Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I am who I am.

So this blog post is being prompted by something that happened earlier tonight. I don't even know who I am writing this for, maybe its just for me. So I can hear it again and again...and again.

I feel like my serious, deep in thought nature is misleading to people and I am finding myself apologizing for who I am sometimes. I am in constant battle within my own soul to be who people want me to be. The fact is, I am a girl who has been through alot. And when I encounter someone who I feel I am being led to, I don't hold back. I don't ever hold back in conversation because I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed of who I was or the mistakes I have made and if you were to just meet me on the street I would tell you the same things that I would tell my own husband. If we were to meet at a coffee house and you looked like you had alot on your heart, I would most definitely be the girl to come up to you and ask if you were okay. And if you said no, I would cancel my plans and sit and talk with you for hours. And if you had just gotten into a fight with your husband I would probably tell you all about my marriage and how God has restored it. And I wouldn't leave out any details...

I feel like because I have this deep desire to reach out to people who are hurting and share some Jesus, people think I might be too much. And sometimes I am. I realized tonight that it is hard for me to be in a group of people I am just starting to get to know, and not talk about deep things. Its just hard for me to engage in simple conversation. I am just truly overwhelmed and grateful when I think about where I am today and where I could have been if I didn't know God. And I just so desperately want to scream at the top of my lungs for him, to glorify him, praise him.

And I realize most people aren't like me. Most people are able to just sit and chat about shopping or recipes...believe me I wish I was more like that. Sometimes that's why I struggle to write in this space because I feel like if I'm not giving something away or I'm not posting a recipe, people wont connect to me. But the fact is, my constant state of revelation and seriousness in my personal life and here on the internet is just because I am someone who wants to connect. I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to hear what women before me have been through and I want to help the women who are after me grow. I want to share the good news. I want to scream it out loud to anyone who is stuck, addicted, living in shame, feeling guilty, depressed, anxious and all the other stuff that prevents us from the life intended.

Maybe this is why I am so attracted to art and music. It is probably just a release for me when I have too much going on inside. When my brain is working overtime and my heart is just too full. If we just met and you told me about the heaviness of your heart, I would cry with you. And then i would go home and cry again. Its just who I am.

I apologized to my husband tonight for sharing so much of my life with people, because I feel like it embarrasses him. I feel like people judge him based on the things I say or what I choose to share...he doesn't always get it either. We were at his softball game the other night and I just felt led to share some details of some stuff in my life with a woman I had never met...it turns out her daughter is going through something similar to what I went through and it felt so good to just give a glimpse of hope to her. It felt so good to just say, i have been there. It felt so good to just reach out and let her know that she wasn't alone. I feel like its pretty much what I live for nowadays. The moments when i get to share Jesus.

Maybe I do this too much. I don't know.

So if your reading this and you have been in conversation with me and wondered why I am share so much and why I don't stop checking up on you or stop telling you I am praying for you...its because I really do care. I care so much that I am willing to risk what you think of me for the eternal. I would rather have you think I'm weird and too much, than have you meet me and get nothing. I don't have all the answers but my heart is always open for you. I am always going to be this way. I cant change my heart. I cant change the amount of compassion and empathy I have for people. I cant change my desire to share my story with people and how I have received so much healing and restoration. I cant stop shedding tears for you.

But just because I am on the deep side, or I am emotional or I am in constant thought and revelation, doesn't mean I'm not full of joy. In fact, it is my expression of joy. My heart is always smiling, even through pain because I know him. Because I am so grateful for him and I am in constant awe of everything.

I am who I am, and I don't want to be any other way.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

My very first etsy sale!

Today I had my very first etsy sale.

I opened my shop on March 8th.

I am beyond excited and feel so grateful and just blessed to be able to do what I love.

Make art.

I have been pouring out my heart to the Lord the past few weeks...

letting him know my desires.

And he has surely answered prayer and given me a new sense of hope.

I always want to remember this day.

I feel confident.

Not in me, but in him.

I feel like an artist today.

I am an artist.

A friend of mine posted this today...
and my sale came right after I took this in and really got it.

"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art."

- Andy Warhol

I really get it now.

Its okay to be me.

Its okay to go against what everyone else is doing.

Its okay to not look like everyone else.


I am an artist.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our baseline

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomforts, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways, or truer answers."
M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Usually I use scripture as a reference but this quote has been in my heart for about 6 years now. I dont think I would use the words unhappy or unfulfilled...but definitly uncomfortable. There have been some big truths that the Lord has brought to the surface lately about us as a family. Where we spend our resources and how we run this family. We are in a constant circle of abundance, no plans and then debt. And the Lord has put something big on my heart this past week...

We need to be more intentional.

We need to be more intentional with our money. We need to have a plan. And we need to understand the seasons of trimming the fat and buckling up when times are tough. We are not immune from emergencies or car problems and having a plan for these events definitely takes the burden off when they occur This is where we are. We live a life full of abundance compared to most societies...even though we sacrifice alot for me to stay home with our children. But my heart is in the right spot. I am ready to do whatever it takes for my family so that we can live free and out of bondage. We are ready to be off our plan and into Gods.

I want to highlight areas where we are good, and where we need to work harder. I believe that this could be a positive place for anyone to start when they reach a point of wanting to get out of the nasty cycle of debt or just be prepared for lifes events that aren't part of our everyday plan!

where we are good
(lets start with the positive!)

I shop for our girls clothing at thrift stores
and we only wear simple clothing.
(no brands)
we don't go out to eat, ever.
we pack our lunches
I color my own hair, do my own pedicures
we make our own coffee drinks and smoothies
we take advantage of free entertainment.
(military events, free tickets, playgrounds, city parks, our friends backyards)
we use redbox
we buy all used furniture off of craigslist and yard sales
we buy all used baby items including toys

where we need to work harder

our grocery budget
we don't use coupons
we don't tithe while we are in debt
we don't have any savings
I have a hard time saying no to my girls
we are sometimes impulsive on small items that add up 
(can happen with no plan)
we don't have an emergency fund for car or home issues
we don't contribute to a retirement plan
we don't have a plan
we don't have a plan
we don't have a plan

So here we are. In a place of wanting to make a change. Desperately reaching out for better ways to do things. We are tired of not being intentional and being in bondage over our finances. If I could fast forward to our future, my goal would be to have no more credit card debt and some savings. I would like to see my business grow so that we can be more of a giving family than one who is tied to their own debt. We would like to have some sort of plan for retirement and be intentional in putting money into savings. But really the most important thing for me is that we can learn to be more responsible and intentional so that we can be good stewards with what the Lord has blessed us with. And I feel so blessed. I feel like even in our tightest of seasons we live in such abundance. Its amazing to look back on the past 7 years of marriage and see how faithful God has been to us in being our provider, even when we have made mistakes.

We are ready to make some changes.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Breakfast alone, and some thoughts.

Today the table was empty, it was breakfast for one.

My baby girl was still fast asleep, I let her take in all the moments she needed and fought every urge to scoop her up and cuddle her. And my oldest, she was watching a show about an imaginary land where all your dreams come true. The coolest part, the lead character had pink hair.

She wasn't hungry.

So I sat at the table by myself, eating my gluten free pancakes and turkey bacon...and I couldn't help but ponder so many things that have been whirling through my head the past few days.

1) this is it. This is the last year I have both my babies at home before my oldest goes to kindergarten.  I have one more year to prepare her fragile little heart for what will be the rest of her life. I have one more year to tell her that she can be cheerful and say hi to everyone even when no one says hello back to her. I want her to know that God made her that way.I want her to keep complimenting  pretty shoes and giving hugs when other kids cry...because God made her that way. I try to believe that she is safe here. She is safe at our churches preschool. She is safe in my car and she is safe on my watch. But quite the contrary is the truth. She is safe on his watch, in his arms, in his plan. I want to spend the next year praying for her, that she has that sweet comforting realization in her life. Next year, I want to be able to let go of my baby girl with full confidence in him, that he has all the answers to all her disappointments and challenges. I want to rest easy taking her to school at this time next year knowing that's its not my job to worry over her or mourn the empty space in my house but praise God for giving me such an undeserved blessing and lift her up every single morning to the author of this life.

2)I am deeply desiring to be fed. And I am understanding now how much more of a desire and necessity it is to be spiritually fed rather than in the flesh. I have spent so many countless hours obsessing over food, I have forgotten about the bread. The real bread. Not the gluten free kind or the kind on pinterest, but the life breathing, saving, grace giving, healing bread. I want to be in that bread. 

3) I am praying to be a morning person. Because I have been "fasting" from sundown to sunup and exercising more, I have found myself awake in bed at hours in the morning I haven't seen for a while. I haven't seen them because I have been busy on my own schedule. Filling my days with my own agenda. Truth is, there is nothing my family needs more from me than prayer. Because I have also been battling letting go of the tight grip I have on this life, I see how my petition, my crying out to God for protection and help is far more beneficial than anything i could ever do. I would like to pray more for my husband and his call in this life. I would like my mornings to be full of praise and prayer. I want to rise before the sun and fill my living room with the worship of the King and give him my day...

4) I don't ever want to take one moment of this time for granted. I would rather have a dirty floor and a load of towels swirling around the dryer for the 3rd time that day than miss out on one more moment of what God has for me. What he really wants me to see. What he wants to use me for. What he wants me to know about him. I find that I get so caught up in the daily chores that I miss it. I get so caught up in what needs to be done I forget its not about the tasks, its about my relationship.

5) And I would like grace for it all. I want to experience my God on a whole new level. I want to walk so closely to him that I am not so easily moved anymore. I want grace for when I cant do any of these things, when I fall short. I want him to shape me and mold me into the wife and mother he wants me to be. I want to spend more of my time with open hands and an open heart...for him.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Its starting to be fun again!

Gosh, things were getting pretty heavy there for a while...but I am a very deep person so that is to be expected. I am an analyzer, a big dreamer and very critical of myself so when you put all those things together...I have to fight my own spirit sometimes. I need to let go of the tight grip I have on my own story and just let the author do his job.

I had so much fun creating this collection. It was just something God had put on my heart to do. I just love kids art. I actually think about the child who gets the art often. I sit and think about what they see and what they think about when they look at it.

God has just been really telling me lately to just lighten up. Keep painting...enjoy the ride. So what if I haven't sold anything on etsy yet. I have only been doing this for 6 months now...I was just thinking today about how far I have come in that 6 months. I didn't even know what "blogger" was until Christmas 2011. And I didn't even pick up a paintbrush until Feb 2012. Its a process, opening a shop. And it takes time to get to where your going. I for sure don't want to miss out on anything that is of value to me by being impatient and not trusting in his timing. The bottom line for me is...I just love to paint. I also love to take photos. And I love to write and share this story. I love to inspire. I love to be a blessing. And these are all things I have had the opportunity to do in the past 6 months and I am so grateful for every moment of it.

Lighten up! Trust me! Keep going! Don't think like the world thinks...don't conform to it. Be transformed by my love and my words., because I love you! Listen to me! Have faith in me....I'm working hard for you! Be patient...all things he has spoken to my heavy heart lately.

I still wake up every morning anticipating the amazing things he has for me...

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Another day at the dentist...and my new plan.

Because I know you all are on edge wondering how my apt was today... :)

This is my dental team on a mission trip. I talked to them today about my new burning desire to go on one...they affirmed my desire.

If two days ago was about failure....and yesterday was about faith, hope and love...today I just felt like I was the only one in Gods heart.  I am just overwhelmed with what he has for me lately. And today was just another day where he wrapped his arms around me and said, listen...I love you, I don't want to hurt you. I don't want you to live like this, let me show you how to do it, my way...

So I don't remember her name but the dental hygienist and I had a little convo today and it went something like this: ( I will call her "DH")

DH: So we need to fill out this form again, since this is a new consultation...how have things been since we last saw you?
ME: Well, I have had pain in my gums and two teeth are very cold sensitive, I can barely eat anything cold anymore and there are a couple of areas that are sensitive to the touch, I think they are cavities.
DH: Well, I see those areas, we will have doc look at them but that's common for people who grind.
ME: But I mean, why do I keep getting all these problems? Root canals, gum tenderness, cavities...I do everything I am supposed to do! Why is this happening to me?
DH: Well its common to see gum tenderness and receding for people who grind and clench and your enamel is worn down almost completely so...
ME: So...??? But why???? But... but...why does this randomly just happen? What is the cause?
DH:Well again, its common for people who grind and clench to have exposed root and you have just worn down so much of the enamel, but since you have been wearing a night guard for a while now, hopefully we aren't doing anymore damage...
ME: So...it is my fault.
DH: Whats your favorite part about your smile?
ME: nothing, I hate it.
DH: what??? why?? you have a beautiful smile...
ME: well because it costs me thousands of dollars every year and its always in pain.
DH: what do you see for teeth in the long term...lets say 10 to 15 years?
ME:I just want all my teeth still in my mouth.

So, there it was. The answer. And I ate it with a side of Grace.

God spoke to me today about my health and how to let him help me find my way back to freedom. First, he opened  my eyes to my sleep, and how its interrupted because all of my grinding and clenching happens at night while I am asleep. And how important it is to get rid of anything that will give satan a foothold in my life. I don't need another reason to not be healthy and relaxed.

He told me to fast.

So I will be fasting from dinner to breakfast. That's it. But every night. For me, I'm a late night snacker type and it really does not enable the body to relax and shut down. So I started tonight and already feel better.

Second, a while back I mad a choice to try and give up on my addiction to diet dr. pepper. It actually hasn't been that hard because I realized I am not addicted to diet soda, but I am addicted to carbonation! Praise the Lord! So I have been able to completely switch over to sparkling water and relieve my teeth from the contact of acids (which further strip enamel) and my body from artificial sweeteners. And also caffeine, because caffeine makes my TMJ worse. It dehydrates the muscles and makes my jaw muscles tense and all crappy feeling.

So we will see how the review of my xrays and all that goes, but as of today he found nothing major that needed real immediate attention. Which is good for me, and our finances. Just another day of crying out and answers to prayer. I now have a prescription fluoride treatment for everyday and a big dose of bible. A big dose of the word and alot of prayer and revelation about my worry and anxiety.

I just have this feeling that one day, when I am old and looking back on this blog post, I will be laughing at myself and mourning all the lost time I had worrying my life away. I just pray that someone, somewhere can get something from this.

There are consequences to our actions. If we don't take care of ourselves spiritually first, the body will also fail. You have no idea the kind of damage you could be doing to your own body if you harbor anger or guilt or shame...or worry.

I am off to sleep, thanking God for the amazing work he is doing in my heart right now. And thanking him for loving me through all of this, and not giving up on this girl.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

If yesterday was about failure...today was about faith, hope and love.

If yesterday was about feeling like a failure...today was sooooo different.

I am amazed at how quickly God replaces my thoughts. How he helps me to recover so much quicker than I used to. I knew that today was going to be different. I actually was up and awake hours before we needed to be...all of us showered and ready to go. And today, the service was different. It was about the upcoming missions trip in Feb. I have never been on one, neither has my husband. But we got to Skype with the missionaries in Quintana Roo. I couldn't stop shaking and crying. I kept looking around to see if I was the only one... I felt God pulling at our hearts...I felt like I was in an oxygen chamber. Like I have never had so much life in me. I heard them speak about how the people there think we are blessed by God to go and be a blessing to them. They talked about how the people there want to see people worship and sing. They want to hear testimony. The moment there want to hear testimonies from other women. And the children...the children are so hungry, for Jesus. I kept thinking about how I would want to take Grace. She is such a light for Jesus. I couldn't even image a tiny little blond haired firecracker trying to speak her broken and adorable Spanish.

All I could think about was yesterday. And what went through my head yesterday. And how none of this is really at all about me. I just make it that way.I already hold the victory. This is not about me, or my art or what sells or what our meal plans are...its the fact that I actually have food. And I am have a home. And I have a car. And I have two healthy kids. And we have closets full of clothes...and I can run down the street and get a gallon of milk. The mere thought of it all is overwhelming to me and I cry often about the abundance in my life. But I would hold the same value to God without it. And there are so many people in this world who are lost and hungry both physically and spiritually and I want to be a light for them. Just like someone was for me. I want to hold a child who hasn't seen her mother in years...and just love on her. I want to hold a mothers hand and pray for her just like so many amazing women have done for me. I want to spend more time in the word myself so I am more prepared to handle whatever it is that this life throws me. And I want to take that same bible and hand it over to a woman who has the same hunger that I have....

I don't know if we will be going on this trip. I hope we get to and I know that if we are called, he will make us a way.

I also have been doing alot of thinking about my next move with the art...I am making some plans to get back to what it originally was. I have been so inspired by my children this past week. I just feel different. I feel like I have more of a path to follow. And I feel more confident that I am not alone on this path.

Tomorrow I am going to the dentist. I will wake up, pray, and trust in the most high to give me all the tools necessary to handle whatever happens. If its thousands of dollars more, I trust him to provide. I trust him to take care of all of it.

I just trust him, because he loves me.


<bits of splendor monday
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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Are you okay,there?

"Are you okay, there?" is what the guy asked me at Whole Foods today. He was very handsome, hair long and slicked back into a ponytail off his face. He had a smile that was literally from the front door to the back. He gave me a nod and waited for me to answer...

I said, yes...gave him a smile back and then cried my way through the organic chicken and Greek yogurt.

Ten minutes earlier I was at Michaels with the girls using a 40% off coupon on canvas. I was shaking again in the isles thinking about how it was gas in my car or 12 x 12 canvas, where little animals and letters would soon live...making a choice to listen to what God wants me to do with my art...how he wants to use me. But I still struggle with trusting him to make it be what he wants it to be, not what I want it to be.

And about 45 minutes before that, I had realized that it was approaching the time for certain bills to be paid and I text my husband, again in a complete panic, and that man...he can only just say..."I love you". He doesnt get the worry. He doesnt get the guilt.  Thank God for that.

And about and hour earlier I had been browsing around on etsy, looking at all the other shops. I was noticing how many women were successful at selling their homemade goods and art...and how I had not one sale on etsy so far.

And in that same hour I found myself again considering my life to be one big failure. Again, something I am not successful at.

And one day earlier I had to call and make an appointment for another dental visit. Thousands of dollars later and many hours sitting in that chair, I again, have more problems. I have had to wait until August so my benefits would renew. And thanks be to God for taking all the pain away for the last 4 months while I have been waiting...

I was driving home watching Grace mouth the words to one of her bible school songs in the back..."you you you...you can trust God" Even though she really doesn't know what she is saying, I know how powerful these words being hidden in her heart are. I know that one day, when Jesus is ready to take her heart...and she is ready to give it...she will remember that song.

And I couldn't help but think about that guy at whole foods. He looked alot like Jesus. The smile, the hair, the way he practically sought me out, stopping in his own steps to check on me...I couldn't help but think, did he mean am I okay THERE?

Not like, are you okay? But how are you doing, where you are. Are you okay in your own guilt and shame...hows it going with all those burdens you put on yourself? Again, the tears flow as I sit here and write this. As I sit and contemplate what has become the biggest thief of my joy in life. My biggest fear, my biggest weakness.

Letting go.

For some reason I still to this day have a hard time releasing all control to the one who is. I still consider my success based on what I am capable of and how well I make things work. I still consider and empty bank account a failure. I still think of physical illness, my fault.

And this post isn't even about money. Or it could be. It could be cancer. It could be the loss of a loved one. It could be a divorce or the loss of a job. But for me, its trusting God, when its the hardest. I go to bed feeling guilty for buying gluten free bread, not because I am trendy, but because I am allergic.
Some days I wake up and I look around and see all the art in my house, waiting for a home, and I feel like I have failed, because its still here.

But I am convinced now that this is all for my good. The complete depletion of monetary funds. The lack of etsy sales...the health issues. All of it. Because I am now understanding that for my own good, God will take everything away from me that I feel I am in control of. He will allow things to get so bad that I have nothing left but to get on the floor, and receive. Receive his love, his mercy and his grace. Let him take over and fill my cup. Let him love me like no other could. Let him be my only source of comfort.

I have been told that I need to learn to get over always thinking of myself as a failure. I am still not quite sure how to do that. All I know is that no amount of work I do or time I spend or paintings I make or meals I cook or preschools we go to or babies I breastfeed or business I run or charity's I support or blog posts I write...none of it matters to him. He just wants to love me...because I am his.

And I also realize that the lack of money or the presence of cancer or the loss of job or a successful business is not the measure of his love. Because I would rather sit here with my heart breaking into a million pieces, pouring out my soul, seeking wisdom, on my knees...than live one more day out in the wilderness alone. I would rather my bank account be empty so I can trust him to fill it. I would rather have to go to the dentist monday and get my exam...and have him in control, rather than me. I would rather have no sales on etsy right now, so I can really discover his love for me, without it. I would rather approach the father, clothed in rags, broken and unclean, so that he might transform me into what he intended.

I don't have all the answers, infact I dont have any. I dont know things happen. I dont understand Gods timing. I dont get his ways...and for someone like me, this is a very uncomfortable place to be in.

But I am chosing to hang on and let him change me. Let whatever needs to happen, happen. I want so badly to just be able to let go. I cant just hang on when things are good. And I cant believe the lie that if you are not sick, your healthy. And if your rich, your safe. And if your happy, your secure.

So, to answer your question sweet man at whole foods...no, Im not okay here. I dont want to be here. I want to be as far from here as possible. But there is only one way for me to do that...

Let go.
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