The calling EVERYONE has on their life.

Yes, you should love everyone and yes, you should be Jesus to people who have no one else stepping into that role but something needs to come first. You loving you. Someone told me to love God with my past, present and future. “How?” was my response. That just doesn’t make any sense to me. I could see why it was a good idea but couldn’t wrap my head around it, even if I could say the words, how could I ever truly believe them.

December 18th, I was on my way to the store to get stuff for my kids Christmas parties. I was talking out loud, like I usually do, to keep my thoughts straight and focused. I began a mental, emotional, spiritual exercise that I knew was given to me by God. An exercise that I will relay for the rest of my life. Mind truly blown.

I’m going to walk you through it. But it may not mean to you what it meant to me, it my not be the process that clicks with you but it changed me. It changed the way I saw myself and God and others. It was a total game changer in my relationship with God.

You see, my relationship with God has been surface level my whole life. I had made the decision to live as a believer when I was young, to bet all my chips that He was real and that my life lived for Him was better than not. However, there was a wall. I sometimes would question His existence in my head, sometimes I would feel Him with my heart but the wall was right below that, about where my diaphragm is. Right before I reached my soul. I am a visual person so for me the visual helps. I would periodically bump into the wall and it either scared me and I’d run away or it would be so painful I wouldn’t have the strength to address it. But 2017 showed me I needed to, I had to get passed the wall. It felt like life or death. Life on this side of the wall was grey, gloomy and purposeless. I imagined life passed the wall to be vibrant, joyful, and fulfilling.

Each stone in the wall was made up of a past experience, little bits of self-loathing and self-doubt, God-doubt, relationships gone south, every time I felt inadequate or incapable. I began naming the stones that made up this wall, the wall between me and God but also between me and my soul, my true self, the self God was preparing me to become, the self He had always intended me to be. As I named them I could feel them weakening, shifting. Through counseling, through prayer, through struggle, through Instagram, through Facebook, through podcasts, through books, through the bible, through moments, through feelings, through promptings, through talks, through sharing, through this blog I slowly began pulling and tugging. Until I began to see a small light shining through.

So this is your first step, name your stones. Name your wall. Heres some of mine.

Failure, college, loosing virginity, demolished friendships, drinking, anger, Mother, not feeling good enough to be a wife or a mother, feeling like a fraud, not making my degree work, saying too much, not saying enough, saying the wrong things, comparing, laziness, hopelessness, daily pain and chronic migraines, believing all the lies, manipulation, playing games, questioning God, self-loathing, assuming negatively, hating my looks, hating my weight, being out of control.

I began to see God teaching me, guiding me, threading me. Because a lot of what happened in my life that I wasn’t happy about, I did to myself, I carried so much blame and guilt. There are a lot of these I didn’t name until this year, I couldn’t, I didn’t know how but God was good enough to show me, to guide me to the places where I could see, to put people in my path that wouldn’t judge including my husband.

 

 

 

 

Second step: I apologized to myself, forgave myself, and accepted all of me. This doesn’t mean it was my fault or I am accepting blame, I am doing this for healing and healing alone. Take if further by dividing yourself up into Mind, Body, Heart, Soul. Take on each part as you apologize to another part, ask for forgiveness, extend love to each part. The more detailed you are ie “My mind apologized to my heart for not protecting it, for rushing past and dominating.” the better. Dig. Break wide open. Bare your mind, body, heart and soul and see them for what they truly are… Beautiful parts of you that have endured so much and are trying to do their best.

Steph 3: Live from here. From the place of forgiveness and love not the place of blame and shame. Choose, remind yourself of this place and come back as often as you need to. Done openly and honestly it is powerful.

***If you do this exercise, let me know in the comments what if did for you.

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Emotions

Is it a bad word to you? What baggage it comes with, right? When our emotions get the best of us, or we are overwhelmed with emotion, we rarely think, “Well, that was great!” We are embarrassed, we regret it. We think we are loosing our minds or going crazy. We try to shut them down. Why?

Our emotions show us what we love, hate, what we are passionate about. Our emotions can be a tool. Maybe the most important tool next to the bible. Let me explain.

I am learning that in order to truly feel, I have to be in touch with my emotions. However the switch is heavy and not easily moved from on to off and back again. They are either going or not. If I can give them space though, to do what they do best, connect me with my authentic self, then maybe they wouldn’t be spewing out of me in the least convenient times. But really, who cares if they do?!

Also I read the most intimate quote the other day, it changed my perspective on emotions. It made me want to feel, want to cry tears of joy and sadness equally. It made me want to share and share some more, to really connect. To let my emotions out, to be seen in all their glory.

What? Emotions have glory? Well, yes, once you read the quote you will understand.

“But what if emotion, or something similar that is even deeper, wilder, and more real, is an essential element of who God is? What if emotion, as we understand it, is a reflection of what God experiences in his heart.” Curt Thompson, Anatomy of the Soul

He goes on to add that ours is a less intense version… Sometimes my emotions are so intense I think I might burst, but what we are feeling is barely scratching the surface of Gods experiences. So, do you see? Our emotions are a connection, it connects us to our souls, our true selves and that is the dwelling place of Christ, His home. But also, they are a glimpse into what God feels as He experiences us.

If we are made in His image then why would we ever think God doesn’t have emotions?

Now, there is a fine line between feelings and emotions. It is said they are the two sides of the same coin. Connected but very different. They even happen in two different parts of the brain. Emotions effect your physical state, they create behavior that keeps you out of danger and helps you survive. Feelings are reactions to emotions which because they are effected by our past experiences and situations can be false or irrational guesses on reality. Just like our actions, our feelings can come from a sinful place, so our decisions and choices should be based on God, our knowledge of him and his character. Our emotions however, can be a part of that relationship with God, it should be an emotional relationship. It is for Him.

So connect, don’t be afraid of the journey inward. I haven’t arrived yet and I’m not sure I have will fully but its already blown my mind a couple times.

Something to unlearn…

There is a common thread in a lot of type images and quotes on mugs, social media, teeshirts, etc. The concept of “do what you love”. Don’t stay stuck in a job you hate, quit, and follow your dreams.

I hate this concept. Yup “HATE”

I think it leaves people feeling raw and hopeless. I think it kills joy and happiness and contentment. Because how on earth could you love being a trash collector in January? Or a grave digger? Or how can you find your purpose in being a bank teller or working retail? Heres the deal. We need these people. We need people to work those jobs. In the grand scheme of things there aren’t very many jobs that are joy perpetuating. Most jobs are that, jobs. Work. Repetitive, redundant, boring jobs. The quotes should say, “Love what you do.” “Find purpose in the mundane” The truth is we need each and every person and not everyone is going to be a Rockstar, movie star, or cutsie small business owner that walks to work, passing the flower shop and cafe on their way.

I’ve been brainwashed to believe that if I’m not being energized and finding joy in what I do then I’m not doing the “right” things.

When what I’ve been doing is what I was suppose to be doing all along. I’ve been learning and growing everyday. And god-forbid if we feel less than for being a stay-at-home mom. Like theres something more important than that. Like I’m going to regret my years spent at home. Unfortunately, I felt like that, feel some days.

I felt like I needed to do more, contribute more. Use my gifts, help people, get paid. But the truth is I need to use my gifts at home, help my girls and get paid in kisses and hugs and the contentment that this is where I’m meant to be.

Don’t hear that I think working moms aren’t suppose to be working. I am for both. But I’ve been called to stay home and I didn’t like that calling for 7 years. 7. Because I thought I should be or do more, because I believed the lie that I wasn’t enough.

I guess you could say this is a bit of a soap box. I was going to tell you that before you quit you should talk to God but I think you already know you just aren’t ok with it. If you quite and nothing happens, nothing works out thats an answer. Or you apply yourself and wrack your brain for a job or way to get out of the home and none of them work… thats an answer too, that was my answer.

Okay, God, I except. I’ll only be a stay-at-home mom for a little bit longer and I can make the most of it by excepting it first and learning to love it more every day. But if I’m only thinking about how much I don’t like it, or how I’m not very good at it, or how it steels my sanity then, yeah, I’m not going to progress.

Then, theres also the thought that I’ve had that if I’m not content with this I won’t be content in anything. Its like thinking you need just a little more money and everything will be ok, but if you have terrible spending habits then more money only means more problems. Start taking care of whats on your plate, and either your plate will grow or you will learn to love the plate you have, just the way it is.

You can turn joy on and off. Not with the switch of a job but with the switch of your heart.

What I think God might say,

My dear,

You think because you can’t see me, I don’t see you.

You think because you can’t hear me, I’m not listening.

You think because someone has hurt you, so will I.

You think because you feel lost, that I didn’t plan this moment and all the ones to come.

You think because you feel like a failure that I’m not there to make up the difference.

You think because you lack consistency and self-discipline that I won’t still bless you.

You think because someone wasn’t there, that I would leave you.

You think because you can’t forgive yourself that I haven’t already.

You think because you ask for things and I don’t give them to you, how you feel I should, that I’m mad at you, or not paying attention to you, or that you aren’t deserving of good gifts.

You are wrong. But thats ok.

I love you with the fullness of time and space, your comprehension can’t understand one molecule of my love.

I think of you relentlessly.

I have heard every word, whisper, thought, sigh, cry, and laugh that has or will come from the body that I chose for you.

I created you to fail so you would need me.

I gift you beyond your fleeting desires and moods, into your being and soul, into my purpose and plan.

There is a beauty I placed in you that is unparalleled. You don’t have to see it for me to use it but it would help.

You think you are lacking and less than needed and small, you are, you can never be enough for you or for anyone else, its how I made you and thats why I gave you my Son.

However, when you focus on your shortcomings and not on my grace you are distracted and sad. If you could see you through my eyes you would be content, fulfilled, renewed and set on a path with purpose.

You are my dream come true, I have no regrets in you, you will never convince me otherwise.

I see you. I hear you. I’m for you. I forgive you. I love you.

God

My Hope

This retreat has consumed my mind, and it is a good thing. For so long the majority of my thoughts were consumed with me. What I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. How I could be better but how I always failed. How I missed things because I blatantly forgot, or how I avoided things that would have probably been good for me. How I acted like a brat to my kids or husband, how I had been selfish or lacking in someway. How I lost my temper and if I had just prayed more or read the bible more or just been a better christian I wouldn’t struggle this way.

There was one day, I had clarity. I could see my bucket of energy and I knew exactly what filled it and what emptied it. I had just spent three of the most glorious days in Tennessee and they were without my husband or my kids. Just to be clear my favorite time is with my husband, and I love my time with my kids but this was different. In the total of the three days, not one thing drained me, NOT ONE! My activities were either neutral or fulfilling. I had never felt that way before. This was the first time I had gone on a trip by myself since I had become a mom, 7 years earlier. SEVEN.

During those three days I was cooked for, I slept without interruption or fear of a kid getting into something. I spent time with people who made me laugh, hard, and who loved me to literal tears. I bought myself things, with money I had budgeted, guilt-free. I was creative, I painted with a rare and crucial friend. We drank wine and worked on our canvases, using colors that spoke to us, experimenting with different tools and brushes. Then when we couldn’t think of anything else to make them better, we switched. They became a weird, swirl of the two of us. We didn’t care if we didn’t want to hang them in our homes it was the process. It was the time we spent doing it. I will forever remember that night and those three days.

Do you feel it? That sigh of relief. The longing for what I felt? That is what I want the retreat to be. I want to give that feeling. I want to give a hyper sensitivity to our energy, and I want to only fill, and fill, and fill.

“Come to me, those who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

We are not meant to conquer life. We are not even meant to be good at it, not even a little. It is suppose to be hard and challenging. Its not a question of if, its WHEN we are weary and burdened, God will give us rest. When we are weak, HE will be strong for us. Time and time again it is made known that we need to be fully dependent on God. So why are we surprised when we struggle? Why are we disappointed in ourselves for once again falling short. We will always be short. We will always be needy. If we weren’t, unfortunately we would never turn to God, we would never look to Him, we would never acknowledge Him. Maybe I shouldn’t say never, but it would be a rare occurrence. Because of our strength and capability we would spend our time praising ourselves, and not give a glance to the One who created us. So, stop. Stop beating yourself to a pulp. You will never be any better at this life then you have been in the past. All you can do is fall into the arms of God. Give up the effort of trying to take His place and find a joy in knowing that it is not your responsibility.

When we let our minds race with insults about falling short we are wasting energy and when this is happening all day, everyday we are expending exponential amounts of valuable energy. And as a mother, that is energy I am unable to live without. Instead, let God take the worry, the fear and the doubt away. If you need it, spend the weekend with me in January to help understand how to let go of each area of our lives so we can focus on what really matters. So we are spending more time filling up then emptying out. That is my hope for the retreat and for you.

WELL + PLENTY

About a month ago I got this phrase stuck in my head. WELL + PLENTY. I wanted to be well, cured of my annoying ailments and I wanted to have plenty, not just in my relationship with God but in all of my relationships. My relationship with myself, my body, my mind, and my relationship with my home. We are plagued by “fine”. If we are fine then we don’t try for more. All of the sudden I was becoming acutely aware of my desire for more. Abundance even.

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.”  -John 10:10

How would it start? My mind would have to be completely transformed and renewed. I had a vision of women coming to my home, peacefully and quietly we welcomed the Spirit to come and gently renew our perspectives and views of ourselves and each other. Of our surroundings and situations, of every area of our lives until we look a little more like Him. I wanted to incorporate Holy Yoga but I didn’t want it to be about the yoga. I wanted it to be about lifting the veil of this world out of our eyes so we could see more clearly. God surrounds us and lives in us but so many days I can’t feel Him or see Him move on my behalf. If I were able for just a moment to lift the veil of life enough to lock eyes with Him I might understand. In my worst moment I realized I had based my relationship with God on my feelings, and when I was numb with depression, I couldn’t “feel” Him. I feared I had no relationship with Him at all. I want to share this with other people and help them see God for who he is and who they are through His eyes, despite feelings. That is just one of the topics I want to cover. Lets renew our minds on our body image and how we nourish our bodies, on how we take care of our homes and the place they hold in our hearts. Lets touch on every area of our lives and tilt it a little more towards Jesus.

This vision birthed WELL + PLENTY mini retreats, the first of which is happening January 12 +13th of 2018. I am so excited and scared and overwhelmed. I want the women that feel tired and overwhelmed with life with a husband, kids, work, the house and health to come and get encouraged. The WELL + PLENTY mission statement is:

To live a life that is completely at peace with each of its subparts: including but not limit to: Mind, Body, Soul, Heart, Past, Present, Future, and People. For that life to be healthy in every sense of the word. This is WELL.

To live a life of abundance, existing wholly in God’s will, fluctuating between simple needs met and receiving above and beyond expectation. Not just to receive but to be filled only to pour out according to our natural, life-giving calling. This is PLENTY.

There is a purpose and a future here. No matter how many times I question, I know that is truth. Ultimately, I have nothing to give but Jesus. I’m thankful that is all we need.

More information under the ‘Well + Plenty Mini Retreat’ tab!

Wake Up

March 1st was a while ago.  I know I don’t have regular readers but if I did, I wouldn’t now. I’ve never been very consistent but this was a long break. I have a hard time writing about something I’m still in the middle of. I’m coming our of it now, so I am able to explain a little of it.

So, in the last 8 months I’ve bought the home on Turtlcreek, in Edmond (everyone thinks we are in Guthrie, nope!), I have painted almost the whole interior of the home; trim, cabinets and ceilings included, had the carpet replaced along with the patio doors, HVAC, hot water tank and garage door. I’ve taken care of my kids and my husband… decently, but somewhere in the middle of it all I lost myself. This last year has been the hardest that I can remember. My body changed significantly, as well as my mind, my heart, my soul, my friends, my surroundings. And not just once, but over and over and over. I think of that analogy of sitting at the edge of the ocean and the waves just keep hitting you, too fast for you to get up and too slow to sweep you away. I shut down and didn’t even know it. All of the sudden I woke up and thought, why am I so sad.

My  husband is my coping mechanism. He is my distraction, along with my kids. They keep me busy and make me laugh and I almost didn’t notice how depressed I was. If I were healthy they would be a source of joy but in the state I was in they were reduced to medicine, and there were definite moments when I didn’t want to take my meds. I didn’t want to do anything. I wasn’t wallowing, I wasn’t mad, I simply had no drive. The question, what would you do if money were no object… I couldn’t answer it. I couldn’t answer any questions. Not simple ones, not complex ones. I’d ask my kids, or my husband, or someone else to make the decision for me. I understand that a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest…. I was fast asleep and I couldn’t gather enough energy to start moving again. I was doing just enough to get by. I had never felt this way before.

The scariest part was I realized my relationships with my family and my friends… and God were all based on my feelings. Whether or not I felt loved, or felt appreciated, or felt taken care of, irregardless if I actually was. When you have no feelings, when you are numb, you think there are no real relationships. Like they don’t exist. My brain knew that wasn’t true but my heart didn’t. I was lonely, even around people.

Only one thought passed through my brain…

“If you want something different, do something different.”

I had to do something I didn’t normally do, so I started seeing a therapist. She was kind, and empathetic. She listened and felt what I was feeling. She was exactly what I needed at the time. Every week she gives me homework. I had to get a hobby, read a certain book (Search for Significance.. highly recommend), find a friend, exercise, meditate, and stop worrying. The things that helped me the most were the hobby and not worrying. See, when I was worrying, I thought I was planning. Planning for disasters, for kidnappings or car crashes, for burglars, or illness. Those six months where we were living with other families I was “planning” for when my kids were too loud and rambunctious, for when we were in the way and for disappointment in never finding a home. I was wasting loads of energy on things that weren’t probable, except the kids thing. I spent hours planning for this horrible life. I have this weird quirk, maybe you do too, when something good happens, I think its going to last forever. But, on the flip side, when something bad happens, I think IT will last forever. So when we moved and it didn’t go right, when we got pregnant and that didn’t go right, and then we tried to buy a house and that didn’t go right and I made a friend and that didn’t go right, I thought the pattern was just going to continue. Forever.

I was full of fear. I made every move based on my fear of conflict, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of embarrassment, fear of being passed my prime, fear of what other people thought about me. I became absorbed with Stephen, if he was successful then I was too, if he was happy, I was too, and so on. He became like a shield for me, I felt protected from all my fears with him between me and all of them.

But, planning isn’t worrying. Planning is unemotional and organized and it has an end goal. Worrying is overemotional, crazy disorganized and leads you no where.

(Here is a great read I found on fear: How to be Free from all Emotional Blocks and Fear)

So every time I began to worry, I just told myself no! Then distracted myself with a book or a recipe. I could have done that before, its not rocket science but I was completely unaware that was what was leaving me so exhausted.

The hobby, is still something I’m keeping to myself but simply put, I made a decision based on my love for something, not based on my fear of something. I hadn’t done that in a very long time.

So all of this to say I am feeling better. I am doing better. And just because I am a pastors wife, a christian, someone with lots of friends and my daily needs are met doesn’t me I am not susceptible to depression. Everyone is. It is the devils way of keeping you down and by the time you realized whats happened you have fallen asleep to life and have no idea how to wake up.  WAKE UP!!!

 

Short story long.

We should hear sometime today about the house on Turtlecreek. This house has been on our radar for almost two months.  We saw it come on the market and jumped immediately. It was big, spacious, in a great neighborhood and cheap!!! It is a foreclosure and we thought maybe, just maybe we could make it work in our budget… We offered over asking and got the house over multiple offers!!! We were ecstatic and already pricing carpet. I wish that was the end of the story but sadly it isn’t.  We had gotten creative with our financing and hadn’t really cleared everything before we made the offer. We ended up having to retract our offer which opened the pool to other buyers. Second time around we didn’t win.

It was hard to move on because we are looking for a long term home. The home our girls will grow up in. We need it to work for us now and down the road when we have teenagers. I felt strongly about having a good amount of square footage, like 2500. I felt strongly about having a sense of community and other kids close by for our girls to play with. There were things about Turtlecreek that most houses in our price range didn’t have… all of that plus a fireplace in the master and a pool/hot tup to name a couple. However, we tried our hardest. We gave Guthrie a fair chance, and even West Edmond. Now we love Guthrie and if the right house popped up we would jump.  West Edmond is a little different… Stephen would have a lot of traffic to and from work and it just felt like a head ache I didn’t want for the next 10+ years.

This house shopping process has been difficult for me.  We started looking in October when we found out we would be moving.  We initially found a great home in Southeast Edmond; great yard, cul de sac, lots of space, and dated=cheap. We put an offer in and negotiated a little only to find out they had decided to go with a lower cash offer.  I was crushed and nothing compared. We kept looking but with a move, Christmas, two birthdays, and a miscarriage in December/ early January we slowed down.

Thats when Turtlecreek hit. After we lost it I dove hard into a house in Guthrie. Talk about magical and a sweet place to raise three girls. It was unfinished and for an Interior Designer it was a dream. I made plans and met our contractor/friend at the house to get a quote. What we though would be around 70K was over 150K. We knew that the current owners had bought it for 30K but didn’t know what their all in was… It was $163,000.  So yeah… for 313k we could be in our dream home… Too bad we were $100,000 short.

I threw my hands up and finally gave it to God. I knew he already had the house for us. I knew he wanted to provide for us, but in the moment if something had worked out I would have taken all the credit for it. I look for houses unlike anyone I know. Obsessed is an understatement. No one has shown me a house I hadn’t already seen, analyzed, walked around the neighborhood via the street view, looked at schools and read the parent reviews, put it into the mortgage calculator and even drawn the floor plan out to see if my furniture would fit and that we could make it all we ever wanted a house to be.  I AM CRAZY!!!

But on this day I stopped. I stopped freaking out. I rested in the promise that my heavenly Father wants to provide for me and is just waiting for the right time to reveal the home he has had for me all along. I rested in the fact that I am not big enough or stupid enough to mess up his perfect plan. My heart wanted what he wanted, if he wanted to plop it in my lap with not a ounce of work on my side he would. I still looked but I didn’t obsess. I calmed down. I breathed, and I soaked in a peace that was always available but that I had yet to take advantage of.

See his love is like a cloud, we are constantly living in this cloud. But we slowly get wrapped up in the misconception that we control our lives, kinda like putting on a gas mask. I don’t need you God, I can do it myself. He rolls his eyes cuz he knows his cloud is all we need but we refuse it. He never takes his cloud away, it follows us everywhere we go. It never leaves or forsakes us. We just aren’t choosing to see it or take it in. On that day I removed my mask and took a deep breath. “Guide me, provide for me, you are my home, you are everything I need.”

So back to today. If they tell us we got the house, it will be GOD. A miracle. There are multiple offers and we didn’t even get close to the asking price. If we don’t get it, I know it wasn’t the house for us and God is waiting with a better home. A home that will house our love, our laughter, our ministry even better than Turtlecreek ever could.

I’ll keep you posted.

Its been a minute… we have a lot to talk about.

Over the last 5 months my life has drastically changed.  But even before that it was changing in significant ways.  We wanted to have another baby, I had felt it for a while.  I was waiting for the ‘right time’. We prayed about it towards the end of 2015 and decided we would start trying early 2016.  Based on my other three pregnancies, I assumed not only would we get pregnant first try but that it would be a perfect, low-risk pregnancy.  I was so sure I would get pregnant quick that as soon as we started trying I ordered myself some cute maternity jeans… and immediately started wearing them… they were real cute. March, April, May, June, July, August, September… nothing.  I began to understand the struggle that so many other women know too well. How frustrating it would be to start your period every month. How you feel right before you start is stupidly close to how you might feel newly pregnant.  How in your moments of excitement in the trying you spoke to numerous friends, who then in their excitement, ask about it. each. month.

I had felt out of sorts for about a year by this point. Ideas and dreams about my career hadn’t panned out. I felt stuck in my beautiful house… if only it had one more bedroom, if only we had enough money to redo the master bathroom, not to mention the maintenance on the siding. What if we made a loft in one of the rooms up into the attic?! What if we used the playroom as a bedroom… WHAT IF we just bought a fixer in this amazing market and made some money and then bought a 4 bedroom with loads of potential to finally have my picture-perfect home. NOPE… nothing budged. I was constantly researching Real Estate Schools and asking everyone questions, and searching for like-minded people who might want to flip a house with me… with their money of course. Nothing budged.  I couldn’t change anything about my situation, I couldn’t force it. I liked where I was but I wasn’t content.

One night it became overwhelming… panic set in and the anxiety caused me to cry uncontrollably.  I make terrible decisions. I can’t trust myself. I can’t hear God. We can’t have another baby. I can’t move. I can’t breath.

Then in a week, everything changed. We were moving back to OKC and we were PREGNANT!!! That first week of October, 2016 was nerve-wreaking, sad, extremely happy and exhausting all at once.  We had a ton to think about, plan and work towards.  We started looking at houses in Oklahoma and started planning life with a forth baby.  We waited a couple weeks and started to tell our closest friends.  I took like 4 tests to check and double, triple, quadruple check, just to make sure I was really pregnant.  I called my midwife and we agreed we would wait til I was back in OK to start care, which was standard.

Everything I wanted seemed to be happening, all at once.  I now knew I wanted more space in my home, I didn’t mind if it was ugly as long as it had a ton of potential. I was looking for a long term home, I was sick of moving. I wanted a place where my girls would grow up and stay in the same school with the same people and have a strong feeling of being grounded, knowing where they are from. See, I’ve moved over 20 times in my life, ministry not military. I have no idea what feeling grounded is like. My dad was in ministry and so is my husband. I remember one specific move that was really hard for me and I would even venture to say it changed me, really changed me.  When I was 13, we moved from the greater Houston area to a small town in southeast Oklahoma. It was not glamorous, it was not a ‘city’ at all, it was not what I wanted. I wanted exciting, an adventure, something new!  But this was where my grandparents had lived all my life so I had visited more times than I could count and was not impressed. I left the only friends I could remember ever having. It somewhat broke me.  I shut down, I didn’t want to make friends, I just wanted out. This was when I stopped living in the moment and started rushing onto the next best thing. High School was a disappointment, onto the next thing… College was a disappointment, onto the next… my degree and career choice was a disappointment… lets move on, change, keep changing, keep searching.

I see now, how these experiences have molded me into who I am and how my discontentment has driven me to want to be content and settled.  I don’t want that for my girls but I guess it would do the same for them as it did for me. Light a fire in me, give me passion for community, for home, and for staying in the moment.  Do I have or do any of those, no, not at the moment but they are my frequent prayers.

Back to Octoberish… We set the date for moving, December 16th.  When that day came I already had been struggling with my pregnancy. Nothing crazy, it just wasn’t my normal pregnancy. In the forefront of my mind was A BOY!!! However, in the back of my mind was something wrong. I didn’t ‘feel’ pregnant, I hadn’t thrown up.  I wanted to believe so badly that it was a boy, I wanted to trust that my body knew how to be pregnant because it only had healthy pregnancies but somewhere in my mind, I wondered if something was terribly wrong. I had called to get a doctor appointment but no one could get me in before the move. I was talking with my midwife daily, she was such an encouragement and a calming help. I resorted to taking it easy and staying focused on finding a home and the move.

We arrived in OK, without a house, so we rented a portion of a home from a family we didn’t know: the garage had been turned into a studio apartment and then inside the house were three vacant bedrooms where our girls would sleep. It was just what we needed and we didn’t have to sign a lease. YAY!! Okay, time to find a house… wait… time for Christmas.

Christmas day I was 11.5 weeks. My light bleeding had stopped and I was feeling fine!  We announced the pregnancy with a beautiful photo college including one with Stephen’s arms wrapped around my waist with his hands in the shape of a heart over my belly. Perfection! Now.. to find a house!!

Two days later…

In the evening I went to the bathroom as usual, no cramps, feeling just fine. But I began to pass blood clots and then a larger mass looking a lot like a miniature placenta. I began to shake and cry and could barely call for Stephen. A whimper of a cry like I was unable to suck in enough breath to get my voice to carry. Disbelief of what I had feared all along,  was true. Stephen, clueless as to what to do, just said, “Call Yvonne!” I spent the next number of minutes setting up appointments and being calmed by my midwife. The next day the blood work confirmed I was miscarrying.

I felt lost, numb and very disappointed.

I had no home, none of the friends I felt so close to, and no baby. God had allowed me to be stripped. If I’m completely honest, I knew I would remain in that place until I learned to completely depend on him. He had to become my home, my closest friend, I had to understand that I was his baby, and that he cared more for me than I could ever comprehend. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to pray. I didn’t want to believe. He had let me be crushed. How was I supposed to believe this what his plan?! My head new that it was, that he had me, that he cared… but my heart was broken. I wanted to crawl in a hole and sleep, hibernate, until every bad thing had passed.

That was impossible. I had three little girls that needed me constantly. A husband who wanted to help but didn’t know how. He did great at giving me space and letting me sulk, he let me stay in bed and not talk. I just wanted to pretend it didn’t happen but 3000 facebook friends had just been made aware and there was no avoiding it. People were reaching out left and right. So many women had experienced this but I just wanted to disappear. Nothing really helped except time. As my body began to feel normal again I began to default: move on, change, keep changing.

I wanted to be distracted by a house so badly it consumed me. I looked at my phone every 3.5 minutes for new listings. I went to look at houses I knew I didn’t want. Pintrested a perfect home that I couldn’t wait to create. But days turned to weeks, which have now become 2 months and I am no closer to a home today then I was then… I have traveled down every rabbit hole from building to restoring to renovating slowly over time to buying small, flipping and moving again. I look all the time… ALL. THE. TIME. I felt like a shell, like a robot set to ‘find a home’ mode and couldn’t switch off. I seriously couldn’t or didn’t want to think about anything else.

The only time I spent with God, was the act of forcing myself to read my positive affirmations that he did indeed love me and that I was not holding on to anger. That I could relax and be patient and still. That I had everything I needed to be who He was calling me to be. No matter how I didn’t believe those things I still read them as often as I remembered to.

After the miscarriage, my closest girlfriends in TN sent me money for a plane ticket to visit. I scheduled it out far enough to give my body time to heal, or so I thought. My trip was scheduled for February 8th-13th. More than two months after the miscarriage had started. I just didn’t realize how long it would take, I thought it took like a week. I had felt normal so I must be passed it, long passed but the night before I was suppose to leave for TN, my body decided to complete the miscarriage. I had taken all three girls to the doctor for possible flu or strep. I was tired and hurting. Cramps verging on birth pangs began to start while I was at the doctor’s office. I called Stephen to tell him that I didn’t feel good and would love for him to pick up dinner instead of me cooking. A friend was in town and I just wanted to relax. As soon as that friend arrived I had to excuse myself to the restroom. I stayed there for what felt like forever, no pad was going to help me in this moment. I was confused and slightly alarmed but after a short conversation with my midwife I just resumed to the fact that this was normal and I was perfectly fine. Emotionally I was long gone. I waited until I could move and tried to act normal for the evening which was difficult. My two year old was miserable as well with coughing and restricted breathing. I stayed up almost all night with her trying to make her comfortable all the while I was worried about bleeding through another pad. I finally fell asleep around 5 am. I woke up groggy and panicked. I was supposed to fly out that morning, “I haven’t packed and I have no idea what time it is!” In two hours I packed a bag for myself and my two littles so they could go to grandma’s. Ten minutes before I was suppose to leave we got a call that my oldest wasn’t feeling well and needed to be picked up from school. “WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!” I can’t leave like this!!! But I did. I just walked out.. without my phone. Halfway to the airport I realized what I had done. Needless to say I made it to the airport with 30 minutes to get from the door to the plane. I made it.

My trip to TN was so sweet, so relaxing, so reenergizing, so wonderful. I slept so hard, having zero responsibility results in some really good sleep. I spent quality time with important people. I shopped guilt free with the budget I had set for myself before I left. I created art, pressure free. I missed my kids for the first time in 7 years because this was my first time to leave, all by myself for myself. I realized I had been in survival mode, drowning in motherhood for almost my whole motherhood. Sounds crazy but I just had no idea how dry and at the bottom of the barrel I had gotten. We had focused on my husband, when he needed to take time off, when he was low and stressed but never about me. I was so low, so stressed, so worn out. I came back with a renewed desire to care for my kids, to protect my newly overflowing bucket of energy and to fully depend on God to be my provider.

Note to reader: If you are a mother and you find caring for your kids, bathing them, cutting their food, kissing their boo boos annoying, then you are dry. When you are that dry the internal voices telling you that you aren’t a good mom and that everyone else knows what they are doing and are better than you take over. You have no power over them because you are wasted, used up. Schedule a time, do whatever it takes to get away and find what builds you up, and miss your kids before you come back.

I thought I had gotten to that place, that place I needed to get to before I would find my home. But I hadn’t really gotten there. It took a little more disappointment, a little more frustration before I finally, this morning, through my hands up and said I give up. God had told me to write down what I wanted, then had told me to wait and watch him do a miracle on my behalf but I just couldn’t get out of the way. I thought he needed me to work tirelessly to find the home he had hidden in plain sight. Not really how he works. He promises to take care of us, period. M’LEA, RELAX, PLEASE!!!

He wants to do this for me, without me. So that when it is complete all I can say is that it was God, 100%. I can’t wait to give you that update, but until then I will be still and ask with anticipation. I hope you find encouragement in the waiting. If you need a little help…

 

 

Slow down. Breath. Listen. Reevaluate. Change.

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So on July 28th, 2016 I posted on Instagram and Facebook that I was taking a social media break.  This break had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but me.  I had committed to posting a yoga pose everyday for 100 days.  This shouldn’t have been a big deal, I did it last year and loved it, why would I not love doing it again?! I wasn’t even two weeks in and all of the sudden I was buckling under the pressure, that I had put upon myself.  I felt anxiety over many issues; motherhood, design work, but also yoga. I found that I was comparing myself to other people. At one point I got jealous, of someone I loved and knew and was happy for but still, I wanted what she had.

All of this, plus a huge feeling of inadequacy was really weighing on me so when I hit jealousy, I quit… I just quit everything I could.

I knew I had been wasting a lot of time on social media and wanted to know how different my day would look when I gave it up. (BTW…You know you have a problem when you become defensive if anyone brings up how much you are “scrolling”…my husband liked to point it out.) I was escaping or trying to. I was procrastinating. I was avoiding my life.

Most of all, I was spending time doing things that didn’t matter because I was scared focusing on the things that really did matter.  Scared of TRYING to figure it out.  How crazy is that?! I’m not talking about taking the HUGE step of going back to school or sending in the small business plan to apply for a loan or handing over 100K to invest in a project… I’m talking about sitting down with a piece of paper and a pencil.  That, that piece of paper and pencil scared me. I didn’t want to tackle getting better at motherhood, furthering my education in yoga, hustling for design work, or just finishing the work I had.

The anxiety was effecting everything I did.  I’m not even sure how to explain it.  I would try to do something and the second it didn’t go well I found it hard to breath I would feel myself loosing patience like trying to hold water in your hands… I would get by myself as fast as I could. You know when you are dealing with something and you want to tell someone but you don’t know how… so you just joke about it?! I was literally doing that, laughing, with tears in my eyes saying, “I’m loosing it!”.

Jesus, help. I could feel him wanting more of my time. I could imagine him sad about how I was spending my life. He knew a better way and desperately wanted me to find it and live it and I was “scrolling”.

In the beginning I read books, lots of books. About God, Real Estate, parenting, grace, habits and personality types. I learned a lot about me and about how I naturally function. I have a lot of issues that have taken up occupancy in my mind, and when I try to rid myself of one I gain a new one, or I just recognize a new one. What I found when I read all these books is that a lot of what I didn’t like about myself was natural. Ugh. Natural! Almost all of it had to do with the fact I was introverted. Not only do people wear me out but phone calls, emails, text messages even can be to much for me. It can take me so long to reply because, frankly I don’t want to think about how to reply. As an introvert I’m suppose to gain energy by being alone.  Uh, thats not fair for us stay-at-home moms with extroverted husbands.

I. am. never. alone.

I have been slowly creeping back though.  I downloaded snapchat. I kept Instagram just in case I needed to look something or someone up, it comes in handy. I would even venture onto Facebook when I needed. But I can feel it slowly taking over again. Sucking up more and more of my time. I hate it and love it all at once.

Another characteristic of mine I don’t like much is that I can’t do things in moderation.  I like to totally engulf myself or abstain. So here is to practicing moderation, to staying true to what I love and continuing to do those things the best I can, to saying no to things that I don’t want taking up valuable space in my life.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help prioritize your time…

  1. If I was loaded like Taylor Swift, how would my life look different?
  2. Where does my guilt come from?
  3. What gives me energy, do I do that enough, what is keeping me from doing it more?
  4. Is there anything I dread doing that I can delegate or just stop all together?

How I would answer these questions…

  1. I would decorate my house, I would decorate for every holiday, I would change my flowers in my yard with the seasons. I would take classes on pottery and painting and photography. I would buy houses and renovate them with integrity and sell them for profit until our house was paid for and our kids futures were saved for. AND I would do this for all of my friends. I would have Holy Yoga retreats and girls weekends with my besties. I would take Stella on a mom and daughter get-away and then Zo and then Jo. Stephen and I would always have special time together, not stressed, not rushed. I would throw parties on the reg.
  2. Loosing my patiences. Spending too much money. Not getting the time with people/God, like I’d like to.
  3. Holy Yoga. I do yoga but not holy yoga and I can feel the need. I need a location. I need to ask more people about a location.
  4. Drapes. Let me clarify. I enjoy making drapes with the correct materials. Not with makeshift stuff. It drains me and I avoid it which draws out the project which leaves me feeling terrible.

Slow down. Breath. Listen. Reevaluate. Change.

There is peace that passes all understanding, its time to stop “scrolling”, and live.

As for my yoga pics, I’ll post whenever I feel like it and make it worth more like the above picture.