Dear America

Today, I was watching the news, and the anchor was covering a clip where passengers on planes are more unruly now, than over a span of 4 years from 2016-2019.

The flight attendants are taking self-defense classes, because the people of America can’t get their feelings in check.

Side note: Don’t get me wrong- I know I’ve had my fair share of grumpy moments with strangers. We are all human, and are going to make mistakes.

Customers are completely rude to workers in restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, etc.

Employers don’t treat their employees with respect. They put themselves and money, before the needs of the people earning them that money.

But, America. . . it’s time for us to wake up. When are we going to see what’s right in front of our faces? When are we going to say “Enough! It’s time to come together!”

I know I don’t have all the answers, here. . .

But, We have a lot of work to do!

One Thing: Education/self development

Background:

After exiting teaching full time, shifting to part-time teaching, and entering the Network Marketing business…I was immersed in self-development.right.when.I.needed.it.

My heart was vulnerable. I was open to change. I dove in.

There are road blocks, every now and again…but you take the time to do the heart work, and move forward.

So, what did the process look like?

*Again, this is an area I have yet to fully develop, or set a solid foundation for. So, it’s a growth area.

* I went to (physically and virtually) all the trainings. I read all the books. I took all the notes.

*I prayed, read my bible. And the funny thing is, all the self-development crossed over with my stages I was walking with Jesus.

* Do the heart work.

* take all the notes (usually in the book)

* Now that I have to rely on making myself step up to the plate, my two ways of diving in to education and self-development: reading and listening to podcasts. Because that’s easiest at the moment.

Why do I invest in self-development, you might ask?

Easy. Growth. If I don’t have a growth mindset, I’ll be stuck right where I am. I don’t want to always be stuck right where I am. I always want to be moving forward. Every now and again, I get in a comfy spot…but it doesn’t usually last long…and when I start getting restless…I dive back in!

Why do I invest my time in education and what do I mean by education?

By education, I just mean that I take the time to read or find another way to learn about something I am passionate about.

My favorite college professor taught me what it means to be a lifelong learner. So, that love of learning has spilled over into my life after college. So, I’m trying to always learn about something:

-parenting

-how to be a follower of Jesus

-what I want my role as a mom and wife to look like

-what kind of friend I want to be

-anything science

-history, too

-teaching and education

-health and wellness/ exercise and nutrition

-photography

-Psychology and Mental Health

So, I find books, podcasts and articles over these topics and learn what I can about them.

Again…just one thing at a time.

You kind of just naturally learn about the things you are currently interested in. If you don’t have an interest in something, today, that you did yesterday, put that book down. You’ll come back to it, and if you don’t that’s ok! Pick a book (or article, or documentary, or podcast…you get the picture) that you’re excited to learn about today.

One Thing: Time with Jesus

Often times, we try to over complicate things. We look around at other people, where there are in life. When we do that, sometimes, we are hard on ourselves. We try to do things that they are currently doing, because if they are doing those things…they must have done those things from the beginning to get where they are. And if they are doing things, then I must need to do those things, too. Right. Right? Wrong.

We were each made uniquely. What works for one person will not work for each one of us individually.

We can get ideas from other people. We can look at what they are doing, study what they are doing, and practice what they are doing. But we can not copy what they are doing, exactly. We have to be true to who we were made to be. We can take ideas from different sources, and combine those together, and then spin them all around into what works for us.

That’s what this is intended to be.

As I share about my “one thing” that was a key to unlock the other things….know that this is just one of many resources.

If you are a person that finds yourself barely able to keep your head above the water…take what you can and practice it. Don’t try to make things happen that aren’t designed to be practiced yet. Some of the information you will find will be to hold on until later. Until you have unlocked other pieces in your life. Some of the information will not be for you, and that’s ok. Some of the information you will need to tweak and make it work for you, and that’s ok, too. Take solace in hope. I’ve been there. It’s hard, and as you keep pushing forward. You will come out the other side. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be other hard things. What it does mean is that you are stretching your perseverance muscle in this area. When you do that, you’ll be able to take what you learn and use that in other areas.

If you find yourself in a similar season, take solace in the fact that you are walking this road with someone beside you. I’m right there with you, in the trenches.

If you’ve been there and done that, gained a ton of wisdom, and this brings back fond or even painful memories. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for the wisdom you pour out into others.

Background:

Growing up…I went through this process…

1. Confusion…Who is Jesus? Who is God? I don’t really understand any of this….during this time, I tried to make myself fit into a box that I wasn’t understanding, tried to do things I hadn’t built a foundation for, and did I say I was confused?

2. Ok…I kinda get it…if you want to be good….you follow God. Is that right? I do good things, I go to heaven…right? (I would later find out that this is not quite how it works…but its where I was at.)

3. Accept Jesus as my savior. I was about 13…and I had no idea what it meant or what I was doing….again, this is where there was still confusion and more of the trying to do things I wasn’t ready for….like reading my bible on my own. I didn’t know where to go what to do, how to do it….but, I also didn’t ask for help. I didn’t let anyone know that I needed help…so, I didn’t allow for a foundation to be built the first time I gave my life to Jesus.

4. Live life. Do things my way. This went on until I was about 27. I had lived my teenage years, ventured into adulthood. Early adulthood looked like, wake up, eat, go to school, go to work, sleep repeat with life events like getting married and having kids, graduating, and starting a career. From 24-27 is when I was having a ton of anxiety and depression. This was my rock bottom. I knew that I couldn’t keep going doing things my way.

5. Give my life to Jesus. For real this time. This time, I surrendered a whole lot more…not completely..because surrender has been a process for me. Honestly, its a lifelong process. Living life, continuing to go to church, allowing seeds to be planted…I understood what was happening this time. But this was the key. This was the one thing that unlocked the other things.

Out of my Daily 5, Time with Jesus is number one, because relationship with Him means that everything else falls into place. Not perfectly, but the way it should be with room for human error.

I had tried all the things first…journaling, reading my bible, worship, going to church, going to retreats and conferences. Those are all great…but without the one thing, its like putting a square peg into a round hole.

It’s ok to practice all of those things. They build a foundation, too. They build up your perseverance in other ways. But, I needed to realize that I needed to focus my attention on one thing. The key that I was missing was having a relationship with Jesus and surrendering my life to HIm.

Once that took place. I put my attention on that. What it looks like to have a relationship with Jesus and tell him day in and day out: Jesus, I can’t do this without you. Until then, there was tension in the other areas. This journaling isn’t working. I don’t know how to read the Bible and find your voice. Feeling awkward worshipping. And not even know what worship is or how to do it.

But once I gave my life to Him, the tension in that area released, and everything started slowly (for my time table- and perfectly on God’s time table) coming together and making sense.

From there, I was able to learn how to Journal with Jesus. Read the Bible looking for God’s voice. Worship. Praying. All the things that make up spending time with Jesus.

Here’s the thing. We get overwhelmed when we need to make it simple. What it boils down to, is pinpoint the tension. If there’s more than one source of tension, pick one that gives you peace. Practice them all here and there, but put your focus on one. When the tension releases, look up. Breathe. Now, tackle that next area.

You know where you are at in your journey. Maybe you have already given your life to Jesus, but praying is your tension. Put your focus on learning how to pray. Whatever your tension is. Learn how to do that one thing. Go to the conferences, the classes at your church, meet with mentors. Sometimes, you even have to put the basics of learning how to spend time with Jesus down for a minute to learn how to deal with giving your junk (you know- anger, sadness, all the hard stuff) to Jesus. Sometimes, that’s the key to go deeper. It’s like a wall- and you have to walk through letting him break that wall down, and that’s your tension. Then, you pick back up to adding those other things into your time with Jesus.

There’s no perfect way. There’s no one right way. This has just been my process, and one resource to you. Another perspective that hopefully breaks it down a little more and makes it simple. Stop trying to do it all, if it isn’t working. Focus on one thing at a time.

Helping Our Kids Find Their Calm

Today, my kids are cranky and fighting like crazy.

On days like these, their emotions tend to run high.

Recently, we’ve talked about them creating healthy boundaries with each other. When one of them is upset or bothered by something one of the others did, they need to be able to communicate without blowing up at each other.

So, we decided that we are going to read a book about healthy boundaries, together .

I’m confident, that this will be a helpful resource for them to find their journey to calm and peace.

Some other things we have practiced are:

*Me working on being a better example for them. First, they need to see their parents setting a good example of having healthy boundaries and communicating well.

* When they can’t be around each other without arguing, or if they are needing to calm down: we go to natural lights only. We turn as many lights off as possible, open up windows, and playing calming music. Give them their own space to calm down in.

*Calming smells- we use calming essential oils to help them with their emotions and to relax.

*Talk it through- sometimes, they just need to talk through what’s been bothering them. So, we talk one-on-one, and then as a group to work through the problem. This has really helped them to lighten the mood, resolve, and move on from whatever was bothering them.

*One-on-one time: sometimes, they act out and fight with each other, simply because they need some one-on-one time.

Helping our kids with their own mental health and emotions is important. How do you help your kids with their calm?!

“One Thing” Let’s set the background…

Let me set the background for you on the 8 topics that I chose for this “One Thing” series…..

Over the past 10 years, I’ve gone from living life with no passion, purpose, or reason to hitting what I call my “Rock Bottom” period, to coming out the other side, to beginning to thrive. In all of these areas, I have great passion. In all of these areas, I have hit a stage of tension, realizing that what I’m looking for is growth in that particular area. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I would say that I have gained some wisdom.

As I share tips and tricks, I have three groups of people in mind.

Group 1- You are in a season of “Rock Bottom”. You look around and you can barely breathe, your head is barely above water…and you don’t see a way out. Friend. I want you to know, that you are not alone. This season does not last forever. And you can slowly climb out of it, and you don’t have to do it alone. You can do it with loving people surrounding you. There are actions you will have to make. Do. Not. Give. Up. Keep going.

My prayer is that by sharing these following posts, that they can be one of many resources to you. Resources that will act like a hand reaching out and pulling you up. We can not get out of these situations alone. Use these posts as one starting place to begin climbing UP. You will likely have many starting places. View these posts as hope. Hope that this season will not be forever. You will see that other people have been where you are, and they go before you-sharing how they got to where they are now.

Group 2- You are right where I currently am sitting. You are in the season of beginning to thrive. You were in a dark place. The fog has cleared. You are beginning to see how the things you have been hoping and praying for are slowly coming together. You’ve worked through a lot of stuff. You still have a lot of growth to do (little secret…you have a lot of growth to do at every season of life), and you are likely no longer beating yourself up over every.little.thing.

My prayer is that by sharing these following posts, you will know that you are not in this season alone. You have someone walking in this current season with you.

Group 3- You are in a season of thriving, in a TON of areas in your life. It is unlikely that you will cross this page. And if you do, that moment will be incredibly humbling. You have figured out things that most of us are still trying to figure out. You have incredible wisdom, and you got there by hustling, working smart, and letting other people pour into you. Now, you are pouring into other people. You know that in reality, every stage and season of life you have to dig deep, learn, fail, and re-learn. You have a growth mindset.

My prayer is that you keep pouring. You go before us, and we are learning. As we learn, we are also pouring into others. Your platform is bringing light to those who need it. It has a greater impact than you imagine.

The 8 topics that follow are my “Daily 5” and 3 other topics I am currently working on creating healthy habits for growth.

* Time with Jesus

* Cleaning and Organization

* Health and Wellness

* Education of my interests

* Self-development

* Exercise

* Connecting

If you’d like to learn more about creating your daily 5- follow John Maxwell’s website. He has a book that addresses this concept.

**This is not an ad, I do not get compensation from sharing John Maxwell’s website. He is one of many resources I’ve had the opportunity to learn from.

Anxiety and self care

Wow. When I wrote this…it was back around Thanksgiving. I remember this one-two week period, distinctively. It was the moment I realized that I really and truly have to shut down, all of the things, so that I may feel all the feels and sort through all of the thoughts. Now that we are 3 months into Corona time, with all of the things that are currently going on in our world. I’ve realized that there are some amazing people out there who don’t know that what they are going through is ok. What you are feeling is ok. You are not alone. If you are someone who lacks the support you need, I’m working on creating a resources page. If your situation is urgent, I implore you…find and seek help in your local community. In the meantime, I hope this reflection of what I wrote back in November is helpful and brings you hope.

Anxiety and Self-care:

Over these last couple of weeks, I felt myself winding up…anxiety wise. I couldn’t figure out what was going on…but I felt like I needed to slow down. So, I did.

I allowed myself to not go full steam ahead.

I allowed myself to slow down and tune in.

If I didn’t feel like writing, I didn’t. In fact, I slowed down to pretty much only my 30 Days of Thankfulness that I was 100% committed to.

I slowed down on house work—to what needed immediate attention…

You know, I have talked about my “5 Daily Things” I started making progress towards, after hearing John Maxwell speak this summer…and for 2 weeks…I didn’t focus on those at all.

And that’s fine. I needed to slow down and figure out what was triggering me.

It took a couple of weeks, and one good night of crying…but I finally figured it out and got all of that anxiety tension released.

I love this article about anxiety and self-care.

We really need to make ourselves, and listening to our bodies a priority.

When we are taking care of ourselves, we are better able to take care of others.

There is room and grace for survival mode.

There is room and grace for missing out on taking care of ourselves. It happens.

But, once we cue in…we can slow down to figure out what’s going on. And what we need to do.

Check out the article. Tell me what you think. I’ve tried all of these tips and agree.

It’s funny, because I used to hate yoga for exercise. It felt slow and awkward. But last year, I tried it for a season and loved it. It was just what I needed..and I’ve been missing it, since I gave it up last summer.

When you think about self care, don’t be surprised if something you used to hate or would never think about doing for you turns into a something you like.

If something crosses your mind to try…try it.

If you’re a mama-or someone who needs self care, but doesn’t have a budget to spend on yourself…don’t worry.

When I started my self-care journey I had to get creative, because we didn’t have the budget for me to go get massages, pedicures, and the like every week.

I’ll share resources on some budget friendly and simple ways to find self-care. As well as, things that are self-care that you may not have thought about. I certainly didn’t.

One Thing.

I am a dreamer.

I get an idea- and I dream it up, bigger and bigger, until its this massive idea that is overwhelming.

And then. I freeze.

I freeze from being overwhelmed.

I freeze out of fear.

Have you been there?

It’s…frustrating. It’s terrifying.

My family can not live off of dreams.

I also have faith and hope. I have faith and hope that these big dreams are going to work out. And little by little, they do. But, that BIG, MASSIVE, breakthrough that I am searching for. It hasn’t come to fruition, YET.

I say yet, because my God is big.

He is bigger than I can ever imagine.

I keep putting Him in a box.

And He keeps reminding me that…

1. He doesn’t belong in a box

2. And even if He did- He’s much bigger than a box

I believe that God moves in BIG ways. But, He can’t move, if we don’t have action.

So, when we are overwhelmed with “God, I don’t even know what I am supposed to do anymore?” “What do I do?”

Just do one thing.

What is the ONE thing you can do right now?

What’s the one thing you can do right now- it’s that little thing that will help you breathe easier.

You got it?

Wait, wait, wait. Don’t make it complicated. Quit overthinking it. Don’t let your thoughts run wild…go back to it.

What’s that one thing? Hold on to it. Focus on it. Start it. Complete it. That’s it.

Ready?

Great. Let’s go get it done.

Breathe

Anxiety and depression. The darkness that these two are can be hard to explain to someone who hasn’t lived them on a daily basis.

They over take your life and your mind.

They can be…

-what it looks like to take every ounce of energy- just to get out of bed.

-your body constantly trembling from the inside, out.

-every noise and touch being over stimulating.

-negative thoughts in and out, controlling your mind. All. Day.

-holding onto the past, and fear of the future.

If you are reading this right now, and you are in that place. Like, deep, dark, in that place. I want you to know that there is hope. With help and tools, you can overcome. You can see the light again, or even for the first time.

Are you living life minute by minute? Wake up, shower, eat, go to work, eat supper, sleep. Repeat?

Many people I know have dealt with this. I have dealt with this. So, don’t give up- ok? Keep pushing through. Day by day. Do what you can, and do your best.

If you are in over your head. Like, there is no hope left. Get help. Tell a trusted friend, family member, co-worker, mentor.

Then, seek help from someone who is trained.

Because, although telling that friend is a great relief for you…the other side of that is that now they may be worried about you. And it is not their job, no matter how good of a friend they are, to make you better or to fix you. They can be a good friend, and not know how to help you. They can sit with you, and tell you how much it sucks….

But making things better- that’s up to you. You have to do that. You have to be able to choose to make steps towards feeling better. You have to find the help-again, from someone who is trained. And you can! And it does get better!! I’m here to tell you!

And in this process….

Look for ways to find life.

What do you love to do?

What brings you joy?

You might even ask: What do people do for fun? What do people do to fill themselves up? And the next thought might come: I don’t even remember what fun looks like, anymore.

Here’s what you do. Are you ready?

Find a quiet place. You can close your eyes. Or just sit in silence. Maybe you have some worship music playing ever so quietly in the background. Take some deep breaths to calm yourself. When your mind starts to calm…..and thoughts start to come back into your mind…no, not that one..that one was negative..push it away. Rebuke it.

There it is. That one. Maybe you were thinking….”it’d be nice if I could just _________ right now”. Was it take a shower? Go on a walk? Read a book?

Now. Go do that one thing. Are you at work? That’s ok. Take a break, for a min. Obviously, you don’t need to take advantage of your employer. Be respectful in how you go about taking your break. But, if you’re feeling like you need to be able to breathe. Listen to your body. It’s telling you something. It’s telling you that you need something more, or less, than what you’re putting yourself through right now.

And above all else, know that you are loved by someone that can love you like no one else can.

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

I want to be very clear- I’m not a mental health professional.

I am; however, someone who has continually worked through anxiety and depression.

Because of my journey with anxiety and depression, I’m a big believer in sharing experiences. I believe that sharing experiences can be a source of healing to the person “going through it”. In my opinion, it can help to hear stories from those who have gone before you. I know, because it’s one of the things that helped me on my journey.

One of the many sayings I’ve heard over and over was: I wish I knew, then, that other people went through x,y,z.

Thankfully, talking about Mental Health is becoming more and more accepted.

This month, I’d like to share and re-share my journey.

I’d love to share resources.

I’d love to share hope.

If you or someone you know battles with Mental Health, know that you are loved. You are not alone.

Please visit https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/ if you need resources.

The Pain You’re Feeling

11 years ago, this girl had NO IDEA that the pain she was going to walk through over the next few months and years….it would be hard. It would be dark. It would affect her relationship with her fiancé. It would affect her future pregnancies. It would take time to heal herself, and her future marriage.

If you have lost a baby- no matter how long you knew you were pregnant… your pain is real. I have no words for the hurt and pain you are feeling, because although I have been there…your story is different than mine.

If you’ve been feeling the hurt and the pain for days, weeks, months, years…yes, even after you’ve welcomed other children into the world…know that you are not alone.

I can’t promise anything to you. I can’t promise you a rainbow baby. I can’t promise the hurt will never go away. I can’t promise that around certain dates your mood won’t be affected.

But there is one who is a promise keeper. And it may not feel like it now, but He is sitting with you through your pain.

And if you allow it…the pain you are going through can allow you to grow, heal, and see that the days that were associated with deep grief and hurt…new days come and they can be associated with joy, love, and peace.