Old Hat, New Hat

“I think I’ll go get a new hat,” she said one day. “One that fits just right, is pretty, colorful, and everyone will just adore it!”

So, she set out in search of the perfect hat.

At the first store she found a purple one with bright yellow feathers. It made her feel like royalty. She wore it around the store for a few minutes, but it didn’t feel quite right. It didn’t feel like her. So, she moved on.

The next place drew her to try on a creme colored derby hat with a beautiful red ribbon around it. This one made her feel fun. But again, something didn’t feel right. And again, she moved on.

She thought for sure she would find one at her favorite hat store just another block down. She walked excitedly toward it.

When out of the blue, she ran into an old, dear friend. They chit-chatted a bit about family, life, the weather, and the upcoming bazaar at church. Her friend asked what she was doing in town today.

“I’m hunting a new hat,” she said. “One that fits just right, is pretty, colorful, and everyone will just adore it.”

“Oh,” said her friend somewhat confused. “You mean like the one you have on?”

“What? This old thing? I’ve had it for decades!”

“Well,” her friend said, “I think it suits you perfectly. It fits just right, is pretty, colorful, and everyone adores it!”

“Hmmm,” she thought. You just might be right.

How often do we feel like we are in a rut and decide we want something new, or want to change who we are, or change what we look like? And we might “try on” all sorts of new things: this diet or that diet, trendy clothes, a new job,or even a new town. When in fact, who we are in our core to begin with is what feels comfortable. It’s being true to ourselves and not conforming to the ways of the world. Not believing the lies that we’re not enough. Not believing the media that we have to look this way or act this way to be cool or be the best friend.

So often we try to run and hide from who we are. Because it’s scary to face the deep down. The hurts. The what if’s. The I wish I wouldnt’s. Know this:

God created you perfectly! Just as you are! No piece or part of you was a mistake.

And when we go and try to change that we’re telling God he made a mistake.

Sigh.

How many times have I been guilty of this very thing?!?! (too many)

So, how can we honor who God made us?

By believing we are enough. Just as we are. We are loved. We are cherished. And more than we could ever imagine. Believe.

Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.

“Are the walls to lock you in or to keep others away?  And if the doors were to be opened would you leave or would you stay?”

These are the first words in the song, “Run Wild” by for KING & COUNTRY.  I love this song and it resonates with me deeply.

See, about 10 years ago I had locked myself in a prison of my own making.  I allowed depression, anxiety, perfectionism, and co-dependency to rule my life.  And my prison became a safe place.  I knew what to expect (panic attacks, social anxiety, stomach pain…).  And as horrible as these things were I didn’t quite know how to escape.  And if I did what would the pain be like on the other side?  Worse perhaps?  Fear kept me trapped.

So, in working with a counselor (for many, many years) she showed me that the door was open and always had been.  I didn’t have to be in bondage to my emotions, feelings, and OCD-ness.  Yet, stepping out of the comfort zone was extremely hard.  And it took me awhile to actually shed the chains of imprisonment.

And what took even longer was shedding the effects of my imprisonment.  My hardened heart, my requirement for control in all situations, my tendency for enjoying being a hermit…

And if I’m honest those things still arise on occasion.  If I can be aware of when these things might rear their ugly head, then I can take steps to prevent them from taking over.  But if they blindside me then I become a prisoner in that moment.

So, I’m learning to be free again.  And if I’m honest… this freedom is pretty awesome.  I want to encourage you that if you feel imprisoned, you too can be free!

And the only way I can enjoy this freedom is because I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus paid the price for my ugly sin.  He took on my shame, my imprisonment, my sin, and because He loves me so much I can live free.  And He tells us:

“You, my  brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh;  rather, serve one another humbly in love.”  Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

So, are you living free?  And what are you doing with your freedom?

Run wild.  Live free.  Love strong my friends.

Whoa Nelly!

Whoa Nelly:  whoa is the word to stop a horse.  Nelly is what farmers used to call all their female horses (because they didn’t name their work tools and a horse was a tool – according to urbandictionary.com).

In today’s time this phrase is also used to talk about anything out of control – you know a dog, a kid, breakfast time, life…. And it’s usually used after the fact.

Whoa Nelly!  2018 was cray!  That’s the term I’m using for last year.  Whoa Nelly!

In a nutshell, here’s what happened:

The year started off really nicely with a few ski trips with my husband to some new and some familiar places.  One of those new places was New Hampshire in February.  This is where the year began falling off course.  We decided to hike up Mt. Washington.  Tucker’s Ravine to be exact.  With 40 pounds of ski equipment on our backs.  And when we arrived at the hiking location my shoes instantly broke apart from dry rot.  But I didn’t have any other options so I hiked in broken boots.  Oh, and there was a blizzard that day.

I ended up with an injured neck, spine, and foot.  Not from the amazing ski down.  But from the hike up.  Fast forward a few months (I rested and took care of my neck and back, but not the foot) and I re-injured my foot.  I was put in a boot.

Then, my husband ended up in the hospital from an infection from being flogged by our rooster (I know, I know.  It sounds crazy.  And it was.).  He nearly lost his leg and was in the hospital for nine days.  During that time, in my boot, carrying our whole house to and from the hospital each day, my foot got worse.  I got put on crutches and when my husband was discharged they wheeled us both out in wheelchairs.  What a sight!!!

2018-04-30 16.53.16

My husband healed up pretty quickly – in about half the time the doctors expected.  Me on the other hand – my road to healing was not going to be easy.

I wasn’t able to teach or do yoga anymore, but was determined to heal quickly.  Within a month or so, I was back at the gym trying to gain strength.  I had even termed the summer, “My summer of buff.”  But that was short lived.  Because I injured my foot again.  Really?!?! Yes, really.  I was gaining strength and being really mindful and careful, but something wasn’t quite right.

I then began working with a physical therapist (thank you, Penny!!!).  What we found out was that when my foot healed the first time it healed incorrectly, so the re-injury was just a matter of when.  She did so many things and continues to help me so very much!

And today, in 2019, I am still having pain and it gets tired really quickly, but Penny and I are onto something with a plan of healing.

Whoa Nelly!

In addition, the stress of our injuries took my focus completely off my business.  And it really showed.  I allowed stress and fear to overtake my mind, and my business nearly went under.  I even had to take an additional part time job to help make ends meet.

And that was a whole other mind battle to face.  Why am I here?  Why can’t I be good enough to make my business work?  I’m committing my ways to you, God.  Why aren’t you following through on your end?  and so on and so forth.

Sigh…..

Plus, my husband was totally stressed in his job too.  We were just a household brewing stress by the gallons.

I ended up cancelling all the ski trips planned for 2019 because of my foot.  And skiing is my favorite thing ever!  Sigh, again.

So, to say that I was ready to let 2018 go is an understatement.

And now, just a few days after I let go, I have begun anew.  Isn’t it amazing how new beginnings can feel refreshing, energizing, and encouraging?  It’s like I’m a new person.  Why couldn’t I decide to do that in 2018?  That I don’t know, but what I do know is sometimes it takes a new year, an event, an injury, a God intervention…. to wake us up and pull us out of the muck and mire and into our God given destiny.

I am determined.  I am strong.  My mind is focused.  Watch out world, cause I’m free!  I’m leaving my Whoa Nelly behind.  My chains are being broken, and I have God-power behind me!

Take a Break

So, I recently taught a workshop titled, “Stress Less Healthy Holidays.”  It was really fun and the girls that attended were more helpful for me than they realized!

See, I had planned this whole workshop to help others take control of their holiday season.  To plan it out so that it didn’t feel overwhelming and dreadful.  And then, I didn’t do any planning for myself.  Even though I have been more conscious of what I allow (especially in my mind) this holiday season I still don’t feel as peaceful as I could.

And if I’m honest… I need a break.

You ever feel like that?

I’m working three jobs, remodeling a cabin, raising two puppies, taking care of my home (not very well I might add), being a sister, going to Bible study….. yeah.  Life is overly full sometimes.

And if you’re anything like me and your life is full to the max then I might suggest something that one of my workshop participants said:  “It’s okay to take a break.”

So, I am going to check out for a few weeks.  Take a break.  You won’t see a blog post or receive an email newsletter.  I am going to take this time to prepare my heart and mind to receive Christ in this Christmas season.  (And do a little planning for some really fun stuff in January!  Be on the lookout!)

Wanna join me in taking a break?  All you have to do is say yes.  🙂

True Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you and your family have abundance and notice God’s blessings especially this week!

So, at a time when we focus on our gifts and are thankful, let’s look at true gratitude and what that really means.

Robert Emmons defines gratitude as two things:  “First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”  Secondly, he says, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves.…”

So, gratitude is receiving good things and recognizing those good things come from someone besides ourselves.  And if you’re a Christian, we recognize those gifts come from God – even if they come through another person.

Psalm 31:19 says, “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”  (NIV)

So, gratitude is recognizing the good things God has given us.  And I might add, even those things we don’t see as good in the moment.

For example: my depression.  In the midst of it was the worst thing I’d ever experienced.  In my eyes it was not good.  But coming to the other side of it, I can see all the good it did for me.  It allowed me to deal with my past, it gave me great compassion for others, and brought me to the place I am now – which is soooo much better than where I was.  And if you are a Christian you know that what the devil intends for evil in your life, the Lord will use for your good – if you allow Him.

So, gratitude is being grateful for ALL things.  Sigh.  That’s hard.  Especially hard in the hardest of things.  So, how do we cultivate gratitude in the midst of the hardness?  OR how do we continue to be grateful in the good times?

Here’s what has worked for me:

My counselor helped me begin to cultivate a gratitude practice.  In the middle of my really sticky messiness when I was so far from having a grateful heart, she invited me to begin writing down every single day 3 things that went well that day.  And I also wrote down one thing that I would do differently next time.  This went on for months and months.  And then she invited me to begin writing down 3 things I was grateful for every morning.  And at the end of the day writing down 3 amazing things that happened that day (and it might be as simple as I made it through the day and am still alive).  And currently, I practice gratitude as often throughout the day as I can.  I am constantly noticing the beautiful things God has placed around me and stopping to say thank you.

Gratitude is a journey.  It’s not a destination.  And the more we notice the blessings and say thank you the more God will pour out from his heavenly storehouse on us!

If you’re wanting to begin cultivating a gratitude practice but aren’t sure where to start or how it will look for you, I encourage you to check out Ann Voskamp’s book and devotional, One Thousand Gifts.  It was super beneficial for me in cultivating a gratitude practice.  It’ll help you get started and guide you along the way.

This Just Isn’t My Day

You ever had one of those days?!?! You know what I’m talking about. Nothing is going right and everything is going wrong.

You woke up late, spilled coffee on your shirt, had a flat tire, got a ticket, late for work, the boss is grouchy, and…..

We’ve all experienced days like this at some point (maybe even lots of them).

There was one particular sentence I heard on the radio that changed my perspective on these types of days.

I was listening to an interview on Sirius The Message with Jamie Grace. She was telling about a time when she was growing up. She was having one of these particular days and explaining all the wrong things to her dad. She said, “It just isn’t my day.” Her Dad responded with a life changing thought. He said,

“Of course it’s not your day! This is the Lord’s day. Be thankful and rejoice in it!”

At first my heart felt victimized. But don’t you hear all these bad things?!?! And then I realized I was focusing on me and my problems. So, I took a moment to let this truth sink in.

Um, yeah…. today is not my day. This day belongs to God. And for that reason, when I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I can rejoice anyways. Because I have the one who holds the world in his hands living in my heart. And for that I am beyond thankful.

Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!”

What can you be thankful for in the middle of the mess?

The Power of Creativity

Have you ever said, “I’m not that creative.  I can’t paint, or sew, or draw, or decorate a house like Joanna Gaines.”  (Love her!!!)

Being creative doesn’t necessarily have to be about art.  Perhaps you’re really good at cooking, making a spreadsheet, dancing, or diapering a baby’s butt.  Or maybe you can put together an amazing outfit or pick out the perfect jewelry to compliment.  Or perhaps, you always know the right thing to say.  These things all require creativity.

So, even if, just for a moment, let’s say we all are creative.  In our own special ways.

Perhaps we can even view our gifts from God as creativity.  Here’s what God says about our gifts:

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”  Romans 12: 6-8 (NIV)

God gave us all unique and specific gifts.  And he’s asking us to use them.

So, lets draw this all back to our health.  How in the world can being creative help me be healthy?

Here’s how:

Do you ever notice that as adults we get serious?  And if you are in a place of depression or anxiety this probably really hits home.  There’s no time to laugh and have fun.  We have things to do, places to go, and people to annoy (I mean see).  We get serious about all the things.

Now, lets compare that with a child.  Children are naturally creative, imaginative little creatures.  They pretend.  They laugh.  They play.  AND, for the most part, they are happy, lighthearted, and frolicy.

So, what if we tried on a little play and creativity?  What if we added a moment of lightheartedness to our to do list?  What do you think might happen in our brain?

It’s going to chill out!  Stress is going to lessen.  Digestion is going to happen.  Smiles are going to occur.  And perhaps even laughter might escape our lips.  We might even allow ourselves to feel lighthearted.

Play and creativity is a crucial part of reducing stress.

PLUS, if we’re using the gifts God gave us we are fulfilling our purpose in life.  You probably know that people who feel like they have a purpose are much happier and fulfilled than people who don’t know what their purpose is.

So, get out there.  Do your thing.  Create.  And enjoy doing it!

 

 

 

 

 

That Elusive Peace

In yoga we often say, “Having peace doesn’t mean there’s no chaos in your life.  Having peace means you’re in the midst of the chaos and you have calm in your heart.”

 

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

 

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

 

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  (NIV)

 

Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.

I’ve heard those verses before (maybe even a thousand times).  So, how do they help me find peace?!?!

I heard a sermon by Pastor Mark this past weekend that was all about disillusionment.  He used the movie, Ready Player One, to illustrate his point.  The characters in this movie join in a video game to escape their current reality of life.

Is that you?  Are you currently trying to escaping your current reality?  Like, scrolling social media for hours on end, watching endless Fixer Upper or Family Feud, playing video games, whatever…..

Some people think if they become Christians and believe in God then EVERYTHING in life will be perfect and peace will abound endlessly.

That is disillusionment.

God doesn’t promise smooth sailing.  In fact, he might even bring you into the “wilderness” just so you will seek him to get out.

To have peace, we must first understand why we are here on this earth, understand our purpose.  And we all have exactly the same purpose:

To Serve God.

No matter what we’re doing in our day to day lives:  changing baby’s butts, doing dishes, driving, cooking, learning, working….

We are to serve God in all we do.  When we seek God with all our hearts God will come to us.  He promises to.  And, I know that is easier said than done.  Believe me.  It’s a daily struggle for me too.

But, I have experienced God’s peace.  And for an extended period of time.  I can’t explain it.  There was no reason I should’ve had it (my life was crazy unpredictable).  Yet, it was there.

And then… it was snatched away in an instant.

See, my husband was admitted to the hospital a few months ago, had two surgeries, and nearly lost his leg.  The same week, I was put on crutches for a torn tendon in my foot.  And I lost my peace.

The devil knew I was strong with God.  So, he attacked something I couldn’t control.  A rampant infection in the person I love the most and my mobility.  And he stole my peace.  Rather, I allowed him to take it.

I think we tend to see control as peace.  When we know what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen, then ahhhh…. we’re okay.  At peace even.

But, God isn’t about what we can control.  No. No. No.

Sigh.

He’s about us serving and worshiping him.   And I know and have experienced that if we keep our focus on him, peace will come.  So, as I work to reclaim my peace – in a place of complete uncertainty in my business, life, direction – I am seeking Him.  The one who’s hand created the boundless stars and hung the moon at just the right spot.  He’s got my focus….

Now, if I can only keep it there.

 

(By the way, my husband is fully recovered and still has his leg!  Praise God!)

2018-04-30 16.53.16

This is us the day we came home from the hospital.  Celebrations all around!!!

How can I up-level my healthy?

Being as healthy as you can be takes time, perseverance, and knowledge.  But it doesn’t have to be hard.

Here are 10 ideas for up-leveling your healthy:

  1. Poop every single day

    I know. I know.  Poop is so terrible to talk about.  But, it’s actually one of the most important things to help you stay healthy.  If you’re not pooping every day then it’s fermenting and rotting in your gut.  Then that ickiness gets absorbed into your blood stream.  Even ickier.

  2. Manage your stress

    Stress is the number one cause of ALL dis-ease.  Stress felt consistently can even alter how your genes are expressed causing sickness, disease, pain, weight gain, and sleeplessness.

  3. Eat organic

    Pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals put on our food sources cause our bodies to have a build up of toxins which cause tons of health issues.  Choose organic whenever possible or use the Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen list.

  4. Pray and meditate

    Praying and meditating reduces stress.  Plus, the connection to God and learning to love and trust Him during life struggles will increase your faith.

  5. Get good sleep

    Your body detoxes while you sleep.  If you’re not sleeping enough you will likely wake up feeling foggy brained, irritable, and of course exhausted.  The left over toxins build up over time and cause more dis-ease in the body.

  6. Move your body

    Exercise does so much for not only your physical body but your emotional well being too!  Movement releases feel good endorphins that keep us happy and obviously help our muscles too!

  7. Play 

    As we age we play less and less.  We get more serious.  Play allows us to feel lighthearted and enjoy life more.

  8. Invest in your relationships

    Multiple researchers have found that happy, healthy people have around 3 to 5 strong relationships that are nourished often, or daily.  Cultivate relationships with people most important to you.

  9. Drink spring water

    Tap water contains a number of toxic chemicals that most filters can’t remove completely.  Spring water contains essential minerals and is what I recommend to my clients for safe drinking.

  10. Detox your body and home

    Getting rid of toxic chemicals and cleaning products in your home will do wonders for your health.  In addition, your body stores toxins and needs detoxing every so often.  Make sure you detox safely and with guidance if you’ve never done anything like that before.

 

These are a few ideas to up-level your healthy.  Know that creating new healthy habits takes time.  It doesn’t happen overnight and requires one step at a time.  What questions do you have about this list?  What would you add to this list?

Need ideas for implementing any or all of these tips?  Email me for suggestions.

 

 

What Are You Waiting For?

While traveling this past weekend in one of my favorite places – Asheville, NC – I saw this bumper sticker that said,

Don’t Postpone Joy

And I thought, YES!  I love that!

And I love that because there were many years that I postponed my own joy and thought I’ll be happy when…

I’m not teaching anymore, when I get over my depression, when I get off this medication, when this rain stops, when summer gets here, when I have 10 more counseling sessions….

God wants us to enjoy life every single day.

In our American busy, busy culture we often think, ‘Well, I’ll be happy when….’

  • I get a new job.
  • I  move.
  • My husband does…
  • It’s sunny.
  • I feel better.

What is your fill in the blank?

2018-06-25 14.12.16

Why not choose joy now?  In this moment.  No matter what is going on in your life.

You might be going through the deepest, darkest valley EVER!  And joy is nowhere to be seen.  And everything is tough.  And there’s no money.  And life sucks.

But…

why not choose joy now?

Joy is a choice.

 

So, maybe you’re thinking, “How in the world do I do that?”

Here’s 5 tips to help you choose joy now:

1. Start a Gratitude Practice

If you have followed my posts for any length of time you have probably seen me mention gratitude before.  (I talk about it a lot because it is sooooo important.)  Being grateful for what we have opens our life up to more of that!  What we appreciate appreciates.  Ann Voskamp wrote a book and devotional titled, One Thousand Gifts.  It’s an amazing journey into gratitude.  I highly recommend it!

 

2. Dive Into God’s Word

The Bible has so many powerful stories and accounts of people who were persecuted and chose joy anyways (Paul, David….).  They are true inspirations.  I am not in jail and don’t have an entire country’s army chasing after me.  Things are not as bad for me as they were for them and they were able to choose joy.

Psalm 5:11

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

 

3. Meditate

Meditation creates time and space for stillness in the midst of our crazy, busy lives.  It can be 2 minutes or 20 minutes or more.  Meditation helps to calm the crazy in our minds.  If you have a mind that runs like a train – like I do – then slowing that train down and breathing can bring a sense of peace and calm and joy.  We don’t have to be busy 24 hours a day to make God happy.  He wants us to create quiet time to be with him each and every day.  A meditation practice can help you do just that.

 

4. Do Yoga

Yoga has been a modality that has literally saved my life.  It also creates time and space for gentle movement and stillness (which is very hard for me!  Anyone else out there?!?!)  The breath work in yoga has not only helped my physical health but also my mental health and allowed me to slow down enough to be grateful for this very moment.  When I am grateful it is much easier for me to choose joy.

 

5. Make Healthy Food Choices

This might sound crazy but the food you eat can actually affect your mental health.  It is common knowledge that if we eat crappy food we will feel crappy physically.  Well, that also goes for mentally.  You either feed your body health or you feed your body dis-ease.  It’s much easier to choose joy when you feel good physically.  Feed your body organic whole foods and watch your joy level increase! Whoop!

 

Are you ready to choose joy?!?!  Comment below and let us know you’re choosing joy today!