The Journey

If there is one thing that I cannot stand, it is the amount of spouse shaming/venting/complaining that I see when on social media.  I understand that at times, there are moments of frustration, loneliness, anger, irritation, or what-have you, but aren’t their also times of love, joy, celebration, happiness, and other ooey-gooey emotions?

I’m in A LOT of mom groups (well, at least 7) and I often see women tearing down their spouses because after working a 14 hour shift, he came home and sat on the couch to relax a little bit instead of doing this, that, or the other, he ignored a text message or 1,000 because they couldn’t control themselves, or he just hasn’t listened to what their wives have to say about how they feel or what is going on in their lives.

So, to combat this tearing down, I’m going to use this as a brag moment (heh heh).

I have one of the best husbands in the world!  I won’t say The best because I know a lot of you ladies also have wonderful husbands too!

There have been points in time where I felt he wasn’t listening.  Or that even though I was talking, I wasn’t being heard.  One of those times being when I was wanting to get active in starting a toxin-free life style.

***This is the part where this starts to get a little jumpy, so I apologize.***

It all started when I was pregnant with Eli.  I had TERRIBLE morning sickness… well, all day for 19 weeks sickness if we want to be real here.  I was dropped about 30 pounds in the first 19 weeks.  My doctor was starting to get a little concerned that Baby Pete wasn’t getting enough nutrients.  I could barely keep water down let alone vitamins or food. and I had tried every trick in the book to keep anything down.  After the first 14 weeks, I threw out a mom-plea on Facebook to see if there had been options that I had missed.

I received a private message from Kayla, a fellow young mom that goes to our church.  She told me that she does essential oils and may have something that will help me if I was open to trying it.  I was open to try anything at this point.  The following Sunday, she brought me two magic blue roller bottles.  I sat in the back of church (just in case!) and took off my shoes and applied Aromaese to the bottom of my feet.  Within about 25-30 seconds, my nausea was fading and my stomach was starting to settle for the first time.  Later that afternoon, I felt the nausea and stomach starting to flare again so I took the second bottle, Peppermint, and applied it to the bottom of my feet.  Same result.

I used them through out my pregnancy when I was feeling pretty rotten.  I didn’t do much else with them because I wasn’t educated in it and I wasn’t certain if this was a right path for our family.

I started watching her posts on Facebook as well as her mom, Sheila,  posts on Facebook about these oily goodies and how they changed their lives and how they have been able to rid their medicine cabinets of most (if not all) OTC pills and medications.

Soon, Eli arrived and my anxiety hit an all time high.  Was I feeding him right?  Was he too hot?  Too cold?  Is there something bugging him why he can’t/won’t sleep?  Let’s not even mention the thought of returning to work and daycare.  I battled with my anxiety silently.  I knew Shane knew these things bugged me but I didn’t know how to talk openly about it and because of that, he didn’t know the extent.

Fast forward to when my job at the time let me go and my panic was in full swing.  How could a family of 5 survive on one income?  How would I ever find a job in the area with my degree?  Would I need to travel an hour or more one way just to make ends meet?  In that brief period of time, it felt like prayer wasn’t enough.

I hit a point one night where I was talking to Shane about it and threw my hands up and was pleading with God to open some doors.  Literally the next day, a job opportunity landed in my lap. (You can read more about that here.)

As I began my new career, I began to ask Sheila some questions about the oils.  What was in the diffuser?  What did this particular oil do?  Can I just get more general information?  I started getting the feeling like this is what needed to change in our lives.  I was coming home from work stress free, headache free, happy, and at peace for the first time in a while.  I brought the idea up to Shane and after quite a bit of discussion, he allowed me to buy my first kit!

I started using it little by little.  Lavender in Eli’s bath to help calm him at night, Thieves in a spray bottle to clean surfaces, Purification in the diffuser to take the stink out of the house (for those days we forget to take out the trash! HAHA!), Stress Away to literally do what it says.  Then as I started experimenting, I started noticing HUGE differences.  Copiaba on Eli’s gums during teething called for a happier baby.  Lemon in my water, less sugar cravings.  Thieves, R.C., Lavender, and Purification in the diffuser at night called for restful sleep and immune system support for Eli, Shane and myself.  Peppermint to relieve my headaches and sinus pressure.  Then came the wanting to buy more oils; especially the Kidscents line.  The more I researched and read, the more I found a use for all of the oils I had.

Then came the end of November when Kayla was close to making a goal of hers.  I eagerly jumped in to help spread the word to help her meet her goal!  It was such a rush and I loved it.

***This is where I can jump back to what I was talking about above.***

I started telling Shane that I felt this was going to be a passion of mine.  I wanted (and do) share with people (mainly ladies in those mom groups) what the oils have done for us.  It became a topic I brought up often, and I went as far as making a goal sheet.

There were times it felt like I was just blowing smoke and talking to the wind.  However, Shane was very much listening.

I knew I had a Christmas gift coming because he was dropping hints like that it has potential to cost a lot of money but in turn make you money, it doesn’t cost a penny (uhh..refer back to the first clue??), and that people who are close to you are helping me out and you don’t even have a clue (WRONG! I had 2…haha!).  I racked my brain for a week trying to make sense of his cryptic (and confusing) clues.

This last Saturday, we attended my company Christmas party and was presented with my early Christmas gift!  Shane has arranged with Sheila and Kayla to welcome me aboard Young Living on the business side of things.

I am beyond elated that all of my blabbing and excitement and productivity wasn’t wasted.  I am excited to *officially* be a part of Young Living!  I can’t wait to continue to learn, grow, and educate others.

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My excited mug I took when we got home from the Christmas party and I announced my new business!

To celebrate this awesome journey,  I am offering the first person who decides to take the leap into a health and wellness journey by purchasing a premium starter kit a bottle of Envision! *this will ship separately than your kit because it will come from me with a special note!!*   Also, for a limited time, you may have the opportunity to get your hands on a desert mist diffuser!  This diffuser typically retails for $84.00 so this is an AMAZING deal!  It is only while the Dewdrop is out of stock, so you have a better chance at getting the upgraded diffuser if you order immediately.

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Isn’t it beautiful??!

Phew, that was a mouth full!  But on top of all of this, that means that my blog site is going to get a tiny ‘make over’.  It will still be about faith, our lives and the journey within it, but now it will also include my oily journey and what we are doing and how I believe that it can help you!

SIGNOFF

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Weekend To Remember

A few weeks ago, Shane and I had the opportunity to experience one of the most amazing things.

Over the last few years, we have heard about A Weekend to Remember (WTR).  Since hearing about it, we have wanted to go and learn how to improve our communication, how to fight fair, and how to work through the tough situations without either one of us ‘losing’ our stance or beliefs.

This year is the first year in four years that it worked with our schedules to go – so we decided to go!

I’m going to start this by saying, those of you who have heard about it and are thinking of going:  stop thinking about it and go.  Those of you who haven’t heard about it: I’m going to tell you about it and encourage you to go.

I’ll start off easy by asking you to rate your marriage on a scale of 1-10; one being the only thing left to do is sign the divorce papers and 10 being fantastic!

If you asked me a week ago how I rated my marriage on a scale of 1-10, I would have told you an 8.5.  I felt we had good communication, we never fight, we discuss things calmly, we compromise, and we forgive.  There are moments of irritation and frustration but there is not a single marriage out there that doesn’t suffer that.  However, after attending WTR, looking back on that same question, I would have rated our marriage a 6.5-7.

Why?

Because personally, sometimes when I’m frustrated or irritated, I tend to default to responding without taking into consideration the other side of the table.  I get selfish.  I get short tempered.  I’m not consistent.  I have moments of ‘jealousy’.  I’m messy.  I’m forgetful.  I’m busy.  I’m tired.  I’m stubborn.

In order for you to understand exactly what we went through, I need to start at the beginning while not revealing any of the secrets that happen there.

There are so many outside forces that try to work their way in between a husband and wife and drive wedges to try and make the marriage weak, crumble, and fail.  Things like the inability to make adjustments to stay as “one flesh” instead of staying two, that the ‘love’ that caused you to get married was based off of performance or looks, being so divided in differences of thoughts/opinions/views, affairs (this can range from adultery, addictions, busy schedules, chasing material items, etc), and our own selfishness when it comes to our spouses ‘weaknesses’, ‘mistakes’, ‘failures’, or unmet unrealistic expectations.

Sometimes, we don’t even realize that these things exist in our marriages.  I didn’t.  I didn’t realize that an extramarital affair was even present in our marriage.  Now, before you jump to conclusions, hear me out.

Shane and I are yes people.  We enjoy helping people, we enjoy supporting people, we enjoy being a part of things that help us learn and grow.  However, we quickly realized that weekend that sometimes, yes gets in the way of our marriage.  As we were sitting there, I couldn’t remember the last time I had a meaningful conversation with my husband without an infant screaming/crying/tugging on an arm or leg, without teenagers dropping an ear in or jumping in mid conversation with something completely unrelated, without one of us rushing to eat so that we can quickly get out the door, or without being out and about at an activity that we are a part of.  It really sunk in that we’ve gotten so busy with everything around us that we were starting to lose us.  As much as we enjoy the busy-ness to pass the time, we needed to take a step back, reevaluate, and start saying no.

Communication needs to be key in marriage.  But when you start adding all of these other things into it, communicating effectively is HARD.  Communication shouldn’t be hard, it should be easy.  It should be an avenue towards oneness with your spouse instead of being a driving wedge.

“It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.”
~Harry S. Truman

Sometimes the wedge in communication can be that we don’t know how to effectively communicate how we are feeling.  It’s hard to take off the mask of protection and allow us to be completely transparent.  Even though I was at WTR and I heard all this (and took notes on it) I still find it hard to take that mask off.  Shane deserves transparency, but I still struggle with even admitting to myself that I have emotions because for so long I wasn’t able to express them in a healthy way.

The end goal in a marriage is oneness; leave and cleave.  The level of which you leave is the level that you can cleave.  If you are unable to leave your family, outside forces, addictions, etc, you are not able to cleave to your spouse and it leaves space for doubt, insecurities, and loneliness.

Sometimes, these things can lead to conflict.  Conflict occurs when we feel that our “rights” have been violated, unmet expectations, or something has hurt us.  However, we need to be slow to anger and to take a step back and evaluate where our heart is at.  Are we trying to retaliate, restore, punish or pursue peace?

Contrary so semi-popular belief:  YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT YOUR ENEMY.

In order to peacefully move forward, there needs to be forgiveness.  True, unconditional forgiveness.  That is sometimes hard to give because we tend to hold onto things that once hurt us.  However, we are told in Ephesians 4:32 that we need to “…forgive one another, and God in Christ forgave you.”

In the end, God wants our marriages (or relationships if you aren’t married) to achieve oneness.  Sometimes, this oneness hard to achieve because (in case you haven’t noticed) men and women are different.  The way that I see things in our marriage, Shane sees them completely different and sometimes not at all.  But these differences are not to be viewed as reasons to not achieve God’s purpose for marriage.

What we need to achieve this level of purpose is to know the true definition of love.  Without looking in the dictionary, can you define what love is?

Love:  loving an imperfect person for a lifetime.

LIFETIME.

I like to tease Shane that he’s stuck with me forever.  No trading me off for a newer model, can’t bring me in for warranty work when something breaks, and attitude adjustments cost too much.  But, it’s not really teasing when we have entered this life sentence together.  Shane and I vowed to one another in front of family, friends, and God that we will stay together through it all – no excuses.  When we talk about our relationship journey, dating until current, we tell people that we were put through more in our 12-18 months of dating and marriage that most people don’t experience in a lifetime.  Our relationship was put through the ringer, through the garbage disposal, through the shredder, but we are still standing with heads held high and hands praising the One who got us through it.

“Heaven will not be filled with people who are scared of Hell. Heaven will be filled with people who walked through Hell to follow Jesus.”
~Unknown

I can’t share everything that was shared at WTR, but I promise you that it is worth every penny.  Not only did we walk away with new tools and a new understanding, we were able to have a date night.  That’s right.  A night to ourselves with no social media, no phone calls, just us.

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One of the many highlights was walking along the River Walk in Sioux Falls after sunset.

In addition to a date night, we had a couple of hours to sit and write each other love letters.  It was a moment in time where I was able to get back to the root of why I walked down the isle and committed to spend every day walking with him for the rest of my life.

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BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!

Shane and I have been on our faith journey together for a few years now.  One thing that has been on our hearts is that we needed to minister.  At first, that’s why I started this blog.  To share experiences that I went through and how my faith got me through them.  But this blog wasn’t enough.  I was left wanting more…and so was Shane.  We joined as youth leaders within our church’s youth group.  While it helps, there is still a feeling of needing more.

That being said, God answers prayers and He answers them abundantly.

I can’t share all the details but there are good things in the works right now that we need your prayers on:
1.) That Shane and I be led in the way of ministry through Family Life Ministries that God sees fit in our lives.
2.) That God will provide us with couples (near or far) who want to pursue Christ that we can disciple to, befriend, support, and encourage on their journey.
3.) That potential opportunities in Shane’s military career reveal themselves and we can see the clear path that he needs to take.
4.)  That we may make an impact at an even in January that we have been invited to be part of the leadership of.

God is doing some wonderful things in our lives and at times it’s almost overwhelming.  But I need to remember that He is Lord and He has a purpose and a plan for everything that is coming our way.

If you have ways I can pray for you, please leave them in the comments below or send me a message on my personal Facebook page. (SIDENOTE::  I do not respond to friend requests if you are unfamiliar to me)

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men…”
~Colossians 3:23 HCSB

Rejuvenation

The step away.  The much-needed breath of fresh air to be able to bond with my new family, analyze where I have been and where I want to go, and to try to find my purpose and drive behind this blog.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time or ran across my blog in a web search somehow, there is no secret it is faith-based.  I have a strong foundation in my marriage and in our family that is on our faith.  But after having been through some of the things we have been through over the last few years, I would be lying if I said my faith wasn’t shaken a little bit.  Not in the sense that I lost it, but more in the sense of “Why?”  “Why us and why now?”

I needed that time away from the keyboard to come to peace with a lot of things.  Things ranging from family, to work, to faith, to just general anxiety about the new road laid in front of us.

When I last left you, I was about to have a baby.  What an experience that was!  We welcomed our handsome little fellow January 31 and fell in love immediately.  He has such an amazing birth story – one that maybe in time I will tell, but for now, I will just say God is good and blessed us that week.  Everyone, meet our spunky almost 6 month old (where has the time gone!?), Elijah.  ❤

Shane and I have learned a lot over the last 6 months.  He’s experiencing being a dad all over again (and loving every minute of it!).  We are learning Eli is a perfect mix of mom and dad.  Although, he gets his spunky attitude from is Auntie Bee and Uncle Derek. (He loves them too!)

We’ve loved spending the much-needed time with family and watching Eli grow and learn.  But while watching him grow, we’ve also done some growing.

When I returned to work after maternity leave, I worked my tail off for one week fixing errors, making phone calls, and cleaning up messes only to be let go after everything was back to par.  I asked for a reason and they had nothing to lean on other than “Minnesota is an at will state, and we can let you go for no reason.”  Well, ladies and gents, let me tell you why:

They couldn’t handle the fact that I wasn’t able to work 6-7 days a week and 60+ hour weeks while trying to care for my newborn son.  They didn’t like that when it came down to brass tacks, I was not willing to sacrifice my family for the sake of the company.

This was the point where my faith hit a low.  Our new family of 5 was cut down to a single income.  I battled with the fact we (I) were (was) being punished.  I struggled with the fact that God has blessed me with a child I was never supposed to have but it came at a price.  I would even go as far as to say I was angry at Him.  But, really, I had no reason to be.  The job was stressful and thankless.  I had wanted to find a family friendly place of employment for quite some time.  But did it really have to come at this price?

Man, I struggled and wrestled with this for a while.  But over that period of time, I was able to dig into a Bible study called “No More Perfection” and it dealt with the need to be ‘perfect’ in every way.  I knew I was struggling with emotions and feelings so the first thing I did was write this sticky note and threw it in my purse.

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When I struggled, I’d pull it out and pick one and read.  But there was one I found a couple of months back that I didn’t add to my sticky note.  But it was one I found through another Bible study that really hit home and started the “closure” process for me.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” ~Hebrews 12:14

That was the point where I started reflecting back onto this blog.  If my goal was to minister to people through real life experiences, I needed to find peace.  I needed that peace for everything that had happened in our lives for the last four years.  I needed to be able to let go of the anger, bitterness, and maybe a small amount of jealousy that I held onto.

Prayer, prayer, and more prayer.  Maybe a few more “why me”‘s in there than I would like to admit, but I’m human.  There are times I cannot process my emotion in a ‘healthy’ way.

Then, after a couple of months of prayer, I found a job that I love.   (Or maybe it found me? (:  )  I mean, it couldn’t be a better fit for what I was needing and looking for.

But all that being said, I still felt like a piece of me was missing, and I knew exactly what it was.  But, I made a promise to myself that I would not touch this blog site again until I could do a couple of things:
1.  Find closure in ALL things.
2.  Find a way to minister without coming off as pushy or gloating
3.  Find a way to love my family and myself the way that God loves us – unconditionally.
4.  Find a way to relate my life experiences with the same experiences that some of you may be going through (this one is going to be tough as we are all at different places in our lives)

Until I could move beyond all the yuck, no one would see the Lord in what I was saying, they would only see me.  I don’t want you to just see me when you come here.  I want you to be able to experience the Truth and see all of the miracles that God can do for you.  I mean, for us, Elijah is living proof of that!

I was able to do 3 of the 4 so now we are here.

After 6 months of prayer, heavy thought, and a push from a new blogger, I took that step.  With a little encouragement from The Soap Box , I signed in, said a prayer, and let my heart and feelings pour out.

I’m hoping that this is just the beginning of a newly rejuvenated blog.  I hope to keep you all updated and post more often as my spirit is led.  ❤

Until next time!

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*Please take a moment to hop on over to The Soap Box blog linked in my post.  Also, follow them on Facebook!  I feel a lot of good things coming from them in the future!

**I would also like you to leave me feed back.  Any questions, comments, etc are welcomed and encouraged.  Maybe they will even spark a post for you! ❤

The Paths We’ve Traveled.

As the time is ticking down, I can’t help but feel this huge rush of different emotions.  The 40 week wait is almost over!

As I was sitting in our game room talking with Shane, there was one question that I asked him:  “How the heck did we get here?!”

For those of you who know us or that have followed or story on here, you know that 4 years ago, we were both on very different paths.  Paths paved by the broken pieces of who we once were, the plans we had made for ourselves, and any type of feelings and emotions that were anything other than the feeling of being numb.  Paths that eventually led to one another but not without some hiccups in the road.

I couldn’t help but look around at everything that has happened in the last 4 years and just be humbled.

As I looked down at my fully inflated belly, I got chills.  I’m 40 weeks pregnant with a child I was told that I would possibly never have.  I’m 40 weeks pregnant with the son that I had only thought that I would get to meet in my dreams.

Then I look over at Shane who is just taking it all in.  He’s looking around at the wife he felt for so long he didn’t deserve, at the house that he’s put blood, sweat, and tears in order to make it our own, and my growing belly at another son that is soon to make his debut.

Seriously.  How the heck did we get here!?

In a sense, the answer is so simple while in the same breath so complex.  With everything that has happened, all aspects of our lives had to have been in the perfect place at the right time.  There is only one answer as to how this happened – both when we were on separate paths and on the path that we are on now.  God’s plan was bigger and the story is told with our shoes.

God’s plan for us was bigger than any called off wedding plans.  Bigger than bone scans, blood work, and x-rays.  Bigger than any doctor diagnosis based off of nothing more than ‘science’.  Bigger than the legal “one bedroom” house that we were trying to raise a family in.  Bigger than anything that we could have ever  imagined and planned for ourselves.

It’s just such an odd mix of emotions to be sitting in this chair and feeling all of these feelings: excitement, anticipation, fear, joy, nervousness, happiness, anxiousness, calm, and the list goes on.

Truth of the matter is that within the next week or so, I will have a tiny babe laying next to me.  Well, he will probably be in his bassinet or rocker and I’ll be staring down at him just in awe that my “slim chances” is laying right in front of me.

The picture of our shoes tells the story of our family.  We have a daughter who is so shy and so quiet.  But she slips on those shoes and walks across a stage and transforms into numerous characters while telling a story for judges and peers.  We have a son that puts on his drill masters and marches across football fields and performs marching shows that he has put countless hours of practice into.  I click my way across the floor at the dealership to work with my salesmen and their customers to help provide a good life for the two children we have.  Shane puts on his boots daily and labors in extreme heat, extreme cold, and everything in between to be sure that all of us are well provided for and taken care of.  Elijah’s shoes have yet to be worn.  Those shoes will soon be the cause of the pitter-patter sounds running across the floor followed by the excited squeal of a toddler running away from his hard working father, his expressive sister, or his determined brother.  It just seems so surreal…

How?!  Just, how?

God is so good.  If you give Him the chance, He works such miracles.  His plan is bigger than yours.  He will bring you places that you never thought you would go.

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I just love this picture!  Our lives have been so serious in preparation for our little guy that we needed a good laugh tonight!  ❤

The Three Loves

While scrolling through my Facebook feed this evening, I ran across a post that really hit close to home.  It was someone who had recently ended her relationship with her fiance.  It wasn’t so much that she called her engagement off within months of their wedding; it was the link to a post that she put with her public apology.

The link was to a blog post titled “We Only Fall In Love With 3 People In Our Lifetime – Each One For A Specific Reason.”  Some of the things that were stated in there were absolutely true!  If you don’t follow the link above, please take the time to read the excerpt that I have placed below.  It’s seriously worth the time to read it!

“It’s been said that we really only fall in love with three people in our lifetime.  Yet, it’s also believed that we need each of these loves for a different reason.  
Often our first is when we are young, in high school even. It’s the idealistic love—the one that seems like the fairy tales we read as children.  This is the love that appeals to what we should be doing for society’s sake—and probably our families. We enter into it with the belief that this will be our only love and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feel quite right, or if we find ourselves having to swallow down our personal truths to make it work because deep down we believe that this is what love is supposed to be.  It’s a love that looks right.
The second is supposed to be our hard love—the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved. This is the kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation.
We think we are making different choices than our first, but in reality we are still making choices out of the need to learn lessons—but we hang on. Our second love can become a cycle, oftentimes one we keep repeating because we think that somehow the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before.
Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic even. There may be emotional, mental or even physical abuse or manipulation—most likely there will be high levels of drama. This is exactly what keeps us addicted to this story-line, because it’s the emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows and like a junkie trying to get a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high.
With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should.  It’s the love that we wished was right.
And the third is the love we never see coming. The one that usually looks all wrong for us and that destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be. This is the love that comes so easy it doesn’t seem possible. It’s the kind where the connection can’t be explained and knocks us off our feet because we never planned for it.
This is the love where we come together with someone and it just fits—there aren’t any ideal expectations about how each person should be acting, nor is there pressure to become someone other than we are.  We are just simply accepted for who we are already—and it shakes to our core.
It isn’t what we envisioned our love would look like, nor does it abide by the rules that we had hoped to play it safe by. But still it shatters our preconceived notions and shows us that love doesn’t have to be how we thought in order to be true.
This is the love that keeps knocking on our door regardless of how long it takes us to answer.  It’s the love that just feels right.
…There may be those people who fall in love once and find it passionately lasts until their last breath. Those faded and worn pictures of our grandparents who seemed just as in love as they walked hand-in-hand at age 80 as they did in their wedding picture—the kind that leaves us wondering if we really know how to love at all.  Someone once told me they are the lucky ones, and perhaps they are.  
But I kinda think that those who make it to their third love are really the lucky ones.  They are the ones who are tired of having to try and whose broken hearts lay beating in front of them wondering if there is just something inherently wrong with how they love.
Just because it has never worked out before doesn’t mean that it won’t work out now.”

I can safely say, I’ve experienced all three of these.  As I was reading, all of these little flashes from my past came back and made me realize that yes, there are lessons to be learned in all sorts of love…and the pain that comes with it.

The one that caught my attention was the second love.  Oh, second love.  This is where my heart goes out to this young lady who posted her public apology tonight, because at one point, I was in her shoes.

I can’t speak for her relationship, so I won’t.  But I will speak for what mine was.  It was unhealthy.  It was unbalanced.  It was narcissistic.  It was an emotional rollercoaster.  There was manipulation.

Even though it was all these things, I never once viewed myself as a “junkie” that was addicted to it.  But in a sense, I guess I was.  I had put myself in a position where I had spiraled so far down from where I was, I couldn’t find a way out.  My only glimpse of “me” were those extreme highs.  But the number of highs slowly started to be out numbered by the extreme lows.

Much like this particular young woman, I was engaged.  I was actually a month away from “the big day” when I decided that I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I was tired of the tears, I was tired of the fights, and I was tired of feeling like I was lost.  He is a good person for the right person, he just was not good for me.

But never throughout the process did I ever feel like I owed anyone other than him and my family an explanation.  Because in the end, it wasn’t anyone elses life to live… it was mine.  And no amount of “I’m sorry for…” was going to soothe the curiosity that pulsed through my social media accounts, job, and friends.

About the time my third love came around, I was sitting in an office chair in a gas station looking at all of the shattered pieces of my heart trying to decide where I was to go now.  I let the tears fall and the prayers rise up.  I wasn’t ready for a relationship and I knew I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but I asked God to just give me a sign that there was someone out there for me.  Someone who was going to love me for who I was; broken pieces and all.  Love literally knocked on that office door that day.

Even though we both felt it (literally) in that moment, I knew I wasn’t ready and I’m sure he wasn’t ready for me at that time either.  But, that was the defining moment that started to made my world spin again.  It took a knock on the door, one turned down date, a returned telephone number, and a leap of faith to get us to where we are now:  married for almost 2 years, a house, and a baby on the way.

Do I wish that my fairytale would have been much like those stories you hear about high-school sweethearts?  No.  Because it literally took an experience with each one of those types of love to get me to where I needed to be to begin my relationship with Shane.  I’m glad him and I have had the personal struggles we have had and  I’m glad that we’ve learned from past experiences.

All in all, it doesn’t matter how you get to your fairytale ending.  Let your story write itself.  But ladies: please, please, please do not ever feel like you owe anyone an apology for taking steps in a direction that may lead you to your third love.  You are stronger than that.  You are worth more than that.

You will love again, I promise.  That love will be the love that will make you forget all of the hurt, the pain, and the struggles that it took to get you there.  But you won’t be able to forget the lessons learned through all of the struggles, hurt, and pain.

Take that leap of faith.

Find that “fairytale” love.

If he left you beaten down and broken, just know there is someone out there who is able to pick you up and put you back together.

I can say that with confidence because:  been there, done that.

 

 

 

*Disclaimer:  I did get permission from the young lady to include a portion of her story.  I would never use someone else’s personal life without their consent.  ❤ *

The Art of ‘Perfection’

This morning, I saw something from my past that really brought the last couple of years of my life into a new perspective.

My TimeHop said that 4 years ago, I wrote a status that read:
“It’s not about having a ‘perfect’ relationship. It’s about finding someone who will be there through everything without giving up.”

No.  Joke.

It’s been almost 3 years since Shane and I began this crazy journey that we are on.  Sometimes, I just sit back and think about all that has happened and think “It’s only been 3 years?”  Other times, I sit back and think “That 3 years has gone by so quickly.”

I look back on all of the church events, school events, family trips, lazy evenings at home, and other events that have been such blessings in our lives.  We’ve gained friends, we’ve lost friends, we’ve changed jobs, we’ve had really positive experiences, and we’ve had some not so positive experiences.

But I keep going back to one thing; all of these experiences would have had a completely different impact if it was anyone other than Shane standing by my side.  (Side note:   None of these probably would have happened if Shane wasn’t by my side because my life would have been completely different.)

One of the most exciting things we’ve been through thus far is finding out that our family was growing by 2 little feet.  I found out back in May while Shane was in California that we were expecting a new bundle of joy!  He had his suspicions before he left but anything can happen in those early weeks!  Since he was at training, I was unable to call him so I wrote him a letter and sent him a picture of the “6 week”ultrasound to let him know that he was going to be a dad again!  We battled a lot of sickness and some health scares with this pregnancy but thankfully, through a lot of prayers, we found out at our 20 week appointment that our little BOY was strong, stubborn, and most of all; healthy.  After looking at the few ultrasounds that we have, I’ve decided that the little bugger has my nose and Shane’s mouth.  He is the cutest little thing but of course, my opinion is biased.

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We’ve also been through some not so fun stuff.  I won’t go into detail because while we were able to make our way through it, some of it is better off not shared.  But I will say this on it:

I am really glad that Shane and I have our faith to lean on when things begin to go sideways in our lives.  There has been numerous times throughout the last five months that we have been put in a position where all we could do is pray and lean on His word.  In short, the passage of
“…Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave your or forsake you.  Therefore, we may boldly say:  The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me? … Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” ~Hebrews 13:5-6, 8
is nothing short true.  Man can sit and try to throw things at us to tear us apart, but in the end, we have a mighty warrior on our side who will never abandon us because of all the “junk” in our lives.

But all that being said, my relationship with Shane has not faltered.  Have we had moments of weakness?  Sure.  But never once have I questioned my decision to be with him.  The only questions I ever held were for the outside sources who thought they pulled one over on us.  He has been my rock and my supporter from day one.  We may not have the ‘perfect’ relationship to those who may look at us, but for us, I couldn’t have asked for a better fit.

The same goes for my relationship with Christ.  I am human.  There have been times/are times where I go against what He has commanded me to do and how I should live.  But He doesn’t turn his cheek on me when the going gets tough.  Instead, He stretches out his arms and loves me unconditionally no matter the bumps and bruises that I’ve gathered along the way.

In reality, no one will ever have that ‘perfect’ relationship.  There will be trials.  There will be stress.  There will be outside opinions.  But if you can look at the other person at the end of the day, take a deep breath and say “I love you” and mean every word of it, that’s when you know that you are in the ‘perfect’ relationship.

Silver Linings

Last night I got to be a part of something powerful.  In short:  Everyone has their own story, their own battle, their own speed bumps that none of us know anything about.

Obviously, right?

But think about how often you come in contact with someone and the thought “Man, they are in a bad mood today!” has crossed your mind.  What we don’t know is that they may have been up all night spending last moments with loved ones, they may be working multiple jobs to provide for their family, they may have just gotten horrible news, and the list of things that could have happened is about endless.

Last night, we had our weekly youth gathering.  It was worship night which means the kids get to be a part of fellowship, song, and prayer with one another.  But what I wasn’t expecting was what came of the prayer time last night.

We were asked to ponder things in our lives; struggles that we may be having, things that we feel blessed with, and so on.  As the music started and I began to think about my struggles, I was almost overwhelmed with what I came up with:

Patience/Acceptance
Loneliness/Abandonment (preparing for training events)
Understanding
Selfishness
Feeling unfulfilled
Stress of life
Kids Activities
Financials

 

And that is just a broad/quick glimpse at a few struggles that came across in a roughly 5 minute meditation period.  The feeling was overwhelming and the only way to let some of the “pressure out” was to shed a tear or 10.  But while the tears fell, I felt put at ease a little bit.

“The Lord is the One who will go before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Even though we get so wrapped up into what is going on here on Earth, we need not to worry.  He has our plans already made out for us and all we have to do is trust Him to get us through these times of Earthly struggles.

But where there is struggle there is also joy.  During that time of meditation, even though I felt a little beat down, I also found blessings:

Family
Career
Health
Faith
Mercy/Forgiveness/Grace
Education
Freedom
Joy in simplicity
Community/Fellowship

The silver linings to the storm clouds that hover not too far away.

I’m constantly at battle with myself to remember to not dwell on the things that I cannot change.  My need to be in control of my life often gets in my way of letting Christ take over and leading me to where I need to be.

After those few struggles were written down on a piece of paper, we were able to run them through a paper shredder.  We got to “lay them down” at Jesus’ feet.  There was a weight that was just lifted off my shoulders.

Yes, I may still struggle with some of those.  I am human.  But knowing that I don’t have to face them ‘alone’ and that there are little silver linings scattered within my life makes it an easier weight to carry.

No matter what the storms of life throw our way, He always has a plan.

*Photo credit to Google Images.*

That Special Feeling.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I can’t help but notice the amount of stuffed animals, flowers, candy, and special plans that are listed out on my Facebook, Instagram, and other social media feeds.

I was going through and enjoying what I was seeing.  I am happy that people get flowers, candy, and other gifts for Valentine’s Day.  But as I was going through and seeing all this, I felt like I got hit by a bus:

If your man or woman only does special things for you or makes plans for you one day out of the year, they are failing the other 364 days.

…that means that you feel special 0.0027% of the year.

I was just having a conversation with Shane yesterday about how I felt like I wasn’t good enough for him.  That I was a failure.  That he deserved better.  It was one of those days that was looking like I was going to have a late/no lunch break.  I let him know and found out that he had planned something special for us.  Being the supportive man he is, he found a way to make it OK.  But that didn’t change the little seed of doubt that started.

I failed him.  I failed to be able to schedule the day where I was able to take a decent lunch break and allow him to carry out this plan he had…but the car business is unpredictable so we have to work around it.

But as soon as that little seed was planted, I realized not only had I failed to take a decent lunch break, I also didn’t get dishes put away from the night before, I forgot to switch over the laundry, I was distracted with getting the kids to school and the dogs outside that I didn’t get the bed made, I hadn’t swept the floor, vacuumed the rug, dusted the shelves, and I forgot to pull bread out of the freezer for supper.  As you can imagine, the list continued to grow throughout the day.

After a long night of letting my mind spin on these things, we sent the kids off to bed and sat in silence.  I apologized.  For what?

For not getting anything done while getting everything else done, for encouraging M in her speech practices while coming down on her for neglecting her responsibilities to practice before 24 hours before her first competition, for guiding M and giving him room to grow while getting upset that he’s ‘wasting time’ and ‘procrastinating’ when we need some speed in the routine, for loving Shane with everything that I have but still not being enough for him.

As I opened up to him, he just sat and listened.  No judgement, a few laughs, and a few shakes of the head.

But when he asked me if there were things that had been done that made me feel like I was good enough, it was almost overwhelming.

Yes; you planned a special dinner for us, you’ve planned an anniversary weekend event, you’ve demonstrated patience, you’ve been understanding, you built us a bed frame with your hands while I was in Texas, you’ve lost sleep to make sure I was OK, you’ve taken leaps of faith with me, you’ve supported me, you’ve blessed me with M&M, you’ve encouraged me when I’ve lost any type of luster to continue, you’ve built me up when I’ve been knocked down, you’ve allowed me to grow, you’ve loved me through every trial and tribulation, you’ve gone out of your way to make sure I’m comfortable and feeling loved, and the list can go on.

He makes me feel like this every day of the year.  I never go to bed wondering if I’m loved or cared about.  I never question if he is being honest and faithful.

So why, the day before Valentine’s, are all these women raving over feeling ‘special’?  Do you not feel loved every other day of the year?  Do you not receive the respect that you deserve from your someone special?

When it comes to love, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the ‘go to’ verse.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I once read, to know if you have the love that you deserve, replace some of the words with the name:
Shane is patient and kind; Shane does not envy or boast; Shane is not arrogant or rude. Shane does not insist on his own way; Shane is not irritable or resentful; Shane does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If you replace those words with the name and you cannot say that is 100% accurate in your life, maybe it’s time to reevaluate some things.  I’ve been in situations where every single statement was false.  I didn’t have patience or kindness, I was surrounded by envy, boastfulness, rudeness, arrogance, resistance to compromise, irritation, resentfulness, and someone who celebrated wrongs instead of doing what was right.

Women (and men too); listen to me:

You DO deserve patience and kindness and endurance.
You DO NOT deserve any type of envy or boastfulness.
You DO NOT deserve arrogance or rudeness.
You DO NOT deserve someone who is resistant to compromise.
You DO NOT deserve someone who is irritable or resentful.
You DO NOT deserve someone who rejoices in wrongs.

While I am truly elated that you have been able to receive flowers, candy, and other things, please keep in mind that you deserve more than 0.0027% happiness and love throughout the year.  You deserve to be 100% happy, 100% loved, and 100% special 100% of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Nothing But A Memory.

As I’ve gotten older, trying to find the perfect gift to buy my loved ones has become harder.  It’s also become harder for me to decide what I would like to receive as a gift.

Last night Shane and I began discussing things that we have put off for ourselves; things that would make Christmas gift ideas.  I got to thinking and my list was a pencil sharpener, a travel coffee mug, a stamped mothers ring, a hair cut, and a few other small things that just aren’t necessities.

Same with Shane.  He’s been wanting things such as a mider saw, a drill press, a chop saw, wood clamps, U-clamps, and other things that can help with woodworking crafts.

As a couple, things like a bathroom renovation, an over-the-stove microwave and a new mattress/frame for our bed that was damaged in the move became the topic of conversation.

However, since these things aren’t necessary, we put them off.  We save the money and later put it toward something for the kids, gas in the vehicles, or food on the table.

But as I’ve been sitting behind my desk at work, I can’t help but think of how greedy people have become.  We sit in our homes the last Thursday in November every year giving thanks for the things we have, the people in our lives, the experiences we had over the year, and so on.  But within 24 hours, people are standing in obnoxiously long lines chomping at the bit to get the best deals on big screen TV’s, video games, clothes, shoes, toys, home decor, and more.

Why?

Why do we feel the need to buy a large amount of gifts for those in our lives in order to celebrate a holiday that has nothing to do with material items?  So we can “buy” the love of those around us?  So we can “flaunt” the money in which we may (or may not) have had?  So that we can try to out-do one another?

As we crawled into bed, I heard Hugo walking around downstairs followed by the jingle of his tags laying down on the floor, I heard Marley curl up on his bed next to my bedside table, and I knew the kids were fast asleep.  I began thinking about the next couple of days.

One more day of work before a day off, a trip up to visit my sister and brother-in-law and parents over Thanksgiving day,  and another day of work rewarded by an annual tradition that evening.  I couldn’t help but smile a little bit.

Because through all of the hustle and bustle that has become our lives, we still strive to make memories, we still find joy in the little things going on in our lives, we strive to carry on traditions and throughout it all, actively practice our faith and give honor, praise and glory to Him for all that he has blessed us with.

We treasure the memories over the material items.  We would rather build a foundation on Him than functionality of expensive goods.

Just after having 12 hours to think it all over, straighten it all out in my cluttered little brain, I have finally finalized by Christmas wish list:

Nothing, but a memory.

Forgive Those Against You.

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Saying some prayers this evening for those who have figuratively nailed me or anyone within my family (my parents and sister included) to a cross.

I may have not been “in the right” but neither were they. In all situations, it takes two to reach the outcome.  It takes two to argue.  It takes two to point fingers.  But it only takes one to stand up for what is right.

It is not one-sided, it is not a blame game, it isn’t a game of wits, and it isn’t about who told the honest truth over who told the personal truth dabbed with lies.

It isn’t about who has the ability to stand up for themselves.  It’s about who has the ability to stand up for Him.

You can judge me, you can criticize me, and you can persecute me.
But then you cannot stand and call yourself a believer.  You cannot stand there and preach against one thing and act another.

“Do not repay evil with evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.  If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  For in so doing
you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” – Romans 12: 18-21 (HCSB)

I may not be (and possibly never will be) at a place where I can reconcile. It is my Christian duty to forgive others so that my Father will forgive me .

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in Heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.” -Mark 11:25