2016-The Year of my Rebirth

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

How amazing is that verse? And the timing is perfect too!  It’s probably the most cleansing of all verses I have read lately and it speaks to me. In fact I think it is going to be my motto for 2016. The second part of 2015 showed me ( actually most time it felt like it was SCREAMING to me) that I don’t have to be who I’ve always been. If I want to be someone new, who believes in something new and that makes me happy than I am able to be that. That is allowed. I don’t need someone’s permission. This is my life and if it’s going to be the best one then I’ve got to start doing something different.

I’m realizing I am worthy of happiness. I am worthy of self care. People actually love the lives they lead. Say what?! Yes, it’s true and I want me some of dat! {no that’s not a typo!} They feel whole. Satisfaction. Complete. Energized. Uplifted. Supported. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of constantly feeling drained. I want to live in the moment, heck I want to seize the moment… Every single moment of every day. No regrets. No I wish I would haves. None of that. Intentional, authentic, life breathing living is what 2016 is going to be all about. I want to develop deep, meaningful, life breathing relationships. And those which no longer serve me? I want to let those go. I want to enjoy and appreciate all this life has to offer.

I’m hoping to become better assimilated to this lifestyle by reading Brene Browns The Gifts of Imperfections- I’ll let you know how that goes. Part of me is scared to death to even open the first page… The other part of me feels like a 4 year old on Christmas morning. Ever since I was a little girl I remember trying my hardest to cover any imperfections that others may see. Any jagged edges that don’t allow me to fit in. My entire life that is all I have wanted- to fit in. To feel like I have a strong belonging to a supportive and uplifting community. I wanted to create the perfect life. The perfect scenery. The perfect backdrop. Well guess what? 30 years later I am realizing that doesn’t exist. Now that I’m realizing this I feel like it is time for me to figure out how to live with and embrace my imperfections because those imperfections have brought me to where I am and who I have become.

I am realizing…everyone’s path is unique including mine, and that is what makes us so special.

I am realizing…the world would be a pretty boring place if we all had the same stories. Can you imagine? How could we create any connections with others if every single one of us was the same? Sound pretty lame to me.

I am realizing that my community and my people are out there. And when I find them they will accept all of me. I won’t have to hide or cover up or pretend.

These are just a few of the realizations I have come to and want to continue to develop in the coming year. I hope you stick around and join me on this journey!

 

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Welcoming in the New!

I have to say New Years is quickly growing to be my most favorite time of the year. Do you feel the same? Or maybe it’s just me getting older… Either way I love the feeling of a new start, which is ironic because I don’t do well with change- go figure. I love the breath of fresh air that comes with the new year. A clean slate. A fresh start. A do-over for all that has gone wrong or undone in the past year. A time for reflection. Quiet. Calm and stillness always come over me. No matter what happened in the past year it doesn’t matter. Because it’s a New year. A New you. A fresh start. A new beginning. It feels like the perfect opportunity to start something new…Paul says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
For me that newness looks like completely turning my life upside down. Taking inventory. Getting rid of the garbage. All things tangible and intangible. Letting go of the good to make room for the great! Making room. Creating space. Letting in the love, light, and most of all joy! Lots of it! 
Oh I will be so thankful to say goodbye and good riddens to 2015. It certainly was a year of hurt, heartache, despair, health scares, and heaviness. With all the bad there was some good. And the good is what got me through. The good is what led me right to where I am. Right here. Right now. Would I have chosen this path? Never in a million years. Pain and heartache is terrible, but from it comes growth. From heart heavy experiences newness is birthed. Right before our eyes. I learned this year that heartache is a part of life. It’s real, and we are all going to experience it at some point. I am beginning to realize this. It’s a terrible thing to walk through, but for me it has made me truly appreciate all that remains. Heartache and pain force us to look back on the wonderful, happy memories we were fortunate enough to experience. These brief moments help to fill in those cracks, sometimes craters, we have experienced. They give way to new found connection and friendships. Authentic connection. Deep life breathing relationships.

  

2016 Here I Come!!

My wish for 2016….
2015 was filled with events that I never imagined happening. This year was filled with incredible life-giving events like finding my love for yoga, creating new friendships, and becoming genuinely present to everything in my life. It was also a year filled with gut wrenching grief over the loss of my uncle.  The man who raised me. 2015 was a year filled with new routines, and schedules for my husband and I, as well as our kids. It has been a year of me finally opening up and sharing about my imperfections and inabilities and in doing that realizing that it is okay to have those imperfections and inabilities. It was a year of realizing that perfection is exhausting! It was a year filled with more heaviness than happiness. It was a year of complete vulnerability and growth. It was a year of digging the deepest I have ever dug to find out who I am, what I stand for, and what I want for my future.  It was a year of authenticity, and integrity. It was a year of finding out that I am worthy. Worthy of happiness, worthy of love, worthy of rest, worthy of not having to do it all, or have it all together. This was the year I discovered meditation and the miraculous changes, for the better, it brought into my life. This was a year with a serious health scare for my husband which really called me out on my way of living, and showed me just how precious our relationship is to me.  It was a year of clearing my mental fog, and discovering what makes me happy. Discovering what fills me up. What brings me joy. And all of this was just skimming the surface. I am so glad to have discovered all of these realizations because I can use them to dig deeper  in 2016.  And after all this year has taught and brought into my life I figured out exactly what my word for 2016 should be, and it couldn’t be any more perfect.

A few years ago I started a New Years tradition by choosing a word for the year ahead, and after taking a few weeks to think about my word for 2016 I tossed around a few options I finally made a decision. It just came to me. It hit me on the head like a ton of bricks.  My decision was sealed, and all doubt I had ceased during the last few days when this word kept popping up in my life in the strangest places. Songs, writings, conversations, yoga practices. Seriously like 1,000 times in just a few days! Which make me SO happy!  I can’t help but believe it was a sign that this was truly meant to be my word for the coming year.
My word for 2016 is JOY. I want to experience joy every single day. I want to experience it in the biggest and the smallest of ways. I want to be fully present to joy.  Authentic, life breathing JOY.  I want to do more of what brings me joy. Yoga, meditation, coffee dates, blogging, reading, family time.  I want to bring others joy. Serving, listening, caring, supporting. I want to feel so much joy that it overflows from my cup and fills the cup of others! Hallelujah!  I want to be filled with so much joy that I become a light. A light that others can see. A light that others can feel.  A light that I am able to share. A light that ignites the light in others. I want to experience joy in all aspects of my life. Whatever I am doing I want to be joyful while doing it. In order to be more intentional and fully submerge my life with JOY in the next year I am going to start a JOY JAR. This joy Jar will contain an event from every.single.day that brings me joy. I am excited that I will be able to look back on 2016 and remember all of the joy that I was lucky enough to experience. All of the joy I was able to share. All of the joy I was able to spread. And you wanna know something even better? I am starting this TODAY!!  I’m not waiting 4 more days to experience the amazingness of joy in my life. I feel joy already in just starting this project so I am committing to this and starting to fill my joy jar today!!

What word would you choose for 2016?

On Being Present

For far too long I have been living life on auto pilot. I haven’t been feeling, experiencing, seeing, or being with what’s around me. I haven’t been present in my life. And worst of all I haven’t been growing. I’ve become stagnant. Stuck. Nowhere to go and no path in sight. I’ve been chained to this life and all that surrounds it. I’ve been on the bitterness express and I’ve been the conductor. No more. No more excuses. No more unhappy. No more next time. The time is now. The moment is now. If I want to laugh I’m going to laugh. If I want to give someone a hug, I’m going to give that hug. I want to become a person who actually enjoys living the life I lead. I have been given so many things I wished for since I was a little girl, and I want to make the most of this journey I have been blessed with. I want to have a smile on my face, and I want to share that smile with other and maybe make them smile too. I want to impact others. I want to uplift. I want to go with the flow, and let go of the overthinking. I want to experience. I don’t want to be afraid. I want to get messy. I want to be present. But most of all I want to feel. I want to be present. All the time. Always. I want to feel this life I have been given. The good, the happy, and everything in between. I want to feel my heart beating every single day and I want to be overflowing with thankfulness that it is. I want to feel grace, as well as give it. I want to feel worthy, and let someone else know how worthy they are. I want to feel loved and appreciated and let others know how much I love and appreciate them. I want to be me. I want to be the exact person I was meant to be and I don’t wanna be ashamed for it. I want to be present and feel this life. Every single damn day!  ​

  

Why I stopped saying “I’m Sorry” and why you should too.

A few weeks ago I made a conscience effort to remove a certain phrase from my everyday language.  A phrase I noticed I was saying way too often. A phrase that instantly changed my attitude. A phrase that came with darkness.  A phrase that could turn my entire day upside down. That phrase is “I’m Sorry.”

The first reason I stopped saying this phrase was because I was saying it all.the.time. Some days it felt like I was saying it around the clock. It became my go-to, an almost automated response.  It easily became second nature for these words to just roll off my tongue.  The second and BIGGEST reason I stopped saying it was because I noticed, when I said it, whether I was truly guilty or not it brought this enormous weight of guilt upon me. A guilt that physically brought me down and broke me down.

If I am being perfectly honest I have been carrying around feelings of guilt for far too long-not just weeks or months, but I am talking YEARS!  I can remember being very little, maybe 5 or 6, and feeling guilty. I don’t know why, I just did.  Thinking back and reflecting on this new realization, I don’t know that I ever had feelings of being care-free, even as a young child.  As the years went on the guilt grew-not purposely, or intentionally by any means-I think I just grew up in a family where guilt was normal.  Something was always happening, there was always drama-combine that with the instability that occurred on an almost daily basis and that is the perfect concoction for a guilt filled childhood and adolescence. Not to mention the awkwardness of high school, the pressure of college, and then the reality of becoming a mom of not one, but 3 little boys certainly added to the guilty feelings.

Being on this latest path to working on and bettering me, and making sure that I am being taken care of includes not only my physical health but also my mental and emotional health I experience and feel on a daily/hourly/momentary basis. So for me, removing this simple, yet debilitating (to me) phrase has been crucial.  It is part of a conscience and willful effort each and every day that I make to remove all things toxic from my life. If it doesn’t bring me happiness, if it doesn’t uplift me, or if it isn’t constructive than I need to reevaluate having it in my life-even for something as simple as a phrase!  No longer saying “I’m sorry” has directly had an impact on lifting me up-mentally, emotionally, spiritually-in every way possible.  It has been a game changer for the way I live and move through my daily life!

Don’t get me wrong-there are times when it is definitely necessary to apologize to others-especially when you are the  one in the wrong. There’s something to be said for carefully and skillfully admitting when you are guilty and acknowledging your wrong doing.  That is a completely different topic-for another day. That’s NOT what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about letting go of the guilt for the little things.  The things and events that can’t be helped, or avoided, or rearranged, or planned for.  The things that in all honestly can’t fixed by you in any way, shape, or form. That is the stuff I want us to stop apologizing for. The office is out of creamer? Stuck in traffic because of an accident and now you are going to be late? Your kid takes his water in a mismatched re-usable water bottle because you ran out of water bottles? Missing a sports practice because in all honesty if you had to add one more thing to your plate that day your brain would have exploded? You ran out of diapers or shampoo or toothpaste, or soap, or even worse-toilet paper?  I know in our house there are 4 other sets of eyes and 4 other sets of hands using these same items that I do. I am not the only one who can acknowledge when we have used the last toilet paper roll, or the last squeeze of toothpaste and it is time to buy more.  It’s the little things like these. The events and things that can’t be helped, or avoided, yet they still happen.  Well guess what? It happens! it’s called life, and you don’t need to apologize for it! These little set-backs will continue to happen regardless if I take on the responsibility or carry the guilt for not keeping on top of the toilet paper roll count in our house! And that mismatched re-usable water bottle? It’s better for the environment than a plastic water bottle anyway-so good for you mom!

The past few weeks of working on me have truly been eye opening.

I know this is just the beginning of my journey, but I am already seeing a happier, lighter, healthier, calmer side to myself that I don’t think I have ever seen.

I love this experience and walk of life I am on right now.

I want to be the best that I can be for my children, for my husband, for all of those friends and family that we love so much.

I want to live life with a purpose. I want to be intentional in all that I do.

Family 2

On Fear and Fighting

During one of our late night talks this week my husband reminded me of a time in our lives when we didn’t know what our future held. It’s funny how once we actually make it through life happenings we file them away in our “never remember or bring up this moment again” file….Rewind to 5 years ago when I left my job of close to 5 years to embark on a completely different//new//uncharted possible career. I was going from a late night bartending gig to a desk job. I was going from sharing a place of employment with my husband for the past 5 years to being completely on my own.  

Completely different routine. Completely different location. Completely different people. Completely different flow. Completely different pay scale.

We were scared. We were nervous. We were unsure. All of those earthly feelings nearly paralyzed me from taking the leap.
I remember not knowing what the future held. I was unsure that this was a good choice for us and our little family, but I was completely trustworthy of our God. I knew He held us. I could feel this was the right move for our family. I knew if I ever wanted a semi- normal (weekends and holidays off) routine this was my move and this was the time to make it.
The past few months and life-moments have left my faith shaky. And I don’t like it one bit. I’m in a place of in between. I know who God is, and I know who I serve, but I don’t always rest assured in that fact. I have a terrible tendency to want to fix everything on my own. I am a controller by nature. A first born gal who can do it all. A fixer. A leader. I want to plan things and ways according to me and my schedule. I want things to play out to serve and humble me. I want everything to fall into the place I want it to fall into. Anyone else? 
This all comes about because once again my husband and I find ourselves in a place of the unknown. We don’t have answers to questions we want answered. We don’t know what our next move is. We don’t know what the future holds for us. 

It’s certainly not easy and I have to make a conscience effort, but I am telling myself every.single.moment of every.single.day he’ll be there.

A constant necessary, tangible reminder. 

Erica hold onto Him.

Give it all over to Him.

Stay steadfast in your faith.

You are a daughter of Him and His kingdom.

Run to Him.

He is there for you. 

His love never fails.

It never gives up.
It is SO easy to let the fear win. It is so easy to give in. To give up. Well you know what world? This girl isn’t giving up//backing down //or giving in. This is just another battle. Another fight. A fight that I’m feeling fully capable of winning with a little help from Him. I’m a fighter. An overcomer. I’m ready to hold steady to my faith, plant my feet, and let the storm roll through. 

Don’t give into the fear.

Give into your faith and Jesus.

He’s got you. He’s got this. 

  

Camping weekend

We just returned from what is probably my favorite weekend of the entire summer… our family camping weekend. We gather up most of our family on my husbands side, we head to our favorite campground, and we enjoy the entire weekend with eachother!  This year there was close to 30 of us and we enjoyed potato sack races, volleyball, hayrides, silly stories, and lots of smores! Yummy!! And let me tell you what… My husbands family is a family that KNOWS how to have fun. With them the party never stops- and I absolutely love it!

For me time spent with family is the most important and most rewarding time for my children- and ME!  I knew from a very young age family was an incredibly important thing to me.

A family who spends time together. A family who is silly together.           A family who laughs together.           A family who above all else loves eachother really, really well. 

I remember my childhood very, very clearly and I remember all the years spent as a little girl in a less than normal childhood wishing, hoping, and praying for something more for my children. For something different. For substance. For something real and genuine. It’s happening. It’s here. This is my life. And I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to live this with these people!! People who care, and laugh, and hug, and tell and show one another that they love them and will do anything for one another. People who put the needs of others above themselves.

And I am so gosh darn thankful that my children will never know a childhood like mine. I am so thankful that my children have amazing relationships with their aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins! I am so thankful that my children’s lives have more love and affection than they know what to do with and that makes my heart overflow with pure joy! As one of my FAVORITE IG’ers says #mycupberunningover