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W+P RELENT

So in the last month or so of my pregnancy and the first couple months of my boy’s life I have been completely out of my mind. I would like to say I am all-consumed with him, leaving no room for anything else but if I’m completely honest the lack of energy has left me wasted. I have had to push myself so much harder to do the bare minimum. My personality would really love to just hibernate through tough times but I don’t have that has a viable option so I slink by doing as little as possible. This means blogging, posting for W+P, planning, yogaing… pretty much everything outside of keeping my kids, husband and myself alive has been pushed to the side. WELL I’M (trying to be) BACK (mostly)!!!

Lets play a little catch up, shall we?

First thing you have missed is the last WELL + PLENTY Mini Retreat RELENT, at the end of August. Nine beautiful ladies attended with a couple return attendees. I was 34 weeks pregnant so I slowed everything waaay down, thinned out the schedule and handed off as much as I could. In the past I had felt like I had packed too much into it and that the women were tired when they left, I really wanted them to feel energized. One of the areas I needed all the help I could get was food. I asked my friend, Kelli Lopez, to help. Not having to worry about the most time consuming part of the retreat freed up my body and mind to focus on the women not to mention she did a phenomenal job. The food was beautiful, healthy and most importantly tasty.  I view the food at these retreats a gift, just like the ever-loved candle and match set I give out. Speaking of gifts, I might have over done it this time around. I am a crazy gift giver and didn’t know when to stop this time I guess. On the tables were recipe card holders stamped with the W+P logo, inside were ten blank recipe cards, Meal planning and grocery list pads, stainless steel straws, reusable food wrap, and a dish brush and soap holder. On their beds were a self-love gift with the candle, matches and chocolates. At the end of the retreat I gave out the print kits and necklaces… I had all the ideas and only one last retreat to execute them. (I have a really hard time prioritizing.)

Dinner was the first item on the schedule, the tables were set perfectly which adds to the “Wow” factor when the women first arrive. Durning dinner I had conversation starters at each place setting. We talked and got to know each other. I loved doing this instead of the ice breaker because it was organic with zero pressure and I didn’t have to get up.

I moved the schedule around removing one of the two Holy Yoga sessions and brought in Sarah Hall to teach. This was next on the agenda and a huge hit but I didn’t expect anything less. Sarah taught me, she is the one who ignited the fire within me to teach and walk people through this amazing experience. I will always strive to hit her level. She is effortless and intuitive and knew exactly what the women needed. I think each person got something out of their time with Sarah, many tears and at the end soft hearts. After yoga the women came back to the kitchen for more mingling and relaxing with tea and some of Kelli’s amazing coconut cream pies.

The next morning I left open. With a buffet styled breakfast the women could come early or lated depending on what they needed. The next four hours were dedicated to the Enneagram. I am not a professional or a certified instructor but I offer it at the retreats open handed. “Here is the information, do with it as you please” type mentality. I have read multiple books so I can answer some questions but more so I like to help guild the women on their journey of self-awareness and self-love. The women were open and honest and able to encourage each other in a way I think was desperately needed. They learned about how their childhood has effected how the function today. How little things build but how we have power over them as soon as we recognize it. The Enneagram is a path, road and these women have started a journey.

Sign

I ended the retreat like every other, with a necklace and a word of encouragement. WELL + PLENTY is a mentality, a lifestyle… “To live a life that is WELL with your soul and abundantly PLENTY”. God has so much for us, but some how we stand in our own way holding tightly to our insecurities and poorly created view of ourselves, thinking we can’t, we could never, we lack… when He has given us everything we need. He meticulously knitted us together with each of our days in mind, equipping us with all we need, HIM. We just have to figure out the gifts he created us with and offer them back to Him, “whatever you want me to do God, I’ll do it”

My prayer for the women, all 45 that attended a WELL + PLENTY Mini Retreat, is simply this: I pray you see yourself or God more clearly after a retreat. That something shifts, greatly or ever so slightly. That you extend more grace to yourself and have the strength to step into the plan God has for you, with your whole self. That life seems more manageable and that the important things are made known. Amen

(Not pictured: McAlester Retreat)

My word for 2018 was “Capable”. I almost can’t believe all God had in store for me. Even though I rarely felt capable, I didn’t let it stop me. This year has taught me so much, that I’m stronger than I ever knew, that I have something to give, that I love loving people and that God had a plan all along.

Thank you God for your strength and direction. Thank you to my husband who spoke encouragement over me on a regular basis. Thank you to my friends who constantly lifted me up. Thank you to everyone who gave, donated and sponsored spots for deserving women. I am forever grateful for 2018 and for WELL + PLENTY.

WELL + PLENTY in Tennessee

At my lowest point, the days where I was just sad, I could cry without even trying. Nothing from the outside made things worse or better but everything on the inside was just… sad. That was when I got a note from my girls in Tennessee, they wanted to see me, so much so they pitched in together to pay for my plane ticket. I’ve written about this time in Tennessee here if you want to read about it. It was life altering. I might describe it differently today then I did in my post though. Now I would say that it didn’t exactly heal me… when I got home I still had a long road of recovery ahead of me, but I would say it gave me the energy I needed to take steps, each day, towards healing. Those women are so special to me. I can’t ever seem to pick the exact wording that feels sufficient in describing what they mean to me. They are rare and raw and so okay with me not being ok. Matter of fact I think they like me better without all my ducks in a row. I think they liked that I needed THEM.

When I got back I found myself on a road towards leading retreats. I didn’t know it then but that’s where I ended up. So I knew when I made the decision to do retreats there would be a day I would get to do one for them. And that day came, August 4 + 5, 2018.

This was my fourth retreat to hold and my second one away from home. I will say having them in my home is 100 times easier. I know where everything is and I know what I have and what I don’t. Having to think through each detail or the fact that I was unable to think through each detail made getting everything there impossible. My car almost wasn’t big enough and my brain definitely wasn’t. I was so thankful to have Abi, my photographer and friend, with me for the drive and prep. I didn’t realize before but I couldn’t have done it without her. It was a learning experience and I know I could do it even better next time… because there will be a next time.

This was the first retreat to be held at an AirBnb. I chose it by looking up a place that slept 12, had a hot tub and then I would look through the pictures for an area to do yoga. Beyond that I couldn’t be picky, there just wasn’t enough options. We landed on the Treehouse Mansion. It was amazing. The lot was over 500 acres. Loaded with many different buildings that looked like they were built 100 years ago. A pond with an Ark next door. A creek just outside our door. A giant sized rocking chair even, all set in the rolling green hills of Tennessee. Breathtaking. When Abi and I drove up, we squealed with excitement, it was perfect.

Setting everything up took exactly the three hours we had before the attendees were to arrive. They all showed up at the same time, right at 6! I opened the door and there they all stood, ready for something to happen though not many of them had a clue what they had gotten themselves into. They just knew they needed… something. They all came with bravery and courage especially the ones who didn’t know me. There was even one woman, we will call her Sarah, who took the place of an attendee last minute, like earlier that day. She showed up with very little knowledge of WELL + PLENTY and she didn’t know a soul. Wow!!! I knew she had to be a little scared but like I said her need for “something” overtook her fear. I was so proud of her and each woman who came.

After hugs and introductions, they dispersed and found their beds. When they returned we chowed down on a beautiful charcuterie and just got to know each other. I roamed around asking questions and listened in on conversations, hugged the ones I didn’t know, again and hugged the ones I did, over and over. I realized I was there for something too. The same energy they filled me up over a year before, I was receiving again. They can’t help it, it’s just who they are.

After mingling we sat for dinner and continued our conversation. I didn’t want it to end. Everyone got along so well. Why is it so rare to have a group of women together with not an ounce of judgement but only love and kindness? Maybe it was because they all knew there was no threat, that the space was safe, that everyone there felt the same way they did, everyone just wanted care and compassion. That is all we had for each other and it was beautiful.

We gave my icebreaker a go after dinner. A ball of yarn being passed around every time you had something in common with another person. In the end you should have a web connecting everyone to everyone else. But the yarn got tangled and we sat longer trying to undo the knots then we did actually playing the game. Luckily I had a group of optimistics and opportunists. They saw the life lessons even in the knots and continued their conversation joyfully. After what felt like forever, because I internalize mishap, we finally just cut the knot out of the string and tied it back together in a much shorter version. They got the point. We laughed about it and moved on.

Next was Holy Yoga. Upstairs was just the master suite. Large enough for 11 people to do yoga without even moving furniture. Amazing. Two walls were windows and the lamps and candles gave a soft glow, the perfect environment to get some much needed time with the Savior. I led them through a long meditation, with just a short series of Sun or Son salutations for our flow. It was simple and low key. It was emotionally deep but ended with such hope. Long story short, our lives can be overtaken by all the fast paced machines. The house, the todo list, the sports and activities, the family, the extended family, the friends, the closer friends, the maintenance, the budget, the career, the lack of any of these. They all represent a machine and we feel out of control to slow them down or even stop them. They keep us so busy that we fail to notice what is happening to our hearts and we lose the connections to our souls. The main point to the meditation was to regain that connection and to nurture it. Also to create space in those areas for God. To realize that His expectations of us are not what we assume. That all He wants is time with us. It was special. It always makes me look at God differently then how I’m use to. He is so compassionate, so full of love and grace, we are the ones setting unrealistic expectations on ourselves and our quiet time with Him. He just wants us to look to Him, to say His name, to give him space in our busy, hectic lives.

After yoga we dismissed for some healthy sweets and hot tub time. The amazing conversation continued in smaller more intimate groups, then slowly, we all found our ways to our beds.

The next morning I had breakfast ready around 8:15. Some women hung out in the kitchen and the rest went for a walk by the creek. Some got their first full nights sleep since baby, some just got a good night’s sleep. Either way we all woke, fresh faced and renewed. I saw different women in the morning then when they first showed up the evening before. Jitters we all gone and we were all at ease.

This was the moment I knew we should have made this one longer. I wanted to do too much and there just wasn’t enough time. This was my only regret, that we didn’t book a second night for those who wanted to stay, getting everything there and everything packed up again with enough time for retreat, it just didn’t fit.

We went into a craft, seeing people learn and try something new was so much fun. I love teaching so going around and helping was energizing for me. Everyone did the same thing but each piece was vastly different. We laughed with our mistakes and tried again. We commented praise on each others work and just enjoyed the time. Getting yourself outside your norm in a non scary way can be so rewarding. It didn’t matter what the final piece looked like it was the process. Even though everyone tried really hard because they wanted to hang it up in their home, there still was no pressure. I love those activities, no comparison just letting it be whatever it is going to be.

One more sweet session of Holy Yoga with meditation then we were at lunch. I worked on using everything I bought so there wouldn’t be much food to take with us. It worked out for the most part. Food is a passion of mine but with everything else needing to have thought and attention I chose easy recipes with quick prep. TACOS! You just can’t go wrong. And add mango salsa to the mix and you are set. Easy entertaining 101!

The last session we did was the Enneagram. I think looking back on it this is what needed more time. I knew I felt rushed but I really felt rushed when we got to this part. I could sit and talk about the Enneagram all day but I only had an hour and a half. Plus, cleaning up was different than we had expected so they whole thing felt out of the sorts. We sped through each number, helping each person feel as though they had landed confidently on the right number. Then explaining the ins and outs and how the Enneagram can aid in everyday living got cut a little short. Ladies, I would have given anything to sit longer with you, to hear your thoughts and answer your questions. It kills me to think it didn’t make sense or made you feel lost in anyway. I come back to the thought and prayer that “it is what God wanted it to be”. But I can’t help but wish there had been more time.

Over all it was epic. It was a change of scenery which I totally enjoyed and think the women did too. It was calm and relaxing, which for me at least is so different then my home. It was full of love and encouragement, not just from me but it flowed freely between each woman. It was a breath, at the exact moment I think we felt winded. I cannot wait to return. To make it even better next year.

To the women I got to meet for the first time, you came not knowing me or each other very well or at all. That is a big deal. You stepped out of your comfort zone to do something for yourself. Those are two things that mostly get left out of our womanly worlds. Thank you! Thank you for trusting me and allowing me to be the one who spent that time with you.

To the women I did know, you are precious to me. You all love without effort. You make me feel excepted and encouraged to be me, in all my imperfect glory. I hope and pray I returned a fraction of that love back to you. I pray you feel refreshed in your love for God and for yourselves. 

My prayer for you all is that you would continue to give yourself permission to take time for you. To set aside some of the budget or to let someone know you need time with them. Whatever it is that will refresh you, do it. You will never regret taking that time but being drained and depleted could lead you to some real lows. Love God, love yourself, love others…

I hope you feel loved, because you are, so deeply loved.

Photos taken by Abi Ruth Martin. You can find her on instagram at abi_ruth.

Baby #4

Things have been a little crazy. I started to brainstorm about W+P back in October of last year. In November, I advertised the first mini retreat. In December I posted the dates for all for retreats; one in January, April, July and October. In January, I held the first retreat at my house and then shortly after found out I was pregnant… due in October. Literally the day after the retreat ends. If you haven’t noticed I have sent all my energy to the retreats. When I’m not pregnant I have about 50% the energy of most normal people… while pregnant I have about 50% of that, so keeping up the pace I set back in November was nearly impossible. I have my eye on what needs to be done today or this week but I don’t look that much further ahead then that.

Because of this lack of energy I have let my blog go, the awesome Facebook group I started hasn’t been posted in for about a month. I took a break from the LifeGroup and have focused all my extra time, when I’m not running after my kiddos, to the retreats.

So far I have had three. All have been wildly different, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned. WELL + PLENTY has changed my life and I believe it is making drastic changes in other women which is thrilling. All I ever wanted was to make a difference and love what I do. These first six months of 2018 have more than made up for the awfulness of 2017. I can’t imagine what the next six months will look like.

Incase you missed it, somehow, (must have your head in the sand) but we are pregnant with our forth child. The only child we have ever tried for. Yep! Just a little TMI for ya… I was on a slew of medications for my migraines back in 2007-2009, I felt like a zombie. So I came to a place where I wanted to know what it felt like to be normal me, just me, no meds. Not even birth control because to be honest that stuff was messing with me just as much as the other meds. So we made the decision that if I got pregnant then it would be ok… but I got pregnant in like a week. It was soooooo fast. My first pregnancy was like a swift kick in the pants or just a plan backhand to the face. It was hard on me, physically, mentally and emotionally. It took me three years to recover! Zo was a surprise after cutting out yet another birth control, but this time it was a spiritual battle I was having with God about control. He won and I was glad for it. Jovie was soon after and it shook me. We were using… ummmm… condoms and to this day I can’t really explain how it happened but here we are!

The day we found out Jovie was a girl, I prayed and asked God for a boy. I had been waiting, patiently for one and really thought it would have already happened. In that moment I got a strong sense of “wait”. I felt like it was God but yet I couldn’t ever be 100% sure we would try again and if we did that it would be a boy, but I felt like thats what God was saying to me.

When Jovie was two, we decided to start trying again. Something was different. One month went by and two, three… seven and nothing. I never had a hard time getting pregnant, this must be the wait He was talking about. Finally month 8 I got a positive pregnancy test, a week after finding out we were moving. Great! I get to use the same midwife!! I was ecstatic and felt like I could see God’s timing all over my life. Two days after Christmas and about a week after the move I started to see signs of a miscarriage. A miscarriage that ended up taking two months to fully happen. It was devastating. It felt like a terrible joke had been played on me. I couldn’t understand why anything like this ever happened. Why babies? Why children? That tragedy sparked old sores within me. All of the sudden the flood gates opened and I found myself dealing internally with things from almost 15 years ago. Everything that had ever weighed on me weighed 5 times more. I was sad, all the time.  I didn’t have a home for 6 months. I didn’t have friends I was used to having close by. I didn’t have time to myself, I didn’t know what to ask for or do or think or say. I was stuck. I had slowed down plenty of times before but not to this extent. I had come to a complete stop with no clue how to get myself going again. “Just take a step” I heard this and said it to myself a number of times but I just remember thinking “If I knew what step to take I’d take it but I have NO FREAKING CLUE!!” I was mad that I couldn’t shake this feeling, that I couldn’t snap out of it. I lost my dog in June of last year, I cried much more that I thought I would. It was like the thing that finally released all the emotion. I cried to the point of not being able to breath. I loved my dog but that emotion was from years of hurt and pain that I had buried and new fresh wounds I had yet to decide what to do with.

That is where WELL + PLENTY came from and I believe this pregnancy came from WELL + PLENTY. From the joy and healing it brought me. And the icing on the cake… ITS A BOY!!! I seriously feel so bless and honored to get this specific desire of my heart handed to me. It took a good month to even start saying “he, his, him” instead of “it’s and theirs”.

I hope and pray that even in my low energy I can still maintain my passion for WELL + PLENTY. That I can still be obedient to what God has called me to do here. That I can still give Him the space to reach women, down in their busyness, pain, lack of self awareness or just simply herself.

If this is the first you have heard about W+P, first of all, I’m sorry. I could be posting more and putting more out there but this is all I could muster. Second, read the tab about WELL + PLENTY Mini Retreats. The next one is in July and I’d love for you to be a part of it.

The darkness feels as though it will last forever, it won’t. The light feels as thought it will vanish in a heart beat, it won’t. Learn from your pain, use it, and enjoy the light, experience all there is in it.

McAlester’s Mini Mini Retreat

mcalester invite

Yes! I am coming to McAlester to do a custom Mini Retreat. How did this come about? Well, after I posted about the first W+P Mini Retreat my mom contacted me and asked how we could get one there. I had to think about it. And honestly I had to do a couple so I could get my bearings. After a couple retreats I was able to think through how best to take this on the road. Working with my mom as the hostess and a few others as key sounding boards, we were able to come up with a timeframe that worked, a schedule and price point that would also best fit the women of McAlester. It is different then what you would experience at my house but I have chosen the high points and made sure the WELL + PLENTY mentality and lifestyle still is expressed with care.

What you will get if you come to the McAlester Retreat: The retreat is being held at the hostess’ home. It is a plot of beautiful land just south of McAlester. The healthy and tasty meals and Enneagram workshop will be held in the house and out on the deck. Yoga will be down at their barn with the barn doors open for a nice breeze.  It will truly be a getaway without having to go very far. There will be a small gift at the beginning and a reminder gift at the end. The reminder gift is something that you can wear or take with you to help remind of you of the experience you had at the retreat. I pray every retreat for a shift in each woman’s life. Maybe they see God differently, or maybe they see themselves differently but either way I pray for a shift and the gift is to remind you of that.

How can YOU host a Mini Retreat? This is still new ground for me but if I was to give a step by step at this point it would look a little like this. I would come to the place where you want to host the retreat. Together we would map out where the events of the retreat would happen. Food, yoga, workshops. If you have room for people to stay we can consider an overnight retreat for you. Then we would discuss food and gifts and come up with a price point that would work for you and the attendees you have in mind. Next would come advertisement. We can always use social media or we can come up with a personal invite that can be sent via email or snail mail. After we have a number set for those that signed up its just the final touches and food. Things that would help is a small team of people, guys and/or girls that would come right before the event to help set up and a small team that could come after the retreat is over to help with dishes and tear down. This is something I’ve done on my own and with help, I prefer the help for sure but it can be done with just a couple people. All in all its a time to do a little resting, relaxing and soul searching. Its to draw attention to our need for a deeper relationship with God and with ourselves. Its a time to learn how to manage our lives in a less self-disrespecting way and to extend more grace.

Read more about where WELL + PLENTY came from here.

Or Email me here with any questions. mlea.cole@gmail.com

WELL + PLENTY Revive

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I blogged… oops! February was a hot minute ago. Well you haven’t missed much. Everything just has been sorta normal and somewhat uneventful… I’ll fill in anything you’ve missed in a bit, but for now we need to talk about the second WELL + PLENTY Mini Retreat Revive!!!

I knew after the first retreat there were a few things I wanted to do differently, well, actually I knew I wanted a different feeling and I was going to try a few things to see if they worked. THEY DID!! After the first retreat I got the feeling everyone was a bit overwhelmed by their lives instead of at ease and hopeful. I think the hope came after a little processing but it wasn’t there when they left my house. They were more stunned. The retreats are meant to be relaxing but also introspective and soul searching to a point. I knew this was the direction I wanted to take it but first time around I didn’t leave enough… space. Enough room for the rest and relaxation. It did scare me a little, I thought I had made something worse instead of better which killed me the first few days, but once the feedback started to come I realized it did what I had prayed it would do just without the space. If that makes sense.

So for this retreat I knew I wanted to give all the space I could while still going deep and doing the soul work. To create that space I left Friday night fairly light. We had dinner and opened gifts. Did an ice breaker and a workshop that showed some deeper issues but made it clear we weren’t dealing or processing them that night but rather we would return to them the next day. I could sense the relief… Then we went into meditation and yoga and ended with coconut cream pies and laughter. Friday was amazing! The ice breaker was new, we didn’t do anything like that last time, it was one of the attendees suggestions and it made a big difference. It was a simple game that in the end show each woman how she was connected to every other person there. Which is a principle of WELL + PLENTY… You are not alone!! The obvious separation between introverts and extroverts was made very apparent here but even the quiet ones pitched in a little. What I heard from one attendee was, “I didn’t want to do it, but I’m so glad I did.” Yep, the ability to quit literally connect to each person made a difference, and the laughter that came from it made a difference as well to the overall lightness of the retreat.

The workshop was new as well. At the first retreat I took the attendees through a pretty deep meditation about discovering there is a wall between you and your soul, your authentic self. And this wall was made up of stones that needed to be named and dealt with if you were ever going to step into your true calling, to find fulfillment and contentment. This exercise was extreme. It was moving and emotional and was incredible but the depth was early in the retreat and while the women were willing, I think it drew them into themselves too quickly, the rest of the retreat was somewhat solo. Doing a light exercise to create a visual for that meditation served to be less emotional but just as revealing. We created a life map. Getting everything we do, have done, or plan on doing down on paper. Then we searched or red flags or stones! Marked them and then left them to be dealt with later. Its something they can look at and monitor where they are at and the progress they have made. Awareness is a superpower, isolation and putting your head in the sand is destruction.

We stayed up till 11:30 ish just talking and laughing and connecting. About 6 people ended up staying the night which was perfect because no one had to share a bed with someone they just met, ideal. The next morning we woke and all had sleepy faces and no makeup. More vulnerable in that moment then the whole night before. But we loved it. Breakfast was beautiful and tasty. After breakfast we crowded around the dining table and began our journey inward with the Enneagram. A personality examination that sheds light on shadows as well as the positives. This gives reason to some of the red flags from the night before. It also gives some tools, your personality isn’t just who you are it is a tool that you can sharpen and use to mend old wrongs and avoid new ones. It gives you respect for yourself and for God, that He created you the way He did. So where the conversation IS heavy, filled with lots of tears, there is so much encouragement and hope by the end of it. Its totally worth it. The women had “AH HA” moments and its a beautiful thing to watch… I had an “AH HA” moment, even the second time around. I think I will every time.

After the Enneagram, I handed out their reminder gifts that serve as something they will see everyday that reminds them of what this weekend meant to them. The progress they made and the encouragement to continue on the path they now know they are on, with purpose and motivation. They also received their print kits.  We skipped yoga because the talk went a little long. While I put lunch together the women were given a small break to read, rest, talk or look through all their gifts. This was unexpected, not planned but a wonderful break after the hard work they did during the Enneagram talk.

We ended on a high with a wonderful lunch and more lighthearted talk. It was the feeling I wanted, at least for me. I could see hope, I could see determination. I could see the personal revival that happened and I could see the shift. All I ever prayed for and God brought it to these women, I feel extremely blessed to be a part of it. I was on a high, extremely tired but so excited.

Later that evening I met back up with a few attendees and we went the Edmond Life.Church Campus together and then headed out for dinner. We recounted the highs of the weekend and just got to know each other even more. By the end of the night all I could do if fall into bed smiling. I got to catch my husband up on the whole thing, speaking about a mile a minute and then I crashed. I think I slept for three days after that, still had to keep my kids alive but I rested so much.

It was a wonderful weekend, if the rest of the retreats were just like that one I’d be over the moon. If you are interested in attending a retreat but you have questions please email me. God wants this experience for you and if it can happen with me I’d be honored.

To those who attended: Thank you, thank you for trusting me, for being brave enough to show up. For opening your fragile hearts to the women around you and diving deep to the root of who you are. For continuing, or for some, starting the process of pulling the authentic you to the surface. You all blessed me, encouraged me and aided in my own healing. Thank you, I love each and every one of you!

God Bless!

Mental Addictions

This is not a phrase I have used, ever. However, when I asked God to show me my sin a couple weeks ago this is what eventually came up. My sin is mostly controlled on the outside, minus a lost temper or the occasional s-word. I do my best to treat people well and my family better, but I’m not perfect. The main and most frustrating sin happens inside my brain in the form of negative thoughts. What I am calling addictions, which are…

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. 

… causes severe trauma. What is trauma? According to Psychology Today:

Psychological trauma may set in after a distressing or life-threatening event. Sufferers may develop extreme anxiety or PTSD, or they may have ongoing problems with relationships and self-esteem. But many overcome trauma, offering inspiration to others who have had life-altering negative experiences.

So putting these definitions to work to explain Mental Addictions would look a little like this:

Being enslaved by a mental habit to the extent that there is trauma, a distressing time in which sufferers developed anxiety or other mental side effects that create problems within their own worlds, self-esteems and/or in the reality around them.

A Mental Addiction are comparison, self-deprecating thoughts, assumptions/judgements, worry, doubt, fear, anxiety, bitterness, resentment, manipulation or other mental games. These thoughts embed themselves, with the help of our subconscious into our minds through events both reality and the artificial reality we create. Our minds switch to autopilot and the well-worn pathways are chosen out of habit… addiction, enslaving us and eventually causing great damage. Left unattended these thoughts lead us to depression, panic attacks, withdraw or simply to a place of self-loathing. They effect our lives whether we like to admit it or not. They effect how we see ourselves, others and thus how we let others see us and treat us. They effect our family dynamic and our work experience. They never cease therefore they are linked to every area of our lives.

I find myself daily battling my mental addictions. Mainly comparison which stems from Satan’s lies of not being good enough and not doing enough. If I see anyone with three kids and killing the game of life, I sulk. By the way, ALL the mental addictions stem from Satan’s lies. I guess the goal should be to replace all the lies and negative thoughts with God’s truths and positive thoughts. Once I started to see these thoughts for what they really were, addictions, it changed their hold on me. It changed my awareness of them. All of the sudden I could see them, clear as day. It was like my autopilot became inoperable and I was paying attention to all the thoughts filtering through my mind. I posted one day, “If its good, It’s GOD!” This is where it came from. If the thought inside you head is innately good then it is from God. I tried to focus on the good and not give time or energy to the bad. Slowly I could feel things start to shift.

There was fear too. Lots of fear. That I wasn’t going to understand or be able to implement or hold on to good practices/habits and that eventually the bad would take over again. Or even worse, that my girls, my precious, innocent girls would take on my negative thinking without even trying. Because it is so embedded in me, I knew they would pick up on it. The voice inside my head about how I viewed myself both internally and physically would become the same voice in their heads. NOOOO!!!! I couldn’t let that happen. I want them to grow up with just the right amount of confidence but I have no idea how to do that because I don’t have any myself. Thats where I need to start. Where do I put my confidence? In CHRIST ALONE. Knowing that I am becoming the person he has created me to be, that I am trying my hardest to only live from that place and knowing that I am saying yes to Him and what he is asking of me gives me confidence. Then I have to use willpower and prayer to cancel out and not listen to anything that comes against that.

The first and most important thing to start doing is paying attention. Shut off the autopilot and think about what you are thinking about. When life happens what is your first response? “I could have handled that better! Why was I so stupid? I’m the worst! Life is out to get me! They must hate me! How does she do it all? There must me something wrong with me! Why can’t I just stay focused on what really matters!” On and on and on. You need to see them for what they really are! You need to see them as self-abusive mental addictions. Your inner dialog should sound a little more like this… “I did my best. I handled that well. Even in frustrations I can still find something to be thankful for. God is with me, He never leaves me. The victory is already mine through Christ. He works everything for good for those who love Him. She is a beautiful mom, doing a great job, but we are different so our lives will look different, I have no idea what she is going through on the inside.”

The second thing to do and the hardest part is getting accountability. If you don’t say anything, no one knows and you are all on your own. If you don’t open up to someone and say you are struggling with negative thoughts like x, y, and z then no one will know and no one will help. And when it comes to addictions we usually like them right where they are, in secret. We know, though, in secret is where things fester, in the dark is where things mold. We cannot stay in this place for long, eventually it will take its toll.

Once you hear yourself think something negative try to snap into what the positive at least would be, in the beginning you may not believe it to be true but saying it is taking up brain energy leaving no room to think about the opposite. Writing out the truths or saying them out loud. Spending time with someone willing to open up about their mental addictions so you can encourage each other. There is light, there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that light is Jesus, its never been anything but Jesus.

I pray you become aware, I pray you want to change, I pray you allow yourself to love yourself enough to do something about the self-abusive mental addictions. I pray you let someone in. I pray you address every last lie Satan has embedded into your brain and I pray you reach deep inside, deep into your soul and find who God intended you to be, be her, love her and don’t let any negative thought slow you down from what God is asking you to do!!

Here are some scriptures to help.

Romans 12:2– Do not be conformed to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Psalms 119:107– I am greatly afflicted; renew and revive me [giving me life] O Lord, according to your word.

Psalms 51:10– Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.

2 Timothy 1:7– For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear but of power and of love and of sound judgement and personal discipline [abilities that result in a well-balanced mind and self-control].

 

W+P Revive Mini Retreat

If you came to the first retreat you might be wondering how this one will be different. I have made a couple shifts in the agenda, the workshop will be different, and if you are returning, I don’t think you need another WELL + PLENTY bar necklace… YES! NEW gifts!! Don’t fret, if it is your first time the necklace will be awaiting you. This will serve as a small incentive to come to all of the retreats, to collect all the amazing gifts! YAY!!

Revive is all about resurrection. Coming ALIVE again with new breath, new perspective and new priorities. We will rest from responsibility, from todo’s, and anything else awaiting you at home or work. This is a time just for you! We need to find the positive definition of selfishness. The time we need to spend on ourselves to stay motivated for what matters, to stay WELL, and to live the abundant… PLENTY life God wants for us.

              EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION $200 FEBRUARY 15-28th!!!!

$250 from MARCH 1-15th.

ENROLLMENT CLOSES MARCH 15th OR WHEN FULL.

ONLY 12 SPOTS AVAILABLE!!

>>$50 deposit needed to reserve your spot, payment needed in full by March 15th. <<

Friday April 13th: Location @ M’leas Home in Edmond

  • 6pm: Arrive for Dinner + Gifts
  • 7pm: Ice Breaker + Workshop
  • 8:30: Restorative Holy Yoga + Meditation
  • 10pm: Dessert + Dismiss

Saturday April 14th:

  • 8am: Arrive for Breakfast
  • 9am: Enneagram + Soul Talk
  • 11: Holy Yoga + Meditation
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 2pm: Dismiss

Optional but Highly Recommended:

  • 4pm: Life.Church Service at the Edmond Campus
  • 5:30: Dinner At Cafe 501 Edmond (not included in price)

 

Thank you for your interest, thank you for your belief in WELL + PLENTY. Thank you for taking the time to check it all out. I pray, if you feel led to this event, email me and let me know. mleacole.com  

February Self-Care Challenge

There are a couple ways you can do this challenge. If you feel pressed for time, choose one thing from day 1 to do. If you feel as though you are starving for self-care and need as much as you can get do two or all three things each day. The goal is not to overwhelm you but to show yourself love. So if you start to feel overwhelmed, take a day off or pick an easier thing to do that day. Feel free to swap or move days around according to the freedom you have in your schedule and day. You will need a few things to be able to do every thing on each day. They are as follows

  • Journal
  • Colors: crayons, pens, markers, pencils
  • Blank paper
  • Bible
  • Bible app
  • Internet
  • Ingredients for a green smoothing on day 11.
  • Green tea
  • Bright(er) Lipstick

There will be a few that are somewhat vague, that is on purpose. I want you to use your own interpretation, there is no right or wrong way to do these things. If it doesn’t include a length of time, example: turn off your phone, then choose an appropriate time frame you can successfully stick to but also feel the break from. I will probably look over the next days prompts the night before, since they are spread out over the different categories and decide then how I will address them and make a mental note of what is needed.

I hope and pray this challenge creates a new need and love for caring for yourself.

WELL + PLENTY Self-Care Challenge

Physical + Social Self-Care

  • Day 1: Wear your favorite outfit
  • Day 2: Go for a walk outside
  • Day 3: Take a bath
  • Day 4: Get 8 hrs of sleep tonight
  • Day 5: Dance to your fav song
  • Day 6: Laugh https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AZ-HOfQRrMuUvw64XIq2M5rH_V6-A_QPe1yINl0PxbAaKfm4q6ccCyM/
  • Day 7: Try to drink half your weight in ounces of water today.
  • Day 8: Take the time to stretch
  • Day 9: Groom, the WHOLE body
  • Day 10: Try a new physical activity
  • Day 11: Try a green smoothie
  • Day 12: Take in 5 deep breaths
  • Day 13: Declutter or Organize one area of your home.
  • Day 14: Wear bright(er) lipstick.
  • Day 15: Go to bed early tonight
  • Day 16: Light a candle
  • Day 17: Make a fort, just do it.
  • Day 18: Invite a friend over.
  • Day 19: Call someone you love
  • Day 20: Start your day with the hardest task, getting it out of the way can make the rest of the day so much better.
  • Day 21: Clean out your closet
  • Day 22: Buy some flowers
  • Day 23: Draw or doodle
  • Day 24: Wake up at sunrise
  • Day 25: Enjoy some green tea today
  • Day 26: Have coffee with a friend.
  • Day 27: Find your spot in your house, look up Hygge
  • Day 28: Write down your fav ways for Physical Self-Care.

 

Emotional + Mental Self-Care

  • Day 1: Write down 3 fears, counter them with truth.
  • Day 2: Meditate
  • Day 3: Say “I love you” in the mirror: morning, noon and night.
  • Day 4: Send someone some encouragement.
  • Day 5: Attach emotions to color, fill a page.
  • Day 6: Journal
  • Day 7: Read/start a book
  • Day 8: Write yourself a note, filled with sweet wishes for yourself, place it in the console of your car to find later.
  • Day 9: Write down some of your achievements
  • Day 10: Ask 3 people, one word that describes you.
  • Day 11: Watch your favorite Rom/Com. Cry a little or a lot.
  • Day 12: Fill a page w/ gratitude.
  • Day 13: Turn your phone off.
  • Day 14: Find an album with no words that speaks to your soul.
  • Day 15: Give yourself grace
  • Day 16: Find your love language
  • Day 17: Do something that brings you joy.
  • Day 18: Write a love letter
  • Day 19: Draw a family tree, using color to signify level of joy/tension
  • Day 20: Forgive yourself
  • Day 21: Think like an optimist
  • Day 22: Thank someone
  • Day 23: Thank yourself
  • Day 24: Create a playlist
  • Day 25: Listen to your heartbeat
  • Day 26: Find a struggle, take an action step.
  • Day 27: For every 3 hours have 10 minutes of prayer.
  • Day 28:Write down your fav ways for  Emotional/Mental Self-Care.

 

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Day 1: Write down what you actually believe about God, not out of obligation.
  • Day 2: Write down why.
  • Day 3: Memorize 2 Chron. 20:15
  • Day 4: Pray for comfort
  • Day 5: Start the In_Securities Bible Plan.
  • Day 6: Thank God for the outcome of something still unknown.
  • Day 7: Write out your prayers
  • Day 8: Send someone a note, tell them why and how you are praying for them.
  • Day 9: Repeat “I receive God’s love” throughout the day.
  • Day 10: Random act of kindness.
  • Day 11: Listen to a spiritual Podcast.
  • Day 12: Memorize Jerem. 29:11
  • Day 13: Ask for forgiveness
  • Day 14: Pray for wisdom
  • Day 15: Pray for your husband or future husband
  • Day 16: Write out the lyrics to “What a Beautiful Name”
  • Day 17: Call out lies you believe
  • Day 18: Repent from believing those lies.
  • Day 19: Choose joy today
  • Day 20: Volunteer for something
  • Day 21: Give
  • Day 22: Describe yourself from God’s point of view.
  • Day 23: Pray for your (future) kids
  • Day 24: Pray for health
  • Day 25: Memorize Rom. 15:13
  • Day 26: Thank God for what you don’t have yet.
  • Day 27: Write out truth about God’s character
  • Day 28: Write down your fav ways for Spiritual self-care.