Belief

I had the strangest feeling
Your world’s not all it seems
So tired of misconceiving
What else this could’ve been

I don’t even know if I believe
I don’t even know if I believe
I don’t even know if I believe
Everything you’re trying to say to me -Mumford and Sons

This song has been rattling around in my head for months now. Tonight I got up to pee and couldn’t fall back asleep, a common occurrence for me since I became pregnant (hurray! But that is for another post.)

Belief is a subject that is very powerful in my life. I have always had very strong beliefs and I am not to proud to admit sometimes I have been so staunch in them I have been willing to put it all on the line for them. One in particular I have changed my position on about 5 years ago and my life has been so very different in the best of ways because of it. It was a set of beliefs that I held so strongly that it almost took my marriage. Once I took a step back and examined why I clung to it so tightly, why I was willing to throw away my covenant with my partner, I was shocked at how thin it was. How little it had to offer me.

A belief is an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. I believed in an “opportunity”. I was told this “opportunity” would change my health AND provide me with an income that would create many more opportunities for me and change my life. For many years I firmly believed in this statement as true and that it existed. I chased it, I pursued it with fervor and I committed myself to standing by this belief to the point that every day this belief consumed me. I sacrificed so much time, precious time from my daughters, I sacrificed time with my family, birthdays and events I can never get back, and I sacrificed money. At the end of the day, the effort I put into this belief system did not match my return and I started to feel disillusioned. As I wrestled with the choice in front of me, “are you all in? Are you willing to push to get to where you deserve to be and open up the many streams of income that will bring you and your family stability or will you give up on yourself and your potential?” Ugh it makes me sick to think about how close I was to throwing it all away.

I know now it cannot possibly deliver. A belief in a product, in a structure or model that is built on being pushy and crafting and creating an appealing story to get people to buy my product is not sustainable and in my life as well as countless others, extremely destructive. And to make matters worse, I have come to discover that the product itself is not that great. The main ingredient in the main product I no longer have any belief in. I know now that it has negative long term properties, making it by nature very unsustainable. And I was consuming it every day, feeding it to my girls, my spouse, enticing my friends and family to do the same. I heard in meeting after meeting, “if you want better results take more! Why take just 1 when 3 will get you there faster and better!” So dangerous!!!

Their have been a few times in my life where I have walked away from either a situation or a person. In this case, I did both. I walked away from a cultish and dangerous belief system and from my mentor. To this day I still root for her, I hold love in my heart for her but I have no desire to be in her circle again. When we met, she saw in me someone who was incredibly insecure, unsure of myself and she saw that I was someone who, once I believed, I did it wholeheartedly. I was an easy target. She helped me lose weight and start a business, she taught me about “personal development” she helped me be more bold. At the time of our working relationship, I thought we were true friends, I saw her a friend. A role model of a successful business woman, she had the perfect marriage in my mind and I wanted to be just like her. She would give a talk and then look at me and wink and I would think, “She sees me, she’s molding me to be like her and if I stick with this I will be just as successful as she is!”

That’s the danger in buying in to someone else belief. Its based on an opinion of how that person sees you, but its based on what they get when you work. So its not really objective but performance based. And in my case, she made a lot of money off my efforts, even when I was failing in my business and was tapped out, she still made money. In fact she currently is making money based on my connections. People I brought to her and the business. I see her reaching into their lives enticing them to come back and try it with her. She is far more successful at it then I ever was, but they were my friendships, my relationships that I built and she is still milking it for whatever she can.

I can feel the anger bubbling up as I write. And I think I just realized that THAT is the reason why I couldn’t sleep. I found a much better way of doing life. One that holds my beliefs in balance and that sets a good example for my children and anyone who is on the outside looking in. I no longer believe in the product, not even a little, not even with my recent struggle again with my eating. I am not less of a person because I have more fat on my body. I have solid friendship now, a solid marriage. I will NEVER trade these for more money or an “opportunity” again. I BELIEVE that the belief in this product and so many like it is a dangerous one, one that robs you of a full life. I don’t need to look at my friends for the opportunity to make money off them, reading into their words, their pain, their frustration with the thought in my head “oh I have something that could help them, how do I get them to buy what I’m selling” Its so sad to see people always “on”, always “promoting” themselves. I was told “I am the product, so be the best, work on yourself and you’ll make money” um no thanks. I would rather fill my life with belief in my children. I would rather open my mind and time to reading about more than just “personal development” and actually develop and evolve into a person who is loving and sees people from their perspective, not as an opportunity to grow my business.

I am so grateful I took that step back when I was pregnant with my daughter Naomi. What grew inside of me was more than an incredible human being. What grew in me was a TRUE BELIEF that I am beautiful. My body can do marvelous things. My mind is sharp and clear. I spend my days focused on building my family up, I recognize limiting and confining beliefs and immediately reject them. Yes I currently weigh about 40lbs more than what I want too, I sometimes look at those pictures of when I was entrenched in that faulty belief system and think, if only I had that body.. But that happens rarely. Mostly I think, “how sad for you that you think you have so much but really you are very alone” Friendships built on being in business together only last while you are in business together. I was taught in training after training, “we are your family. We love you and accept you and you’ll find that you fit in less and less with your old friends if they are not willing to join you on the road to success”. I heard that over and over. When I would get there on a early Saturday, after kissing my babies goodbye and thanking my husband for the sacrifice both in money and time(did I mention that after a personal audit of the life of my business I found I “invested more than $11,000 and only “profited” $4,000?”) when I would get there I was greeted with smiles and hugs. They were so happy to see me! I thought we were all friends! I thought we were all family. We stayed connected on social media. But once I stopped working the business and taking the products, they dropped like flies. It has only been a very small few that has actually continued the friendship and showed genuine investment in my life.

I’m glad I no longer believe everything they’re trying to say to me…

Judgy McJudgytin’s

Feeling overwhelmed by all that one has to accomplish in a day, every single day, makes me want to throw in the towel. How do Mom’s do it who work a full time job and drop off/pick up their kids at school and get them to soccer/baseball/dance practice and look fabulous while doing it? Emails and Facebook and bloggers and radio and TV and movies all tell me dual message all day long: You are enough, you are not doing enough, here’s how you can do more. Don’t judge other moms, but here’s how you fall short compared to them. Its kind of amazing how I even get out of bed at all. The pressures and obligations on the modern SAHM is like we’ve never had to face before as a society. I am overwhelmed and buried by the sheer volume of things that I worry about. I could not do this life without faith in a higher power. My faith in Jesus reminds me not to worry. But I simply don’t know how to stop. I feel buried by the life I’ve created but the flip side of the coin is I wouldn’t dream of trading it. It has so many rewards and I love being a Mom. I love getting them to where they need to go and releasing them into the world to grow and learn. I love watching them flourish. What I don’t love is how difficult it is to get them up in the morning, or finding their shoes, or yelling at each other, or keeping them focused on finishing their school work.

So how do I model balance for my girls in a world constantly asking me to pile on? And how do I say “no” when everyone else seems to be able to handle it? I can feel the Judgy McJudgytin’s judging me. Some days I measure up, but most days its not even close.

What does the Bible have to say about worry? Or Discipline? Hebrews 12:1 admits the truth: “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening- it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”-NLT

In many many ways, Parenting is the greatest learning their is. To be a good parent its not enough to feed, clothe, and protect. We also manage emotions, and teach how to share and be a good friend. We model sacrifice and self-discipline and hopefully exalt them to be the best version of themselves they can be. Parenting IS sacrifice. It IS HARD. It is refining and all-encompassing. I would be a completely different person if I never had children. I am always learning how my reactions affect them and then I cringe when I see them respond to each other in the same way. Ouch! Children are the perfect mirror’s aren’t they? They could be in their room playing and I’ll be listening to their play and I’ll hear a mean or hurtful word. I can see the escalation. And if I’ve been good about modeling how to resolve conflict I can see them resolving it and I’m proud. Unfortunately those times are rare. Its more likely I will hear accusing and blame, followed by tears and shouting. Oh man, it makes my heart hurt. 😦 I judge myself harshly, mentally whipping myself for obviously being a bad example. But is that REALLY fair? I am trying everyday to examine how I speak to them, with them, to others in front of them. I am careful to not criticize another mom in front of them. At some point in childhood we understand enough and can choose our responses to things and I could be the perfect example of love and kindness but ultimately they will behave how they behave. And if I don’t watch it, I can waste my life accepting the judgments both from others and on myself as my identity.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”-Romans 3:23-4

Life giving news for this Mama’s tired soul. 

I can be free from the shackles of judgments thanks to him whose grace is sufficient for me. ❤

On the road to the road least traveled..

Ahhhh October. The month where I can feel happy that the leaves change colors and fall. The month where I celebrate me and my daughter and my Daddy and my Grandpa. The month where the wind changes and a brisk breeze comes through, causing me to reach for a sweater. This year has looked completely different than I thought it would. I knew, I REALLY knew it would be full of change but I thought the change was predictable. Going to a new campus for classes for the girls, leaving our homeschool co-op, those were things I planned on. Not sure where we belong church-wise, with all the change and transition at church, my husband is no longer playing drums or percussion at our home church. I was serving in the middle school over the summer and then that changed as well. So at the moment we are no longer serving at all in our church. I didn’t expect this change. I thought we would be entering a season of more service. Our AHG chapter closed in May and that meant that we weren’t going to be continuing on this year. And now with school back in session, I have really felt the loss. I miss it, for what it was for my girls and the commitment for me serving all the girls. I really was starting to love them. And I miss them. It reminded me how my heart goes out to the girls who have no self-esteem because they have no one sowing into them telling them how amazing they are. I thought I was supposed to be starting a season of mentoring and that seems to be on hold.

So this year has indeed been a season of change but its not always been what I would choose to change. Their have been some nice developments as a result of the changes. I am understanding what friendships work and don’t work in my life, at least for this season. Someone I was really close with last year has drifted apart and we barely speak. As far as I know nothing happened for this divide, I just found myself being the only one to initiate and nothing was coming from her end. I was really disappointed for months wondering if I did something to offend but about a month ago I heard God say to move on to where I was appreciated. And because of one of the changes was being at a homeschool campus two days a week I found myself in front of a dear friend whose daughters were also in classes. I have loved our time together and getting to know her more I feel blessed. I also have met some other people in this new season that has made me open up more and share a little bit more of who I am. Its not easy for me to trust that I’ll be heard or seen in a positive way. I know I am an oddball and could possibly be considered an acquired taste. But I also know I have a lot to offer in friendship. I am venturing into new lands and trying to stay open to what I see God is putting in front of me and calling me too.

I also had a realization that I was writing my book from a slightly cynical point of view in regards to the roles of women and the push back we are currently seeing from our administration and culture. I know my point of view is unique and my story and the stories I’ve collected from others are needed in a time like now. But what’s not needed is cynicism in how we relate to each other; male and female. So I feel a big rewrite coming on. But I’m not there yet. I can feel, as surely as fall brings pumpkins and hot coffee and cozy sweaters, that another wave of change is coming and this one will be the thing I have been waiting for. The calling, the purpose, the action and direction I am meant to go is just around the corner.

So while a year of change is wrapping up, I feel more optimistic that the next season of change is not going to be my undoing. Because I am now on the road to the road I was meant to be.

One cannot deny who one is meant to be

I stole this quote from a movie, a cartoon really, that I love. Their is something confrontational in a loving and challenging way that this quote says to me. I have been in a 1 step forward, 2 steps back this year in most areas of my life. We make plans, look forward to them and then they are canceled. I am invited, included and then I can’t make it or chicken out due to insecurity. I desire to finish my projects, my book, cleaning, losing weight, but then I sit there spacing out and accomplishing nothing. Why do I live life in spurts? Why do I keep doubting myself and not just go for it? I try to find a reason for why I do this. I assign blame to how I was raised. I constantly saw my Mom squirrel out and start projects and never finish them. She would try a new way to meal prep or shop somewhere new  but eventually she would return to her old habits of not planning, eating simple, bland, fast foods. I assign blame to my generation. I am an “elder millennial”  and left my house at 20 but wasn’t really a full adult till I was 22 and even then I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do for a career. I assign blame to my birth month. “Well Libras are passionate but often indecisive”. And on and on and on. Maybe its that I am just like the Israelite’s and am prone to wander in the desert for years and years…

I think that’s it. I am prone to wander, and daydream, and envy the grass on the other side of the fence. But who was I meant to be? When I was a kid I wanted to be a Lawyer and a Photographer. And then I wanted to be a basketball player and actress. Then it was Interior Designer and Author. And then I was married and having babies. I feel like the pregnancy months of my life dragged on with the waiting of it all. Having 4 miscarriages and 3 beautiful daughters, I have spent the better part of a decade pregnant or having just gave birth. Often I have used that time as self-reflection and going on an inward journey to discover who I want to be and how far along in the process am I. And just when I think I’ve got it, a side business, or time to write, I wander again. I get inward focused and I get lost in the regrets.

In 2 weeks I’ll be 37 and for the first time I feel not ready for the next number. I usually approach my birthdays with hope and optimism. But this last year doesn’t feel like a progression, it feels overall like a setback. I am not lighter, I have not added a vehicle or baby or new home. I did not finish writing my book which depresses the heck out of me and it doesn’t feel like I have much of anything to show for the last year of my life. I’m starting to wonder, am I just too tired for it all? I feel like a balloon with a slow leak. Every once and a while I’ll patch the hole but then another one sprouts and I start to leak again. Slow, sometimes noisily and not blowing in any particular direction.

Theirs a popular book geared towards women who feel tired, beaten down by their lives and I know a lot of women who read it and “loved it”. But its a “pull yourself up by your boot straps” kind of message and frankly that just doesn’t work for me. I have lost the ability to just buck up and show up. Where is the book that says, “Hey you’re tired, take a nap and rest a while.” That’s the kind of book I’ll read right now. I’m so busy busy busy with a long to-do list every single day but all I want to do is sit at Jesus feet and listen to a good story. Can who I was meant to be is a Mary and I am so tired because I have been pretending to be a Martha? Is their a paid profession where I can just rest a while? I think I could be really good at that..

A short story

In going through my boxes of papers. Just thrown together; schoolwork, artwork, notes from my girls, bills, etc.. Then I came across a ripped out notebook paper signed by a former me. My original name. ❤ I reread and a smile spread across my face. I thought I would share it here. Let me know what you think!

A gust of wind by Sarah Medeiros

The moment she stepped into the store, he felt paralyzed. It was like someone had injected him with a powerful drug that dulled the sense and slowed down time and space.

She was a stranger and he could tell by her clothes and sunglassess and the way she carried herself he knew she wouldn’t be staying long.

He hadn’t realized he was walking up to her until she turned and smiled at him. It was a million dollar smile if he had ever seen. She had a breathtaking smile and he just stood there soaking in her beauty and tried to etch this angel into his brain that had stepped into his life.

” I love you, will you marry me?” It took a moment to register that he had asked her that question. As he was about to apologize for his abrupt crass behavior, she answered him, “sure you look cute enough stranger, but why don’t we wait until you graduate from high school first?” Kissed him on the nose and with a gust of wind disappeared out the door.

The End

What Break?

So I sat down to write in June about all my expectations, hopes, and good intentions for the summer. I never got the post published. It was a day when I only had a few free hours to my myself(most days I get just few minutes!) and as could be expected I was pulled away by my Motherly duties before I could finish getting all my thoughts down.  The summer has been a whirlwind, of my own making.  The girls have been in Dance camps and Science camps and we have been swimming and to the beach, parks, libraries and the drive in. It has been so busy that I can’t help but feel, what break?  20180804_154047

When you are a Mom of multiples, it can be difficult to find any time for yourself. And if you homeschool, their really isn’t a break, like ever. Its either schooling, or grading, or going through the previous year and reviewing what curriculum worked, what didn’t, papers to be thrown away, a year to reflect on. Summer is not a break for me but it has been full of wonderful experiences for my girls and that makes it all worth it.

One thing I have been thinking about in addition to putting the 2017/2018 school year behind me has been a reflection on where I am in my life. In just a couple months I’ll have another birthday and so many things in my life are the same as they were this time last year. I still am not at my ideal body weight, I don’t have a second vehicle or a business of my own that is thriving and running like clock work, my hair is a bit thinner, and my alcohol consumption is pretty much the same.. What is better you might ask? I do know more who I am. I feel comfortable in my skin, albeit its more skin than I would like. 😉 I have really made the effort in investing in my girls more so this year than ever before. If you look at your family as your greatest accomplishment then it becomes worthwhile to put all your energy into. I absolutely love being a Mom, even with all the exhaustion, frustration and  exhaustion (oh did I say that twice? Well it cannot be emphasized enough..) I see the progress made in each of them and my oldest has made incredible strides this summer in pushing through when things were tough or tiring. Sometimes I look in her eyes and I see myself, or rather the better version of myself at her age.

By the time I was 10 I had already gone through my parents divorce, which left my Mom and I penniless and homeless on the other side of the states. By the age of 10 my Mom had remarried, after a series of relationships. By the age of 10 I had been molested by a trusted grownup in my parents circle. By the age of 10 I had the chicken pox, 3 cases of lice, and the shingles! I was a scared, fearful, sensitive little girls who never had more than 2 good friends at a time and I was always getting in trouble at school for talking. Thankfully MY 10 yr old has had a stable home, with parents who love each other through the thick and thin. She has 2 sisters who adore her and in whose eyes she can do no wrong. She has a large group of friends and can make a friend anywhere she goes. She is smart, wickedly smart, and has a ridiculous sense of humor. I am proud to be her mom and proud of the fruit of our efforts.

This summer I really have gone out of my way to show her my love. I joined the middle school group at church with her and have gone to the pool parties with her, giving us lots of time to talk un-interrupted on the ride there and back. I encouraged her and signed her up for dance camps giving her the opportunity to grow in a new way. I signed her up for a STEM Avionics class. She was a bit skeptical before she went, but I knew she would enjoy it. She did. So much.

I know I always knew this fact but it was never put so succinctly or cut me to the quick the way a friend recently said, “you only have 18 summers with your kids”. Only 18… Well I have had 10 so far with my girl, and looking back I do feel like I wasted some. Which is why this summer, I have given my all to them. All the fun and the slow times, the popcorn and movies in the middle of the day. I hope when they are changing the world and living on the other side of the country that they remember this summer the way I will. With a Mom who gave all she had, building memories and creating a summer full of joy and experiences..

Cheers and Happy reading.

Pick Pick Pick,

I am unsure to the when it started or the why, But I was an OCD little girl. If I had somewhere to go I would brush my hair an even number of times on each side. I would brush my teeth for exactly 1 minute on the top and 1 minute on the bottom. I always choose the 7th paper handout in school and would sharpen my pencils for 7 seconds. And when I had a scab on my legs I would pick and pick and pick until it was bleeding. These behaviors have stopped, thankfully, but I still find myself obsessive in a way that feels out of my control.

I pick on my children, on my husband, on my cats, I obsess over how and when to make my coffee and if I perform the task wrong I will think about it all day. Some people will tell me, well that’s just seeking perfection and their is nothing wrong with that. I think we as humans often justify picadillos in the other because we are afraid if our own came out it would be so much weirder. I know I am not the only Woman who will highlight my positives and downplay, hide, bury, or self-deprecate my flaws.

Flaws. Isn’t that a beautiful word? We all have them, and yet it seems to surprise us when we see the flaw in someone else. I have a friend. I think she is beautiful and for a while I thought she was both physically perfect and perfect in terms of heart and being a friend. I thought we were equals and we could talk deeply about spiritual matters, we could share honestly about our sex life in our marriages and encourage each other with the hard parts of parenting. I didn’t notice any flaws for a while. I was just so happy to have a friend I could laugh with, go to the beach with, go for coffee or a drink, we seemed to match up in every way. It had been so long since I had a friend that clicked with so easily. Then the holidays came. I don’t know exactly what happened first. But I started to notice little things here and there that were causing me to frown internally. My OCD was kicking in, I thought whatever was wrong if I picked at the scab long enough I could uncover what needed to be and then we could heal. For the record, picking at a scab doesn’t really work, it actually slows the healing process. And, it turns out, that humans don’t enjoy being picked at and it breaks down the foundation of the relationship if you keep it up long enough. But I didn’t know all this when I was picking at our friendship. I called, I texted, when I would see her in person I would give her a hard time about not calling me back or canceling. Pick pick pick. Life changes pulled us away further as I was busy raising my family, she was busy doing the same. I got the hint and stopped making the efforts. I heard a few weeks ago from a mutual friend that she is doing well. I won’t home and cried. I laid in bed awake all night rolling around my actions and analyzing every interaction, no matter how small. We still have not resolved whatever it is between us. I hope that we can find Harmony again.

The problem with OCD is even if you can properly identify what you are doing wrong, you are unable to change it in the moment.

For all of my flaws, I have some pretty great attributes. If I pursue a friendship its usually because I see someone as they are and love and accept them. I will root for, champion and lift up that person through the hard times. I long for internal peace and I of recent, have been drawn to those I see that have found it. Whether I am perfect in being a friend or not is not really the point. I fail all the time, tripping over my flaws, stumbling over my imperfections and running from my ugly side. But that doesn’t make me unique. I admire the women who can put their flaws out there for the world to see and accept themselves as a whole person.  Tina Fey is one of those women. When I see her, I see her flaws but to me they make her perfect.

What do you pick at? What do you try to run from as a woman? Have you made peace within yourself recently or are you beginning the process? I want to hear from you!

Ps, I am a affiliate with WishGarden I love all their herbal remedies for anxiety, mood disorders, digestive issues, immune system and PMS/Menopause. By clicking on the banner and making a purchase I receive a small commission. I thank you. ❤

 

Cheers and Happy Reading!