Monday, December 11, 2017

Attitooodles!

So my little turned 2 on Friday and we celebrated with the stomach bug. Ya, it was a great time for us all. I'm not sure why things like this happen at such opportune times, but certainly it does. Honestly, we did have a sweet little birthday party for Ana, but I was not feeling well and felt that I missed out on being all I could be for her. None the less, she had a fun and sweet party with the close family and friends that love us so well. We had a fun Mickey Mouse party with hotdogs, gooey fish, and cake and ice cream. Ana was super excited all week for her party and was so excited to get some toys that are her own, not hand me downs from big sister.

So, the whole stomach bug thing hit us hard and apparently we shared it with some in our life as well. Sorry. We didn't even know it was happening to us until we were knee deep in it. Ew! Thankfully we are all clear of it and the house is cleaned, clothes and blankets are laundered and we are all back to normal capacity this week. I realize, when we are in the middle of illness and the craziness that comes with it I tend to throw all of my beliefs and convictions out the window. Ha!
Do you get what I'm saying?  But, for real.
Puke, poop, missing school, calling into work, etc get me in a funk. I can't seem to get a grip on the whiny attitude and entitled mood I get when my kids are sick, husband is sick, life goes in the toilet and we are all just sick and annoyed. Am I alone in this? We all get moody, the kids get stir crazy, work piles up, chores pile up, we miss out on events and things (not the worst thing in the world)... all this to say... I tend to become quite the hot mess and most annoying person to be around. Just ask Nick. ha ha. For some reason I tend to just dramatically overthink, overreact, over dramatize, and become so negative. No one enjoys being sick or having sick kids, but I guarantee that my negative attitude and the constant whining I tend to share with my family, certainly does not help. The more I internalize my situation, dwell on it and get frustrated with it, the worse it tends to get. I am a creature of habit and I like our routine and our day to day life. When something like a stomach bug gets in the way of that I, most of the time, see it as negative, terrible and a pain to deal with. Rarely do I look at it as a blessing to get a day at home with my girls, thankful we aren't chronically ill (because we would have with our sweet Noah), it could always be worse, we have all the things we need to get through the illness and move on.

But, isn't this the case? When things are well, life is going on nicely and routines are in place we are "thankful" "happy" "grateful" "focused"... we don't struggle as much, am I right? I have walked through some dark times and I remember thinking during those times how much I wished I had the "bad times" I had when I didn't know any different. Ignorance is bliss? When I didn't know how bad it could get, I thought I had it bad. So why, now that I know how bad it can  be, do I still get in that kind of funk and bad place at the hint of just a regular stomach bug episode? Why does that rock my world and put me in a terrible place? Now I know, everyone gets the right to be upset about it. No one wants to be sick, have sick kids, clean up said sick kids, etc. We just dont. It's not pleasant. It's not fair. But, here is what I'm trying to get at...

Our true character comes out in our worst times. yes? When the kids are sick, the husband is sick, the laundry is piling, you're washing bedding at 1:00am, missing work, having to catch up on it all later, etc....the attitude we carry in those times can really make a difference. It certainly isn't my child's fault that they woke up puking in their bed, is it? What good does it it do to get upset, at anyone really, for that? The honest truth is, it's hard not to let it out at someone, anyone in range really.
Why is it that we fly off the handle so quickly? (please tell me you do too) I suppose I could be the only one admitting to this and I'm ok with it. I really do think that we all struggle with complaining and whining more than we should. Some of us use the saying "first world problem" when referring to our troubles because we want people to know that we understand there are people with much heavier issues going on around the world. But, y'all, they really do.

I was so caught up in the inconvenience of it all this weekend that I forgot I have been the one who lived in the children's hospital for 5 months. I let that time slip away from me. I was so frustrated with the out of routine craziness that I didn't stop and remember that I have seen harder days. What I would have given then, to just have kids with the stomach bug, instead of a child I never saw and one who was holding on for dear life thanks to drugs and machines. Ya know, our lives are so precious and fragile. We often complain about the silliest things. Our feelings are valid at the time. Like I said, no one likes sick kids or to be sick themselves... but I  remember wishing my kid would live. I knew my girls would survive this bug. It was just a typical 24 hour deal, but I lived every day for 5 months with the reality that my son may not.
5 years and I've already let slip some of those precious life lessons. When we seem to be so frustrated and we act entitled and whiny, let us remember our own past experiences and others' current experiences who would argue that we don't have it as bad as we think we do.
I can currently think of plenty of people who would wish a 24 hour stomach bug over what they are walking through today.
Military families who are spending every day, plus the holidays without their loved one.
Those families who have lost a loved one serving in the military.
Families with children fighting cancer, heart defects, multiple birth defects...
Families who are struggling to find ways to pay bills and provide
Children who are orphans every day, plus the hard times of the holidays.
Children who are living in abusive homes
Women who are in abusive situations and feel trapped
Men who are constantly told they aren't enough, they aren't capable, they will never amount


My take away from this last weekend is this...

Be careful how we express frustration in our home/with our families. (especially spouses) May we be mindful of how we declare our issues on facebook and insta for all to read. There are so many things we complain about that are so absolutely frivolous. It seems insulting to those who are in the trenches of childhood cancer, newborn heart surgeries, families with no medical answers and they are holding on to hope that they'll get a few more days with their little... there are people who are desperately hurting as we complain about small small inconveniences.

I didn't even know Ava got sick again one night because Nick dealt with all of it. He wanted me to sleep because I was trying to get through the bug and he knew I needed the rest. He tended to Ava, washed bedding, worked on cleaning the mattress, got Ava tucked in on the couch and he slept in the chair while he waited so switch the loads. The girls loved on each other as they were both sick at the same time and had to stay  home from school, they found time to play together when they started perking up, they snuggled and took turns watching shows they like. They consoled each other and you know when the kids are sick, that is when they want to snuggle the most.

Everyone is well, our home is clean, our laundry done and life moves on. We are not planning another funeral, sitting bedside with a post-op baby all puffy and swollen. We are not traveling back and forth from DFW to Amarillo. We are not wondering if a new treatment plan will work. We are not homeless. We are not without.
We are a blessed family. We were blessed even when we were in those moments, but we are so incredibly thankful to be in the place we are right now in life.

I needed the attitude check today. So I'm sharing it with you because I imagine you may need it too. We all have so much to be thankful for.
If you are in the middle of a season that seems similar to one I've mentioned... hold on tight to Jesus. He sees you, he hears you, he is with you. He does not abandon you and you are not being punished by walking through a season that is so difficult. If anything, you are being refined and defined by the Father himself. He is still the author, still in control and he is working out all things for your good. He is your hope. He is your safe place. Don't give up or give in. Just give him all the things.

Let's look at "reality" and use it to put us in a thankful place. May it humble us and remind us that we are truly blessed.When we "find the heart" we'll see that, even in the hard times we are so loved and there are so many things to cherish and be thankful for!

Love you all!

Shaina 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Big Move

The fact that I only post every few months proves that life is rapidly flying by and things are just full to the brim. I am also aware that our life isn't exactly so interesting that everyone wants to hear about it either, but I have been aware that we have made some incredibly drastic changes in our life and they have been the best thing we could have done. I finally feel like I can wrap my head around it and share, knowing that someone might benefit from it!

This year's word for me has been Wellness. You can read about that in my previous post. I will say that in my humanity I have been on board easily at times and I have completely jumped ship some as well. The learning I have accomplished in this year has been priceless though and I have also learned to give myself so much more grace. That in itself is a huge win for this "good girl"/slight perfectionist/could be borderline ocd on occasion....just sayin. Finding ways to show myself grace has been hard and so beneficial. (and I've read over 12 books this year. This is a miracle)


Some of you may have noticed that we sold our home in September. This was not necessarily a quick or rash decision, but it was something that God clearly spoke to Nick and I both about and we decided together to be obedient in it. He really pressed this upon us through some upkeep we were going to have to begin doing to the home. We decided that perhaps we were not exactly in love with the home and questioned the thought of investing so much into a home we were not wanting to remain in forever. The home has been such a blessing to us. We were able to heal and move forward from a home that we never brought Noah home to, we did bring our sweet rainbow girl, Ana, to this home and Ava did so much growing up and learning in the house. We are so thankful for the season we lived there. We just knew it was time to make a move.  Where move to, you ask?

An apartment. I know. The thought is daunting. Why in the world would we move from a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, back yard with play set, 2 car garage, etc home.... for an apartment, close neighbors, 1 less bedroom, noise, no yard...ya. This is the opposite of the American Dream.

Thank God.
Nick and I both have felt the push to retreat from the American Dream mentality and pursue God's dream for us. We have both felt this push and the call from him to quit being "normal" whatever that looks like and  just be obedient. This means that we downsized, we got rid of so much stuff, we let go of tons of junk, our kids had to shuck a lot of toys, we had to swallow some pride, grit our teeth and begin an a new adventure. We have dreams that we know God is placing in our hearts for a place to call home, someday, that will truly be that, for more than just us 4. We know we will have the space to host our life group, the worship team, our girls' friends, the church staff, our friends and family. There are things that are stirring in my heart that only God can put there and only he can accomplish them, but he's asking for my obedience, not just my wishful thinking. We have also been on a financial journey since 2015. That year we found out we were pregnant in March, Nick would need back surgery and our car at the time needed an entirely rebuilt transmission and a suspension job. We found ourselves getting a loan from our bank and the entire year of expense was covered. We were prepared to pay that loan quicker than the couple of years we had to do it in, but it felt like a prison. We knew that life happens and that sometimes expenses come up and we just didn't want to feel trapped like that again. We also did not know that we would be experiencing a job change for Nick, the next year, but THANK GOD he made that happen in our life. We are so thankful for the position and company Nick is in now and we know that is the hand of God. (you'll hear the story later I'm sure) All of that to say, we decided to really get serious about our financial goals. Part of wellness, for me, this year, has been mental wellness and part of that was getting some things in order for our future. We had done a few of the steps in Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover and had an emergency fund saved back and were snowballing debt well. We had gotten to the place of  having only our 1 loan payment (for our 2015 year of the crazy) and our mortgage. That was it. We were feeling great about that and knew that we would never have a credit card again and felt the blessing of no student loans. haha. We were at a point where we made the decision to jump ahead at a quicker pace in our financial goals. But, that meant downsizing our living for awhile.



 "There are things that are stirring in my heart that only God can put there and only he can accomplish them, but he's asking for my obedience, not just my wishful thinking..."



When I mentioned to Ava that we may be moving to an apt, she exclaimed "YES! This is going to be amazing!"... haha! As a momma I was so thankful she was excited. I made sure we would stay in an area where she wouldn't move schools (very important to me) and we started doing the research. I didn't doubt that God would take care of my girls in the move, but this was confirmation to me that he would more than take care of them, he would allow them to thrive.
So, in early September we got with our favorite realtor (Chelsie Kinsey) and in 5 days from listing, we had a contract. God was certainly showing up and showing off. We closed in a record amount of time and we were able to make enough on our home to pay off our entire loan we had, the remainder of our home loan and then have a huge jump start on saving 3 months worth of income/next home goals. In one move of faith, we jumped ahead in our goals by leaps and bounds.

We were blessed to move into a brand new apt complex. Our new place is PERFECT for us. Because we got rid of so much stuff, we fit perfectly in the apartment. The space is exactly what we need in this time. It isn't tiny, but it is just the right size for us (and our life group fits too haha!)  Our girls love (and are young enough) to share a room. The closets are spacious, for the stuff we did keep and need to store. The kitchen/dining and living are so open, yet cozy and inviting. The laundry/utility is great and the cat is fairly happy there..if a cat actually cares... I'm not sure of that. haha
 Something about the super tall ceilings make me feel so happy. I've seen God dote upon us in this move in so many ways. I'm so thankful. Our girls are loving it and honestly, so are Nick and I. I have said it so many times since we moved in, that our little bungalow of home is SO EASY TO CLEAN, it's not overwhelming. There is no yard to keep up with, no garage to de-clutter (even though it would be nice in the winter to have one haha), etc. The time we do have right now amidst the things we are involved in, is devoted to our own little family. It is so nice to have the time to relax, have fun, do fun things, and not feel overwhelmed by housework, yard work, chores, repairs, etc.

What I want to really share is this...selling your home and downsizing and revamping your whole lifestyle is not for everyone. It is not the answer for every family. What I am saying is that whatever you feel God telling you to do right now... be obedient in that and He is faithful to show you his favor and blessing in that obedience. I am telling you, THIS WAS NOT EASY. I'm actually still in the process of getting rid of some stuff as I type this. Letting go of stuff and status and what we think the world wants from us wasn't just an easy decision or process. It took prayer, trust and LOTS OF ENERGY, some tears and all the sweating. I wanted to wait and list our home in January, Nick didn't. Trust is hard and submitting to him isn't always easy, but God proved himself through that and in many other circumstances.

My wellness went to a whole new level that I didn't realize was needed, by simply downsizing the amount of stuff in my life. I am currently reading 2 books... A Simplified Life by Emily Ley and The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner In both of these books, simplifying and creating space in our lives is the theme and goal. I have been so thankful to have a place to dig in and learn more about this need for space in my life... tangible and emotional. I have read other books like Unstuffed by Ruth Souker about de-cluttering and un-stuffing our lives of just that, stuff. She hits on a lot of good points in this. I recommend it. (all of them) There is another book called Finding Spiritual White Space by Bonnie Gray that I remember really starting this idea of wellness and space in my life. When we fill our life with so much stuff we cannot even imagine filling it with anything else, our kids, our Jesus and our most important parts of us get the boot. They just do. Never fails. As I've taken the whole year to really look at this I feel as though a year has not been enough and wellness continues into next year, but maybe in a different way. I have dabbled in wellness in just about every aspect of my life this year, but just dabbled. I haven't gone as deep into physical wellness as I had planned, spiritual wellness as I need, financial wellness is a work in progress, etc. You know? Where is it that I can journey deeper into this concept?

I have much work to do. Thankfully God walks with us, no matter the length of time it takes to really learn and grasp. He is faithful to walk in every season with us, through all the lessons and learning. Are we willing to go there though? What adventure is God calling you to? Maybe it is a health journey, a financial journey, a spiritual journey (he's calling us to that daily honestly), maybe it is a new job, new home, different city... I don't know where you are at, but I can tell you that this last year has been one of my best years because I have really pushed myself to let God show himself through hard obedience. What a blessing.

The benefits of these changes in our home are absolutely humbling and a blessing to us.
Our marriage is healthier than ever. We help each other in our goals, we have learned to communicate better and end up realizing we have so many of the same goals personally and then that overflows into our family goals. We have fun. We laugh. We have space to relax and enjoy ourselves. Our girls are realizing that life isn't about stuff, slowly, but they are. We have a clear goal financially and we are attaining it now at a more rapid pace. It is amazing to see how such lofty goals aren't lofty when they're given by the Lord and fueled by him as well. So thankful for the ability and freedom to save such large amounts of money each month to see big goals become reality in the next few years.

5 years ago I was in Fort Worth and I was dreading Christmas. We were going to be stuck in Ft Worth with a very sick little boy and life just didn't look happy or Christmas-y that year. I was alone the majority of the time and didn't know how my 2 year old would survive such a dysfunctional Christmas. But God. He showed up big that year and we were overwhelmed by intentional love from him, others and each other. We had a Christmas full of incredible memories that I will cherish forever. It snowed in Ft Worth on Christmas Day. (miracle) haha We had so much fun making our Christmas Eve snack-a-thon and Christmas Day food at the Ronald McDonald House of FT Worth and sharing with friends we met there. We were just overwhelmed by so many good things. These last few years after Noah's death have been HARD. Not only walking out grief, but just life, like parenting kids, job changes, church hurts, family misunderstandings, friends coming and going.... life has seen its share of hardship. But God. He is so kind, faithful and good to us. He is using every situation and circumstance to teach us, grow us and make us better versions of ourselves. We're so blessed and in that I don't mean with stuff or neat things are fluffy happiness.. I mean we are genuinely blessed. In the death of a child, in the loss of family members, on the other side of deep pain, in the trials of daily life... God is so faithful. He is true. He is good. He is trustworthy. He is genuine and real with us. He disciplines those he loves. Thank you, Lord, for loving us so well. :)

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! Filter this season through the lens of the Gospel. If something doesn't seem necessary or worth it, don't do it. Don't create stress out of comparison of others or the need to impress or keep up with others. Do the best thing for your family. Don't try to go to every event. Don't get your kid a bunch of crap. They want our presence anyway. Not sure why we don't get that in our heads. Don't over do it on crafts and bucket lists if that is not realistic for your family. Give your family the best version of you and if that means less stuff and more intentional time together, simple activities or just less of all the things. Do it. Own it. Enjoy it! Holler if you need moral support in this. We are in this together. :) haha!

In His love,
Shaina

And consider this your Christmas Card. Cuz that is something that I gave up years ago. Too stressful, paying for someone to throw it in the trash.... stamps, addresses... ya. Enjoy this new picture of our crazy family!
Merry Christmas and Happy 2018!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Wellness 2017

Wellness 2017

For the last 5 months, wellness has been my word. You know, every year you pick a word and then that is your theme for the year? The last few years they have built upon one another. Last year’s word was hard because I felt the Lord calling me to come alongside Nick and whatever word he was going to be using. Commit. What a year!
So, this year it is wellness. What did that even mean, what does it mean today? What will it mean by December 31?
 At first, wellness meant mental, spiritual and some health. I know, I was pushing it all far away from my mind, the fact that my health needed attention. You know, mommas especially, can have a tendency to put themselves last. This isn’t a post about allowing yourself to let things go and be ok with it, but it isn’t about being so hard on yourself that you don’t live either. What it IS about, is a need to pay attention to ourselves, so that we can be an honest version of ourselves, healthy for our families, and at home in our own skin.
So, in March I got my eyes checked. It seemed like an easy way to start taking care of myself. It wasn’t the dentist, whom I hate. That is actually next week. The day before my 32nd birthday. Haha. Figures. Anyway, so I got my eyes checked and had to get some glasses for driving/seeing distance. They are fun and it wasn’t a huge deal, but it felt nice to know more about that part of my health. (I know some of you are reading this and appalled that I didn’t get my eyes checked since the age of 5) None the less, here we are. After the last 5 years of life, going through traumatic experiences and learning to live life after loss etc I am finally to a point where being completely honest with myself was my only way forward.
All the way forward to 30 days ago. Well, more like 40 days ago. I came across some information about Whole30. I know, the most strict and restrictive eating plan known. Haha. Anyway, I am not a researcher. I don’t have the attention span. So, I asked my personal researcher, Nick, to read up on it and get back to me. In the mean time, he had been dealing with wrist pain and had an appt with his primary care (which is another appointment that is on my list to make. I have already had my “yearly” if you know what I mean. TMI?!?) haha. He came home from that appointment with some discouraging news and he had just read about the Whole 30 and basically told me we were doing it and we were going to do it for a long while. Ok. Here we go. So, I did some actual research and pinned my little heart out on a secret Whole30 board of course, because I didn’t want anyone to know we were going to be another few people who failed at a whole30. I figured if I kept the board secret and failed at it, it wouldn’t be such a deal. Nick continued to get the plan in place and listened to the book. I was a bit of a crab about it even though it was my idea. Haha. So the journey began and all of a sudden the first week was over and I was feeling a bit empowered. When we first started our Whole30, we had our vacation in mind. The one we are on as I write this. We didn’t want to be on it while we took our big girl to DFW for a fun birthday weekend.   I can tell you in all honesty that we did the Whole 30 days and it wasn’t the end of the world.  It might have been the best thing we could have done for ourselves.
See, since I was fairly young, I’ve had a weird relationship with food. I never thought much of it until middle school, but I was taught to love myself even if I wasn’t the exact version I wanted to see, so I didn’t really change the things I didn’t like. I wished they would change, but was honestly too lazy to try to change them. So, through high school and college I didn’t really hate myself, but I didn’t better myself either. Marriage came and the newly wed lbs came on. Pregnancy 1, then 2 suddenly after that and then a few years of grieving and trying to figure out life came on me. I found myself years down the road with this need to actually give some attention to my body. 9 months ago I took on a new role at Family Life Church. When I stepped into the roll of Worship Pastor/Creative Arts I had no clue what I was actually walking into. God has stretched me far beyond what I thought I even needed to be. There have been very dark days and there have been many amazing days. I can’t explain the depth to which my faith has plunged, but I kinda love it. What a refreshing thing to be in over my head in the middle of God’s will. It has come with some major challenges, deep hurts, lots of confusion and many a night of crying out for wisdom, direction, just His closeness. I began to hear him talk to me about my health, specifically my weight, my disrespect to my body. My neglect of the body he gave me. I would see a live stream of a service and shudder because what I saw wasn’t how I felt I looked. It didn’t depict my inner self either. I didn’t look like my personality, in my mind. So, all of that to say, along with Nick’s Dr’s appointment, the rubber met the road. Here we were at a crossroads. I could continue down the comfortable road, the one I’ve known for half my life, or the hard road. Well, I was already proving to myself that taking the harder road in my place of service/work/ministry hasn’t caused me to fall over dead then maybe choosing the hard road to my health was going to be worth it too.
Whole30, you can research it yourself. You can cringe and deep sigh and roll your eyes at it too at first. Yet, I will tell you that I have never felt more control and true discipline in my life regarding food, in my life. I have a respect for myself enough to not destroy myself with emotional eating (as much, y’all it is still a struggle and probably always will be), mindless snacking, the need for a drink or a sonic run every day, etc. There are freedoms I now enjoy that I have not even imagined before. The massive detox of all things, grain, dairy, legumes, sugar, etc totally reset my system and has been an absolute blessing to me. Has it been hell at times? Why, yes. Yes it has. Have I enjoyed cooking EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL. Now and forever amen. No, I have not enjoyed it every time. Have I loved running the dishwasher every day and running out of clean forks every other day? Nope. But, have I enjoyed experimenting, challenging myself and then proving to myself that I can do hard things? YES. It really has been an adventure that I have enjoyed and embraced. I have learned that strawberries don’t need sugar on them. Haha. I realized that I can make a mean jar of Ranch Dressing. Fresh salsa makes a great dressing. Plantains are delightful. Scrambled eggs for breakfast every day isn’t all that bad, especially when cooked in coconut oil. :D
Why am I writing all of this? I know that it isn’t breaking news and I don’t have any wisdom I am going to drop on you, but I want to document this for myself. I want to continue to keep learning, keep challenging myself and in His grace be obedient. Obedience is hard. Is it worth it? Every time.
Now, I will say, I could not have done this without Nick. The accountability, the person I can be most honest with, doing this alongside has made all the difference. We starting exercising too, because our energy had switched because of our detox of so many things that were causing us to crash at the end of the day. We are watching less TV, spending more time outside, going to the pool, working out 3x a week at least, etc.  Our kids eat better because we are. The girls will throw down a bowl of grapes or strawberries like nothing else. Ava has been very aware of this journey with me. She knows I am focusing on being healthy. She is a cheerleader. I’m thankful that she is seeing me be mindful of my health, but for the right reasons, not for the sake of a size or I don’t think I’m pretty or something…
So we are enjoying our vacation, having some treats and celebrating our daughter and when we return home, we will be doing another Whole30. There is something that continues to better us through this routine that we are not done banking on. So, we will continue along and be thankful for the benefits of being disciplined. God is a God of order. He is not a God of chaos.
I am not sure where you are in your life or what your struggles are, but if you have any question about being obedient in the hard thing…. Do it. Just go ahead and do the hard thing. You can do hard things. You can say no to things. You can say yes to things. You can walk in obedience. NOT perfectly, but wholly. As we pursue Holiness. We obviously will never achieve perfect holiness, true righteousness, that is why grace is so beautiful. Yet, I know we can achieve obedience to the fullest, wild abandon in our faith, adventures and challenges can be accepted and experienced to levels never before known.
There are 6 more months to this year. I am thankful that God doesn’t operate in time like we do. He allows me to take on new adventures and challenges with him, at the pace I can, in the time I need, in the way that is best. Another thing, I’m so thankful for a friend who understands and  supports whatever thing God is doing in my life. Surround yourself with support, with wisdom, with true blues. They are hard to find. If you have 1, you are blessed. Finding a rhythm to your life is so important as well. IT is ok to eat the same breakfast every day of your life. It is fine to have staple items that you know support your health. It is ok to not schedule something every day. It is amazing for your kids if you really listen and allow yourself to be aware and attentive. 

***note to the grieving mom reading this, because that has been the whole intention of this blog since Noah’s death…Take. Care. Of. Yourself. Spend time tending to your heart for as long as you need, in whatever ways you need. Be honest and true. Exercise. Eat clean. Treat yourself too. Enjoy quiet. Enjoy alone time. Savor family. Extend grace. To those family members and friends who bail, give them grace and love, but don’t hide your needs to appease them. They don’t always understand. They need grace and forgiveness for the times they hurt us. To those people on the inter-webs who mean well, but just can’t seem to not comment, just keep scrolling. To the people who will forget your child’s birthday or death day or some special date, don’t hold it against them. Time doesn’t heal, but it gives us perspective. Just continue to allow grace to flow. Feel all the feels. Do all the traditions, special things and celebrations. Post the pictures, share their story, find a support group, keep a grief journal, give back, find ways to honor your child’s life/memory/legacy. Whatever it takes, be the best version of you for the kids you still have on earth, or for the kids who will grace your family someday. I’m telling you, take care of yourself. Don’t let the loss of your child kill your spirit for life. Take your time and then wipe your face and push forward. It’s worth it. We can do hard things because we have lived through the hardest most dark day of our life; the day we gave our baby back to Jesus. Hold on tight mommas and daddies of those gone before. Redemption will come. *****

So, ya. I’m thankful. I’m inspired. I'm refreshed. Thankful for this little weekend away to recharge and have quality time with my loves. Thankful that God allows space and ways to make us better versions of ourselves. I challenge you to do the small thing, today, that could possibly change your life. What a blessing it is to be a masterpiece that is ever changing, growing, getting more beautiful and increasing in value as time goes by. See yourself as worth the investment.
I know it has been so long since I have shared. I suppose the desire to write has just been suppressed by lots of different circumstances. Thankful for the place to share my heart though, and possibly encourage you. Be the best version of you. I used to think so little of those who thought nutrition and health were priority. I had this attitude and pride because I was in denial. I didn’t want to like those who cared about their health because I didn’t. I think that happens for people in many different ways. If you don’t want to care about your spiritual condition then you think those who do are snobby. If you don’t care about social justice then you think people are wasting their time. If you don’t care about a certain issue then you avoid it. Here’s the thing, when it becomes important to you, you will actually succeed at it. Again, thankful for grace.Thankful for patience and for growth.
Extending the invitation that if you need support or encouragement or any form of advice, I’m not certain that I can be the best help, but I can be a friend and an ear. I can point you to the One who can and will walk with you through any road.
In Him,
Noah’s mom