Today

Makes me so happy.
Rejoice always!
This is how to celebrate Xmas! Yes!!!
Daily goals!!!
All it takes is one person. Will it be you?
A Thanksgiving funny.
Marvel the ordinary life.

A few of my favorite things!

Flamingos!!! If there was such a thing as a “spirit animal”,
this would be mine.

My “Walk In Love” bracelet from the Discipleship Walk I just went on.
Plus, multi-(bright) colored silicone wedding bands!
A visual representation of where I am in my life right now.
So tired of doing what I “should” or “ought to” or what everyone expects me to.
So tired of doing what everyone else is doing.
So tired of going with the flow, blending in, trying not to stick out.
Afraid people won’t like or accept me if they knew the real me.
**Well I’m getting off this crazy train.**
I’m starting to live the life that God has designed for me!!!
Found this at the public library today! Can’t wait to delve in!!!
When your sweater tag brings you warm fuzzies cuz it’s absolutely perfect.
#Love+Joy
The cutest children’s books I just discovered.
Pikachu socks!!!

#WalkInLove #RejoiceAlways

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

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.

I Turned 40

On Saturday, June 15th, a significant transition of life occurred:
I said good-bye to my 20’s/30’s (my “young” adulthood)…
And said hello to my 40’s/50’s (my “middle” years of adulthood).

Middle-aged…

Hmmmm, that’s a very strange and kinda awkward title to now have to wear.

But can I be honest here?… I’m actually very happy and quite at peace.

When I think back to how I felt in my early adulthood years, it can all be summed up into one hard word: insecurity.

Perhaps others have “found themselves” during those two long decades (kudos if that describes you!). But I wasn’t so lucky. It took me *20 years* of soul-searching, praying, questioning, trying and failing (then trying and failing again), and finally getting into counseling before I began to feel comfortable in my own skin.

Anxiety. Depression. Stress. Overwhelm. Struggle. Questioning: am I good enough? smart enough? mature enough? capable enough? Self-doubt. FEAR. Frustration. And to boot, I picked up some pretty poor/immature coping mechanisms to deal with all of these big feelings.

What do I want? What did I need? What are my boundaries? Who were “my people”? What thrills me? What is for me (and what is NOT for me)? Where do I fit in? What should I be doing with my life? What do I do? Where do I go? How do I live? WHO AM I?

But now as I step into 40, that insecurity of my youth is gone and has finally been weathered away. I KNOW who I am. I know what I want (and what I DON’T want). I know what I’ll tolerate (and what I WON’T). I stand up for myself and my beliefs and needs. I KNOW what to embrace (and what to run from).

I finally discovered that I am an empath and an HSP (which put together a LOT of missing pieces). Knowing this made it incredibly easy to change up my inner and outer worlds so as to create a lifestyle that beautifully accommodates my needs.

The fear of man’s approval is finally dying. I’m doing what I need to do. All the should’s and ought to’s are being put to rest. I’m figuring out who God made me to be and do here on this earth. I’m not being tossed around by the waves of people anymore.

For once, inside and out, I can finally breathe and dance and REJOICE.
I’m finally enjoying life.

It’s actually with great relief I say good-bye to the insecure days of my young adulthood. And I’m gladly, joyfully welcoming my 40’s and beyond. I’m absolutely thrilled to see what God has in store for me and my beautiful family. I’m ready for an adventure!

So I officially entitle this next decade of life: Fun & Free Forties!

Live awakened. Live fully alive. REJOICE.