Sunday, April 2, 2017

100 miles

There comes a time to push. And there comes a time to let the soul rest.  I’ve been in rest mode since the beginning of the year. Currently? I’m pushing. And I know exactly what is driving me to do so.
            My April goal? The month of my 4 year anniversary of my running birth, I will run 100 miles in one month. Not a huge deal… Some people run ultra marathons and they run 100 miles at one time. To me, that falls under the category of insanity. Don’t get me wrong; I have my moments where I dole out slices of crazy. (At least my insight is in tact, right? ;) ) But I’m not to any sort of insane multi digit mile runs… and I can, with complete confidence, say that I never will be.
2016 plagued me with terrible health. Ugh. Is that too dramatic? People are very sick all over the world, so I’ll rephrase. I was deeply challenged in 2016 by my body rebelling. I was diagnosed with THREE autoimmune disorders. Symptoms? Fatigue, severe bone pain that made it almost impossible to even walk up my stairs, weight gain, decreased strength, rash all over my neck, arms, and armpits. Unrelenting itchy rash for months. It led me to the ER. Ya think I was running much in 2016? Nah. My body couldn’t handle it. I, however, found an amazing endocrinologist who listened to me when I said, “I feel like crap!” despite the fact that my labs were normal, my diet was much better and I was applying all of the essential oils that I could. She changed my meds, which bridged the gap in my poor health and I immediately felt like a new woman. Seriously. It was within days that I felt great. So, 9 months after my med change I’ve decided it’s time for a challenge. I’m not ready to lace up with the intent of running 13.1 miles. That day will come again. This day is for running shorter distances faster and stronger than I ever have with 15 more miles packed into one month than I’ve ever done before.  I can do it. My soul needs me to do it.
            As much as I enjoy sorting out my thoughts, I don’t enjoy insight. It makes me uncomfortable. But, I must do it to proceed. Despite the feeling of wanting to zip my skin off and run away from it….. I try whole-heartedly not to think of myself and how I’m affected by situations. But the truth is I take a very practical approach to every situation with the initial goal of solving the problem. I’m a problem solver. The solution finder. I think it helps my brain to cope with whatever situation that presents. Child trips over shoe and falls and hurts wrist? First instinct, hug child and then say- “well I told you to pick your shoes up.” (Mental note, child needs more sympathy, less solving of the problems in acute moment of injury….) Bad news from my mom? Well, we need a second opinion. Let’s see what oils I have that can help the symptoms… While my stomach is lurching and my brain feels full of cotton- I have to verbalize this (is it verbalizing when you’re typing? Just as- can you say “I am currently reading –blah blah book title- when in fact you’re listening to the audio book? Such problems to solve! ;))
My mom has cancer and she has battled it off and on since April 15th 2010… I guess that “anniversary” is approaching, too…. Well after years of chemo, several surgeries, some tries at radiation- the Drs told her there is nothing else they can do. Her colon cancer spread to her lungs years ago and now it has metastasized to her adrenal gland. She is not a surgical candidate. She cannot have further radiation. And she has elected not to continue with chemo due to the side effects. But that decision coincided with the Dr’s determination that chemo was not working anyway, so “maybe it’s time to enjoy life. “ per the doc.
My mom and I do not have near the relationship that we used to. Because life. And emotions.  And words. I’m working to improve my attitude and level of engagement in her life. But it isn’t easy. Because life. And emotions. And words.
            People call and text and say “I’m so sorry” “what can I do?!” “do you need anything” cue the peeling of the skin and the running away…. NO! I don’t! Why would I need anything?! This is all going to be ok, so why would I need a thing?
            Cue the solving of the problems. “let’s go to cancer treatment centers of America” “let’s visit cancer care at Kettering hospital” “maybe consider going vegan and bathing in my oils on a daily basis?!” it’s falling on deaf ears. Mostly because I haven’t said half of it. But, also because I know my mom and she’s tired of this fight. That’s one of the reasons that cancer is such a tricky little bastard. We all want to interject our opinions, needs, and beliefs on those dealing with the disease. Where as those dealing with it might not want to hear our opinion because they’re the ones with chronic diarrhea, metal mouth, cold hands, numb feet, constant chemo-fog, such severe fatigue that they can sleep for 22 hrs out of the day, no appetite, nausea, dizziness, and hair loss. They are losing in an attempt to win. It’s been 6 years. That’s one hellofa battle. She’s been rescued from her POW status. She’s coming home. And, honestly, she looked better last week than she has in 18 months. I think, despite the news, she feels such a sense of relief.
            So, how do I solve the problem of my mom dying? Is she dying? The Dr did not provide a prognosis because she’s “outlived the expectations of the medical staff” They offered her hospice services. She declined. My mind reels and my stomach churns. I don’t know what to say. This is the beginning of the end. The beginning of the end…..
            I’m stubborn and I’m a solver of the problems….. I’m frustrated and confused. So, I’m running. I’m running my heart out and I’m mourning and I’m trying to heal my soul. Healing before it crumbles into a million pieces. I haven’t cried and I won’t because I don’t know what the future holds. Does anyone? We don’t know what tomorrow is or holds. So, I’ll run and I’ll call my mom in the afternoon to see how she’s doing. I’ll enter this phase of life with complete uncertainty and complete faith in the Lord because He loves my mom more than I do.  I’ll run and I’ll pray without ceasing. The Lord hears and answers prayers every single day. I know this and I believe this.
4 miles down. 96 to go.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

we are alike.

I’m hot, sweaty and I stink. My ears and lungs are burning. I just got back from a run on this beautiful 55* November day. (should I be running?! Some say it’s bad for my joints and I’ll regret it when I'm older?? I’ll need to google that later…)
I’ll never forget the day the good Lord told me to run (although, I don’t call myself a “runner”- I’ve been lacing up my shoes and hitting the pavement for 3 ½ years and I’m forever grateful for the outlet) I needed today’s run more than I think I’ve ever needed one in the past… Well, I can’t say that that is true because I’ve received devastating news multiple times over the years and typically my first response is “I. must. Run.” I’ve run with tears streaming down my face… I’ve gotten out there to unknot my stomach, clear my head, pray, worship, ask for forgiveness and write. Yup. Write. Many of my best thoughts have come to me during my runs. (I give God all the credit…) He spoke to me in a big way today and I’d like to share my insights…. Please leave your pitchforks and doomsday predictions at home and just hear me out for a few minutes.

We are more alike than we are different. Let me give a you a moment to digest that…….. 
We are more alike than we are different.

We all want the best, brightest futures for our kids. We tuck them in at night, kiss them, and tell them we love them. We chastise ourselves for not being the most patient mom, the most playful dad that we can be. We promise that tomorrow we will try harder. We hope that tomorrow doesn’t bring a terror attack, the shooting of a police officer, the shooting of an innocent victim, riots, robberies, or tornadoes. We want them to grow up in a safe, prosperous country (which is a legacy millions of children are not afforded- I am not na├»ve to that fact)
As a whole, we generally want the basic comforts of life including a decent roof over our heads, a healthy dinner (that reminds me, I need to google “arugula” it seems I should be eating a lot of it… or adding it to my drinks? Or putting it in my bath water? Anyway… I’ll look into that later) where was I? Oh yea, basic comforts… We’d all like 1 or 2 really great friends, a spouse that loves and protects us. Equality- whether that is who you marry, what bathroom you use at target, equal pay or paternity leave.  Whether we admit it or not, we just want to be accepted and loved for who we are. The majority of us go to work and carry out the daily grind all for the good of our family. To advance ourselves, pay off debt, contribute to college funds and retirements, donate to church and missionaries…. Some of us are stay at home moms, home schooling moms, stay at home dads, part time employees, or 60+ hours a week employees. Whatever your title- it’s what works for you and your family so it isn’t wrong! We all are just doing the best that we can with the tools that we are given. And this war must stop. This war of indifference for what we say and who we hurt because we believe we are right and our way is the only way.

Hang on- my tea kettle is whistling. Green tea is supposed to be good for your heart. Or your blood pressure? I don’t know I’ll research it later. 

I’ve been allowing myself to be way too affected by the statuses and comments of others on social media. I read things and immediately conjure an argument and a rebuttal.  The desire to debate down to the last period the infinite minutia of every issue that comes to mind is undeniable.  I think to myself  “but, you’re wrong and I’m right” “I’m trying to get you to see things my way” “I want you to understand where I’m coming from” “you’re wrong because you don’t agree with me” Well, folks. I’m here to tell you that IT ISN’T ABOUT ME. It isn’t about you.
Many more of my friends are hurting in ways that I’ve never imagined… the proof has bled out in their Facebook statuses. You formed your opinion based on your research, your emotions, your life experiences- including your hurts and fears just as I have. Please know, friends, I’ve been praying for healing for all of us. I see your pain and I’m sorry for it. But, I’m also hurting because of the name-calling, bullying, the complete intolerance and lack of respect of other people’s opinions. While the country continues to feel restless, afraid, and hateful we all project and reflect that in some way. Some of us carry the words of others very heavily. Some of us post very emotionally charged statuses, a lot of us pray, some of us run, some of us drink wine, some of us clean from top to bottom (My hubby recently joked that our house hasn’t been this clean since the last presidential election, when nervous energy had me scrubbing from floor to ceiling!) I did some of that today, too. I stripped beds, swept, dusted and bleached bathrooms- wait… should I be using bleach?! Does it cause cancer? Add that to my list of things to google later…. 

Can we agree to unite for the future of our children? What’s done is done. Burning a flag and name calling and then saying “I want my children to grow up in a great country” is completely contradictory, self indulgent and unproductive. If you are the best you that you can be. And I am the best me that I can be- isn’t that all of an example that our kids need? If we wake up with thankful hearts, joy, patience, understanding, peace and hopefulness that everything will be ok; then our children will carry that with them. If we continue with the blatant hatred, bullying, and riotous behavior than that is the example we are setting. Is that the best we can do? No. It isn’t. I am choosing love, forgiveness, joy, and acceptance of my friends and family both who do and who don’t agree with me. I’m moving forward with a newfound hope and peace as frustration, fear, and anger are too great of burdens to bear.

I want to close by reiterating the fact that I am sorry I allowed myself to be offended by others. I want to apologize for my frustrations and the thoughts that I’ve had over the past few days (they haven’t been pleasant). I sense the pain and fear in everyone’s words and I’m praying for healing. Praying for peace, unity, and acceptance. The clarity and calm that I feel right now is one that I wish everyone could feel. Please know that it will be ok. It will be better than ok. I truly, firmly believe that. No matter who is commander in chief of this country. It will be better than ok.

He has overcome.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future.”  -Jeremiah 29:11

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14


“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” –John 13:34-35




In this time of desperation

When all we know is doubt and fear

There is only one foundation

We believe. We believe

We believe in God the Father

 ---We Believe. The Newsboys



What about people? Let’s get together and feel all right.

As it was in the beginning (one love)

So shall it be in the end (one heart)

All right!

Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right.

---One Love. Bob Marley



We were raised in the shadows of crosses and flags.

When we pledge allegiance we take off our hats

Here in our town

We say yes ma’am and no ma’am

We love we don’t hate

That world that’s gone crazy- it don’t have a place here in our town.

---Our Town. Tyler Farr



Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My rebuttal to the editor of The New York Daily News:

My rebuttal to the editor of The New York Daily News:

I don’t want to make assumptions, however with the brazen remarks made on the cover of your magazine, I’m taking it that you do not consider yourself a Christian person? (Please forgive me if I’m wrong about this- I mean no disrespect) However, sir (or ma’am?) I would like to provide you with some insight…..

For years, decades, centuries certain individuals and groups of people have not only requested, but demanded that God be removed from all aspects of daily life- no praying in public schools, no nativity scenes around the holidays, even attempting to change the words to our precious pledge of allegiance all to divert attention from The Almighty. Well, if you are unaware- when one does not invite Christ into his life or heart than one does not have a relationship with Him. It does not mean that He doesn’t love each individual on this Earth. In fact, He is waiting eagerly for people to seek him (Matthew 7:7 “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”). Why do you cry out that “God is not fixing this” without knowing what His word says about mankind? (or without having the faith that He will do what He said He would do?) (Genesis 21:1 “…when God speaks, we can trust He will carry out whatever it was He said He would do”)
He told us that this is a fallen world, man is flawed and innocent babies are born into a world of sin. He sent His son to us for a reason- that reason is the world had gone astray and lost individuals needed hope and forgiveness. I believe in my heart He is returning sooner than later and I assure you- He will fix this.  He mourns death, however he cannot control man.  (Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and He saves the crushed in spirit).  He mourned His own Son on the cross.  Nonetheless, He can’t force a person to love Him, seek Him, honor Him, or follow Him.  Thankfully, He can offer unending grace and mercy to those who repent and are truly sorry. I can’t imagine how one can blatantly disrespect God and His daily miraculous works. Lucky for you and I, He is very forgiving and He does not fret when people question His existence.  (Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my way higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”)
This world has become a place of greed, violence, instant satisfaction, sloth, and hatred.  One where we are numb to tragic news, where lying and stealing are so normal that it doesn’t even phase us. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 " But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come, for people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, hardhearted, irreconcilable, slanderous without self-control, savage with no interest for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God, maintaining a form of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid these people.") When an individual has an evil plan, he will go through with it. But if he seeks God’s guidance first- he will not. I can guarantee it. Whether you believe it or not, sir (or ma’am?) God numbered the hairs on your head…. As he did with every single victim of every single mass killing that has ever occurred. I do not have all of the answers. I don’t pretend to be a scholar of the Bible because I am not. However, I am a 32-year-old married mother of 2 and I am a Christian woman who believes what The Bible says. Do I fear for my children’s future? Yes I do.  Because they are growing up in a world where outside influences teach them to hate God. In our home, we teach them otherwise. We are a family who cries when innocent victims die on the streets in Paris and San Bernadino. Columbine and Snady Hook. Movie theaters and malls. Car accidents and fires. We are a family who prays for sweet baby Charlotte’s who get diagnosed with kidney cancer at the tender age of 1 year old.  Who donate gifts/groceries/money to those in need. Life isn’t fair and I don’t have all of the answers. But I have rock solid faith in God. And I believe He will come through. His light will shine through these tragedies. We also pray for the hearts of every single individual on this earth. For hearts to soften. To know Jesus. To be respectful, loving, patient and understanding with others. Because that is what we are called to do. As The Bible says “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” –Proverbs 21:23, but I cannot, with good conscience sit back while your headline blazes “God isn’t fixing this” without attempting to reach out to you. No one. And I mean no one knows how He has knit together our futures. Our tomorrows. Our 10 years from now.  If you have any questions about Him, His existence, or His plan than I humbly invite you to attend church with my family and me. We would be happy to have you as our guest because, (again- I’m assuming) you are frightened and confused, too. Don’t be. God’s got this.

Sincerely yours,

Ann Vaughn

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I am becoming.
 Becoming what, you may ask? I don’t know. But I’m ok with it. There are a few things that I do know. I am more comfortable in my own skin now than I ever have been.  I have fine lines and occasional breakouts (try finding a face wash for wrinkles AND pimples ;)) I am moody, emotional, occasionally irrational and  a lil crazy. But, guess what?! I’m super proud o f who I am. I stand up for what I believe is right and I take a ton of crap for it. A ton.  I’m knee deep in “life lessons” and I’d like to take a break LOL. ;) (as you know, I like honesty on my blog…. So here it goes-) I don’t have near the relationship with God as I’d like. I’m so far away from where I want to be. Need to be... One gets betrayed and angry and she walks away?! Nope…. I need to do a U-turn! I know this. I’m trying.  
Life just made an insane shift. One that I can feel all the way down to my toenails. Robbie went from working from home 30% of the time… to being gone 90% of the time. We lost our last piece of “first life” (our  cat, Meeka, got put to sleep today…)
I have made decisions. Decisions that are pretty painful. But, it becomes too exhausting to carry the load of the past, of other people’s hurtful words, of let down expectations.
It’s an irony…. Having a social media profile or writing a blog… How do you buck the representation that your life is perfect without airing all your dirty laundry? I wish I had the answer because I hate filtered photos, I strongly dislike –daily- lovey, schmaltzy posts to a spouse (or boyfriend or g/f), because I often know the behind the scenes and it makes me cringe. It makes me want to walk away. But, I’m not a coward. A person can unfriend me because I angered them. Whose loss is that? Not mine. A person can bully me via text message for no good reason and I’m not the one suffering.  But you know what makes the irony a cruel joke? I am really happily married. I love my tiny beings with my entire soul.  I have an amazing home church with lots of developing relationships and potential. I run. I workout. I’m so so blessed. But, I hold back because I never want to appear like I’m bragging because I know the flip side of that coin.  I am tired of mean people out to hold my happiness against me- to convince me that I’m not truly happy. To convince me that I am nasty, jealous, judgmental, snobby, and arrogant. I am none of those things. I am a person learning to swing at curve balls. I am a person teaching my children to walk with a Bible in one hand and their head held high.  I am a person being forced to make decisions on a dime. Don’t like? Please know that I love you still. I am a person who has learned more in the past 3 years. The past 6 months? The past 24 hours?! Because I think I was gifted the ability to reflect on situations from an outside perspective… which is interesting because my own “self reflection” sucks. I tend to knock my own abilities and my own self worth. However, I may not be great at self-compliments or self-reflection. These are a few things that I’m certain of:

One can stand up for what they believe in and they will be called judgmental.
One can walk away from toxicity and they may be called high and mighty.
One can live a life based on biblical principals and they may be called snobby.
One can continue to walk the narrow path of individualism or
one can totally concede to earthly requests from people who may or * may not * know any better. I chose to be who I am. Because I am proud of me. I often feel lonely... Before I remember. I am never alone. I have an ever graceful God. And I owe Him everything. including some time in my Bible. Because, even though life is ridiculously hard. He has blessed me one million times over. I owe Him everything.  So. I smile. With no animosity or negativity I smile. Life is not what I would have projected it to be.
But, I smile. 

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalm 16:11 

I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation
Psalm 13:5

And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
  Nehemiah 8:10

 The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  Psalm 28:7

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Life.... It just got real.

My kids are small. I work part time and I am nearing the need to go full time, life is crazy and busy. Robbie and I have been married for 10 years and it’s not always easy. I’m nearing 31 and my expectations are too high…. 

Life is not a walk in the park. Life has not been “easy” for several years now. I struggle-- more as of late. I know others know what I mean when I say I feel like I’m walking up hill… in the snow…. With 47 pound boulders in each arm. I mean- I fed my kids cereal for dinner the other night and I sat there hungry because my brain and my body could not scrape up a meal idea. Ideal living? Nope. Did my kids think it was fun to eat breakfast for dinner? Yes. Yes they did (thank, God) But sometimes the feeling of “survival mode” lasts longer than one would hope. I DO NOT want to come off as sounding all sad and depressed. Because I know how blessed I am. I love God- who is ever-forgiving. I have a hardworking husband who is knee deep in chores and childrearing with me. I have healthy, happy kiddies.  But, that doesn’t stop my feelings of being overwhelmed. Of questioning what I need to do right now to “mold and shape” my tiny beings into great people. (they already are, by the way) of questioning how I can be better, how my  life can be more impactful. How I can answer that ever burning question of “what am I doing with my life?!?”

I legit feel like I’m trying to sort through a 100 year old attic of questions, feelings, contemplations, and events.  Cobwebs, dead mice, dust and all.

Brutal honesty? I’ve been dealing with feelings of inadequacy- allowing my thoughts to tell me that I’m failing in literally every aspect of my life. Through it all, I keep hearing the whisper that Jesus knows. He knows what I’m going through. He understands life. It’s struggles, it’s challenges, and it’s triumphs. (I referenced this briefly in my last blog…) He is SO MUCH MORE RELATABLE than we give him credit for! I mean, in the very, very beginning Adam and Eve lied right to the face of God. They were forgiven.  Abraham lied by saying that his wife was his sister. He was forgiven… and specifically chosen by God to do amazing works.  Moses murdered someone before he was called to rescue hundreds of thousands from slavery! Peter lied by denying Jesus (THREE TIMES!!) and he was chosen to spread the word of God an he was forgiven. Saul tortured and abused people who believed in God and he was forgiven- and look what he went on to do!! (He became Paul and wrote 13 books of the Bible and became the 13th apostle even though he was a liar, a murderer, and a hater of Christ).  Zacchaues was a traitor, but Jesus singled him out of a crowd of hundreds (maybe thousands??) Jesus was on the cross in an amount of pain and suffering that is unable to be put into words. And do you know what he said? Forgive them Father for they know not what they do….. FORGIVE THEM!!  Yet, I’m a failure? Nope. I belong in the exact same category as these great men of thousands of years ago. Because I’m forgiven. And God says so.

I may be doing a hundred things wrong a day. Am I trying to do right? Yup. Am I working with my own limited knowledge? Yup! Am I working off of my own experiences and trying to make educated decisions on what is right for myself and my family? Yup. Am I gonna screw up? Yup. Every. Single. day. Am I forgiven? YES!!! Do I have a free pass to make poor choices and decisions? Absolutely not. (that conversation is for another day! :o)) Does Facebook (and ALL social media) contribute to my struggles and feelings of inadequacy? Yes. Yes it does and I would like to look into that a little bit…

When we post on Facebook… who is it for? Me and myself? Are there posts out there to educate and alert others? Yes. Are there posts to update far away relatives of the goings-on in our lives? Yes. Are there posts for pure humor? Yes. Are there posts to glorify God and His amazing works? Yes!! Is 89.6% self-righteous and self serving? Probably. Do you feel instantly (even though it may be ever so slight) insecure when beautiful people post beautiful selfies? Or check in at the gym? Or post a family pic? Let me give you some truth: most people who post selfies take 13 pictures before picking the perfect one to post.  (I myself cannot believe the wrinkles around my eyes when I take one!!) Super fun family outing pics? There was probably some hollering and bargaining milliseconds before the pic was snapped.
My family’s instance? “Avery!! Stop hitting Addie!! “ “Addie!!! Stop picking your nose!!!” “Avery! Why did you take your shoes off?? We are in the parking lot and about to get out of the car!” “Addison Reese!! Stop rolling your eyes when I’m talking to you  This is the truth, folks. We post our best selves on Facebook and we could be making others feel inadequate and insecure while doing so….
you’ve done how many loads of laundry today?!
You cooked what for dinner?! (you mean you didn’t feed your kids cereal for dinner?? )
You went to the gym, the grocery, the post office, Target, and the bank today?!
You are all finished Christmas shopping and you bought everyone amazing expensive gifts without even batting an eye?!
Your family just returned from an utterly amazing week long vacation to where?!
All while my carpets need vacuumed. My fans need dusted. My kids need genuine, quality one on one time. My laundry needs put away.  And I’m working a ton of Saturday’s because Christmas is knocking on the door…

Have you ever noticed how often people are on social media when they are out to amazing dinners? Or on amazing vacations? Why is that? Why are people so afraid to disconnect? To be present and real in their own lives? I don’t have the answer for that…. All I know is I can no longer let this crap weigh me down. Life is dirty. Life is rough. There are bumps in the road. There are hurt feelings and broken hearts. I will no longer allow Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to be the measuring stick for which my happiness or success in life is measured. Because I know that I’m a hot mess of a person. I’m turning 31 in less than 2 months. I have a job, a husband, 2 small kids, 2 dogs, a cat, a home, and extended family that all require my attention. I’m not successful at life on the regular. I get that. BUT. I’m forgiven. God’s mercies and His grace are new every. Single. day.  He has specifically chosen me. He’s numbered the hairs on my head and I am worthy in His eyes. (and so  are you!!!!)

 Now… I have to go because I have a sink full of dirty dishes and a litter box to empty.
Glamorous? No.
Facebook worthy information? No.
Real life. Abso-friggin-lutley…..

Monday, November 10, 2014

Remaining faithful

I completed my 4th half marathon in September. It was pain free!! But I ran very tentatively. My slowest pace yet, but also one of my proudest runs. :o) I had the honor of running with my aunt- who says I inspire her?! Give me a break. She is the inspiration! :o)  I told myself to take the rest of the year off and cross train. I now know the importance of cross training, so I’m doing P90x3. It is so intense. It makes me cry and I want to quit. LOL. I’m 5 weeks in and I am going to stick with it! I can do a 30 minute workout 6 days a week! I don’t care how bad it hurts! 

 As far as not running? That didn’t last long….  (runners are beyond stubborn) Robbie got the 13.1 itch so he has been putting in some serious runs, and I’ve been bitten by the full bug. So, after a brief 4 week hiatus, I’m a runner again. It’s for the best, too because (I’ve said it before) my mental well-being and overall outlook on life is way better when I am actively running.  Every run brings clarity because it’s my church!  I can tell you, I’m not running enough because I’m stressed and frazzled. :o/ 

So much has happened that has left me disappointed in myself. Bad things happen. People say mean things. People let you down. This is a fact. I’m learning I’m far more sensitive than I realized. I’m also (unfortunately) learning that my faith is shaky at times.  I try to be logical- to solve the problems and figure out my role in situations and how they should be handled moving forward.  I don’t know why I run out of the faith pool like someone yelled “SHARK!!” I mean, really?!? I picture myself completely submerged and 100% trusting in The Lord and His plan. Then, someone says or does something that surprises me and upsets me and I try to run away from God. I try to take the reigns and right the wrongs. IT IS NOT UP TO ME!!!! I AM ONLY HUMAN. I NEED GOD. I need to surrender all of my hurts and stresses. Whether it’s in the realm of finances, careers, or relationships. I realize that relationships are strained and people are…well, human.  I realize that finances can be stressful. A dollar only goes so far and it seems like there are a million “needs.”  My jobs (yes, I have several) have been roller coasters lately. I don’t want to readily admit that I fail. But, I do. I panic. I stress out. And I fret. And for what cause? What good does it do? Why do I run out of pool shrieking when I can quietly pray? I revisit this lesson over and over. Sometimes multiple times a day.  Am I stubborn? Is it simply human nature? One way or another, I know there is peace to be had. A deep breath to be taken. A prayer to be said. I feel like I am really late (or unusually early?) with a new year’s resolution of sorts. Along with whole body strengthening and diet alterations I need to strengthen my faith and trust. In God as well as people.  Jesus is such a forgiver and I struggle with feelings of inadequacy and failure. Then I laugh because Jesus is way more relatable than most give Him credit for. Including me. I mean… Jesus was hurt and betrayed. People let Him down. People hurt Him. He suffered more before the crucifixion  than most do in a lifetime. So why don’t I trust myself to be real with Him? Why do I feel like I have to be polished to perfection before I can deepen my relationship? I DON’T! As I typed that I took a deep breath.  A sigh of relief? Makes me wonder if I truly believe my own words. Can I be really transparent for a moment? I’ve been frustrated lately because I tell myself, “Give it to God” what does that mean exactly? I can picture myself “handing” Him my stress and worries. But it doesn’t last very long before I’m chewing my bottom lip and worrying. (another deep breath…)

It’s going to be ok. This is a season of change and discipline for Robbie and I. We have been working with people at church as we go through the process to join the marriage ministry. It’s been such an amazing experience! We’ve been married almost 10 years and we’ve had some of our best conversations in the past 3 months. I’ve never really thought about it, but it’s crazy comforting to know that he has my back.  He can put up with my small doses of occasional crazy and I know he’s there. And he will be there. We have watched sooo many marriages crumble (especially over the past 12 months) and we are so excited to be a part of this ministry. I hope that through the ministry I can really work hard on consistency with my trust. Not all in one day and a freak out the next, LOL

I feel like I will look back on this season and be proud of how far we’ve come.  I know I have a lot to learn, but I'm praying that through the marriage ministry and through REACH (local outreach ministry) I will increase in humbleness and steadfastness. I can’t waste another minute stressing about money/work because when I do I miss the blessings right in front of me.  I can’t stress about how quickly the calendar fills up because then I’m not fully present at any event!  I have to let go of MY ways. My worries. My fears. My stresses. My hurts. And I have to embrace the warmth that is all around me.  Last deep breath. I already feel a little better. ;)

Isaiah 55:8  "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

Philippians 4:6 “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Counting my blessings

I have felt a little “off” lately. A little frustrated, a little overwhelmed. And then I get more frustrated because I ask myself why?!?! Why am I feeling this way when I know how blessed I am.  It poses the question- does God truly give you more than you can handle? Not in the terms of negativity, but in the terms of blessings?  {and as a quick side note- let me just say- I believe he absolutely DOES give you more than you can handle, and it’s perfectly explained in a blog that I came across ~Lemonny Things~ } But, back to my original thought… ;) Do you allow your blessings to be turned into burdens by not realizing their worth? A few prime examples from my life as of late:
-man! The grass needs mowed again!
-I cannot keep up with keeping this house clean!
-ugh… I don’t want to go to work today.
- I just wish the kids would give me a break for 5 seconds
- I have a long run this weekend?! When am I gonna get that done??

 These are just a few of the overwhelming thoughts I’ve been having. And for the record, I’ve always had a bit of a ‘negative’ mantra. I try SO HARD to improve my inner voice, but it is not an easy obstacle to overcome.  And I don’t want to continue the negativity by pointing out my many faults with the above-mentioned statements. But I feel it’s important to count our blessings as just that- amazing blessings that should not be taken for granted; should not be treated as a burden. It’s like that saying “what if you only woke up with the things that you asked God for the night before” 
Instead of complaining about the time it takes for my hubby to mow and the dirty toilets that need cleaned I need to BE STILL. Be still and be thankful for our home and our land. God so perfectly timed the selling of our previous home and the purchase of our current home that is was nothing short of miraculous. I need to remember that!  Be insanely grateful that I have a career that I love and  several different jobs that allow me to serve and help those in need.
Now when it comes to motherhood and child rearing I feel that I’m in a frequent battle of feeling guilty for being impatient and promising that tomorrow will be better. That’s not good enough- I need to just take each moment as it comes. Take a deep breath, smile, and realize that my children are treasures. If Jesus can patiently provide mercy and grace to me every single second of the day, then my kids deserve that from me. And believe me- I’m not “too big” to apologize to them. I do that frequently. And when it comes to running- again- I feel like it’s become a battlefield. I worry about the time that long runs consume (which in turn creates more “mommy guilt”). I worry about how I’m gonna get all of my training runs completed, how I’m gonna be ready for my third half marathon in THREE WEEKS. And when I really stop to think about it. I KNOW God didn’t bless me with the gift of running so it could cause guilt, anxiety, frustration, and worry. He gave it to me so I could grow my relationship with Him. So I could get that “5 second break” I “wish” I had. And if I’m being brutally honest with you (and myself)- God has been trying to plant the seed of discipline in me for years.  I can proudly say I’ve ran over 600 miles!! So I’m learning the art of discipline; but not at the rate in which I’d like. LOL It’s ME that places the red tape ALL OVER my blessed runs. Not God. He just wants us to follow His word and He wants to bless us.  We, as humans create obstacles that separate us from Him.  Not the other way around….And it's in the midst of these moments that create our true self.
So… my question. My challenge is HOW DO I TRIM THE FAT?? Cut the red tape? The frustration? The overwhelming-ness, and anxiety so that I can just be? I know the answer is simple- unplug, BE STILL, pray, and focus on the truth that is right in front of me.
There are many exciting things in my future- including joining the REACH team at my church (local outreach and missions!!) and my husband and I joining the marriage ministry team. 2 half marathons are right around the corner. My daughter starts first grade in a few weeks. My son starts his last year of preschool in a few weeks, too. So, let me take my overwhelmed self and turn it all over to God and truly soak in my multitude of blessings!!!

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Hebrews 6:12
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Psalm 46:10

 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.