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.

  

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.

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My Current Season of Life

I am in a season of needing to take care of myself. And that is okay. It doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It doesn’t mean I’m useless. It doesn’t mean I get an “F” in motherhood. It does mean that I am exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. I need to reset. To recharge. To rest. I need to restore my body and make it whole. And when I do I will be able to come back stronger than before.

I’ve made a new goal for myself. Do one thing for myself each day. It can be something as small as treating myself to an iced coffee, or as big as making a life change and sticking to it. 

If you follow me on Facebook Mom in the Middle or on Instagram Mom_inthemiddle then you know I have recently taken up Yoga! This was a big step for me… In fact it was Huge! You can read about my first experience ever with Yoga here. To say it has been amazing would be an understatement.

 I realize that in these moments I take for me I need to be intentional. With Yoga I try to sign up ( in advance) for atleast 2, sometimes 3, classes per week. I need to be intentional about carving out and setting aside time for me. And I can’t feel guilty about it. If I don’t take care of me then I can take care of the rest of my people. I love my people and they deserve the best of me, not a tired, worn out, over worked grumpy version of me!  

Today, as a blogger, I had the opportunity to go get a massage- what a treat! That was intentional time that I took for me today and it was glorious! I picked up the phone, I cleared my schedule, arranged childcare, booked the appointment, and I showed up. All intentional. 

The other thing I’ve realized is the more often I take time for me the more I am okay with it. The more often I work on me the more comfortable I become with it. I’m not gonna lie…at first it’s weird and awkward and no matter how hard I tried I felt out of place. It wasn’t easy. I felt out of place without a child clinging to me, it felt unnatural without constantly having to do something for someone else-it felt wrong to put myself first so much so that  experiencing peace and calm felt unnatural. 

The past two weeks have been eye opening. I had allowed myself to get to such a dark place of self neglect that I literally had to claw and fight my way out. 

My journey isn’t over. I’m not sure it ever will be and I’m okay with that. For now I am taking time to work on me. 

   

  

  

10 things I hope to do differently for ME in 2015

As I reflect back on the past year there are a few things I am looking forward to having a fresh start with in 2015.This is a list for me. This isn’t a list for our family, or for my marriage. It is just a list of what I wish to work on for me this coming year.

So here’s my list of what I hope to do differently for ME in 2015…

1. Disconnect-I have already begun this process to quiet the noise.  For me this has to come in baby steps. From the first days when AIM instant messenger connected I remember sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time and just typing, typing, typing away. Back then that was the only form of online communication that was prevalent. Nowadays it is literally all around us. We have access to it 24/7.  I run this blog, and have a successful skin care business ran mostly online and through social media.   These days I am realizing it is super important to put away the screen, the phone, the device and just be present. To live in the moment.  So for me, this change is all about finding a happy medium {is that even a thing?!} For now I have chosen to “hide” my social media apps on my phone so it is just a little bit harder for me to easily access them, or at the very least look down and see all of the notifications piling up and feeling the tug to check them right.now! Remember…baby steps!

2. Separate work & home– This is probably one of my biggest struggles.  If you aren’t already aware I run a successful skin care side business in addition to my 9-5 job!  For months now I have been wanting to set concrete work hours for this fun side job of mine.  Already having a full time job, and a family at home, I need to keep my sanity intact as much as possible. Having strict, and seperate business hours for my skin care business will allow me the flexibility, and freedom to enjoy all areas of my life to the fullest. Plus, if I am trying to return emails and place orders for clients while wrangling a 4 year old who is in the middle of his melt down the likelihood of error on either end is pretty high! So from here on I want to be full committed to each task I tackle and go at it 100%.

3. House Rules– I’m not sure why it took me so long to implement this idea, but after discussing the idea with “Mr. Mom in the Middle” we have decided that having a set of house rules will be good for our home. Just like our kids have rules for their classroom that they take part in thinking about and coming up with we are going to do the same for our house. We will sit down as a family of 5 and compile everyone’s idea’s on one list. I will then have that list blown up, printed and framed to hang in and around our house. My hope in all of this is to kill the chaos.

4. To give more Grace-to others as well as myself…this my friends is not easy. You know the saying we are our own worst critics? Well say hello to the worlds worst critic with a sprinkle of perfectionist!  After going through this past year I realized that while I need to take care of our house and all that comes with it, and my family I also need to take care of myself.  This is not such an easy pill to swallow for a self sufficient, fully independent momma like me.  I want to extend grace more to those around me as well as myself. I want to have more patience, kindness, understanding, and compassion.   I also want to learn to “let it go” I am the type of person who can and will replay something someone has said to me 50 times in my head. A few months ago someone said to me, “Nobody can make you feel a certain way, only you can let them make you feel a certain way” and I thought to myself how true! Why should I allow someone to rent space in my head and cause so much toxicity? So this my friends is something I am constantly, and on a daily basis, working through and on.

5. To not focus on the numbers-this is something I have focused on for far.too.long! It also has a lot to do with disconnecting. Can I tell you how sick I am of posting something only to go back minutes later and see how many likes it has received? Which then in turn either leaves me filling empty or incredibly fulfilled? Say WHAT?! Since when did others opinions, or time, or likes justify who I am, what I stand for, and what I do. So my hopes in disconnecting from Social Media more frequently are that I will not base my feelings, success, and production on numbers from others.

6. To post reminders of Who I Am. It’s no surprise that I am a Christian women and that I openly talk about it. I feel like there are days where I need to live it more. It’s one thing to talk about something-it is a whole different thing to actually do something about it. Actions speak louder than words.  I am hoping to start this by finding a really great bible study and diving in head first.  Also, I am going to start writing down bible verses that speak to me and handing them on the fridge, leaving them in my purse, the car, etc. These are not to be “showy” or to be used as “proof”, but rather they are for accountability and reminding. Lord knows I need reminding during the day. My hope is that I can avoid those messy mommy/wife moments that happen by stopping, reading, breathing, remembering, and moving on.

7. To begin getting out of debt– notice I didn’t say get out of debt completely. I know it’s just not possible. I know it’s going to be a long, uphill battle. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I also know how worth it it is going to be when I don’t have the weight of this weighing me down- literally! These days so many college students are burdened with student loan debt. I am no different. So I want to put myself on the path that allows me to start paying down my debt as quickly as possible. I am in the process of scheduling an appointment for hubby and I with a financial adviser and I am hoping this along with our zero budget will allow for us to begin a program to start paying down my/our debt.

8. To take better care of my health– shhhh! I will let you all in on a little secret this year…. I am turning 30 this year 😦 This is my year for vitamins, oils, and anything healthy.  Exercise, working out, shakes, whatever it takes to get me feeling my best I am willing to give a try! I am already back into my T25 workouts.  I would love to get into some great meditation/yoga for the soul workouts…if you have any suggestions please let me know!

9. To go to Influence Conference-I know, I know this is a pretty specific one. This is a spiritual conference that for the past 3 years I have only dreamt of going to. Each year I have watched from afar as others have been led by fearless women to their greatest spiritual place. A safe place, a place of growth, a place with no judgement, a place of all consuming and uplifting goodness, a place of community. At this moment, I can’t even wrap my mind around how it would be possible for me, logistically, to even think about going-not to mention the cost. So, for the first time I am going to pray, pray, pray that I somehow, someway make it there.

10. Read more– I have a ton of books saved in my amazon favorites. Books that I hope to one day read. That I plan to read one day. Reading always has been a passion of mine, and much like many other hobbies of mine have fallen to the wayside of life! This is the year I hope to read more books, to unplug from reality, my phone, the laptop, everything and simply immerse myself in literature.

What do you hope to do differently in 2015? I would love to hear!

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An Update

Life has been crazy.

I feel like I start the majority of my posts that way-but the truth is life is CRAZY-with 3 kids (and all boys) there is really no other way to describe it.

I cannot believe Christmas is almost here…I feel like I am FINALLY just recovering from Back to school-anyone else?

Time is flying by, and I certainly cannot get a handle on it.

Our youngest turned 4.  FOUR!

How did that happen?

Our boys are now officially 4, 6, and 8…

We’ve celebrated birthdays, Thanksgiving, attended a wedding (which our big 4 year old was in), and have really been spending A LOT of time together as a family.

Hubby got that promotion at work he had been busting his back for and while I am so, so thankful and thrilled I must admit it is a little bit scary.

While it finally feels like we are “real” adults with two “real” incomes and that is what we have been working so  incredibly hard for these past few years-I must admit this new lifestyle comes with its own challenges.

I posted a few weeks ago about meal planning and putting our family on a budget.

Its been great. Don’t get me wrong-its been very, very hard and challenging, but great all at the same time.

And if there’s one thing I am always up for-its a challenge!

Our family’s lifestyle has been completely changed. Like turned upside down, shaken, and then turned right side up again.

I like to think of myself as more of a “modern day” housewife where I prefer my house to be cleaned for me, and my meals to be ordered for me, or at the very least picked up by me.

Our new lifestyle means I now do the cooking and cleaning-every.single.night

Its funny because all of those years my husband and I spent bartending we really had a disposable income-and didn’t even know it!

 One where if we needed extra cash we just picked up an extra shift.

Or sometimes we had a really, really busy night at work-one that would allow us to make up for a slower night and then some.

Now we have one set income coming in and going out and that is it. No extras.

So, to say it is taking some getting used to is definitely a good way to put it.

Its great, it really is and trust me it comes with A LOT more stability than the ebbs and flows that come along with being a bartender-not to mention the great benefits we now have thanks to his promotion.

We are still getting our feet wet, and trying out different budgets to see what works best for our family.

Some days are great and out of this world, and some days I am thankful that tomorrow means a new day and a fresh start.

What has been going on in your life lately?

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And just like that…

And just like that I knew I would be okay.

This past summer and the last few weeks have been and continue to be one big ole’ blur.

Change upon change has been happening up in herr!!…and no-that is not a typo!

I have never done well with change, like ever!

In fact I stay away from it every chance I get!

Today I came across this verse and suddenly  I knew that this crazy, spinning, ever changing world my family and I have been living in is all for something.

One day it will stop spinning.

Until then, He has us.

The verse is:

Behold; I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and in the desert…

the people whom I formed for myself that they may declare my praise.

Isaiah 43:19,21

These words spoke to me more than any other words have in weeks.

They are life changing.

I finally realized the reason why I feel like I keep hitting a brick wall….

because I am fighting a force greater than me.

Our God is an amazing God, and he created this path that my family and I are on.

All these changes and difficulties we are facing he already knew about!

He laid them before us, to make us stronger, and better.

He will make a way for us to get through this wilderness.

Which some days it can very well seem like we are trekking through an overgrown, unlit, desolate path.

I’m realizing that in those days, and moments, I really need to dig deep, and KNOW that He already has us.

He knows the path he has set before us.

When I am feeling withdrawn, without, and “woe is me” I know he will get me through the desert I am in.

He will provide, OH will He provide.

He has shown that time and time again.

Change is a good thing!

It has taken me almost 30 years to know, realize, and understand that.

While I don’t necessary like it, and I’m not welcoming it with open arms by any means, I am getting more and more used to it because I know without a doubt He’s got us!

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Family life these days…

It’s been a while since I have written about our family….

With back to school and the season changing from long, hot summer days to crisp, chilly, fall days I thought now would be the perfect time!

Our family is growing -no we are NOT pregnant!!

Let me repeat: WE ARE NOT PREGNANT!!

Let me explain…

As a family we are growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and its all happening right before my eyes!

I finally feel like these three little people my husband and I created are the most self sufficient they have ever been.

All of that teaching, doting, raising up to this point is finally showing me just the kind of boy we are raising up to be men.

And that makes me one happy momma!

No more diapers.

My oldest two can now bathe themselves (with friendly mom reminders to actually use SOAP!)

My oldest now has weekly chores he is in charge of completing-and rewards when he does.

Ayden lost his first tooth.

Aaron is absolutely thriving and just loving his preschool so darn much!

Angel has really stepped up to the plate as big brother-especially with Aaron-asking him how his days at school have been, has he been making friends, etc.

My husband and I are the closest, spiritually, we have ever been!

Do you know how long I have prayed for that to happen-Soooo long!

But I am SO thankful we are finally where we are, spiritually, as a couple, and as a family.

I think all those years we spent in the trenches just “getting through” are finally coming to fruition!

And I have to say it feels great!

No, every day is not a picnic…

and everyday isn’t the best or happiest day

but I feel like I can finally say I am happy every day.

Not all day every day, but everyday something happens that makes me happy or reminds me how great our little life is!

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