Finding Yourself

When Comparison and Covid Strike

I feel like I’m floundering right now. Not only has our world turned into a germ house of fear but life in general has me wondering what in Creation I’m doing and where I’m headed.

I don’t know what all you’ve been facing personally over the past few weeks but I’m sure it’s not at all what you thought your March would look like.

I’m struggling to make sense of it all just the same as everyone else.

I’m also realizing that as an introvert, my life has not been totally turned upside down AND I have a legitimate excuse for staying home and doing things I love. I also realize how much it means to be included in other’s lives and how we need each other!

At the same time, my family and I are moving into a fixer upper that is not totally finished. One we’ve been working on for months. I feel like I’ve lived in dust and painted hair and hands and work clothes all 2020. Through a series of events, we have had a rather unusual and often crazy past year in life and just this weekend, when everyone was posting pictures of home creations and quality time and toilet paper, I was trying to find my way through piles of boxes, weary to the bone form hauling totes and belongings and keeping up with a two year old, misplacing everything and making sure no one in our small family starved but DID take their probiotics.

It feels so very very good to have a house again after selling ours last spring and living in a camper and house sitting for the past (almost) year. While both those options were valuable experiences and a good fit for the present, there is nothing quite like having your own spaces and rooms and knowing that your kids won’t wake the neighbors at 4:30 AM or spill food on carpets or break things that aren’t yours.

Change can make anybody feel vulnerable and the threat of sickness and financial issues and unknown futures can cause stress to shoot through the roof!

If you are feeling alone or distant or just plain lonely right now, please know that you really truly are not alone no matter how trite that may sound.

You’re value is not based on your performance or how smoothly you’re homeschooling is going or how brave a face you are putting on. Life is just plain HARD sometimes and comparing yourself with others …nope! Don’t go there.

I don’t know if you are anything like me…but I love to surround myself with people who are better at things then I am. Ladies I admire. Powerful strong ladies who know who they are and what they have to share with the world. Ladies who have a voice and use it to build others up and bring awareness and peace and empowerment to others.

Here’s the deal though. I can feel super intimidated by people I admire. I can pull out my comparison cards in two blinks of an eye and before I know it, I’m wallowing in self thoughts that are literally tearing me down.

It’s what I call self sabotaging at its finest.

Part of my journey has been learning to accept my past and present and embracing the fact that I have self worth.

Being flexible is important in life. Being a puppet is not. I have danced to others ideas in so many ways but even more destructive is the inner critic that is my own voice, tearing myself down.

Right now, when there is extra stress and all the world is thrown a bit off balance, it’s even easier to find ourselves, as humans, groping for a normal and questioning everything including who we are and what we are doing right this moment and for what purpose. It’s easy to judge ourselves harshly, judge our kids and those we love most, and allow the whole tide of comparison to rush in and take our breathe away.

Ground yourself friend.

Know that you are an incredible human with incredible strength.

Your life. Your quarantine. Your kids. None of these will look like every one else’s . It may, in fact look like no one you know. But that doesn’t mean you are weak or weird or less then.

Embrace the hard and the easy and know that nothing lasts forever. That change is good. That growth happens and that you don’t have to look or act or do like everyone else in order to have worth or be accepted.

It’s ok to feel confused and a little teary and emotionally off balance. It’s ok to need to sleep a bit more or eat some comfort food and wrap yourself in a big hug.

Stay home and love your family. Love the Divine. But don’t forget to love yourself also. Love who you are becoming. Love that you get to live in this story that will become history. Love that you can make a difference simply in being a good human. Love the YOU that is living and breathing and moving right now. And let that acceptance and love overflow into those right beside you today!

We won’t let coronavirus take our confidence. We are not in control of anything in life except ourselves and that’s the part that we can do well…no matter what comes our way!!

Finding Yourself

Hostage Heart

Sometimes our heart’s held hostage.

Our own brain telling us

We are alone.

Unworthy of the ransom

Of human acceptance

Compassion and love.

Like no one can understand

The depth of our wrestling.

Fear keeps us tethered with

The thought of labels slapped on us.

Less then.

Inefficient.

Unworthy.

A failure.

Too sensitive.

Faithless.

A fraud.

So we cry into the night

Scrub tears furiously in the car

Plaster a smile on our face

And plow on with life.

We slowly die inside.

Morph into an island.

Our inner dialogue

Isolating us from what we need the most.

It’s when we take the plunge.

Reach for the lifeline.

Open our hearts

Let truth filter in.

No matter how fractured the light.

Allow the hug of grace.

The words, “I believe in you.”

The nodding of,”Me too.”

That’s when we realize

that all along

we were our own captors.

Locked in bars of our own making.

We held the key from the beginning.

We just needed to find the courage

And risk the chance of being seen.

To turn the lock.

The freedom waiting for us.

It was there all along.

We were not made to live our story alone.

Finding Yourself

Finding Calm in Chaos

Have you felt out of control of your emotions or reactions to situations? Do you think “if only they would __________ I could handle this so much better.”

Do you wish you could stop the thoughts parading through your mind or change the knee jerk instinctive reactions to situations out of your control?

It’s not impossible my friend! I’ve been a mom for nearly a decade. If anything brings you to the end of your patience and self control it’s working with humans 24/7. That’s mom life. Beautiful, exhausting, messy, life.

I’ve struggled more then I want to admit with my reactions. I think we all have our own unique way of responding to stress or discomfort in our lives.

Yelling, being overly critical, self hatred, shaming, being passive aggressive, hitting, leaving, shutting down. We all have ways our body automatically WANTS to respond.

We CAN have control over these reactions. We CAN’T normally control the circumstances we find ourselves in. It’s not my kid’s responsibility to stop crying because it’s uncomfortable for me or my husbands responsibility to help me more because I feel alone.

Let’s just STOP 🛑 laying blame on our circumstances and hoping for better outcomes.

Hear my heart. I’m NOT saying to stay in abusive or dangerous circumstances.

I AM asking if I may challenge you to start working on the deep roots and the core issues that are triggering these helpless, hopeless feeling that explode in reactions in our bodies and often onto those we love the most.

Before I go farther, I want to credit Dr. Caroline Leaf for decades of research in the brain and the empowerment and knowledge she has shared with countless people!

I’ve been doing her 21 Day Brain Detox and am on my 3rd cycle of 21 days. My life is literally changing because of it.

Here are some of the things that are working for me that are specific to her coaching as well as things that I’ve discovered over the years through other research. I don’t take credit for them. I do love to share what’s working for me!

• Get enough sleep. If you can’t sleep, then at least rest. Resting your body is vital to managing your brain and emotions. I’m talking a MINIMUM of 8 hours a night.

• Drink water. Eat well. You don’t have to go extreme. Just make good, healthy choices and take well researched clean supplements.

• Become an observer. Observe yourself in hard situations. Pretend you are viewing yourself from a distance. You will be amazed at what you see when you remove your emotions from a situation and observe yourself as an onlooker. Of course you don’t want to stay up on that observation deck forever! Just get far enough away to took at your reactions logically then come back and give yourself and hug and make some changes.

• Ask yourself questions. A lot of questions.

Why? Why am I angry at my toddler?

Because he won’t stop yelling.

(Note that this is YOUR inquisition…not your toddlers)

Why does that bother me? Because it’s loud and it makes me uncomfortable.

Why? Because I didn’t get much sleep last night and I’m tired and hungry and I’m bending over backwards here to fix things and they won’t be fixed and isn’t yelling bad behavior?

Tada!! Now I’m getting somewhere! I’ve learned some things about myself.

I’m tired and hungry.

I feel unappreciated.

I feel like yelling is not acceptable and reflects that I am a bad mom.

Onward girl!!!

Now comes the crunch.

What are you going to do about it?

That’s up to you.

For myself?

Get a drink. Eat something with protein and hopefully something flavorful and fresh.

Remember that my child is not here to please me or perform for me. I am here for them. I am here to help them navigate big feelings and support them in using their voice in respectful, healthy ways.

I am a loving, powerful, good mom!

It’s not always easy to ask these questions in the moment so I like to take note of when I feel upset and then go back later and break it down a bit and try to find a solution to the problem. I need to find the core of the issue in my own life before I can hope to successfully manage my own emotions.

• Contemplate instead of ruminate. When we let negative or stressful thoughts run through our head all day like a steady back ground sound track, we are destroying our brains!

The thoughts we give energy to will create strong patterns in our brains. It’s much more helpful to plan a time to sit or walk or run and give your mind specific permission to think (contemplate) on the issue that is bothering you. Then set it aside and go on with positive thinking.

• Feel the pain. Feel the hurt. Then release it and find a new way of thinking of it.

• Give yourself a lot of affirmation and hugs. Tell yourself how strong you are. How powerful your mind is and how you are changing generations through your own change.

• Take note of when you are extra anxious or triggered and find the warning signals that you are on a downward spiral. Decide right then and there to change the outcome. Being aware of your physical and mental feelings is HUGE in gaining control of your mind and reactions.

•Take it slowly. This is a marathon. Not a sprint. It has taken us years to build our mind patterns and it will take a lot of hard work and dedication and the desire to change in order to succeed. Every day you work on your own issues is a step forward!! You don’t need to get it perfect. You just need to keep making positive , thoughtful choices.

• Take time for soul care. Having time to write, think, read, be in nature, worship, or do a fun project are vital for me. Unplug and reset.

•Take a hot shower or bath. Wash your hair. Or put on your makeup. Go work out at the gym. Walk around the block. Whatever it takes to make you feel fresh again. I personally go for a quick shower and hair wash. I try to let my ugly feelings go down the drain and start all over. There’s no shame in making repairs and moving on.

I’ve found that working on myself is vital to changing the whole way my life goes down around me. I can’t change my circumstances or the people around me but I can change my own inner world. I can change my mind and my brain and that changes my biology. It changes my attitude, my health, my immune system and my DNA.

Yes! Our Creator made us THAT powerful. He also didn’t abandon us to try to do this on our own. He sent His Spirit to live in us. Hold us. Teach us. Lead us. Empower us. Comfort us.

We are not hopeless and we are not alone. We are not a diagnose. We are not a number.

Our stories matter. Our life matters.

Step into your power and LIVE!

If you have a favorite thing to calm yourself down or even reset your day, I’d love to hear about it!!!

Grief

When Miracles Don’t Happen

I’ve been Rumbling around

With thoughts on God

And miracles and healing.

It feels that too often in life

I’ve operate under the expectation

That when we have our priorities straight

When we have our life full

Of church and giving and prayer

Then God will hear us.

FOR SURE.

I’ve been more and more uncomfortable

With this mindset and I’ve been digging

Deeper in search of clarity.

I always knew that we can’t save ourselves in our own power. However, for years I felt a desperation deep in my core that went beyond that knowledge. It told me that I was never good enough and never powerful enough to be considered a good Christian. I was always aware of my brokenness and my humanness and imperfections.

So I begged

I pleaded.

I made promises in hopes of becoming more powerful and feeling more committed.

I forced a lot.

I was desperate for God to help me.

I was treating God like a vending machine.

Here’s the deal though. Ten quarters won’t buy you more favor then one. They might buy you more soda but they don’t buy you more favor with God.

He’s not a vending machine.

He will not be manipulated.

He will not be patronized.

He will not be prioritized.

It feels like in a crazy way sometimes,

I have tried to manipulate

The Creator into blessing me.

Then when things go down hill

I check my life for sin.

Like I can control the outcome in

circumstances by DOING.

Now before I get all technical

and you think I’m throwing out prayer

and the power of the Holy Spirit and our own

human nature and repentance,

let me tell you what started me on my

Quest for truth and meaning.

When a loved one escapes death,

We say things like

” We are so blessed!”

“It is a miracle!”

“We are So grateful!”

That’s all good and true and fine!

But here’s the part that hasn’t sat well with me.

What happens if death comes?

Or something worse then death?

Are we still just as blessed?

Are we still SO grateful?

And did we still receive a miracle?

It leaves a wide open feeling of betrayal and is downright uncomfortable when one person is ‘blessed’ because the diagnosis was negative but someone else’s was positive.

When death takes one child and the other child is healed.

When one child disappears forever and the other one is found.

It feels like cruel, ill humored fate. We face grief or we face survivor’s guilt.

And we wonder where God is.

He said He gives to those who ask.

He answers to those who knock.

He says you’ll find if you search.

So how come it feels like He’s not keeping His end of the deal?

Here’s the kicker.

There is no ‘deal’ with God.

Not the kind of deal that we envision anyway.

He already Created us plus the whole entire world so He is already light years ahead of us!

He is my Saviour so having him as a priority feels a bit … dusty and lame. I mean ….really!

Our kids don’t become more or less our children by prioritizing our relationship. They simply ARE ours. In a similar way, I am God’s child and that is a fact that I cannot change by trying to love Him more in hopes that I will become more His. I AM ALREADY! (Thanks to Rhonda Schrock for setting my mind along these thoughts)

He will automatically be a priority when I am in a good relationship with Him. That’s what it all comes down to with Him.

Relationship.

Bad things are going to happen in life.

Heartbreak will come. Unfair, horrible, cruel life wreaks havoc every single day and loving God does not always shield us from it.

We will hurt. We will bleed. We will likely rather die then face life at times.

But our relationship with God can still be sacred and steady and powerful. Deeply calming.

Begging, pleading, trying to change minds, or manipulating never works well in any relationship.

Why do we try it with the Divine?

We don’t have to try to figure God out.

He doesn’t need to be defended or explained.

Taking responsibility for other people’s actions, or the ‘fate’ in life, is not our duty or our right. There’s a lot of truth to that with God as well.

While I firmly believe God WANTS to hear our hearts and wishes and dreams and deep longings that ‘cannot be uttered’, I also believe that we need to step off the pedestal of trying to get it all right, have enough faith, read our Bible enough, pray enough, or be a ‘better Christian’.

God is way more interested in having a relationship with us then having us perform our hearts out in hidden fear and desperation.

He has been waiting for a deep, trusting relationship with us since the day He breathed life into our bodies. He is deeply invested in our lives, whether we feel it or not, and He has incredible comfort, insights, blessings and adventures to share with us.

We are living, moving miracles every single day. We may not get the miracle we were praying or hoping for, but we are actually LIVING a miracle Right Now. That’s worth celebrating!

This whole SAFE relationship with God -even when life is anything but SAFE may feel like the beginning of a relationship to us, or the ending of life as we know it but in all reality, He has known us since forever.

He loves us incredibly beyond our imagination.

Trust Him.

He is still the God of miracles! There is still beauty in January.

Healing Heart

Alive

It’s the twelfth day of 2020.

It’s taken me 12 days to put words to the thoughts in my head.

And even now, they come out stumbly and awkward.

It’s Sunday evening and it’s black dark outside and the temperature is plummeting below zero.

It’s January and 6 years ago, on this very day I was bringing our three year old daughter home from another hospital stay with no idea that in a few short weeks, she would physically leave us for the rest of our earthly lives.

I wept as I drove home in the gathering dusk earlier tonight, after picking up Vitamin C and Echinacea and Throat Coat tea for my son.

I wept because I wanted to spend another day or month or year or forever with our daughter ALIVE.

I wept because I miss the feminine, sweet, little girlishness she brought into our lives.

Sometimes death feels so dead.

I know there is always Life somewhere.

I just need to choose to see it.

This year, I chose the word ALIVE as my focus.

Not because I wanted to hide the pain of death. Not because I want to live every day in a flurry of activity or growth.

I chose it because I want to remind myself of LIFE.

I want to remind myself that no matter how my heart and emotions feel, I am vitally ALIVE.

I have been making a running record in my journal of proof that I am ALIVE.

Some may think it a gratitude list if they saw it.

It’s more then that to me. While I’m grateful for everyone of those things I list, it’s also proof to me that LIFE is still happening. Right this minute.

Dirt under fingernails.

Homes for crickets.

Green in Winter.

I stand with myself and weep in the death of our daughter. It’s a healthy thing to grieve. But death can be so much more then physical death.

Death can be lived in the heart and the mind and this is where I stand my ground and come ALIVE.

I refuse to be soul stuck in the clutches of shame and fear and selfish thinking. I refuse to ruminate on things I cannot change. I refuse to believe my self worth is based on my emotions and thoughts and others opinion of me. I refuse to manipulate myself and others by doing and saying things in a passive aggressive manner. I refuse to allow other people’s issues to control my own personal mental and physical health.

I will fall down flat often this year. I know I will. But I also known that I am not the sum total of my mistakes.

Falling does not mean I am dead. It means I am human and it means I have an opportunity to grow.

I am reminding myself of my own humanity and my own power …through the wonderful grace of my Creator.

I am reminding myself by writing lists about being ALIVE.

Steamed cream in my coffee. So frothy and smooth on my tongue.

The ache in my shoulders after a day of work.

Fractured morning light on the living room wall.

The smell of icy winter.

The way my son lies, breathing in and out.

Sleep music wafting through the room.

Footsteps of my husband downstairs.

Writing down the present makes me more aware. It reminds me of the important things happening all around me and keeps me from getting stuck on things I cannot change. Things in the past. Things in the future. Things in the present that are out of my control.

I want to be ALIVE this year.

To listen without judgment.

To give true empathy without patronizing or trying to fix things.

I want to feel my heart healing.

I want to watch the woman inside of me blossoming.

I want to own my story and live my present.

I want to feel the joy and the hard and the mundane.

I want to remind myself that ALIVE is what my soul is. That no death will take that from me.

Death is conquered already. My Divine Creator is the essence of ALIVE and He has invited me into His presence.

ALIVE .

EMBRACE IT. THIS ONE WONDERFUL MIRACULOUS LIFE.

Nature Awakens You

When You Feel Frozen

Hold space.

Let the deep stillness

Of December frozen over.

Move you to realms where

streams of clear

Still find their way

Beneath the stark reflection

Of reality.

The ice that spreads it’s face

Mirrors what is above it.

But light reflects from greater heights.

Shadows are mere mirages of

What surrounds you.

There is no shame in that.

For life flows true

Beneath the surface.

Do not forget that who you are

Is waiting for the spring time.

The stirring and the breakup

With the cold.

And always, truth emerges from your core

Finding Yourself

How To Find What You Really Want This Christmas

It’s December and the stores are LOADED here in America with gorgeousness and yumminess and toys and truly amazing smart gadgets. We open our phones and scroll through deep discount deals and ways to donate and support others this season.

It’s called ‘the most wonderful time of the year and I’m not sure if it’s truly wonderful or just plain overwhelming.

There are so many reasons to buy so many things. We can legitimize every one of them it seems. “Just because” is totally legit to me, in case you were wondering.

This Christmas I see the STUFF all around me and while part of me wants to revel in the buying of the season, the other part of me is content to sniff a candle, stroke a soft blanket, page through an amazing book, appreciate the gorgeous rows of pomegranates and oranges and then leave them in the store for another guest.

I’ve had a rather rocky relationship with money in the past. I would often purchase something because it was on sale, because it was my size, because it fit with what was expected of me, because I thought I just HAD to have it, or because I thought I should want it.

I also have a huge giving heart. I’d give my coat away if it would help someone. Some say it’s commendable and others say it’s stupid so before we fall into either category, can I just take a moment and sip my tea and ask you to look deep inside yourself?

Way down deep past all the thoughts that just now popped up in your head.

Take a moment to sip your own tea and reflect a bit.

Imagine that ‘One’ (or one hundred) thing you want right now.

Ask yourself a few questions.

Is this a feeling of ‘want’ that will pass?

Is it a need?

Is it making you feel guilty?

Irritable?

Dissatisfied?

Look a bit deeper.

Perhaps, there’s another whole level to this ‘One’ thing.

Perhaps this ‘One Want’ is actually stemming from another place altogether.

Is your actual ‘Want’ stemming from a relationship you long would be in a better place?

Is your ‘Want’ actually a wish to be understood or supported?

Is it to feel better about yourself as a person?

Is it to appear successful or ‘together’?

Is it because you were denied so much in former years?

Is it because you miss someone and want to have something RIGHT NOW to get your attention off the pain of missing them?

There is no right or wrong answer here.

Do not judge your emotions or thoughts.

Let them come. Sit with them. Give them grace.

When we judge ourself for wanting something, we hinder our self growth.

It doesn’t mean you need to act on your impulses to buy something, it just means that you give yourself a hug and admit to yourself the real reason behind the longing inside. Then decide if you still need to purchase it. Sometimes admitting the reason behind the longing is all our brain needs of us.

There’s always multiple sides to everything in life and one of them right here is that everyone’s spending will look different. Priorities are personal. That’s OK!

There’s a freedom to spending money though.

The better you get to know yourself~

The true authentic you~

The better you will get at spending money on things that REALLY truly enhance your life.

When you KNOW where your identity lies. When you KNOW who you are, you don’t need to buy anything to prove it or discover it. You buy something to ENHANCE it. And that’s a good thing!

There are three categorizes I like to think about before I buy something:

+ it needs to sustain me

+ it needs to bring me Genuine joy or enhance my life.

+ it needs to Bless (TRULY BLESS) someone else

That means if a coffee and croissant is what I need to sustain me at this time, then I’m going to get myself one!

If I’m buying something for someone else to make myself feel good more then to bless them, I need to hold off on that buying. I need to check my heart and perhaps connect with that person to see how I can bless them best.

Perhaps it would do me more good to sign up for an online class or coaching instead of buying that new set of kitchen knives.

Let your mind explore your options.

Knowing who you are takes the stress and guess out of so many purchases.

Knowing who you are narrows your wardrobe. My style in dressing is largely simple comfort and pretty colors. If clothes are stiff, cuffed, frilly, narrow, boring or ugly, (to my eyes) I pass them by. Find your style of clothing and go with it. Switching it up later is perfectly acceptable. Just find what fits you now!

Knowing who you are narrows your home decor. What’s important to me is special paintings or photos of my loved ones, a special item to remind me of a dream I’m working toward, candles or twinkly lights, a cozy blanket, soulful music, stacks of good books, and colors that collaborate. Does your home feel like you or something your mother decorated? Make it YOU! If nothing else, make ONE corner you. Buy what matters to you and leave the rest!

Knowing who you are narrows your bookshelf. I literally cringe when I write this because I adore books and supporting authors. I’ve learned the hard way in this one though. Piles of books doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy them. It does mean BOXES of HEAVY if we move. I’ll admit, I have some books because of their cover. I have some books because of their message. I have some books because of their author. Knowing who you are helps you pass up books that you know you won’t really enjoy even if they are popular.

Knowing who you are helps you decide if a gym membership is truly worthwhile for you. It helps you decide if you really need a new computer or if you are just fine with your smart phone. It helps you decide if you need to invest in a part time sitter so you can follow your calling or if you want to BE the sitter to bless others.

Knowing who you are gives you the freedom to buy those roller skates because you loved skating in childhood. It allows you to treat yourself to a day of rock climbing or a spa day or visiting a museum. Not because you should, but because you Chose to. Because it makes you feel ALIVE.

Sometimes we need to wade through a whole lot of trial and error to get to know what really brings us joy, but never stop trying my friend!

Stop buying what you think you SHOULD be wanting and look a little deeper at what you really TRULY want.

You’ll be amazed at how freeing it is to realize the rolling pin isn’t for you even if you were raised in a kitchen.

I’m working on this whole thing of NOT buying all the ‘should gets’ and focusing on what would literally set my heart into a symphony of emotion and awe. Or what would feel like an old familiar hug.

Last year I sold my kitchen mixer and bought a kayak. It was a personal choice that I don’t regret!

It’s a twisty road for sure and it will never be all straight and orderly for me, but I’m not going to stop discovering new concepts as I go ….and enjoying the view.

One more thing….buying well means listening to others well. When you ask others what THEY want, be ok with buying them a rolling pin if that’s their thing. Be ok with giving them a very -no -strings -attached -impersonal gift card if that’s how they roll.

Listen well…not only to yourself but to others also.

I’d love to hear what items make you happy!