Preparing for 2018 has become such a JOY. While I am believing for some BIG victories in my life I am choosing to just REST in His abilities. With that though comes the need to… More
I’ve been thinking a lot as of late about the seeds that are planted in our hearts and minds. There are good and bad seeds. The enemy will continually try and plant little seeds in our lives. Those seeds will either get washed away with the word of God or they will quickly turn into a weed within our hearts.
The enemy doesn’t come in with fiery torches threatening to burn your house down. He instead gives you the match and invites you to come into agreement with lies to light it up yourself.
The enemy takes our shortcomings and convinces us that we need to hide our less than perfect behaviors. As we begin hiding them they’ve now become secrets. When he can do that he’s able to turn the secrets into shame. When we feel shame we begin disqualifying ourselves from Gods love and everyone elses, including our own.
It is there in that place of feeling dirty, shameful, and far from God that so many give up and give into sin. The beautiful thing is God can still, and in fact loves to reach down and blow on the embers of our heart to remind us of His love for us. It wasn’t God that drew back. It was our belief system that changed the way we think.
A little seed can quickly grow into something great or a tangled web that begins to choke out anything thats life giving so that it can live. Today I want to encourage you to not ‘water’ any seeds of doubt, insecurity, fear, shame. Instead choose to dig out those seeds and allow God to speak His truth over you. You are not those lies. You are blameless in His sight. Not because of anything you have done, but because of what He sacrificed to redeem and restore you to a place of wholeness.
This road trip was a long time coming. As a single mama taking a break from being needed is the best vacation you can get. I haven’t ever been to colorado since being an adult and since its only a 9 hour drive (7.5hr if I’m driving 😉 I thought why not try and throw in a quick trip before the end of the year. This trip was EVERYTHING my soul needed.
We hit up so many amazing places during our four day trip that I wanted to share some of my favorites. When we got into denver we arrived around lunch time and were starving. We had heard about the Denver Central Market. Driving through I knew I was in my element. Think modern/contemporary art district. This area of town has been completely revitalized according to locals. Five plus years ago it was a place of crime. Now, its streets full of amazing graffiti and amazing eats.
The Denver Central Market was amazing. So excited for Kansas City to be getting their own version of this soon! Think open market, with a bar. What more needs to be said? You walk into the closed market where there are just under a dozen eateries. Everything from a coffee shop to chocolatier. My friend I was traveling with is a vegetarian and they had a cafe that she could eat from and it was delicious. I will mention the only thing I had that I didn’t love was my latte.. It was pure milk and no coffee. I was desperately needing coffee in that moment not an inch of froth. Was pretty cool though, the barista had a Second Best Coffee t-shirt on which is a go to coffee shop in Kansas City. This market though is a must. Everyone comes here. Businessmen getting a drink after work, girlfriends catching up on a lunch break…We actually got lunch and dinner here the first day because it was so easy. We set up shop at the bar with our laptops and books and enjoyed food and a drink and it was everything this mama needed. The drinks were amazing, and baristas were easy going.
In between lunch and dinner we hit up the Denver Museum of Art and Science. It under $15 and worth every penny. I will say I cannot imagine doing the entire museum with my 1.5 year old. Yes, it would tire him out but its HUGE. The main thing that stuck out to me was how BIG the displays were. We were SHOCKED. It was seriously incredible though. Seeing everything from birds that were bigger than me to 10 carat diamonds. They had a dinosaur exhibit that was amazing that I know my little guy would have loved. Heck, I loved it!
After dinner we met up with Shannons friends where we would be staying the next couple nights and crashed. Next morning we went to a local creperie called Crepes n crepes.
My favorite part? When you walk in theres a guy standing there at the bar making crepes. Wish I had taken a picture. You’ll just have to go yourself. Fun little thing they do for coffee lovers. I asked if they had an americano because I didn’t see it on their coffee menu and she said thats how they did their coffee. Ie if you order ‘coffee’ you’re getting an americano. Done and done.
My crepe was chorizo, potatoes, eggs, tomatoes. It was super hearty. They had dessert crepes, hearty crepes, pretty much everything you could want in a crepe.
Garden of the Gods was the MUST for me. I had seen pictures and videos and KNEW if there was one thing we had to go see that was it. I cannot explain how amazing it was. You get there and park and walk around and time seems to stand still. All you can think about is how beautiful everything is. It was exactly what I needed. To turn off my brain and just focus on whats in front of me.
They have a visitor center that you can stop at before going into the park in case you need to go the bathroom, shop for all that tourist stuff, and get a map. I choose to just take pictures. When you start driving into the park make sure your phone or camera is out. Its beautiful.
Kansas City Sweatshirt: KC Clothing Co (wearing a small)
One of best little hidden gems is by far Denvers Union Station. While Kansas City Union station boasts a fun model train museum for kids Denvers Union Station blew Kansas City out of the water with completely revitalizing it to be a place to go for a night to stay (the upper levels are now a hotel) and the lower level is still in use as a train station but they have done a remarkable job at restoring and breathing life into what once was. The bar was STUNNING. Its what my neutral subway tile dreams are made of. Every little shop in the building was straight out of a magazine.
We hit up Red Rocks which is now on my bucket list of places to go for a concert. It was so It was so cold out that we parked, got out looked quick, took a few pictures and then jumped back in the car. haha. So glad that we did drive out to see it. Its definitely something you need to experience. People were down there running (way to be)
On our final day in colorado I hit up Boulder. I NEED to go back and spend a whole day hiking there. It was breath taking. Highly suggest grabbing coffee on pearl street. ( We went to Oxo coffee) and then going to Flatiron Rocks. As a photographer this place is a gem. You don’t have to hike anywhere to get STUNNING photos. I parked, walked out 500 ft or so and was able to do a family session for my hairstylist who is originally from Boulder and just happened to be vacationing the same time *talk about the stars aligning*
If you haven’t been to colorado and its a road trip away, get in your car and go! Seriously. They have something for EVERYONE. I think that was the biggest thing that I enjoyed. If you want city life they have that, if you want downtown scene they have it, if you want to be in the mountains and climb and hike all day you can do that everyday for the rest of your life if your heart wants. The diversity in whats available to visitors and locals is one of a kind. Colorado you are definitely a gem. I WILL be back.
I wrote this two months ago (to the day) and am finally sharing it. (I currently have 27 drafts that need to be published. Lord help me). Hmmm, its the 27th. You think there something to the number 27 today? Oh boy the number freak in me is geeking out right now you guys. 27 means unconditional love. You’ll see as you read through this just how on point that is.
When I read Katie Davis’ words from her latest book Daring to Hope my heart leapt. This is exactly what He had called me too. Finally words to express it.
“Why would he allow us to love people so deeply? Could that be God’s answer to us as we walk the hard road? “I knew you would do it. I knew you would love them.” And suddenly the hard road becomes not a burden but a place of great honor, a place of partnership and intimacy with Him.”
Something clicked, something in me now understood why He had called me to love the way I’ve loved. See, I believe in a love that goes beyond what my physical circumstances would say is possible. This hope that I cling to pushes past doubt, fear, and pain.
In that though I find myself in situations where my head screams “NO!! Run, you’re going to get hurt” and my heart just sits there in peace knowing its possible. Knowing that love can pierce through every barrier, every sin, every doubt. See my heart believes in a love so grounded, so faithful, so freeing that I know nothing is impossible.
That kind of love will take you into some hardest, darkest places. Because thats where love is needed the most.
You’re able go into those places because you know even though you may not get love in return you’ll be able to share it in a way that only heaven could orchestrate. For some its losing a child, its relationships, its foster care, its a dying parent, there are so many situations where He calls us to love with everything in us for the sake of partnering with His heart. Whatever it is God has called you too I know beyond a shadow of a doubt He’s faithful in it all. He has enough love to fill you up, and whoever or whatever the situation. His love is able to cast out fear EVERY TIME .
I have the ability to invite God into that place to heal, restore, and love. When you’re called to love you don’t always get to stick around to see the ending. Or sometimes the ending is ‘cut short’ and you’re left with less than desirable situations. Thats when we can find ourself asking that Katie did, why would He call me to this if He knew it would end this way? Because He knew we would say yes. He knew we would give it our all, He knew we would fight till the end with everything in us just like He did for us.
Suddenly it gives every tear, every battle, every prayer purpose.
Tonight I was scrolling through images of myself on Facebook from years ago. Looking back at myself I instantly saw the fear, the questions, and the doubt when I looked into my eyes. I remember doubting everyone when they complimented me. I didn’t actually think they meant what they said. Truth is I thought everyone was just giving me lip service. I thought people looked at me and pitied me. I thought their words towards me were that of judgements, and pity.
Truth is I saw through that lens because thats how I viewed myself. I judged myself for not being “strong enough”, not “having it all together”, for still hurting from previous breakups, for still working through issues that others had successfully worked through. I thought they pitied me when they looked at me and saw my shortcomings.
My twenties were nothing short of an identity crisis. Trying to build myself into something I thought those around me wanted and needed. Instead of sitting down and asking myself what do I want? I built something that was never intended to be built. I constructed a temple within me that worshipped the wrong things. Temporary things. I fell victim to believing the lies that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t put together enough. As a result I built walls around me and within my heart keeping everyone at arms reach. Even those I claimed I loved with all my heart where never truly allowed in my heart no matter how gently or loving they came. The door was slammed in their face over and over again. When gently reminded that my heart was unable to receive let alone be a safe place for anothers heart I felt as though they were judging me.
My core fear is failure. To be reminded that I was not perfect was pretty much the dagger that I avoided at all costs. I wouldn’t let their words penetrate my heart even though I desperately needed to hear truth and be able to receive it. I was never really able to accept peoples love or affection because I never thought I was enough. My heart went from being thrown at people, to becoming a cold dark dungeon that I didn’t even allow myself access into for fear of what could be in there.
Someone once gave me a picture of how they saw my heart. What they felt like needed to happen in order for me to truly love myself and for me to allow someone space within my heart to love me. I remember thinking what? This is crazy! How could someone be that open and available for someone to just walk right in and make a home in my heart? Well almost 8 years later I am now seeing exactly what they were talking about. And let me tell you it has not been an easy journey but its been so worth it!!!!!
Choosing to be honest with yourself regarding the condition of your heart can be heartbreaking. Why? Because we all want love, however if we are unable to accept love we begin wondering if we will ever truly love or be loved. Over the past eight years I have found myself in some of the most heartbreaking experiences of my entire life. Too many loses for my sweet heart to contain till it got to a point when I realized I can’t do this anymore. I cannot protect my heart from pain. Because it will come, no matter how tall the walls are, no matter how many locks are on the doors of my heart. Pain will come, and it will hurt. There is no avoiding it.
So if there is no avoiding it, then how do I live a life that isn’t shaped by hurt?
Thus began the journey of saying YES. Saying yes to my heart. It started with me daring to say yes to allowing those around me to love me, to care for me, to speak into me. To admit that I NEEDED other people. This began around five years ago when my mom was diagnosed for the second time with stage 4 melanoma. I had lied to myself for years thinking I didn’t need people. Little did I know I would only be able to accomplish the healing in my heart because of the people coming around me and lifting me up when I had no energy to go on. I mean this literally and figuratively.
Choosing to say yes to go on the journey of self discovery with your heart is seriously one of the most incredible journeys you will ever go.
To be honest with you it hasn’t been as hard as I thought, but it hasn’t been easy. I think seeing the ‘results’ has outweighed the sting of letting stuff go of things that I held so close that were comfortable and familiar that I thought provided protection. Finally experiencing the freedom that comes with letting go and beginning to see what someone spoke over about the condition of my heart and where it would be when I was ready to love is SO encouraging. But damn, I sure wish I hadn’t of taken 8+ years. (Now let me be clear, I’m not saying my heart is perfect. haha.) However seeing it come to a place where my heart is able to breathe is incredible. Its almost like coming to a clearing in the woods if you will after being stuck in a forest you thought you would never get out of.
To be in a place where I can finally be honest with myself about the condition of my heart is one of the most freeing things I have ever experienced. To be able to ask myself every day ‘how are you doing heart?’ is no longer someone I fear or worry about. It is a joy to get to know myself better, to learn how to love myself better. Because I can only love those around me to the extent I love myself. Before I would have never asked my heart how it felt because I was to busy telling it how to feel. “You’re okay”, “That didn’t actually hurt, He was just a jerk forget about him”, “You’re better than that just shake it off”. In theory those can be great statements. But if you’re saying that and not addressing any of the hurt or pain that was associated with those statements you’re going to find yourself very hollow and unaware of how you actually feel because you were so busy trying to convince yourself you were fine when really your heart is bleeding to death barely able to function.
The journey of the heart is a long one. One we will be working out until the day we die. However today and everyday forward we have the opportunity to invest in ourselves and our hearts. Sure going and getting a pedicure, or a drink is nice and good for ya but whats going to last is your heart. Allowing yourself to give love freely simply because you’re able to is INCREDIBLE. No longer fearing pain or hurt that may come is even more amazing.
I no longer fear hurt. I know its going to happen. The question has never been will I get hurt. You absolutely will. The question is what are you going to do with that hurt? Are you going to build a wall? A defense mechanism to attempt to keep out anyone and anything that could hurt you?
Or will you allow yourself and look at that person and say I know you’re hurting and thats why you’re projecting this on me I choose to not allow it to shape my identity and give it to the Lord. Will you allow yourself to say hey, you know that hurt me. I know thats not the truth about me and speak truth over yourself. Then you extend grace to the other person, and to your heart to deal with the hurt. Without rushing yourself to get over it, and allowing the healing process to take its course. Sometimes it takes a split second, sometimes it takes years.
The journey of the heart is precious and so, so worth it! Every tear, every laugh, every surrender, every yes, every no. They all add up into something really beautiful. Tonight I encourage you to sit down and ask your heart. How are you feeling tonight?
To be continued…..
(going to be addressing how to practically how to ask your heart how you feel when you can barely feel)
Its that time of the month again. No, No. Not that. Honest Mamas time! The lovely www.elementsofellis.com asked me to be apart of this small, beautiful, honest online mama group called Lets be Honest Mamas. We chat a bit about each topic and how we do life each month. One of the fun things is we are all at different stages in motherhood. Some of us have one, others have 3. Some are stay at home mamas, some are work from home, others are working mamas, and some of us are single mamas and its all just stinking beautiful. I find inspiration from these ladies.
What do family traditions mean to you? Why are they important to you?
Family traditions are very near to my heart. They are also hard. My mom (who passed 4.5 years ago from cancer) loved the holidays and was very adamant about creating, and maintaining traditions. From family board game nights, to thanksgiving morning traditions to weekly tradtiions . It was one of my favorite things, especially now looking at back the holidays I have such fond memories of how excited it would make my mom and seeing how much effort she put into it to bring us all together. Acts of service was how she loved us and she was amazing at it. Those memories are what I have left of her. I recently wrote about dealing with loss during the holidays HERE.
I personally am one of those that has a really hard time if traditions are not able to be withheld because I hold memories of loved ones so close to my heart.
What are some of your holiday family tradition?
I have to pause and focus on thanksgiving because not only is it the next holiday but it was my mamas favorite. Therefore it is the hardest holiday without her. Thanksgiving morning started with sleeping in, but not to long as we didn’t wanna miss watching the Macys Day Parade. Not that it was something glorious to watch, it was just what we did. And well growing up the TV was never on for hours at a time. So that may have been apart of the appeal as well 😉 Still to this day if I don’t get to start my morning with watching the Macys Day Parade it hurts. For me its apart of holding onto her legacy.
While the Macys day parade is going on in the background mom would be food prepping. I would always volunteer to help cause well I loved cooking, and well taste testing 😉
She always had a list of everything that needed to be done and in what order. Dad was God knows where off doing his own thing. haha. Oh dad. We would eventually pack up the car and head over to my grandmas big red house on the hill. Where we would meet up with my grandparents, cousins and aunt + uncle. Thanksgiving was small but it was perfect. We would run all around grandparents house playing inside and out. Trying to sneak food before it was time. Okay lets be honest, grandma was offering food to us 😉
We always tried to play board games beforehand. Us kids were always coming up with ways to sell our toys to each other. haha. After we ate we would always watch a movie as we were in turkey coma. (Its a real thing people) Eventually we would bundle up and head home. Half the time we would devour turkey leftovers that night. haha.
Family traditions don’t just have to be holiday based…what are your daily/weekly family traditions?
Oh I love this. I try so hard to take my son to some of his favorite places at least 1-3 times a week. In the summer its his favorite animal farm. We would go about 3-4 times a week. Now that its getting colder we love going to Union Station and running around and checking out the trains. He is obsessed. I usually try and take him on a “date” at least twice a month. And we always go out to lunch together at least once a week at my favorite juice cafe in Kansas City. He will drink his own drink no problem.
Christmas pictures have been something we’ve done. This year was a little different with it just being the two of us but I thought you know what? I still wanna do them and I am SO GLAD we did. Images in this post are from that session with the amazing Leigh Miller Photography.
Share your tips for creating strong family traditions. (Examples: Communication, Scheduled family time, etc)
Being a single mama its easier I suppose because its just him and I that are going out and doing things. He’s still to young to say no 😉 haha!! For myself though I try and be diligent about scheduling things. I honestly am much more ‘carefree’ about scheduling this kind of thing and just kinda follow my gut as to what we both need. Like today I had some work to do after I finished in record time I decided we needed to get out of the house. So we spent an hour at one of his favorite places and it was pure joy for both of us.
Tell us something positive you have seen come out of making an effort to have family traditions/family time?
Creating memories is one of the most beautiful things you can do and at the end of the day when I am gone memories of the two of us will be all He has. I just want Him to remember me as someone loved him well, and gave him room to love and be himself. As he grows up I want to expose him to a lot so that He can make his own choices as to what He loves. So for now we are exploring the city one park and museum at a time.
The beauty in taking time to make new traditions is re-discovering how amazing your town is. Its taking time to breathe, and finding joy in the small things.
Make sure and check out the other ladies answering these same questions:
Trauma has the tendency to hit you outta no where with the force of a bulldozer. A blow to your body, mind, and spirit. Instead of collapsing from the blow you’re instantly stunned. Frozen in time. Unable to move, unable to think, unable to process. Your mind somehow unable to put words together to complete a sentence. Your eyes forgetting how to see beauty in the everyday. Your mind grasping at anything to make you feel. Your spirit crying out for freedom. Your body unable to take a step for fear of another blow.
Then one day you have the audacity to grab hold of a twinkling star, to believe it shines for a reason. Suddenly embers begin burning within your heart. Your body remembers how to take steps. Wobbly, but you’re moving forward. Your spirit leaping, dancing almost knowing you’re about to embark on the most beautiful journey you could ever imagine. The ability to dream again in the midst of heart wrenching pain. To find joy in the midst of pain is not to ignore the pain. It’s not pretending the blow never happened. Your body could never forget that gut punch even if you tried. It’s taking step after step saying I’m going to try again, I’m going to say yes again.
Not rushing into something that will be instant gratification but choosing the long steady path. It’s then you realize your hand is in His and he’s been here all along. It was Him who placed that shooting star when he knew your eyes were ready to see it. It was Him who blew on the embers of your heart when He knew your heart was ready to say Yes. It was Him all along. Guiding, aligning the stars.
He watched as that blow hit you so hard. Remembering the force He too was hit. He did it over and over again for you. He knows the pain all to well. You’re not alone in any of this. This is just the beginning. Dare to dream, dare to believe, dare to say Yes.
To be grateful requires
faith, that things are good regardless of what your eyes see.
Hope, that there’s more than this. But you’re able to be content in the here and now.
Thankfulness, for all you currently possess, see, feel, and hear.
To acknowledge that the seemingly insignificant things are rather puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together to form the puzzle that is your life. Without each day, it’s impossible for the puzzle to be completed.
To surrender what you think you need right now and believe that what you have right now is more than enough.
Choosing to be grateful in the midst of hardship re-wires our brain in a way that enables us to see things we otherwise turned a blind eye to because of how we thought life was/is suppose to go.
Pink Blush Green Floral Sash Tie Maxi dress size is small. Its under $70!! This dress is hands down my FAVORITE dress I have ever gotten from Pink Blush. It fits like a dream and honestly I feel like a queen in it. Ladies, go get it ASAP!
“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
Dress: Pink Blush / wearing a small. Fits true to size/