Flamingos!!! If there was such a thing as a “spirit animal”,
this would be mine.
Flamingos!!! If there was such a thing as a “spirit animal”,
this would be mine.
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 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
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:
#liveawakened #livefullyalive #ChristianEmpath #EmpathSurvival #JudithOrloff #SensitivityIsASuperpower #abundantlife
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
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.
For I, the Lord, do not change…
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.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
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.
Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness continues throughout all generations…
The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.
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.
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).
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.
I am the Vine and you are the branches. He that ABIDES (remains) in Me, and I in him will produce (bear/bring forth) much fruit; for apart from (without) Me you can do nothing.
Are you “connected to Source”? It’s a little New Age-y catch phrase thrown around quite a bit these day. To followers of that movement, it could mean God/god, the Universe, a Higher Power, the Divine, etc. Basically what they mean is that there’s something outside of ourselves that’s bigger than we are that we can connect with– and this force will give us guidance, intuition, information, and inspiration. I also saw this type of terminology quite a bit when I was working within the drug and alcohol counseling community and the 12-Step programming. They would use the blanket term “Higher Power” because not everyone was open to the God of the Bible. But there’s no doubt about it, having faith in something outside ourselves definitely aids in people’s healing and their conquering of mental health issues. Just take a brief survey on Google and you’ll see all over the place that faith brings healing.
I’m not into New Age ideology. And I do believe in the God of the Bible (Jesus/Holy Spirit). But I really got to thinking this morning about being “connected to source” in regard to being connected with God. What does that mean? What does that look like? What benefits would come from such a practice?
John 15:5 immediately crossed my mind.
To be “connected with source” (the God of the Bible) looks like ABIDING, or another word for that would be “remaining”.
God paints for us a beautiful visualization about Him being a Vine and we Christians being the branches. Just quiet yourself for a moment, get away from distractions, take a deep breath, and go there with me for just a few moments to really get a mental picture of this.
Imagine a vine… actually see the branches growing out from this vine… see the ends of these branches weighted down with grapes… really take a moment and see this image in your mind… go through your senses and make this mental image real… what does the vine and fruit feel like, look like, smell like?… what do the grapes taste like? what’s going on in the vineyard? are there any sounds like birds or wind or farmers working in the background?… The more you can bring your five senses into this visualization, the more it becomes meaningful…
So long as these branches ABIDE and remain connected to the main vine, they can bear fruit. All the nutrients and life energies to maintain life and growth and fruitfulness flow through this main vine. But as soon as a branch is cut off, what happens to it?… It withers, dries up, shrivels, and eventually dies and decomposes. It has been cut off from its life source. It can’t produce and create life on its own. A cut off branch can quite literally accomplish nothing.
Another Scripture that comes to mind is Psalm 1, esp verses 1-3:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers.
There are two main parts to these verses:
1- don’t get cozy with sin/sinners
2- delight in/meditate on the Word of the Lord
*to be like a tree planted by streams of water
*to yield fruit in season
*so that your leaves do not wither
*so that whatever you do prospers
This is what ABIDING is: remaining “connected to source” (God), allowing His life blood to flow to/through us and grow within us fruit, to flourish, prosper, to never shrivel or wither or die off, to produce and create, to yield, to mature, to be alive/radiating life, always supplied with everything we need for life and godliness.
The life flowing through that vine and the water rushing through that stream… they never stop flowing. They never dry up or tap out. They are *always* rushing and pumping and giving and sharing and pouring. It’s an abundant, never-ending supply.
And you, yes you, are completely welcome to drink from it. God would LOVE to richly bless you with life, abundance, prosperity, and multiplication. He desperately wants to see you flourish and flower and bloom and grow and produce and share with the world. And He is providing you with everything to make this happen.
So today I leave you with this intention: ABIDE in God
As you go to work, take care of your family, sit through baseball practice, clean your house, exercise, file paperwork, go to sleep tonight… focus on ABIDING in Him. Really take moments today to think about and visualize that branch (you) connected to the vine (God)… and the tree planted by a stream of water… about God’s never-ending supply of nourishment and life that He willingly and lovingly wants to pour into you. Accept that gift. Open your hands and heart to the life that He dearly wants to give to you. Connect to source. Let Him pour life into you. He is SO for you!
If you haven’t started a meditation practice, I would *highly* recommend it. It doesn’t have to be any sort of lengthy or fancy process. Five minutes would be plenty. Doesn’t matter what time of the day. Just get alone someplace where you won’t be interrupted. You can sit or lay down. No noise, no distraction, no cell phone, nobody needing you. Take a deep breath. Then take a couple of mindful breaths. Focus on the in-and-out feeling of your breathing. After you do that a few times, do a quick body scan. Are you holding onto stress anywhere? Clenching? Tightness? Try to relax those areas. Then for just a few moments, think about the Scriptures mentioned today about ABIDING. Really visualize what that looks like to you. Take a few moments to pray. Open your hands to receive God’s abundance and life. Thank Him for all that He has done (and will do) in and through you. Take another deep breath… and… you’re done!
Another awesome way to really integrate with these Scriptures is to do EFT/Tapping while slowly reading and meditating on them. Not familiar with this?? Here’s a great little info clip on it. There are acupressure points on your face, hands, and torso and when you tap on them while saying aloud Scriptures (and/or positive affirmations), it’s meaning more deeply gets into our hearts and minds. It brings awareness of deeper issues that need to be dealt with. It clears the mental/emotional clutter and blockages and replaces it with words of truth. It calms the nervous system. I personally thought it was terribly silly in the beginning– but I stuck with it. When I first started with EFT, it was to help deal with my anxiety, stress, and fear issues. It worked ok. But when I got the idea to incorporate Scripture and Bible-based affirmations instead– it got taken to a whole new level. Not only has my anxiety been healing more quickly, but I’m also way more easily able to memorize Scripture. It just seems to “stick” now! Tapping works. Give it a try. It takes practice. Let me know what you think! If you’re already incorporating EFT/tapping into your Bible Study routine, I’d love to hear your experiences with it!!!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You SO much for giving us Your word. Thank You that we have truth to anchor our lives and hope into. Fill us with faith. Fill us with Your word. Help us to ABIDE in You and stay connected to You. We love You. And we are SO thankful for what Your Son, Jesus, did on the cross for us. Thank You for giving us things like prayer, meditation, visualizations, EFT/Tapping, etc. to calm our nervous systems, to better help us focus on You and Your word, and for your truths to deeply penetrate our hearts and minds. May Your words “stick” with us today. Pour into us Your abundance and may we flourish for You.
ABIDE in Him
#liveawakened #livefullyalive #ABIDE #flourish #prosper
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