationships around us. Or we faint with fear thinking we’re being tormented by demons. Or worse yet, we end up turning to alcohol, drugs, over-spending, over-eating, etc. to try & shut it all off. In extreme cases, there can even be full-blown addictions, mental health diagnoses, suicidal ideation, etc.

Oh yeah, and Christians may very well (& unfortunately) turn to sin if it gives any sort of temporary relief from the sensory blast that comes with being an Empath–> if they don’t know what it is, what’s really going on with them, how to control/use it. And especially if they can’t/don’t understand & see it as a blessing.

They turn to the church for help but are given the rote lines of: you “just need Jesus” OR you “just don’t have enough faith/trust in God”.
But these Empath’s read their Bible, they pray, they do all the “Christian things” & yet they’re still SO overwhelmed by life constantly streaming in at them from all directions!

Dude, this just shouldn’t be!!! Not for the Believer!!!

*Let’s “go there” as Christians.
*Let’s accept the boundless wisdom from God that clearly draws lines between light & darkness.
*Let’s not let the spirit of fear (which comes from Satan) interfere with our personal healing, our spiritual maturation, & our calling to be missional/lead others to Christ.
*Let’s look at being an Empath through the lens of God & His Word, to bring it out of the realm of darkness & into the light!
*Let’s learn how being an Empath can actually be a blessing.
*Let’s learn to be the hands & feet of Christ, showing His compassion & empathy to a hurting world.
*Let’s learn life skills to counter the burnout & overwhelm.
*Let’s learn how we too, as Empath’s, can live an abundant Christian life!

If you’re a Christian Empath, would you, my friend, walk alongside me on this journey?
If you’re struggling with overwhelm, hang in there… there’s *always* hope in Christ!
If you’re way ahead on this road, would you please share your wisdom?

Let’s learn how to live life & live it abundantly as Christian Empath’s!

#liveawakened #livefullyalive #christianempath #letsgothere #abundantlife #john1010 #MommaDuck #newdirection #freedomfromfear #liveinthelight

Things To REJOICE In Today #1

**So I have this annoying tendency to get totally caught up in my head, letting my emotions race. Like an anxiety/depression funk sort of thing. I allow the darkness to exaggerate & magnify “all that’s going wrong in my world”. I’m learning that when these symptoms arise that I gotta STOP & FLIP THE SCRIPT.

Take for example this line of thinking: the kids are driving me crazy– I’ve been yelling a lot.

Stop & Flip the Script: the kids are only revealing the yuck that’s still inside me– they bring my sin to the surface– they sift me– I can now confess & repent of this sin– I need to ask God for sanctification & purity– this isn’t something to get upset about– it’s actually something to give thanks for– it’s good– it’s revealing sin areas that still need to be dealt withI can allow this to change me & make me more Christ-like.

With this new script there’s now new perspective.
It turns the negative into a positive & gets the brain thinking Biblically.

**Today I had the joy of having a (3) hour break from ALL of the kids so I could get my schtuff together at home & paperwork-wise. Y’all… having retired parents is a weird & fantastically awesome thing. I’ve got support & help like I’ve never had before. It’s freakin’ amazing! #incrediblyblessed

**I LOVE my front porch area. It’s simple. It’s clean. It’s beach-y. It’s my happy little respite place where I love to do my devotions, write/blog, have my quiet time, do yoga, and enjoy a drink while people watching. And seriously, how cute is that flamingo wind chime?

**Today’s yoga routine was Yoga With Adriene’s “Joyful”, Day 23 from her “Dedicate” program. Check it out here on YouTube:

**Ran across this fantastic video on Choosing Positivity biblically. Had to share:

**Here’s a couple of houses I’ve recently come across that are super-duper cute. They just make me happy every time I see them:

**I LOVE this song!!!:

#liveawakened #livefullalive #rejoice

Managing Life’s Transitions

This is the first time I’ve ever really stopped to notice this, but:
summer is THE time for transitions and life changes.

I suppose it’s just a good time in general for people because most everyone is on school break, they are available, & are taking vacas, etc. Plus, if there are big moves and changes, it’s nice to take care of it all while the weather’s nice & before school starts back up and cold weather comes.

This summer in particular has been a very crazy wild season of transition for my family and I. Things such as:

*both my father & mother-in-law retiring– with that comes parental presence & availability & help that I’ve never before had (PTL!).
*my oldest daughter has her first boyfriend– new territory for everyone.
*my oldest is now learning to drive– anxiety x10.
*very good friends of ours moved to a lovely new home– BUT it’s on the other side of town/no longer just a couple blocks away/within biking & walking distance.
*a fantastic neighbor of mine & her son (which is one of my son’s best friend’s) is moving out of town– that brings loss & grief & sadness.
*a “difficult” neighbor, who’d abandoned their house for over a year, surprised us with moving back in– that brings frustration.
*our church, which was newly planted in Jan. ’18, got adopted into another church– that brings with it a weird mix of loss and curiosity + change.
*both my husband & I transitioned into “middle age” when we turned 40 in June– said goodbye to our 20’s & 30’s.
*I just noticed our sugar maple has started to change its leaves’ colors. That means Fall is just around the corner and my beloved Summer is coming to an end soon:

I watch other people and they they seem to accept change and transition without much of a hitch. But for me, dude… change is HARD. I really have to work through it, feel through it, journal through it, pray through it. Change is oftentimes overwhelming and frustrating, esp if it’s something completely out of my hands (like friends moving or my church merging). It often brings with it ugly tears & long bouts of being alone to process. Even GOOD change can be difficult for me to wade through. It’s just me, just the way I’m made, it just takes time.

But God… though my world changes and swirls around me… He doesn’t change. These Scriptures have been my anchor this summer:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.
~Hebrews 13:8

For I, the Lord, do not change…
~Malachi 3:6

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
~James 1:17

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
~Isaiah 40:8

Of old Thou didst found the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end.
~Psalm 102:25-27

Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness continues throughout all generations…
~Psalm 119:89-90a

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.
~Psalm 33:11

God & His word will never change. We can bank on that, we can rest in that, we can give thanks for that. We can relax and trust that He’s got good plans because He’s a good God and a good Father.

God and His word are our anchor through life’s changes!

Live awakened. Live fully alive. REJOICE.

Rejoice

So I did a thing this summer…

I got a tattoo…

It’s actually my second tatt. My first is on my lower back, right side. It is a cross ✝️ with two roses 🌹🌹 wrapped around it in the shape of a heart ♥️. Got it done during my junior year of college. I’m actually looking into getting it touched up sometime soon, only creatively adding the initials “D” & “F” to the roses to signify the two babies we lost. (Baby “D” was an early miscarriage in July of ’07. The “F” is for Francesca Rose, who was stillborn at 37 weeks on April 9, 2010.)

I’ve been wanting a tatt for years. Just couldn’t decide upon what exactly I wanted. It needed to be important, special, significant. It needed to be something I could see regularly. It needed to represent all things “me” in graphic form. It needed to be something that thrilled my soul/gave me goosebumps when I saw it because of what all it represented.

So to celebrate my 40th birthday 🎂, I got my long-awaited tatt.
And I freakin’ love it!!!
Here it is!

So why is a palm tree 🌴 & the word “rejoice” so dang-ed important to me? Well I’m glad you asked.

*Back when I was in college, I sang in a ladies quartet 🎶🎤 for two years called “Rejoice!”. It was a very interesting & challenging & trying but *fun* time in my life. I learned a lot. I experienced a lot of firsts. I was pushed to do things way outside my comfort zone. I grew. I traveled (a lot) 🚐. I saw some really cool stuff. I met a lot of really cool people. I got to do some really cool things. But one of the most significant aspects was that I learned to “let go” and completely trust God. 👐 See, the internet was not readily available back then (we’re talking ’98-’00)– and it was nowhere near what it is now. We couldn’t just look up churches or camps ahead of time to stalk & scope things out. 🖥️ We were only given a church/camp name, a phone number, and an address. The rest was completely unknown to us. Everything was up in the air. Total flexibility was demanded on our parts. You can sort of plan for stuff– but then again, there was SO MUCH you couldn’t plan for. We couldn’t see what the churches & camps looked like ahead of time. You couldn’t know where things were, who you’d be working with or serving, the layout of the things. You didn’t know the schedules or rules or activities. You didn’t know what you’d be eating. ♨️ You just had to map your way there (with real paper maps! 🗺️), see what’s what when you arrived, make on-the-spot decisions, be flexible, set-up as you could, etc. This “going with the flow”/”we’ll just figure it out when we get there” was some of the HARDEST and yet FUNNEST times of my life. It was my first real taste of “living by faith”. Never before had I needed to trust God like that. It was crazy but it was such a blast. It was maddening and yet freeing all in one breath. Because of my experience with “Rejoice!” I learned how to approach life open-handed and to allow God to orchestrate the events of life. I learned to live and love the adventure that God’s got in store– that is, His plans to prosper me and not to harm me; plans to give me a hope and a future. I discovered that if I chose to live close-minded, white-knuckled, needing to know all the details, needing to be in control of everything… then I would miss out on so much that the Lord has in store. I don’t know about the rest of ya’ll but **I** don’t want to miss a thing! **I** want to live this life fully, this adventure, every aspect of it. **I** want to live a great length of days. **I** want to get to end of the road someday way in the future, look back, and be like “what.a.ride– that.was.awesome! Thank You, Jesus! Let’s now together start the next chapter of this life/life abundant/eternal life that You have in store!” To me, life = adventure. And it all started with that little college quartet called “Rejoice!”.

*Also concerning the word “rejoice”… it has become my life word. No matter what happens (good or bad & everything in-between), no matter the feeling or circumstance, no matter what things look like with our natural human eyes… there is always something in which to rejoice about. Rejoicing is a muscle that needs to be worked each day. We either use it or we lose it. We often hear the phrase: as you age you either get better or bitter. Well, I choose to get “better”. And for me the key to getting “better with age” means I need to be rejoicing always. I’m telling you from experience “bad things” happen even to good people. We live in a fallen world. People die. Accidents happen. Evil people do evil things. Illnesses & disease can just happen. No one is immune. I truly believe that we can pray for supernatural protection so less “bad things” will happen to us. But I also know that in all “bad things” God can and WILL use them for GOOD to those that love Him. So when I look back on all my “bad times”, even in the most bleakest of bleak situations, I can still rejoice because at least I know that this circumstance will be used for good somehow. BUT I can also rejoice that I’m not alone– God is with me always. I can rejoice because God collects my tears and writes all my hurts in His book– He knows. I can rejoice because Jesus was tempted in all ways just like me– He knows exactly what I’m feeling because He was human– He’s been there, done that. I can rejoice because I am a believer, a child of God, a co-heir with Christ– don’t even get me started on all the perks of that one! I can rejoice because one day all my suffering will end and I will be FOREVER rejoicing in heaven with Jesus. And I could go on and on and on with all the things we can rejoice over– and that’s just in talking about all the “bad stuff”. There’s a TON of “good stuff” in life that we can rejoice over, too. Look for it– I promise you there is ALWAYS something to rejoice in!!!

*Moving on to palm trees. 🌴 I freakin’ love palm trees!!! To me they symbolize all things summer, which is my absolute favorite season of all time. I was made for sun ☀️. I was made for water 🌊. I feel so alive and fresh and energized and healthy in summer. Everything is bright and alive. Everyone is outdoors working and playing. There’s movement and activity. Flip-flops and popsicles. Pools and beaches. Bright colors and cold drinks. Vacations and sun tans. Swimsuits and shorts. Like seriously, just thinking about summer makes me smile from ear to ear. I-LOVE-SUMMER.

*Some day I’m a’gonna leave these here Midwest cornfields 🌽 and move down south to where that I can see said sun & palm trees & summer weather all.year.long. Maybe in the States. Maybe some Caribbean island. Maybe Midwest-living during the summer and southern-living during the winter. I care not about the logistics– I’m flexible. But summer living all year long is a definite for my future– I *will* one day live among the palm trees.

*While I’m waiting for my “summer year long” plan to come to fruition, I’m in the meantime creating my own little tropical oasis version of my own. Who needs porch flowers when you can have porch palm trees?! Makes me so happy:

*And why is the tatt ink blue and not the tradition black? Well… I plum just don’t like the color black. It looks fab on some people. But with my color skin, black makes me look so washed out and dead. This summer blue 💙 though looks absolutely fab with my skin tone and freckles. Plus–> blue is the color of the ocean & water!!


Live awakened. Live fully alive. REJOICE.