Transitions got me like…

Confession? I haven’t attended church since before my uncle passed away last May. And to be perfectly honest, along with complete devastation, came anger, confusion, and retaliation towards God for letting this happen. How could he take someone who was not only incredibly special to me but to so many people around him?  How could he take someone who meant so much to so many? A man who always did the right thing. A man who was was always willing to do anything for anyone. A man who constantly provided for his family. A man whose wife is an Angel on earth. How God, How?  Why?  These are the words I have been wrestling with and crying over the past 10 months, and  I’m just now beginning to allow myself to process all that has happened in the past almost year.  I am finally at the point where I can say my Uncle’s name and mention him in conversation without tears welling up in my eyes, and a hard knot in my throat.

 

The past 10 months have led me on a journey of self discovery.  A journey to answer why. To figure out this thing we call life. A journey I never saw coming-much like the passing  of my Uncle. A journey of who I am, what I stand for, and what I desire for my future.  A journey of realizing that things change. People change. Places change. Situations change. My eyes have been opened to suffering.  I know firsthand that the world is full of suffering- even to those who may not deserve it.

 

So today with an open mind, shaking legs, and a smile painted on my face, my kids and I faced one of the hardest things. We went back to church.  The place where I felt most let down by God. I had done my prayers. I had made my prayer requests each week.  I had shared my prayers with the prayer warriors in this church and a few others. I had asked a few close prayer warriors to lift my Uncle up. And in the end God still decided to call him home. So hand in hand we walked through those doors, and saw all those faces and it wasn’t nearly anything like I had anticipated. It almost felt like we were able to pick up where we left off. The same smiling faces greeted us, called out to us, embraced us, and welcomed us. Wholeheartedly. It didn’t matter that we haven’t been there in close to a year. They were overjoyed to see us. To know that we were back and ready to worship. To fill up their community.  And you know what? My relationship with God is the same. And ironically that is what the sermon preached to  this morning, and I have to laugh because God knew exactly what I needed-just as usual. John 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

Yes the death of my Uncle caused me to second guess God and his ways and reasons for everything.   It made me beg the question over and over “WHY?”  But through it all he never left me. He was still there. Even when I wasn’t ready or willing to talk to him, or communicate with him, He never left me.  He made sure to stay close by, always watching. The past few weeks and months have allowed me the opportunity, little by little, to begin interacting with God. To talk with him, share with him, and put my trust in him. Today was a big step.

 

I’m realizing that our entire family, not just our small unit, is in a season of transition.  And in life there will be many, many transitions. And in each transition He will be there. Waiting. Watching. With open arms. Just like those who greeted me and my family at church this morning.

 

For so long my prayer was always that through the trials and tribulations with my uncles health that God would  keep our family close together. That this transition, this HUGE wouldn’t change our family dynamic. That we all still stick together, and not separate. And I’m realizing lately, as I look back on the past 10 months, he did that. He kept our family close. Tight knit. We have learned to lean on each other in ways we never have before. We have each made sacrifices so that we can help others when they need it.

 

And so now I feel like my prayers are changing. And it’s not just about them changing, but about me being okay with them changing.  It’s scary when you realize how big your dreams are and how much you want from this life. If you’ve read any of my posts, then you know that I am against change. But what I am realizing lately is we need change. Without change everything and everyone would stay the same and that sound pretty dang boring to me. So once again I find myself in this place of transition. My prayers used to be for comfort and security. Closeness. Stability. Routine.  Now something just a little bit different has been laid on my heart. Now I feel myself trusting Him again. I am ready for Him. With open hands, an open heart, and open arms.  Now my prayers have shifted to bigger, bolder prayers.

Lord whatever you call me to I will answer.  I am ready to answer when you say.  Lord I trust you. I trust that you know better than me. I surrender all of my plans, and wishes, and dreams and I am giving you control. Control of every single thing in my life. From my morning commute, control of how my day plays out, what clients I talk to you, my daily struggles, my health, my relationships, my shortcomings, my strengths, my stubbornness. I know YOU have a reason for every single thing that happens. I know that your plans are greater, bolder, better, and more fulfilling than any other dream I could ever imagine. So I am ready Lord. Here I am, and here I’ll stay at your feet handing it all over. Recommitting to you and your ways, and your truth and your life.  I am ready to walk with you again.

  

Advertisements

40 Days Week 3: Equanimity

I was expecting a huge shift this week. Last time I went through the 40 days program I remember experiencing a HUGE shift this particular week where I felt like everything really came together. As you can probably tell-the shift didn’t happen. Or atleast it wasn’t as monumental as I had anticipated it being. This time it felt more like an overall shift.  I felt like I entered this week with more patience, and an increased feeling of peace which was very, very helpful in having an equinimious week.

Here are my questions:

1. How much do I believe the winds of grace support me?  As much of a believer as I am, and I am a BIG one, I sometimes-okay most of the time-have a hard time believing that I am worthy of His grace. I know it exists, and I know that he freely gives it, but I still have a hard time accepting the fact that I am worthy of His grace in His eyes.

 

2.Where can I use less reaction and more divine interpretation?  I can use less reaction when it comes to my kids. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed very easily, and to let little things bother me.  I’ve realized, through equanimity, that when I take the time to breathe and remove myself from a situation I am allowing myself time to think through what kind of an impact the decision will yield? Will this make a difference in a month’s time? How about a year? A week? If the answer is no then I can generally loosen the reigns, and know that this one very small piece of time will not have a huge lasting impact.

 

3.  How can a shift in vision enhance the quality of my life?  A shift in vision was huge in enhancing the quality of my life this week.  I realized that by removing the negative and shameful words from my vocabulary I was able to let joy, and happiness pour into my life.  For example, I am by nature a very anxious person.  This week when I was anticipating certain situations that I knew I would find myself in rather than labeling my emotions as “anxious” I labeled them as “exciting, eager, and intrigued.”  This not only helped me make my way through some challenging moments this week, but it was a very helpful tool in helping me shift my vision.

 

4.  What things are likely to trigger reactivity in me?  Hunger, exhaustion, topics I feel passionately about, situations that I believe I should be able to control (ie traffic, my children’s behavior), and situations that I think I could have made a better decision in.

 

5. How can I respond better to moments of reactivity?  I have found that my AM and PM meditations have really grounded me.  They have helped me remember to come back to my breathe, and I have found that by taking 5 or 6 deep breaths I am able to better assess and work/think through a situation.

Next week we are onto Restoration and our 3 day fruit cleanse, check back to see how my week went!!

  

 

40 Days: Week 2 Vitality

So as life would have it I am behind on my promised posts!  As I sit here and type this I’ve just finished feeding my troops dinner, I’ve got two kids working on homework (fractions, and counting money-ayyyyy!), one kids sick on the couch, and in a few minutes I will tackle Valentines Day Cards for close to 70 kids :/ And this is an “uneventful” night in our house!!

Here’s a recap on my Vitality week.  For me, vitality means editing out all of the busy.  Removing all of the non essential, in order to make room for the essential.  For what my body and mind and spirit are craving.  Some days that is rest. Some days that is curling up with a good book and a cup of tea in bed. Some days that looks like treating myself to a juice from my favorite juice bar.

Here are my vitality week questions:

  1. What is your most meaningful creation? My most meaningful creation in this life is my family and the stability, love, and support that I am able to give my children.

2.What is your most courageous act?  My most courage act, in this season of life, is making my health my number one priority.  Because this is something that I have neglected for as long as I can remember it feels strange to make something about me and for me my number one priority. It is uncomfortable, but necessary.  I am willing to do whatever, try whatever, and eat whatever I need to to in order to restore a level of homeostasis in my body.

 

3.  When do I feel the most energized?  I feel the most energized when I get a good night’s sleep.  A restful, complete nights sleep. I feel energized when I allow my body to rest, reset, and recharge without judging myself.

 

4.  Forces in my life that drain my energy:

-Too much time on Facebook/IG

-Not taking a break

-People pleasing

-Valuing others opinions over mine

-Taking things too personally

-Getting inside my own head

-Not asking for help

-Saying yes to too many things

-Over scheduling myself and my kids

 

Our Laws this week were:

Law 3: Step our of your Comfort Zone

Law 4: Commit to Growth

We were asked to write down 1 goal (attainable in 7 days) that we wanted to accomplish. For me, my goal was to take an advanced class at our studio called Deepen Your Roots.  This class was no joke! It was the real thing!  For starters instead of there being a FULL class of 40+ people there were maybe 10 people in the entire class.  Goodbye “blending in!” It was also taught by the owner of our studio who has an amazing ability to craft an incredible class. Was it hard? VERY! Did I feel awkward? YUP! and it wasn’t pretty…I fell over, I fell down, and I fell into just about every pose-BUT I got back up. I laughed it off, and there were others in the room, including the instructor, who were supporting me. Who were rooting for me. Who were sending me good vibes in my moments of struggle and it was SO WORTH IT!! If I hadn’t been challenged I may never have even tried to take that class!  What a week!

  

Goals for 2016

One of my top goals for 2016 has everything to do with health. If you haven’t already read this post, I encourage you to. If you are looking for the cliff notes here they are…3 years ago at the age of 27 I suffered a large stroke. Yes. Really. My road to recovery included 6 months of intense physical and occupational therapy, having to retest for my drivers license, and each day is still much of an uphill battle. So for 2016 I am making sure to make my health my top priority.
What does that look like? For me making my health my top priority looks like…

 
1. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep every single night. For me this is one of the worst side effects of my stroke. One bad nights sleep leaves me feeling hungover. Seriously it’s the best way to describe it. Everything hurts. I have ringing in my ears, I’m unable to concentrate, and I have blurry vision and get dizzy very easily. No fun, so for me staying up an extra few hours simply isn’t worth it.

 
2. No alcohol ( well kind of ) don’t get me wrong I do like to have a good time, and let loose every once in a while and a glass of wine certainly helps ease my social anxiety when I feel it creeping in, but honestly the way I have been feeling the past year after drinking even just one glass of wine totally isn’t worth it for me. I almost immediately get a headache, and I sleep terribly on nights that I have even one glass of vino :/ if you read #1 you know why poor sleep is so terrible for my health, and don’t get me started on the tummy issues that I get as a result of drinking alcohol either. So my goal is rather than drinking 2-3 times per week it’s looking more like 1-2 time per month MAX! I mean come on I’m all about that healthy lifestyle but sometimes a momma’s just gotta have her mommy juice and loosen up!

 
3. Cultivating Community. This one is new for me. In middle school and high school we moved so much ( my dad was in the Coast guard) and I had such a terrible group of friends. This combination never allowed me to really develop and maintain that strong grounded connection with anyone. It felt like the minute I did we were either packing up boxes to move again, or I was being betrayed by another close friend of mine. For me at this stage and walk of life this isn’t an easy task. Or something people openly discuss. But so many of us walk this path. Loneliness. Everyone is already established in their own little groups and cliques and I’m all like ” hey guys, I’m over here… Wanna hang out?” No…but seriously. That’s what it feels like most days. I am working on this though. I have turned a new leaf though…Within the past couple of months I have joined an amazing and supportive yoga community who have made me feel like I belong for the first time in the longest time. Just me, as I am. No hoops, no tryouts, just open hearts! I’m looking forward to building a firm foundation on those already established connections to springboard me into deepening those relationships. And for me that looks like putting myself out there, which leads to #3.

 
3. Being vulnerable. In case you skipped past 1 and 2 this is a biggie for me. I don’t think I have ever once in my whole life been vulnerable. Up until now being vulnerable has just been too uncomfortable for me. It’s a door that was shut many many years ago, duct taped, nailed, and soldered shut never to be opened. My natural go to is to close up tight like an oyster shell the second real conversation happens. I’m more of a light and fluffy kind of girl. But what I am learning is that in order to live a life of connection, a life of joy, a life of compassion, caring, and wholeheartedness I HAVE to be vulnerable. I have to put myself out there and I have to let others in. As awkward and uncomfortable as it is it really is a good thing.

 
4. Acknowledging and letting go of/working through my shame. The past couple of weeks have brought an awareness to how much shame I am carrying around, and how long I’ve been carrying it. My childhood wasn’t the best (hoping to be vulnerable enough later in the year to share more details on that), I didn’t make the wisest decisions as a teenager when it came to school, I became a very young mom ( without a connected community), I married young, I never finished college (though I did manage to rack up a TON of college debt), I had a terrible basically non existent relationship with my mother (thankfully it has gotten much better the past few years), I tend to be a very jealous person, I have a tendency ( in my eyes) to be selfish, and I’m sure there’s more but for now that feels like enough self mutilation! I promise I’m not a masochist 🙂

 
5. Living a life of authenticity in order to live life of happiness. Pure, passionate, heartfelt happiness. And I want my children to know this as well. I want them to know this possibility. Whatever path you are on, you can change it. My bible scripture for this year is “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 I feel like a house whose roof just BLEW OFF and all you can see is bright blue, sun shining sky above. That’s where I am headed. My cracks are beaming with light!  Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we truly are. People are allowed to change. I’m allowed to change.  I’m learning this. I think because I have lived a life where the norm was stagnancy I felt like if I did try to live a more authentic life, everyone would think I was a fraud. A goody two shoes. An over achiever. Well guess what?! That NOT TRUE! And it’s okay if I have to tell myself that every single day ( I’m probably going to have to!)

 
5. I want to be of service. I have a servants heart. I love helping others.  I remember being a little girl and watching the commercials about starving children and just wanting to reach through the TV and hug each and every one of them. I currently volunteer at our Yoga studio as part of their Fair Trade Team. But I want to make a commitment to help others. When someone is sick. I want to drop of dinner. Fresh fruit. Chicken soup. Baked ziti. When someone is in need of a listening ear, I want to be it. When someone needs a hug I want to give it. This is important for my health in the new year because doing this makes me crazy happy!!! Like truly, down to my core, a little kid on Christmas happy. So I’ve decided I’m going to help others more! At some point in this life I would absolutely LOVE to be a part of a missions trip and work with children!

 
6. Holistic health FIRST– this year I am embracing all things holistic. The more natural the better. Chamomile tea, lavender lotion, daily meditation, yoga, Reiki. Lots and lots of water. Self care. Less social media. More real life. I’m learning technology is not connection- at least not for me. Most days it’s actually narcissistic. Chiropractic care. Reading and learning as much as I possibly can. Growing. Nourishing my mind, body, and soul. The Dalai Lama said “when we talk we are simply repeating what we already know. But if we listen we may learn something new.” How amazing are these words?! Another reason for my approach to holistic health is my hope in it healing my body. I have felt so exhausted and sick and have been dealing with residual effects, of my stroke, for 3 years and I’m sick of being consumed by frustration because my body won’t do what I want it to do. So I am taking charge of my health. I am the patient and I’m making sure my doctor has my health as her first priority. I am going through some testing to rule out anything serious, and to see if there are any underlying conditions that need to be medically treated. My prayer is that if I change my habits, eating, and wellness I can heal my own body from the inside out. I’m sure I’ll have more to post on this later.

 
7. Letting go of the guilt.  Mom guilt BE GONE! you aren’t welcome here anymore. This is your eviction notice. Bye bye! As mothers society places an incredible amount of pressure on us to do it all, have it all, share all, know all, want all, and if we can’t do this then they might as well revoke our mom card. I’m done with all of the soul crushing society has done. This past year has shown me that perfection is exhausting! Not only that but I can’t do it all. Obviously because when I did try to do it all I ended up having a stroke at the age of 27! Trust me when I say this-your health is not worth perfecting the latest Pinterest design for your 3 year old’s birthday party. It’s just not! In becoming more aware of my body and what it needs I am realizing how terrible and detrimental to my personal health stress is.  It really is a wicked thing.  When my older two were just babes we waited until they were 3 to send them to preschool and even then it was only a couple of days a week. We were fortunate to work opposite schedules so that one of us was always home with our boys. Then along came number 3. Preschool days increased for kid #2 and we added aftercare for our 3rd. Did I mentioned hubby and I both work full time? Well here we are with kid #3 who is in full time, five day preschool ( who is also the first kid dropped off and the last kid picked up) and our older two are in after care more days than not. And You know what? Sometimes as a parent you have to do what you have to do. End of story. No shame, no guilt. My kids absolutely love their schools and my older two beg to go to aftercare even on days when we don’t need it!

 
So that’s about it. For now. What is one of your top priorities/goals for 2016? Leave a comment below!

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!