Photo of the Day

We saw this guy and a couple of his buddies on our way back home today! I made my husband stop so I could get some pics.

Years ago, I would have just saw them and wish that I had remembered to snap a pic.

For me, this is part of what living in the moment looks like. Seeing something I like, and stopping right then to capture and observe it.

I really enjoy photography. I really enjoy nature. I really enjoy capturing wildlife in photos!

There was a time when I didn’t have the energy, the capacity, and the motivation for things I love and enjoy.

So, here is a little piece of beauty on this Sunday evening!

I hope you enjoy it. I hope you find the beauty in the world around you. I hope that you do the things you enjoy!

And, if you’re not there, yet! Here is your rainbow 🌈! Your hope that one day, you’ll enjoy the things you love, once again!

Progress

Today, progress looks like my kids playing bookstore!

They set up stations: a bookstore and a restaurants.

Now, they are taking turns visiting each establishment.

Free/pretend play is so important for kids to explore their creativity. To explore social interactions. To understand the world around them.

Last week, we started limiting technology time.

Since the pandemic began, we’ve been in transition after transition both physically (which is to be expected when you travel full-time), and in regards to finding employment opportunities that help us live this lifestyle. During this time, we have relied a little more on technology than we would have normally.

Sometimes, we have periods of more technology than other times. I’m learning to accept that’s ok! However, it’s important to notice when technology is interrupting healthy day-to-day functioning!

So, when the kids were throwing fits and having meltdowns, we knew it was time to adjust our schedule, and re-focus them on how to handle situations.

Today is a small victory! Our house feels peaceful, once again- as my kids are exploring free/pretend play, while getting along, and treating each other with kindness!

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!

Dear America, It’s time.

This has been weighing heavily on my heart.

My goal in writing this, is not to diminish any one side’s voice.

Rather, to bring to the table that there is a time and a season for everything.

I feel like I’m pretty middle of the road- and even so, I know I’m still at fault, at times.

I’ve spent the better part of the past year trying my best to listen, and I still felt like there were times my voice wasn’t heard.

On one end, I’m tired of being a punching bag, on other, I need to stop throwing the punches, on the other, it’s time I make amends, and use my voice to help build bridges.

The point of this is, cycles happen- and they don’t break until there is change.

And, there needs to be more people standing up in the gap, building bridges to make change.

This is not to say that this is necessarily “your time” for any specific area- rather, whatever you are ready for, and on your time table- I’ll hope that you’ll remember and be open to what changes you are personally ready to take.

Politics aside, this is not to say don’t stand up for what you believe in.

Rather, stand up for what you believe in and be loving to your neighbor. Hear when you have wronged others, and when you’re ready- because we are all on different time tables- break the cycle.

We all have a responsibility to the parts we play in our circles, in our society, and in the world.

In different aspects of our lives, we may be in different parts of the cycle. We may be breaking cycles in one area, and still needing a lot of work in another. And in some- man, do we really need to just stop talking, and start listening and doing!

If I’m way off base, or you feel like any part of this was hurtful- please feel free to open up to conversation with me!

My goal is to keep a space that allows for honest, open communication that works towards coming together.

Growth in life

I’ve been contemplating lately on change and growth, and I have to keep reminding myself. . . So, naturally, I felt led to share.

Growth in your life, no matter the area, requires a few things:

* Getting out of your own way

* Overcoming obstacles

* Setting goals, yet being flexible on the time line- it’s also important to remember that it’s ok to set a goal down, and pick it back up later!

* Being honest with yourself

Growth takes change, and if you’re not ready to change- you’re not ready to grow.

So, if you’re feeling “stuck” in a certain area of your life- you might ask yourself a question!

Am I ok with staying where I’m at?! Or, do I want to do the work to change what is no longer benefiting me?!

For me, I know it’s time to start doing the work on some things I’ve been avoiding. Know that if you’re there, too- you’ve got this. It’ll be hard, but it’ll be worth it!

What’s Even the Point?

What’s even the point?

I find myself thinking this on a daily basis.

I’ve poured myself- given all that I can: mentally, physically, emotionally…I’m sure the list goes on..into a lot of aspects of my life over the years.

And, it currently feels like some of it was for nothing.

Don’t get me wrong- there have been a lot of positives, and a lot of growth.

And I probably need to do a journal to process through things…but I still can’t get the thought out of my head: What’s the point?

What was the point of x,y,z circumstance if x,y,z door was closed, or x, y, z growth didn’t happen. You get the picture.

Honestly, the only answer I have right now is that there is a season for everything. I may never know the reason why I’m feeling this way currently. Or maybe, I’m feeling this way and I just need to get out of my own head.

I also know that, if I’m feeling this way- there is probably somebody else out there feeling this way too.

I’ve always been a big believer in sharing what I have gone through, or am currently going through so others know they aren’t alone.

I know that things may seem hopeless or frustrating. But know, that you.are.not.alone.

In case this is just an: I need to get out of my own head moment. . . Here’s what I plan to do-

*Journal

*Talk about it- sometimes just talking through it helps me to process in a different way. And getting it off my chest helps me to let it go.

* Write to share (here)

*Pray about it and seek God

Feel free to join me! Or ask a friend, therapist/counselor/ professional or google and find your own ways to work through it!!

It’s all about creating your toolbox of resources!

Trusting God is Hard

Sometimes, trusting God is hard. For a while now, I’ve been waiting on God in some key areas of my life. And, it feels like He is ignoring me. Deep desires of my heart. I feel like all I hear is crickets.

If I’m honest, the lack of answers. . . The sitting in waiting. The doing the work, only to get knocked down 15 levels. It has been so painful. The kind of painful that you are at the end of patience for waiting, and into I don’t even care any more, so I’m just going to stop praying and stop drawing near to God.

And that is so much more frustrating. Because, now I feel even further away from who I feel like God has called me to be. So much further away than Him being at the center of my marriage and our family. Further away, from where God has said He called me to. Further away from what He promised. Like, it all feels impossible. No matter which way I look- I don’t see how He is going to answer these prayers. I don’t see how He is going to bring healing.

And with the craziness of this last year- nothing makes sense right now. Absolutely nothing.

I was so sure that if x,y,z would happen, then God would x,y,z in our lives.

I do feel like He keeps sending me little reminders of His perfect timing, but right now- it is so hard to keep the faith that He will turn things around.

All of this has been weighing heavily on my heart.

And if you are out there reading this, just know:

It’s ok to be feel this way while you are in the waiting. Lay it all out to God- Trust me, He can handle it.

Following God doesn’t all of a sudden make life easier, and sunshine and roses. If you are feeling like it’s you and you aren’t worthy. That’s not true. You are so worthy. God loves you through the trials. Even if it feel like you aren’t alone, and you don’t want to pray about it any more. He is right there with you, waiting on you! He is patient.

Whatever it is you are waiting on- whatever storm you are walking through. There’s a rainbow on the other side. It’s beautiful. It won’t be stormy forever. When it’s hard, keep take one little step at a time, and He will guide you!

Even when it feels foggy. Even when it feels hard. Even when it feels like life is upside down, and you don’t see how anything will improve. Just keep walking. He is faithful.

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?!