Sunday, January 31, 2010

Glorious Sunday Out and About

Today has been an absolutely PERFECT day.

I had the SPECIAL treat of just Audrey and I going to church today. Jon allowed me to leave Nathaniel at home asleep with him while Audrey and I headed out to church. Audrey and I had a great time dancing and singing before the Lord during worship. Then during service Audrey sat on my lap and snuggled the WHOLE service. It was so sweet and just what we needed, mommy and Audrey time.

After church we picked up Nathaniel, Jon, Lorena and Kaia and headed out for the day!

It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day here on her Central Coast, and we headed to the beach up in Cayucos to enjoy a picnic.
When we were there we saw his funny man feeding the seagulls.... and letting them sit RIGHT ON HIS HEAD! OMG! I so don't think I could ever do that! But it was funny to watch! And you would NEVER guess what he was feeding them....

After eating and enjoy the wonderful day we had today we decided to go for a walk along the coast. The kids were told NOT to get too wet. Especially Nathaniel who had his braces on!

The kids were so cute frolicking in the water!

I found this an especially sweet picture. Reminds me of times I walked along the beach with my dear friend when I was younger.

Even though Jon did not feel well he joined us on our excursion too! What a dear friend!

And remember what we told Nathaniel about getting wet?

I guess it didn't make much of an impression on him!

After the beach we did a few errands to get ready for the big birthday celebration next week and then did the regular Sunday errands. Upon heading home we had a nice simple dinner, and just hung out for the evening. So simple, yet what I have always dreamed a Sunday should be.

A random thought hit me today yet it won't leave my brain. You see I was thinking that if 15 to 20 years ago I had a CLUE about what would make me incredibly happy today, I would have chosen my path so differently. I don't know that I ever thought I would want someone to stand beside me in life, work along side me. I don't know that I ever thought I would want someone who isn't afraid to get dirty and get the job done. I don't know that I ever thought I would want someone to just enjoy the simple time of a family day at the beach. Someone that helps around the house without being asked. Someone who cooks dinner occasionally. I didn't think of any of those things when I chose my husband. I thought of things like being respected, being loved, being treated with honor. But obviously I didn't know how to judge those qualities, because even though they are of utmost importance to me, I haven't felt them in a LONG time. But in the past few weeks my eyes have been opened to the fact that if I TRULY had a clue about what I would want out of my life I would have walked a very different path. This time has taught me what it really feels like to be respected, treated like a person who matters, and being half of a team that works together to get things done, and done well! It is interesting to me the way that things worked out, or didn't as the case may be in my life! Interesting indeed. It's probably a really good thing that I don't think I will ever be choosing another man to be in my life! I am sure I would screw that up too
So, off of the rabbit trail and back to the subject at hand, how did you spend this glorious Sunday?

Saturday Night Fun

Did you catch the moon last night?
It was absolutely beautiful here so I decided to try and take a few pictures of it...
Much more beautiful in person, but at least I tried :)

I had to stop at the market on the way home to grab some cheese and ran into Lorena and Kaia. On the spur of the moment I invited them over to dinner, and I am so glad that I did!

With everything that has been going on, I haven't had the energy to hang out much but I really miss hanging with Lorena and Kaia. We used to have dinner together at least once a week, but it's been a long time.

Nat was a little bored, but the girls entertained each other very well. Audrey and Kaia are in the same grade at school and have been friends since they were 3! They kept us in giggles with their cute dress up creations.

And Lorena and I caught up on a lot of chatting. It was great to have girl time again. And it was great not to have a grumpy man hanging out saying "when are they leaving?" a million times!

And of course it is great to capture these fine moments for all time! I love taking pictures of my kids!

Have you had any friend time lately?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

some days...

Some days I wonder why the storms rage on in some people's lives while others seem to skate along in sunshine.

Some days I wonder why ignorant people get to stand in judgement of others and hold a position of power.

Some days I wonder why so many refuse to take the time to understand the people around them.
Some days I wonder what God is trying to teach me with all of the things that keep coming at me. Am I so deaf I don't hear Him?
Some days I wonder why certain people get to shove others off of cliffs, but are never held accountable for the shoving. Only the free falling one gets in trouble.
I was even wondering the other night if you still wonder in eternity!
Some days I wonder if I wonder too many things!

But today I am NOT going to wonder!

I am going to cover myself in truths!

Both mentally AND physically if that is what it takes.

And I have to say right here, as much as I love to blog, as healing and therapeutic as it is for me, some days Facebook is just better! Nothing against my blog... but people don't COMMENT here... I don't get the love as much! I LOVE the love, and I LOVE the validation on FB! One dear soul in particular is AMAZING at seeing my status updates and throwing the PERFECT verses back at me. Just what my heart needs! I LOVE being able to connect with people!

SO today I head into battle in a few hours. I am going to cover myself in the word of God and pray for ANSWERS not HOOPS! I am going to pray that the people harassing the hell out of me are actually able to DO SOMETHING to HELP this time not just waste my time. I am going to pray for God's PERFECT path for my precious children and myself!

Won't you stand with me?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Did you notice?

Did you....
notice the beauty....

around you....


I noticed it!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sometimes Life is Just HARD!

Many who know me often say that I have lived far more life than my simple 35 years warrants. I hear this OFTEN when I share PART of the story of my life. And sometimes it makes me wonder WHY so much has happened to me, yet other times it simply reminds me why I am who I am. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God has a plan for my life. He has from the before the moment He planted me in my mother's womb. And while I don't necessarily believe that He has CAUSED all that has happened in my life, I DO believe that He is in control and can use every situation, no matter how HORRIBLE, to his glory.

There is so much to my life, I simply could NOT write it all down ... EVER, I think.... but defiantly not in one simple post. But I do feel led to share some of the burdens of my heart now. I am not sure why God has me to share this now or here, but I feel STRONGLY that He is leading me to share. But I also feel that I am to share in a sort of "overview" way.

I feel the need for one small disclaimer here....One thing I have NEVER set out to do in my blog or life is to point fingers or to judge others. Never. That is not my heart. God ALONE stands in judgement, and I have no business to do so. I also have no business to share other's sins or burdens with anyone. So if it sounds like I am being vague or obscure, it's simply the way I feel God leads me to share my heart here.... I share the things on MY HEART that effect MY life and it is MY version of the reality. Please remember this as you read on!

For as long as I can remember I was told that I am nothing. Worthless. A mistake. A girl, so of no personal value. I was raised in an oppressive home where the boys were worshipped and I was virtually invisible, unless I was in trouble. Nothing I ever did was ever good enough because of the gender I was born. In my family I endured physical and emotional abuse until I finally moved out in my teenage years. This abuse took MANY forms, and came from the hands of MANY people. As soon as I was able I left, hoping to "create" a new life and a new identity for myself.

In my "new life" I was still that broken and hurt little girl that I had been for so many years, but I hid her, pushed her down and pretended to be a strong, self assured, confident young woman. The illusion worked okay as long as no one looked closely at me, as long as they didn't ask questions, as long as I was in control of my reality. But the truth is it was all just a big illusion. Deep inside I was hurting. Deep inside I was unsure of anything EXCEPT that I didn't want to be hurt again. Deep down I didn't think I deserved anything good.

The truth is that anyone close to me could see that, could see the inconsistencies and could sense that something was wrong with the picture. Unfortunately I was not strong enough or smart enough to reach out to those people who cared, who saw the cracks and cared what was under them. I was trying too hard to cling to the illusion to see that the reality needed treated. I ended up hurting people close to me. People I loved, and still love, deeply. People who were some of the first in my life to treat me right, respect me and truly care about me. But in my vain attempt to hold onto the illusion I lost all track of reality.

As much as it pains me to say, this tendency has been one that I continue to fight to this very day. I don't want to be that hurt little girl. But sometimes, no matter how many times I have given her over to the Lord, a piece of her wiggles her way out from the depths of my heart. All of my adult years I have suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and migraines; all stemming from my early formative years and the pains I endured then. I have done YEARS of counseling, YEARS of recovery and YEARS of work to own who I am, what I am and ACCEPT all that I am. Without the Lord I do not believe that I could even begin to endure the pain of what I was born into, but with the Lord I can embrace it, accept it, and try to use it to bless others. But even in claiming that I am honest enough to say that everyday is a journey. And the journey is HARD at times. Some days the best I can do is say I am here in the Lord's arms. Other days I am truly thriving and doing well.

The next step in the journey of my life came in what I now see was a desperate attempt to be loved unconditionally and have a place in some one's life "forever". Needless to say, I married for all the wrong reasons and hoped for a happily ever after. After 12 years of hurt, pain and abuse I can now see that the very foundation of my marriage was skewed and every attempt to stabilize it over the years has failed. It breaks my heart to say this for a number of reasons, but God has clearly showed me that it is so. Like I said, I married in a desperate attempt to have everlasting love. I married a man that professed to be a Christian and to not believe in divorce, what I didn't see at the time was a deep, seeping wound in his own soul. I was so busy trying to look "good enough" to him that I didn't look under his surface either. Two wounded and hurting people coming together, trying to build a life together without a shared vision is a perfect equation for disaster.

I firmly believe that God dose not approve of divorce, but I also believe that He would not have us living in a way that continually degrades and hurts people. For many years I struggled to be what Mark needed in a wife, only to now see that he needed a possession not a person. Over the years I lost so much of what makes me a unique person, and I am only now starting to see how much was lost. In the past few months since stepping completely away from that toxic relationship the Lord has clearly shown me how far past the line in the sand I had allowed myself to fall. I simply look at the life I was leading and CAN NOT believe what I allowed to happen.

All I can say to ANYONE out there reading this is, if your dearest friends, your spiritual leaders and your heart say that there is a BIG problem PLEASE take it to the Lord with WILLING ears. I took it to the Lord so many times, but my ears only heard what I thought that they were supposed to hear. I lost many years and kept my children in a toxic situation for too long because my ears were closed to anything that didn't fit the picture I had in my head. The Lord has brought forth people now that CLEARLY show me the parts of me that make me ME that were completely lost because Mark did not accept them. Mark did not accept me, the unique and special child of God that He created me to be. I am THRILLED to see those dead parts of me coming back to life! But ashamed of the length of time that I let them lay dead because another person did not approve. I pray that I NEVER let another person define who I am and that I ALWAYS look to the Lord for that definition.

Soon after we were married I accepted Christ into my heart and life, and by this action have been forever changed. I began a long and painful journey of healing. Many times along the way I have simply wanted to walk away from it, it all hurt too much. But I have journeyed forward and learned MUCH about myself in the process. I have learned about the holes I have in my heart that I try to fill in unhealthy ways. I have learned about the lies I was taught about who I am and what I am capable of. And I have learned to replace all of those things with God's truths. I have learned about the broken parts of myself and how to take steps to fix those things. I have learned to look to God and the family of believers that He surrounds me with for strength and inspiration. And I have learned that though these things that formed my like sucked (yes PR, I cursed here.... but is there REALLY any other word for it??) God will use these situations, my responses to them and His miracles in my life to make my life a testimony to others. Sometimes a testimony of His strength and grace, sometimes a testimony how NOT to live, sometimes a testimony of His unending love. But NEVER a testimony to MY strength, because without Him I am nothing, it is by HIS strength that I walk my path in life.

In the midst of this journey life just kept happening. You know, the whole world does not stop and hold still just because one lowly person is struggling. And even that person's life doesn't go on hold either! So just a few short weeks after I accepted Christ into my heart and my life tragedy struck. You see I was pregnant at the time, and God chose to take my unborn child home to heaven a little earlier than I had planned. When I was 36 weeks pregnant with Taylor she died of complications of pre eclampsia. And I wasn't exactly healthy either.

This was a major stumbling block, not only in my walk with Christ, but in the holes in my heart. The enemy fought dirty trying to get an in in my life during this time, but God surrounded me with strength and grace in the wonderful people He put in my life during that time. Without the love and support of people like Tom & Terri, Vince & Mary, John & Allison, Sparky, Sherri, Joan & many others that my exhausted brain is not remembering I shudder to think of where I might be today. God KNEW who and what I needed and put it all together in my life. But the holes in my heart were still there. I had a husband who was struggling with his addictions and not giving me the love or support that I needed. I saw this child as another form of unconditional love, but God saw otherwise. I know now that He had a plan in place that I was TOTALLY clueless about, but in those dark days it was the best that I could do to simply put one foot in front of the other and get through each day alive. The only strong desire in my life was to be in heaven with Taylor, and only the strength of God and his people fighting for me kept me here on earth.

I had only begun to come out of the deepest part of the darkness of Taylor's death when I found out that I was pregnant again. I was terrified to say the least. I every step of the way I thought that something tragic was going to happen. I was sure that the Lord was punishing me for something and that He would take my child again. I KNOW that is not how the Lord is, but my hurt and broken mind couldn't let go of that thought. Then when I was 16 weeks pregnant I found out that something tragic HAD happened. My baby had not formed the "normal" way in my womb, the child I was carrying had a sever birth defect commonly known as Spina Bifida. My world shattered again.

There was one big difference this time, this time I had choices. What felt like the entire medical community (well, all except one fine doctor) was advising me to terminate my pregnancy. I felt in my heart that I just could NOT do that. I began to fight for the life of my unborn child with gusto. Even before I could comprehend the depth or severity of the diagnosis I had just been given, I fought. I KNEW that the Lord was giving me THIS child for a reason, and I still believe that to this day. Life has NOT been easy with him, but I love him with all of my heart. Even now, thrown back in the fiery pits of hell fighting many who just do not understand him, I am honored that the Lord gave him to ME to raise. I find my strength and courage in KNOWING that the Lord matched Nathaniel and I together for a reason. No matter what storm comes this way I know that the Lord is with us, and He will carry me when I am too weak to crawl another inch forward. And even more than that the Lord will ALWAYS be there for my precious children, even when I can't.

It is interesting the way that things take twists and turns. I began this morning with a strong feeling that the Lord wanted me to pour out my heart here. There are many things that have been bouncing around in my mind and I just haven't had the guts to put the words down here, but this morning I felt SO STRONGLY that I HAD to blog that I just started writing about what He pulled forward from my heart.

In the middle of this writing I had an encounter of a NOT GOOD kind. Not that the PEOPLE involved were bad people, but that the SITUATION is an attack of the enemy. This encounter knocked me off my feet emotionally. This encounter put stress into a situation that I find peace and acceptance in. This encounter puts fear and worry in my heart, and even though I KNOW to give it to Him there is just so much of it that I feel like I have been giving and giving and it's still here! And in the moment I wanted to stop where I was and give up. I even had the stop point written: "Though I had it on my heart to share more today, something just happened to me that has me reeling again. Life keeps dealing these blows you know? Well, you probably don't know, because I haven't told you. But the blows are coming at me fast and hard. I only know one place to turn, and that is to the Lord, my God." But every time I spell checked to post the Lord put something else on my heart.... till here I am! A novel latter, and I am not sure He is done yet!

So I am sitting here, waiting for a phone call that was promised to me this afternoon that I haven't got yet. Asking the Lord "Anything else?" But terrified of the answer he might give, or the sorrows He might pull up from the depths of my heart! It has been a HARD day for sure, full of HARD steps and heart stopping twists.

Last week I made the decision that life was too much, I was getting panic attacks too often and it was time to get medical intervention again, even if I could not afford it. I saw a doctor yesterday, and was completely frustrated that he would not give me the prescriptions for the medications that worked for me in the past. My belief is that if it has worked before why not start there? But he didn't see it that way at all. So of the four prescriptions that I used to take he gave me one, substituted a different medication for another and flat out told me no for the last two. I am not sure what to do. Part of me really just wants to go back to what works, but the other part of me says I can't afford the doctor that can make that possible. So I have started the two he gave me and will see where that takes me, but I am just not hearing a clear answer from the Lord on this right now.

Also last week I made the HUGELY difficult choice to try and get mental health services for Nathaniel again. This is a really hard thing for me to do, and today's encounter just further confuses my mind. So many people don't understand Nathaniel, or even me and just say that all of his problems are either created by me or my fault. I know this is not true, I have WONDERFUL medical support that tells me that this is not true, and yet the enemy keeps attacking with this one. Bringing mental health into the picture can go one of two ways, there is no in between with it. Either it will help us all live better or it will make things horribly worse, and the hardest part is that there is no way to know WHICH way it will go until we walk the path! But I did make the call and Nathaniel has an appointment in two weeks. Won't you please hold this in prayer for him and for our family?

Oh, and all of this is on top of the fact that Friday I went on a personal leave of absence from my paying job to attend to Butterfly Boutique while Faline does some soul searching and figures out where she wants her life to go! Nothing like shaking it all up a bit hu?

So here I am.... at least 8 hours after I started this "little" post, wondering WHAT the Lord has in store. It is 7 minutes to 5 pm, and I am pondering whether I should call the person that said that they would call this afternoon, or just wait on the Lord. And WHAT I should do to convince Nathaniel that it really would be a good thing to do his book report?? Oh dear Lord... I think I should crawl into bed now!

If you read this far, thank you for listening to the cries of my heart. If not, that is ok too! I have days that I just can't finish reading a post no matter how much I love the person writing it!

Blessings to you!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More BIG changes!

So LOTS has happened this week. Much that I am still processing, but one of the BIG things that I have come to terms with and am ready to move forward with is things that are going on with my business, Butterfly Boutique.

For almost four years, my passion has been becoming a strong viable business in our community that supports the families here. I am passionate about small business, shopping locally, recycling and reusing, community and families. I put all of those things together, shook it up with a great, like minded woman and we came up with Butterfly Boutique, a children's resell store that also carries specialty lines. I have poured my heart into this store over the last 4 years, even in times when my personal life has taken some sharp turns and while dealing with a severely disabled child. It has been a Topsy turvey road that the Lord has taken us on, but through it all, He has guided us and prospered us. Even in 2009, one of the worst years on small businesses EVER, we did outstanding not only maintaining but making gains and becoming more secure than ever. During this last week my business partner abruptly stepped out of the partnership that defined Butterfly Boutique. This took me by complete surprise and in all honesty breaks my heart. I know how much both of us have poured into this over the last 4 years and that we are now in a stable place, the timing is unfortunate in my opinion. But I am NOT standing in judgement of her, or what she has chosen to do. There are certain areas that her strengths and weaknesses make us a bad match. But that is ok. I have always thought that the Lord will work those things out. But right now she is not feeling that way.

SO.... as of last night, I will be running Butterfly Boutique on my own for the next 90 days. During this time my business partner will be completely silent and it will give her time to figure out how she wants to move forward.
So today the kids and I had a BUSY and hard working day at BB. Nat & Audrey were AMAZING. They worked together so well. Played nicely and let me try and get a handle on what is going on here. Here the kids were taking a nice break and watching TV on Nat's computer while eating a snack that they earned by helping me unpack two boxes!

Unfortunately, life has taken me away from the day to day running of the business in the past few months and I had no idea how out of control the inventory issue here is! Every time I turn around I ma finding boxes stuffed here and there FULL of things that need to go down stairs onto the sales floor!

As I looked around it was very overwhelming, but I am SURE that the Lord will show me just how to move through everything and get a handle on what is going on.

In the mean time I am not going to be looking too hard behind anything until I get the first layer or two dealt with :)

So if there is anyone out there who has some free time and wants to volunteer to come hang out with me and treasure hunt you are MORE THAN welcome!! And if any of you want to pray for all of us involved in this situation, that the Lord reveals his path and His plan for all of us involved in the situation that would be awesome too! I know that it will be ONLY through Him and His strength that I will figure out where He wants me in all of this.

As a side note... do you catch the TOTALLY AUDREY outfit that she is sporting today?? That girl of mine makes me smile with her crazy outfits!!

And as a side, side note, my roommate found out some hard news today too. Could you lift him up in prayer too that this situation gets resolved in a good way and he can put it behind him?

It seems that the attacks are coming from every side, but I know that with Christ Jesus's strength we will endure it all!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Family Game Night

The biggest blessing come in the simplest packages....
Tonight my darling Nathaniel suggested a family game night...
And I thought "What batter way to spend a rainy cold evening?" So I agreed.
To my UTTER AMAZEMENT so did our roommate, Jon!
So we played the Disney version of Sorry.

All the way to the end.

All four of us.

And for those of you wondering why that is amazing.... In all of the time that we have had family game night over the years the kid's father has NEVER ONCE completed a board game with us.

I am still trying to wrap my mind around this!

But I will say it was INCREDIBLE for me to be part of, and I am so happy right now!!

I also had some resolution to some of the things that are up in the air today, and I look forward to sharing with you soon some of the things that God is doing in our lives.

Until next time, Blessings to you!