I sat in my van this afternoon and cried real tears. Not because of one thing or someone, but because I’ve been carrying weight that for most people would be too hard to carry. Sure, people admire me for what I do, they give me praise and pats on the back. In fact, just today a friend called me her hero. I don’t feel like anyone’s hero. Yesterday, another friend said something similar.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate being noticed and admired. But there are just times when I wish I could just hand off some of my responsibilities to someone else, not forever, but at least for a little while.
Perhaps my heart is a little heavier, because while speaking to a dear sister in Christ yesterday, I had to acknowledge that I have no plan B. It’s just God, me and my kids. I mean, if anything were to happen to me, I literally have no one in this world that I could leave my children with. This last year has taught me that. Maybe that is why the tears appeared and wouldn’t stop flowing. Even as I type this post, I feel a little teary eyed.
Life is funny in that way. At some point, you have to face the truth; our lives are truly a vapor and just like that can be gone.
So, when people ask me why I push myself so hard to build my health and wellness business, that’s easy, two words, Emily and Ethan. It is my plan ABCDEF and G. There is no greater industry than this one. It’s very foundation is love and service. God is the owner and I am merely his steward.
While I don’t always appreciate this journey, I thank God that he chose me. I thank him because he saw me and decided that I was worth saving even when I didn’t see myself as worth the trouble.
Today, was not one of my finest days, but it is far from being the worst. And if the Lord wills it, tomorrow will be another opportunity to grow closer to him and to improve upon what I got right today.
I will not give up and I will not fail. Emily and Ethan need me and I need them too.
I wrote the post below one year ago on Facebook. It seems bizarre to me that we’re still living as though the pandemic first hit and masks are still worn almost daily. When I wrote this, I never would have thought that one year later, not much would have changed. Praying that soon Americans will become brave enough to live free once again.
When I began this post, I thought to myself, I need to say something profound to make people feel better about our current circumstances, they need to know that they are loved and cared for and what doesn’t make sense now will at some point in the future. But then I realized that making people feel better is a tall order and is certainly not easy. Nor is it a request easily fulfilled. So, instead I’ve decided to share a verse that I take solace in everyday.
Keep in mind, I don’t have a crystal ball or magic wand. I know what separation and isolation feels like too. But I’ve decided (yes, me) not to live in fear or worry. Why? Because my God is not worried, He has my life and my children’s lives in His hands and He knows exactly what we need.
I will not deny the feelings of concern that many of you feel, your worry is valid. But know this, when you have done everything you can do to prepare for the unknown and uncertainty, let your mind embrace that fact. You have done your best! That is all you can every ask of yourself.
Friends, you are loved, you are cared for, you are prayed for everyday! I invite you to choose love, joy and peace as we journey through the unknown together. ❤️
The past two weeks have been extra tough. The fatigue that plagued me for several years came back a couple of weeks ago and hasn’t relented until today. Just to give a little context, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s on August 1, 2018, which was exactly one month before my husband at the time texted me to let me know that essentially our marriage was done. In spite of that, I have been able to manage it without medication. However, yesterday was the first time, I have ever considered going on medication due to level of exhaustion that I have been feeling.
I don’t recall there being a specific event or activity that happened that would have thrown me off, or caused me to feel this down, but something did happen to remind me that I am not invincible and I shouldn’t expect to do it all. Which sounds completely insane to me, when I have to do it all, because there is no one else to do what I do. Or perhaps, I’m expecting more than I should. Perhaps, it should be simpler.
This is the trick about growth, sometimes when you make the decision to elevate your life, you sometimes have to tap into areas that you may not want to tap into. When I started working with my Business Leadership Coach, I knew that I would have to tackle mindset and vision, but to go to places that I had never prepared to visit has been harder than I thought it would be.
I believe that I am in the land of limiting beliefs and instead of confronting those beliefs, I have allowed my brain to use the avoidance key, so that I don’t have to tackle what I know to be true and that awareness has manifested itself in the physical of overwhelming fatigue.
An overwhelming fatigue that was finally helped by my taking a walk with my daughter this afternoon. While I chatting with her, I realized that in order for her to do the hard stuff, I have to model it for her. When my mind wants to give me the option of avoidance, I have to conscientiously say no, otherwise nothing changes and my daughter will not understand the meaning of sticking with it, even when you think that you can’t.
While I still have more mind clearing to do, I am keenly aware of the eyes that are watching me. While I may get worn from time to time, it’s okay to allow my children the opportunity to see that I am fallible and that I am still learning too. I am learning to walk closer to Jesus and to leave my burdens with him. I am building my confidence by adjusting my habits and my expectations. I am giving myself grace when I fall a bit short and I have accepted that breaks are necessary to prevent the overwhelm and burnout.
My journey has only just begun and I will arrive where I am meant to be at precisely the right time.
I truly enjoy cooking! Not to the level of opening a restaurant or a cafe, but to the level that I want to cook the best food that I can for those that I love. Fortunately, it’s something that I get to do everyday for my most favorite people on this planet, my children. Today was no different.
Much like many other areas in the country at the moment, we experienced a bit of unusually cold weather, for northwest Georgia. The low this morning was about 27 degrees Fahrenheit with a few snow flurries. It was so cold that my sliding doors on my minivan would not open until it was sufficiently warmed up. I believe the high was a sunny but cold 33 or 34 degrees. Yikes!
With the temperature hovering so low, it only made sense that our dinner would be some type of soup. Let me just say that soup, is my love language. I could absolutely eat soup year round! But what I love around this time of the year is the memories of my childhood that come flooding back when I am in the kitchen. I reminisce on how good it felt to eat at my grandmothers’ tables. I can almost smell all the smells and the joy I felt to when I was in their kitchens.
Both of my grandmothers were wonderful cooks. My dad’s mother, was more of an Iron Chef type cook. That woman could make the most amazing meals and so to us it was always a treat to eat at her home because you knew, no matter what it was, it would be delicious!! My Nana (my mother’s mother) on the other hand was a bit more straight forward with her cooking, her one signature dish was fried chicken. But her hugs and conversation was what drew you in. It saddens me that my children, have never experienced those moments. Perhaps one day, when I become a grandmother, I’ll be able to create in my grandchildren’s lives abundant and colorful memories of love.
Tonight, in honor of serving and all things winter, I decided to make my version of a minestrone soup minus the pasta and beans. What emerged was a flavorful burst of summer squash, chicken sausage, chopped tomatoes and a mixture of herbs that not only make the soup taste delicious, but are also good for you as well. Think, any boost I can give to my immune system, I am in!
The one drawback here is that I am not good about writing things down, because I never really know what is going to come together when I start, but today was an exception. Here is what I used:
One pound of mild chicken sausage (gluten free) with casing removed. One medium yellow onion, five cloves of garlic (fresh), three sticks of celery, and three carrots peeled and chopped. I sautéed that mixture together in my Instant Pot and once cooked through, I started layering in the spices.
Two teaspoons dried oregano, one teaspoon of thyme, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one half teaspoon of dried rosemary, one teaspoon of dried basil and one teaspoon of dried parsley. I then added in a box of chopped tomatoes, a bag of frozen yellow squash and two fresh peeled and chopped zucchini followed by two boxes of chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste! I then put on the lid and let it cook at pressure for about 20 minutes. It was a hit! And we still have plenty for lunch tomorrow.
If you find cooking challenging, start with soup. It’s probably the one meal that you can make that will turn out well, even when you don’t know what you’re doing. But more than that, you will create some lasting memories for the ones you love when you take the lid off that (instant) pot!
Spoiler alert! What I am about to write here is not going to be easy. In fact, I am almost reluctant to write this post because the topic that I am about to write about makes me vulnerable and lays bare my heart for all the world to see.. literally.
You see, my life was not supposed to be this way. I had a wonderful childhood, Christian upbringing. My parents were married until the day my mother died twelve years ago. They collectively raised us to believe in the Bible and to put God first. Going to worship on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s was expected. To my parents, nothing outside of an illness or an act of God, should keep you from service. Even when I went off to college, I maintained the same habits because well it was expected and trying to explain to my godly parents why I didn’t attend worship was just not an option of consideration.
Fast forward a couple of decades later and here I am divorced with the responsibility of raising two children, who happen to need both parents on my own. I’m not going to complain because it was my choice to marry the person that I did, without understanding the ramifications of unequally yoked when I said, I do. First, mistake.
Well, it wasn’t all bad because over the course of “the marriage”, I was blessed to give birth to two beautiful children. But didn’t realize how significantly different our child rearing philosophies were until, rearing was needed. Second mistake.
But it wasn’t until the day that my son had his first seizure that I truly began to understand how deep the fissure was in my marriage and very likely could not be repaired. But luckily for everyone I was taught that divorce or separation was not an option. So I stayed and I stayed. We even relocated to a different state with the hope that we could make it work. Third mistake.
But when he decided that he had enough and did not want to spend another second in wedded bliss, it became abundantly clear that staying all those years had lasting perhaps permanent effects on my children. My daughter, in particular.
My daughter turned 12 this past Saturday, officially a pre-teen. But what does that even mean, when you’re squished between wanting to have a tiny bit more freedom and having to be your mother’s helper? Because your younger brother has extra needs and complaining and be ungrateful would be mean spirited to your mother, whose plate is on the verge of shattering!
Tonight, I felt it! My daughter sobbed in my lap, not for any particular reason, but for one very important reason, her mother’s attention! All of the behaviors and push back was a little girl crying out against separation and feeling unworthy because her parents aren’t together. Feeling out of place because she can’t share the typical brother and sister stuff with a brother that is broken. All she knows is that she only gets a piece of her mother, just like everyone else that she has to fit into the nooks and crannies of her life.
You see, I can’t relate to the divorce. I can relate to separation in the context of the death of my mother. I can’t relate to not having my grandparents around because both sets were Big in my life, my Nana in particular. She was my mother’s mother. I can’t relate to being unable to travel to see the one person that treated my daughter like royalty when she would go to her home for visits because of Covid-19. This is uncharted territory for me. Because well, my life wasn’t supposed to be this way. My children’s lives were not supposed to be this way.
Separation in any form is very likely devastating, but this kind of change all at once is crushing. While I was honest with my daughter tonight and explained to her that I don’t have all of the answers, I do know the one who does. I know the one who can carry all of our burdens, I know the one who came to give us abundant life, if we make his will and his way our priority. He is the only one who can make our lives different.
I asked her if she could trust me as I trust Him. I also told her to start crying out to Jesus, when it feels like it’s too much to handle. I too need to do a bit more of that myself. Though the road ahead is not easy, two very important lessons emerged, one, my daughter is watching me and two, she needs more of the real messy, mustard see faith me to guide her to Jesus. There is nothing more urgent than that!
When I started to pen this blog, I don’t think that I had a clear road map as to what it would become other than a place for me to convey my thoughts. Which in and of itself is kind of interesting because the name of this blog is Blue Skies are on the Horizon: Joy in the Storm. I guess that I figured I would talk about my family and on occasion, current events. Now, after writing a few posts, it has become clear that I need to stay in my lane and write about what matters and makes sense to me.
So, what does that mean to you as my reader? It means that to the best of my ability, I want this blog to provide, education, information and entertainment, but above all else, I want it to encourage you to find joy in the mundane, especially during the darkest or most challenging times of your life. As James 1:2&3 states, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. I think those verses serve as a good reminder that storms will come and when they are over blue skies will return.
In closing, as you take time out of your day to read what I write, I hope that you are able to appreciate the plethora of topics that happen to ramble around in my head and out onto this blog and in that you are able to find some little nugget to encourage you as you go about your day. Pouring into you is what makes my heart happy!