Give People What They Need The Most

Hi Guys, two blog posts in two days. Wow. After I posted this post, I should get some sort of medal or something for being here. ha. Oh boy.

This one is going to be real quick as it’s almost time for church, but this morning something has been running through my mind and I needed to get it out really quickly….

Relating to people is really hard.

That might sound strange to you…but I’m pretty certain this is true, at least in my life. People hurt each other so easily, without even realizing it. This past week I have thought over and over about someone I hurt…and I had no idea I did. As I look back now, I realize how selfish I was and how stupid I treated that person, but at the time, I really was clueless.

Ignorance…I guess thats what makes relationships hard.

Anyway, a couple days ago I read this devotional and it really affected me. Grace. Whoa. That can be a really scary word. In such a judgmental world {both in the church and outside the church}, grace is often overlooked. Sure we preach it. Sure we talk about it. But it’s much harder to put into practice, isn’t it?

This week I needed to give several people in my life grace. And you know what? I can’t say I was super excited to do it. It’s much easier to be angry and frustrated than to swallow your feelings and extend a little grace, isn’t it?

But it’s crucial.

Here’s the thing guys. I want God to grant me grace. Because when I think back to all those people I unknowingly hurt in the past {or maybe knowingly at times}, my heart hurts. Really, really hurts. And it cries out to my Savior asking Him to cleanse me, forgive me…make me new.

So why can’t we allow those around us the same grace?

I’m praying today and the rest of my days that I can give the grace people need. Not be so quick to judge. Or to tear someone apart. Or to complain about someone. But extend grace instead.

God help me.

Someday…wait, RIGHT NOW…I need grace. So if I need it, I must give it.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

Love you friends. Happy Sunday! xoxo

Divine Appointments and Favoritism

Hi guys, it’s Sunday, and I’m not at church. I haven’t been feeling great today, so I stayed home and in my PJ’s, snuggled under the covers with my Bible and a pen. Been reading and praying…and you know, I love these moments. I’m always in awe how God can visit you ANYTIME or ANYPLACE. He is as close as the mention of His name. I love, love that!

Yesterday we visited my in law’s for our new baby Levi’s baby shower and baby dedication. It was a beautiful day. So much love and joy surrounding this little guy. Evy adores him! She calls him “her baby”…even though it’s her cousin. She kept telling my sister in law that she will baby sit him one day. ha. Love that girl. She also ADORES Uncle David’s photo booth. Seriously, that girl gets in there, pushes the button and poses continually. I hopped in there with her once.

Since much of the family was at the shower, Bryony and David decided that it would be the perfect time to dedicate Levi to the Lord. Brandon did a quick ceremony and it was very sweet and touching.

I’ve never been at a baby dedication in a home before, but it was wonderful and I think it should be done more often! After Brandon’s words, all the family and Bryony and David’s friends gathered around and prayed for the Sowers family. So precious!

You know, as I watched all the loved ones of Levi gathering around and praying, I started thinking about friendships. And this morning, as I was laying in bed, I randomly opened the Bible to Acts 10. When I got to verse 9 about Peter’s vision of the clean and unclean…verse 19- 22 stuck out at me:

“While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them. Peer went down and said to the men, ‘I’m the one you are looking for. Why have you come?’ The men replied, ‘We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.’”

Divine Appointments. I couldn’t stop thinking about it as I read this, and I sat in my bed and prayed, it keep coming back to me. While I was praying, I was reminded of all the times God brought specific people in my life for specific reasons. People I had no idea existed. People who God put in my life to have an impact on me.

And you know, God doesn’t just put people in your life for Spiritual reasons only. He cares about every aspect of your every day moments. He cares about your family, your school life, your business. The business part is something that has meant a lot to me lately. God cares about my business. Kinda blows me away. I mean, remember this meeting? Yup, God cares. He knew I needed to have that influence in my life. He made another divine appointment meeting for me last week. God is good. So thankful to Him for these times!

You think God doesn’t care about your life? Wait a second… listen to Acts 10:34,

“Then Peter began to speak; ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.’”

WHOA. Do you fear God and attempt to do what is right in His eyes? Then he loves you. Just as much as He loves everyone else. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more than the rest of His kids. He loves you the same. With all your mess ups, failures, inconsistencies…He loves you. You don’t have to think like everyone else, look like everyone else, act like everyone else…you just have to FEAR HIM and DO WHAT’S RIGHT.

Amazing.

Friends….don’t be so busy with life that you miss the divine appointments that God brings your way. When you see them start to happen in your world it will boost your faith, make you smile and encourage you to share Christ’s love with others. I know it has for me.

Thank you Lord for the divine appointments you have brought into my life over the last couple months. Especially the ones that you have brought my way with Evy’s Tree in mind. THANK YOU. You know I needed them. I love you. Thank you for loving me, NO MATTER WHAT. It’s a wonderful feeling. May I always share your love with those around me. 

xoxo

So Much To Say

Do you ever feel like your world is spinning, and spinning, and spinning out of control? You do? Oh good…then you will understand how I have felt the last year. Whew. What a year. WHAT.A.YEAR.

I say “year” because it’s almost a year to the date that I ended the Save Evy’s Tree Campaign and began my journey into mass production. Ummm…let me just say, this whole manufacturing stuff is NOT EASY. I know I’ve said it before, and you’re probably sick of hearing me say it. Sorry. It is what it is. Hard. Yup.

The past year has been full of some lows…ok, maybe a lot of lows. Not all of them attributed to Evy’s Tree, mind you. In this past year we received a positive diagnosis of ADHD for Jake, which allowed us to finally enter into IEP meetings and the creation of an educational modification plan. This has not been easy. Although our school has been WONDERFUL with the entire process, as a mom you worry. Hope you are doing the right thing for him…am I being too protective? Not protective enough? Is he happy and thriving? Am I doing my best? Living with ADHD is not a walk in the park, that’s for sure. But it’s not impossible either. Thankfully through the lows we’ve felt a lot of hope too. God is good.

And then there are the lows coming with manufacturing. Time constraints. Pattern reworking. Financial surprises {oh boy, LOTS of those!}. Delays {and lots of those too}. It’s enough to want to pull your hair out. And can I be honest? I have no idea what I’m doing. Yes, I said that. Really, no idea. But don’t panic. We’re all good now. Pretty sure I could step into the world of manufacturing and survive, but it hasn’t felt that way during this first run. I definitely have earned my wings in mass production, and I hope I can just grow from here.

But all that to say, it’s been an interesting year. I’ve cried a lot. Yelled a lot too. And stress ate a lot. Yup, I’m guilty of it. Do you stress eat? I do. Not proud of it, but there it is. Thank you manufacturing process for those extra 10 pounds that I am working so hard on losing now. Ugh. So awesome.

And my little blog. I had such high hopes for it. But the reality of it is…I really don’t have time much for it. But when I do have time, I pour my heart out. I promise. There was a time when this blog bled ME. It screamed my name. But now, it screams Evy’s Tree. Maybe that is me. I don’t know…can’t say that’s what I want to be remembered by when I die. When I leave this earth I hope people say I loved. And I was kind. And that you saw Christ in me. That’s what I hope. Not that you saw Evy’s Tree.

And then again, maybe I am Evy’s Tree for now. Maybe, somehow, through this small business, you see my heart? I hope so. I really, really hope so. Because the fact of the matter is I’m no different than you. I am just a mom, trying to make ends meet for her family. Just someone who needs extra income so is trying to create it while being there for her kids on a daily basis. I hope that comes through….I hope.

But you know, there is also another issue. Even though I am working at home to be with the kids, I am still so absorbed in my work. I find my kids tugging at my arms for my attention while I shout, “let me finish this email!”. I hate that. My goal in life is to simply be present for my kids…so why in the world do I struggle so much with it?

I guess the bottom line is it’s a balance. And I’m pretty sure it’s hard to find. And I’m trying. By HIS grace I continue trying. God is so good to me. He loves me just as I am. Did you know that He loves you too? He does. You are ok, just as you are. You don’t have to look a certain way, act a certain way, be a certain way for Him to love you. He loves you just for you.

That’s what I hope I say to those listening. I hope I show you that through all the tears, and the frustration, and the tough times…there are good times too. There really are. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, no matter what God does with Evy’s Tree…I hope that through it all you saw Jesus. And what He’s done in my life. And I hope you want Him in yours. I’m pretty sure that’s not very good business tactics to talk about your faith, but oh well. It’s not my goal to offend, so if I do please forgive me…. I’m not here to talk about convictions, or doctrinal beliefs, or dos and don’ts of Christianity…I just want you to know that Christ died for you, He rose again, and He loves you.

It’s that simple. 

So tonight…as I get ready in the next week or so to launch my first manufactured line, I just want to stand here and say, “It is yours, Lord.” Whatever and wherever this business goes…it’s in HIS hands. This mass produced line will make or break me. It’s the tell tale as whether I will succeed or fail. If I will continue to forge ahead or close up shop. It’s my precipice. And I just want to pick up this entire machine called Evy’s Tree, pack it into a box and hand it back to Him. It’s His. Do what you will Lord.

And to my dear, dear customers who have hung in there with me. I’m so sorry I haven’t shared more of my heartaches. I have tried at times, but I realize that no one wants to hear complaining. So thank you for bearing with me. Thank you for supporting us. I hope that through the years I am there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on. You all are the best. I hope you love this new line. It was all done for you and WITH you. Thank you.

I love you all. Thanks for being here, in this place we call The Adventures of The Miraflor Family…and Evy’s Tree. You guys rock!

Stay tuned this week for a tell all on the new line, hopefully by Friday….. xoxo

Us…after the kids woke me up this past week. Thankful for the time I get to cuddle these two, even if it means I’m awakened early in the morning and very suddenly! Thank you again for making these moments with my kids possible! 

So tell me…do you have a lot to say about something in your life right now? How do you deal with it?

Once Upon A Time There Was A Skinny Girl Named Amy

So last night as I was prepping for the Vintage Photo Contest Blog, I was rummaging through old pictures and pulling out the Evy’s Tree ones. Buried within my hard drive was a gold mine of old photos. One of the albums was entitled “Ventura 2005″….pictures of Brandon and my’s trip down to Ventura California to visit Brandon’s sister Bryony and her husband David, who was attending Brooks School of Photography. We spent the day walking around downtown Ventura and exploring the beautiful California Mission there in town.

Since David is a photographer, specifically a photojournalist, our family is very used to him snapping away with is camera…usually at very random times. This trip was the first time I remember really noticing him doing this. I remember feeling a bit weird that I’d turn and notice a camera in my face. ha.

Now we all just smile or continue talking, guess that means we’re used to it! It was so funny to look back on these photos and see the awkwardness in my face….but even more funny to go back into time and realize:

I WAS SO SKINNY!

I know I’ve talked about this before, but why in the world couldn’t I recognize how tiny I was? Seriously! If there is anything I hope to teach Evy, it’s to learn to see yourself for who you are. Looking back I could kick myself for not seeing it…and I wish to God I could get that tiny now. However, I’m pretty sure with the 40′s gradually approaching I’d look like one big wrinkled mess. HA.

Looking back on this trip also reminds me how easy we had it. I’m one who tends to get “stuck in the moment” thinking that life is so difficult RIGHT NOW. But if I could just manage to look down the road a bit…life is so much more complicated today then it was when we were newlyweds.

Back then we had time to pause, think, be affectionate. You know, do all those things that you can do when you don’t have kids, or a business to run, or a house to take care of. It reminds me stop and do that now…because life is so fleating.

The other day I was thinking about Abraham and Sarah. I started to consider how frustrated they must have gotten in life. You know, waiting all those years to have a child…the child God promised them. I wondered how many arguments they had about it. How many nights they cried themselves to sleep. And I smiled because I thought, God must have been watching every single one of those times.

And I was reminded that if we ever thought we were at the end of our rope…we must not REALLY be at that end, because that would mean God had no purpose left for us here on earth and we’d be gone. He has a reason for us to wait, just like he had Sarah and Abraham wait. It seemed silly, but God wasn’t done yet.

Sure gives you a little hope to think that way, doesn’t it?

So I guess my point about all that is this: don’t be discouraged when you don’t get what’s going on. Things really aren’t what you think…God is working in the background, tying up loose ends for us, finishing things, working His miracles. And someday you will look back on those days you thought were tough and say,“He was there all the time”. Just like I do when I look back at these photos.

Our famous awkward romantic photo was taken on this trip. And yes, that’s Bryony’s forehead front and center. :)

Oh and did I mention that I was VERY VERY skinny back then?!? SHEESH! ;) xoxo

* * * * * *

The winner of the Lovenell Giveaway is:

Congrats Stephanie!!

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping…

Oh friends, after tragedies like Oklahoma, your heart just hurts, you know. Especially when kids are involved. I know the entire tornado damage is horrible, but I just can’t stop thinking about how terrifying it must have been for those parents to converge upon those two schools and frantically look for their children. Just absolutely heartbreaking!

In light of this situation, I wanted to share something that happened to me yesterday, in hopes it would encourage some of you who feel like God has completely forgotten you. I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I feel that way sometimes. Like God can’t see me. Or maybe He’s ignoring me. Have you felt that way?

I’ve mentioned before that the last couple months have been rather stressful for me and my family. Just seems like there is a lot going on, and to be honest, it can keep me up at night sometimes. Monday morning around 3 AM I woke up with a giant to do list twirling through my mind. I hate these nights….you want to go back to sleep so badly, but the panic of things needed to be tackled is a list mile high and it makes your heart pound. Not sure if I’m the only person who has these episodes? Anyway, at 3 AM I started feeling the overwhelming dread of “I can’t do it all” or “I really screwed this up, I didn’t do everything I needed to do” or “Oh great, I need to pay for this, where am I going to get the money?!”. Whenever I have nights like this, I usually lay there praying, or read my Bible, hoping that eventually I fall back asleep. Begging God to give me peace. Usually I am up until the kids wake up, which can make such a long day.

But on Monday morning, I feel asleep pretty quickly. I remember looking at the clock around 4:30 AM and nodding off soon after that. Thankfully, I slept pretty good regardless of the little break in my sleep. Then late Monday afternoon, I received this text from a good friend:

Hi Amy! I just wanted to see how you were doing. I had a dream about you last night and in my dream you were feeling as if you couldn’t handle the pressures of life mentally; you were on overload. I just wanted to remind you that the Lord is with you always; and it’s ok if we can’t be Wonder Woman 24/7. Prayed for you! Love you!”

Whoa! Instant tears! I’ve had so many of these nights lately that I was beginning to think that God wasn’t watching me, didn’t notice my stress, or much less even care. But HE DOES. He cared enough to give my friend a dream about me, the same time I was stressing out, and impress her to pray for me.

I think it’s pretty clear: He sees you when you’re sleeping!

He really does know exactly where you are and what you are going through and He hears every cry that you make. He loves you enough to impress others to pray for you, and He most definitely doesn’t let you walk through life alone, even if you think He is.

I just want to encourage someone out there…you may be looking at your life and thinking, “Hello God, are you there?!?!”. You may be wondering if He’s forgotten you, or ignoring you. But just remember that He’s watching you, looking out for you, and cares for you. He hasn’t forgotten you. And is up at all hours of the night, just for you.

Praying for all involved with the tornado in Oklahoma. And praying for you all who read this. Love you! xoxo

What I Love The Most

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Matthew 6 is one of my favorite Bible passages. It is one of the passages of Scriptures I have read over, and over, and over…and over again. I am really, really bad at memorizing Scripture {like HORRIBLE at it}, but even with my horrible memory, I have read this passage so much that many portions I can quote by heart. But you know what’s crazy? Even with my love for the passage, there are times in life when I read it and it feels like I have never seen it before. Has that ever happened to you?

Last week, during our Young Mother’s Bible Study, we talked about Matthew 6, especially verses 29-21. And I got SO CONVICTED. We are using a small group Bible study found {HERE} and the lesson we were studying was called “Overwhelmed”.

OH WOW…that describes me.

You see, the last several months have been tough. I know I’ve touched on some of the frustrations several times on this blog, so this isn’t new news to you all. I have spent many days, nights and any spare moments in between “spinning” the wheels in my brain over things happening in my life. And I have been so busy working, planning, stressing, working some more….that I have to be honest and say I have been very, very overwhelmed. To the point that all I do is sit in front of my computer and work. SO NOT GOOD.

Anyway, this Bible study convicted me. And made me think.

So many exciting are in store for Evy’s Tree, and hopefully for our family as well. But sometimes exciting can also be translated as SCARY. I’m sure if you’ve ever done anything outside of your box you know what I mean. ;) However, I’m choosing to say EXCITING instead of the latter. This summer our manufactured items will arrive and I have quite a bit to do to prepare for them. There is a long, long list of things I need to do to properly sell those items.

However, I DO NOT want my long list to overshadow what I feel is the most important thing in my life…these guys:

These are the people that God placed in my life to love and nurture…to care for and to encourage. And it doesn’t matter if I make a million dollars {or lose a million for that matter, ha}…if these guys are not taken care of, then I fail. Big time. Because where my treasure is, that’s where my heart is…and I want to make sure my treasure is in the right place, you know?

So what’s the point?

I am committing to put the things that matter the most first and foremost the next couple months. This is going to be a tough balance for me since I really do have quite a long to do list before those manufactured items get here, which means there are some things I am going to have to let go. Every mom knows this is a tough balance. Letting things go sometimes means you may loose some things in the process. But more than anything, I want to do what God has called me to do…and my first calling is this family. I am sure you feel the same way. So, to me, letting some things go is paramount.

I just want to encourage all of you out there, if you are in the same spot as me…feeling overwhelmed and feeling like things are flying out of control…I want to encourage you to define what you love the most, and make sure it lines up with what God purpose is for you. And then join me in cutting some things out that may not line up with HIS plan for you. Because remember….where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Is your heart in the right place?

I want to make sure mine is. Big hugs friends. xoxo

Fear

What a Monday yesterday was, yes friends? Days like this really make you want to curl up inside of your bed and never leave the house. Ever. My stomach is turning, and it didn’t help that when I went to the news page to read about the bombing, a banner thrown across the top of the page announced that an Earthquake has reported in Iran and Pakistan. I know this sounds crazy, but this especially makes me nervous since our house is located right on top of a fault…we do live in Earthquake country, after all. And let’s not even mention the feelings spawned by the bombing. It literally feels as if I can never leave my house as no place in this world is safe any more.

Last week, before Brandon and I left for a long weekend out of town, I wrote a blog post. It was entitled Fear. After writing it, I decided to wait to post it. Not sure why, but I just didn’t feel to hit that “publish” button. But this morning, when I woke up, I knew it was time to share it with you. I went ahead and edited some of it, but the majority of it is what I wrote last week. So, with knots in my stomach this morning, thanks to the bombings, the earthquake, and worry keeping me up at night over money, health issues, family members and other stressors….I want to give you what my thoughts were last week…with hopes that maybe it will encourage you, but most of all, with hopes it will remind me WHO is in charge and WHAT I should do with my fear.

My blog from last week:

I’m going to tell you a little story. One that I’m actually not very proud of, unfortunately.  Yet regardless, it’s a part of my life and who I am and I think it’s time to be talk about it.

I struggle with fear.

Let me explain… as a kid, I struggled so much with anxiety, especially separation anxiety. I’m speaking of the kind of fear that paralyzed you and wouldn’t allow you to speak, made you instantly nauseous, and made your mind think of all sorts of terrifying things. If you knew me as a young little girl you’re probably nodding your head right now. {ha} I never spent the night over at friend’s houses, hated scary rides at amusement parks, and movies that may have a ounce of intensity terrified me. I never wanted to leave my mom. EVER. She was my lifeline and made me feel safe all.the.time. I remember my parents liked to fly down to Mexico for week long vacations once or twice a year and I have vivid memories of me running after their car when they would drive out of the driveway. My poor parents!! hah. Now it just makes me laugh, but believe me when I say, as a kid it was no laughing matter.

 Thankfully, my mom was very clued into my feelings, God bless her. I’m not sure what triggered my anxiety as a kid. We moved a lot, so maybe that had something to do with it. To be honest, I was very blessed and had so much but….

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE OR HOW BLESSED YOU ARE. FEAR AND ANXIETY CAN ATTACK ANYONE!!

In fact, it seems, from my short experiences with anxious people, that often it’s those who have an abundance that struggle the most with anxiety. At any case, I really believe that with all my heart, fear can hit you at any time, stage or moment in your life. Regardless of how blessed you may be.

As I became a teenager, things seemed to calm down a little for me in the fear department. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggled, but I started to learn techniques to combat those moments of sheer terror. I learned to breathe, focus, call on the name of Jesus…all of these things worked and helped me move farther and farther away from a pattern of anxiety. Today, I rarely struggle with those paralyzing moments…and when they do hit me, I usually take some deep breaths, focus on what’s around me and remember that HE HAS IT ALL UNDER CONTROL. That’s the key, I think.

 I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about fear lately. You see, there have been some things recently, that I touched on here, that have caused me to stay up at nights with anxiety. Thankfully it’s not the kind of paralyzing anxiety that I struggled with as a kid, but this kind of anxiety leaves me talking to the Lord a lot. Asking Him “why” and “how” and “what” of about certain things in life. And I’m going to be honest, sometimes I get angry. Because it’s not easy to look down at the full picture and see God’s plan. It’s not. There’s a balance to it, you know. You have to somehow find a way to look through things that might shake you and see the good….see the GOD in it. See HIS plan, not YOURS.

See, sometimes, when you follow HIM…the path isn’t always very clear. And just when you, so full of faith, hop on that path He may have for you, suddenly the path may seem very cloudy {especially when you look around you and it seems the world is falling apart}. And you look back at the other paths you could have taken and they look so sunny, and you suddenly wonder…WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?! …is any of this making any sense to you?

So I’ve been fighting. I’ve been fighting the anxiety with faith. With thankfulness. With peeling back the fog on my path and forcing my eyes to see the sun. Because it’s THERE. It really is. We walk these roads by faith. But I’m going to be honest, it’s not easy. If these roads were meant to be easy, then more than likely it wouldn’t be called a road of faith.

 I’m not sure how it happened, but two weeks ago I stumbled across Proverbs 31 online devotional journey with Melissa Taylor and I realized I still had time to join before it started. The book they were studying was The Stressed-Less Living. Ok, sounded good right? I hopped over to her blog and read the scripture that went with the first week….

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT

 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. As I continued to read it, I realized that all the fear and all the anxiety of late was just God’s way of reminding me that I have forgotten… HE IS HERE. He is taking care of it, and all I have to do is hand it over to Him.

Please remember friends. God is with you. I promise, He is. I know sometimes it’s so hard to see it. Do your best to believe that beyond the cloudy, dark and scary nights, there is a sun that is breaking through, ready to shine.

Praying for Boston. Continually.

I love you all!

xoxo

Never Give Up

Hello friends!

I’m not sure how many of you read this post, but I haven’t really been able to have an honest post since it….mainly because honesty is sometimes hard to process, if you know what I mean, so usually not something you want to blurt out all the time. And confessing disappointments, whether it be in life, in love or even in faith, is even harder. But lately, I’ve really been thinking about something… I’ve been thinking about the boxing gloves I put on, and how I’m fighting in this life, as I hope you all are. And as I make my way through the good and the bad moments of my week {because there is always good and bad}, I find myself mentally telling myself over and over…

Never Give Up.

I’m a huge pray throughout the day person. I whisper things while I’m working {I’m sure anyone who hears me thinks I’m nuts}, I pray while doing the dishes, I pray while in the shower, combing my hair, getting dressed…I really pray a lot. I feel it lifts my spirit and helps me make it through the day. But one place I pray probably the most is in my car. Usually because, {miraculously} my kids are somewhat quiet in there when I turn the music on…so I often blast worship music, which they love, thank God.

One of my favorites is this one…when it comes on the radio, I get instant tears. I’ll blast this puppy as loud as the kids will let me…and even if they start to get crazy and scream at each other I ignore it while I belt out the words at top volume.

I know, I’m insane, and I’m sure the passing cars think so too. ha. 

But you know, the other day when I was singing the words, I kept thinking about how God’s love NEVER FAILS. It NEVER GIVES UP. And I thought, WOW! If His love doesn’t give up, if He knows where I am at all times, and He BELIEVES in me…then why should I give up?!?

So I guess my point is this: Don’t give up. Because He doesn’t give up on you. Ever. If you are going through something in life right now that you feel has you down, keep your head up high. He loves you and that’s good enough to get you through life.

So don’t give up friends. Because He hasn’t. 

xoxo

* * * * * ** *

FYI….25% off all sale items {HERE} with code GOTTOGO. xoxo

Disappointments

I’ve had a few disappointments lately. I thought, since I haven’t really had a “heart post” lately, I’d tell you about them. Or not really ABOUT them, per se, since they are very personal, but about how I am feeling about them, I guess.

You know, I am normally very open and honest on this blog. Very transparent. No, I don’t tell you everything, but I don’t hide from much either. And sure there are times when I probably make things sound like they are ok, but they really aren’t…because who really wants to hear a person’s junk all the time? Lately I’ve been questioning the point of really telling you how I feel. For many reasons, I guess. Recently, twice in the same week I had people on social media criticize me for “complaining”. One even said, “I can think of worse things”. Hmm. So could I. But those worse things aren’t happening to me. THIS is. And this is hard. It hurts. And yes, I’m not stupid. I understand there could be A LOT worse things. A gazillion worse things. But let’s be honest…disappointment is disappointment. No matter what the magnitude. And it hurts, big or little.

So I’m leery of sharing.

Since I haven’t been sharing too much about feelings, I’ve filled the gap with food, shop and house posts. BUT….the last couple days the Lord has dealt with me about this.  Because this blog isn’t really about my house, or my business, or my food…it’s about LIFE. And life stinks sometimes. It does. It really, really stinks. Life is good the majority of the time. And we’re all VERY good about telling about the good, right? We show off our new homes, our new cars, our new clothes. We brag about our beautiful kids {oh my word, I adore my kids, I could go on and on}. We tell about all our blessings…and we SHOULD. Because blessings are fun, and exciting and a testimony of God’s love. But the stinky part of life…well, it’s hard to talk about.

One thing I have noticed is this…when you are going through a hard time, it is SO HARD to rejoice with them who rejoice. Sometimes, instead of clapping your hands, smiling and congratulating, you want to turn your nose up in disgust and walk away because your blessing is no where to be found. Let’s talk about this…it’s truth, am I right?

And sometimes, it’s really easy to look at someone else who seemingly has an “easy” problem, shake your head at them, roll your eyes, and say, “it could be worse”. I know. Because I’ve done it. Many times in fact. To people I love. I get it.

So what’s my point….

Well, I’ve had some disappointments the last couple weeks. I’m not going to tell you too much about them, because I try not to dwell on things that I know God can change…but there have been some big things that I have sat down and said, “WHY GOD?!? I thought you promised me this?” And there has been a lot of questioning…of me, my family, my purpose. Everything. Questioning where I am, what I’m doing. Questioning.

Like Job.

And then it hit me. We are going to question. We are going to wonder why. We are going to  feel moments of disappointment. On both big and small scales. But I want you and the whole world to hear me shout:

I AM STILL HERE. 

I’m putting on my boxing gloves and I’m going to do this. Because disappointment doesn’t have to be crippling. It can be empowering. It can fuel the fight. So even though I look back and wish I hadn’t done this, or I had done that…it doesn’t matter. Because I’m HERE and I’m not backing down. I’ve got God on my side and I will finish this race. Family problems, money problems, job issues, kid issues, health issues, LIFE issues….it doesn’t matter. Disappointment in all those areas may come, but I’ve got my gloves on. And I’m fighting. I hope you are too.

And just a little 411…you may hear me “complain” on this blog. But let me make this perfectly clear and set the record straight… VENTING is not always COMPLAINING. Complaining is laying down and thinking there is no way up. Venting is getting your frustration off your chest and then rising to the occasion. So I’m not sure where you place yourself here, but I place myself in the venting category. Because, I personally feel, we all need to do it, perhaps not publicly like I am doing…but this blog is a place where I feel God has opened a door for me to reach out to those of you who are feeling frustrated too. With that said, I also feel God has called me to share HOPE. And that’s what I will keep doing. I will keep sharing my venting {minimally of course} and most of all…sharing HOPE. Because we have it. Yes we do. In the words of Toby Mac

“We lose our way,
We get back up again
It’s never too late to get back up again,
One day you will shine again,
You may be knocked down,
But not out forever,
Lose our way,
We get back up again,
So get up, get up,
You gonna shine again,
Never too late to get back up again,
You may be knocked down,
But not out forever”

{HERE}

Love you friends. I’m praying for you. Psalm 102 has been what I am meditating on. Amazing and powerful. Take time to read if you are feeling some disappointments. “You will arise and have compassion….” {vs 13}. POWERFUL.

xoxo

Oh PS. Did you see this?

Zero Stickers

So let me ramble here for a second…. a couple nights ago, I spent several hours looking through old pictures. It’s quite scary, actually, to see yourself many moons ago….so weird how you change over time. Actually very weird. I’ve always been one to worry about my weight. Always. But looking back at those pictures, I wanted to reach my hands through the old copies and wring my skinny little neck. What in the world was I thinking? Even after having Evy, I was still pretty little.

Me and Evy with our dear friend {and Evy’s Tree model} Kate. 

And here’s me after I had Jake. Can we say TINY? Brandon and I goofing off at a restaurant mirror.

So I keep thinking about how over the last couple years I have complained about my figure so very much. And boy, do I feel ashamed now. Especailly since I am now at least 10 lbs over what I have ever been. I think the moral of the story is this: it’s so easy to look down on yourself, but learn to love yourself at every stage in your life. Because you never know…things could be WAY worse.

Dear 25 year old Amy, at 36, I can show you NEED TO DIET. Stop complaining.

So with that thought off my mind, let’s talk about Jake for a second. Part of his ADHD 504 plan classroom modifications is to break the day up into small parts and work towards success in each individual area. Since ADHDers have a hard time working on long term goals, his modification plan is full of short term goals to encourage excitement with his learning. His day is split up in three blocks and he is assessed accordingly. His behavior is monitored three times a day, and he gets a sticker on his take home paper for each block that he accomplishes his main behavior goals: sit quietly, doesn’t distract others, and raises his hand to speak {just saying these three goals makes me giggle as if you know him, these are HARD things for him to do! ha}.

Since implementing the plan, he has always gotten at least one sticker. But yesterday his take home paper came home looking like this:

Zero stickers. Awesome right? ugh. Before we got Jake diagnosed, a good friend of mine who also has an ADHD boy told me, “Living with ADHD is REALLY, REALLY hard. I don’t care what anyone tells you, it very difficult.” I remember thinking that it couldn’t be THAT bad.

But it is. It really, really is.

It’s very hard to have to make special modifications for your child that you love so much. It’s so very hard to see that is he is JUST NOT capable of behaving like everyone else, no matter how hard I try to help him. My friend was right, living with ADHD is extremely hard.

Yesterday when he came home with zero stickers, Jake and I had a chat about his day. Thankfully, he is still really young and doesn’t understand that his behavior is extremely annoying. {ha}. And thankfully, our school is so wonderful that being sent to the office isn’t always a bad thing, just a support. Our principals are awesome and always positively redirect Jake, so that’s helpful. But as a mom, hearing your kindergarten student was sent to the office prompts visions in my mind of my future high school student practically living there, if he continues at this rate. Honestly? It’s enough to make me want to lay down and have a good cry. Yup. it does. Go ahead and judge, but it’s the truth.

The last couple days I have felt the Lord nudge me to read about Elijah. And this portion of scripture jumped out at me:

 ’Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.’ I Kings 19:3-5

Dear Elijah: I love you. If you read the entire context of this scripture, you will read about how before this laying down and dying incident, Elijah has the miraculous show down with the 400 prophets of Baal…where God hears Elijah’s prayers and sends fire down to devour Elijah’s offering, all while the 400 prophets of Baal’s offering sits untouched. You see how God delivers the people out of drought through Elijah’s prophecies. You see miracles, signs and wonders coming from Elijah…but at this point, Jezebel threatens him, saying she will kill him. He is alone. He is the last prophet left. And he is frustrated. And he runs.

Thank you Elijah. Because now I know, it’s not just me that feels like doing that from time to time. Dear readers, I’m not stupid…I know what it may look like over here. Social media puts such a deceiving twist on people’s lives. Things look WAY better than they really are. But the reality is I often feel like Elijah {probably more often than not}. Like last night when I got Jake’s take home paper back. Or when I step on the scale in the morning. Or when I get a business situation that I have no idea how to deal with. I feel like Elijah. The thoughts that go through my mind sound like this:

Parenting is too hard

Marriage is so tough

Manufacturing is way too difficult, I should quit

Living for God is not easy

I want to quit.

If you have some time, read through Elijah’s story in 1 Kings, it will really encourage you. My favorite part is when he spends 40 days walking up the mountain to where God is. And when he gets there, the Lord says to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”. HA. I love it.

After Elijah complains to Him how faithful he’s been but now he’s about to be killed, God sends him back. But not without showing Elijah His power through the wind, the earthquake and the fire. And not without telling him that He had seven thousand people who had not turned to Baal. He was not really alone.

Here’s the reality of the situation: when you are on the Lord’s team… NOTHING MATTERS.  It doesn’t matter how down you feel about yourself. How much you question your purpose, or how often you feel like quitting. Because even when I go to Him feeling like laying down and throwing in the towel…He is still there asking me, “Why are you here?”. I love that. Because He sees the end of the story and knows it will be exactly how it’s supposed to be and how HE planned it….success, regardless of how we feel about it. And everything really will be alright. Just ask Elijah.

Nothing is too hard for God. Ever. {Even zero stickers.} And for that I am so very thankful.

Big hugs friends. xoxo