Healing Comes First

Healing Comes First

First Comes Love, Then Comes The Therapist

I have noticed a disturbing theme in the news and social media. That theme is dysfunctional relationships. Of course, I know that people have had dysfunctional relationships forever. Still, we live in a time where people’s quarrels play out in front of the world, whether it’s celebrities in courtroom dramas or your average social media over-sharer. Whatever the case, it is necessary to point out how important it is to heal from our traumas before forming relationships with people.

I can speak from experience. I have lived in extreme toxicity and have been a very toxic person myself. However, I can look back at my shameful behavior through my healing, which is still very fresh and new, and see it for precisely what it is. Though I thought I was right in my behavior at the time, I can now see that I was acting out of trauma and letting my emotions erupt and spew uncontrollably.

I have seen marriages and relationships in the news lately, and it sickens me to watch. I recognize some of the toxic traits and behaviors. What stands out overall is people’s emotional immaturity. I got married in the church and partook in premarital counseling. I can see how this can be helpful to two people who are emotionally mature and have done some trauma healing. Unfortunately, that was not my case.

I wish I had known more about myself at that time. I wish I knew more about why I was getting married, who I was marrying, and what traumas we both were dragging into this marriage with us. I wish someone stopped and shook me and said, “Stop! You both need to go to therapy first, work on yourself, and then come back together and do couples counseling.”

I think this approach would weed out a lot of bad marriages from occurring and strengthen marriages that blossom out of healing. I know, that not everyone is up for therapy, and how they respond in therapy also would depend on where they are in their emotional maturity. Still, I think it could shine a light on many areas that get overlooked and glossed over in premarital counseling, which lead to significant problems as the marriage progresses.

My husband and I have had our fair share of drama, and we are in a much healthier place than we have been. We have been together a long time and have grown tremendously, but I can say that healing before would have saved us a lot of heartbreak warfare.

Choosing Vulnerability

Choosing Vulnerability

Bruné Browns Advice for Living Whole Heartedly

Well, it is no secret I took time away from my blog. I have talked about my issues with authenticity and emotional detachment. I am seeing a therapist now, and I have made great strides. I can feel my emotions! She recommended a book by Brené Brown called, The Power of Vulnerability.

I can’t say this journey has been easy. I have never been able to accept that feelings are normal and not a sign of weakness. So when I looked for the book and saw it was an almost 7-hour long audiobook, I said, no way am I listening to some chick speak about vulnerability for 7 hours! I did, though, find a Ted Talk that was only about 20 mins long, and I thought to myself, what a great alternative!

The Ted Talk was excellent. Brené blew me away. She was fun and relatable, and she despised vulnerability as much as I did. But, she made excellent points and convinced me that I needed to buy the audiobook.

I am so glad I did. I learned so much about myself. I have come to find out that I avoid all feelings, even happiness, and joy. I also learned that I am vulnerable in ways I didn’t know. I also discovered the shields I use against vulnerability and how to recognize when I do so and change my practice.

Brené gives mantras to help you manage challenging situations, and I have shared them several times with my family and friends. She encourages us to make our mantras as well. One that I have written on a note on my computer says, “I am not responsible for other people’s emotions.” I need that reminder often. One of hers I love and use is, “Choose discomfort over resentment.”

I took so many notes, and I will be reading more of her work. If you struggle with any vulnerability or confidence problems, I recommend this book. I could go on all day about the things in this book, but I linked the Ted Talk below as a sample.

Have you read any of Brené Brown’s books?

Thoughts on the Enneagram

Thoughts on the Enneagram

Just A Craze Or Something More?

I am sure you have heard of the Enneagram by now. It’s been a trendy topic for a few years now. People have social media accounts and whole careers based on the Enneagram. So in case you have missed the craze, the Enneagram is a type of personality test.

The Enneagram starts with nine basic types, and each type has wings and subtypes. What is different about the Enneagram from other personality tests is that you find out your type and learn why you are like that type and how to recognize growth and disintegration. It’s almost like cracking the code of who you are and then learning to work the code to make you be the best version of yourself. The Enneagram can also help you better understand the people in your life.

Now taking the test is a very personal journey. Some people take it and hit it right on the nail, while others, like me, have to sit and feel it out and see where they feel home. It can be a journey to find your type because it depends on how well you can self-assess and reflect. When I first took the test, I got enneagram 6, the loyalist. I accepted it for a while, and it was so close to who I was, but some things didn’t feel right. I thought I was a 4 for a time, but that didn’t quite fit either. It took me about three years to realize I was a 5, which is an investigator. The funny thing is that I didn’t even think I was smart enough to be a 5. But now I have found my home. I am a 5 with a six-wing, which explains why 6 and 4 felt familiar.

There is a lot more to it, too much to go into right now. However, I have been studying it for a few years on my own, and I have to say it has helped bring clarity and understanding to my close relationships.

Have you taken the Enneagram test?

Tuesday Thoughts…

Tuesday Thoughts…

I have a friend in Jesus!

As you can imagine, life on the road can be lonely. Yes, it’s cool to see and live in new places, and it is great meeting some new people along the way, but sometimes it can feel like there is no real deep connection with anyone. We aren’t always at a place long, and though sometimes we get to have our travel buddies close by, sometimes it can feel like you are so far from the people who know you best.

I have been super lucky for most of the time I have been on the road. I have had travel buddies. I don’t know what I would do without these people. I am incredibly grateful for them and the friendships I have cultivated. Still, a person can get homesick, whether for the home we left behind or the people.

I am also very blessed to have this time on the road to cultivate a relationship with my Lord and Savior. Our relationship has deepened beyond what I ever imagined it could. I sometimes take Him for granted. Just the other day, I was complaining to Him about how I was missing people. Missing friendships like I used to have. Friends that were family, that knew me, that just “got me.” I used that same phrase, “got me.” Life is always changing, and I am in a different season than when I had friends around all the time. I suppose marriage, motherhood, and age all play a part in that. Covid quarantine has also played a role in furthering alienation. That is something I am sure we are all going through.

This morning, Jesus reminded me that I do still have a friend who is with me always, who listens to me complain, who loves me all the time, and who “gets me.” How dumb I feel for complaining to my very best friend about not having that when He provides me with that every day.

Sometimes we need gentle reminders so we can thank our Lord for His grace. He is so amazing. He also reminded me that I have lovely friends that I can serve in love while social distancing. I was complaining about having a cup half empty and not realizing that Jesus filled it so full it is overflowing.

I hope this can encourage someone today. I know many have been in quarantine for quite some time. Remember, you are not alone in this life. People are all around you. You need to reach out and serve in love. Also, never forget that Jesus is there as well, with open arms full of grace!

Routine Brings Balance

Routine Brings Balance

“Your Future is Found In Daily Routine” – Paula White

In my last post, I wrote a little about my struggle with emotional detachment. I also wrote about some things I am doing to help me reconnect with my emotions. One thing that is helping me out is having a morning routine. I see many quotes about how a routine is not useful for the soul, but it is excellent for mine. I wanted to take a little bit of time and tell you more about my routine.

The first thing that is like clockwork for the hubby and me is gym time. I go to the gym three days a week, super early in the morning. I love going to the gym early in the morning, it helps me get a great start on my day, and there is no one there! It is incredible not to have to wait for machines or have tons of interruptions with people trying to talk with us. Since this is how I am beginning my day, I want to launch on the right foot. I enjoy starting my day with good teaching or preaching! I have been listening to Todd Cook from Sagebrush Church or Skip Heitzig from Calvary Chapel’s podcasts. Both churches are out of Albuquerque, NM. All my time on the road and these two hometown pastors are still my number ones!

When I get home, I have a little time to myself before the kiddos get up. The next thing I do is yoga. I have just been doing 10 to 15-minute yoga stretches every day. I do these on non-gym days too. My favorite morning yogi to follow along with has been Yoga with Kassandra on YouTube. She does a lot of short morning stretches, and they are easy to follow. Yoga has helped me to feel more connected to myself and more connected with my Lord. I think stretching our bodies and setting a positive mindset for the day is a great way to focus our minds in the morning. 

After I have worked out my muscles and stretched out my body, I like to meditate. I was using Abide to listen to a 10 to 15-minute Christian mediation, but since school has started, I am a little short on time, so I have switched to doing the daily devotional on my YouVersion bible app. They do a morning and evening devotional that has about eight slides, and it is a great way to center your mind on God’s word.

Since school has started, I haven’t had much time for the last part of my morning routine, reading. My oldest is in high school now. I haven’t mentioned it, but my daughter is no longer homeschooling. She is going to school! I am a fish out of water, and I was a mess. But you better believe I prayed about it. I asked Jesus to watch over my baby, and do you know what he said to me? He said, “that is my baby.” I was humbled. I praised Him. She is His, I trust Him with our baby. Anyways, since school has started, I haven’t been able to find time for reading, but I miss it so much. I love to read. Reading is my guilty pleasure, something for me to enjoy. Now I will have to make time somewhere else in my schedule. Starting my day by working on my physical and spiritual health has been such a tremendous help. Especially in the weird emotionless period, I have been navigating.

These are all my favorite things to do in the morning. Do you have a morning routine? What advice can you give about finding time to read?

Loss, Control, and Healing

Loss, Control, and Healing

Repeat After Me, Emotions make us human.

It’s been just about two months since I lost my gram. I haven’t been able to deal with my feelings about it. So this is hard for me to share, as you know, I am not comfortable with sharing. It makes me want to hide in a hole, but I have been at a loss for words for a bit trying to figure out some things.

I struggle with emotions, feeling things, facing things. Things that make me uncomfortable or sad. So much of my life is out of my hands, I pray, and I trust God, but it’s still hard sometimes. I couldn’t deal with losing my gram. I was already bottling up so much, and losing my gram was too much. I shut down emotionally. I hate feeling sad or helpless. I hate crying. I had always felt weak when I cried. I know its ridiculous. So I just shut off my feelings, so I don’t have to deal with them. What I did not anticipate was that I wouldn’t feel anything at all anymore. No emotions. None. I knew how I was supposed to feel, but I just felt nothing.

I have been on a mission to recover my emotions. To be honest, I did not want to. At first, I was ok with not feeling anything except I didn’t feel happy either. Just numb. Jesus made it quite clear to me that holding out on my feelings rather than letting Him have them was not ok. He showed me that I was not giving up all of me. I had tried to take control of my emotions myself. So, I have found a way to help reinstate my emotions through prayer, yoga, Christian meditation, and journaling. I sort of feel better, but I didn’t know how much it was helping until I played Roberto Griego while I made breakfast Saturday and couldn’t hold back the tears. If you haven’t heard of him, he is a New Mexico music artist. I always played his music for my gram when we were together, running errands, or getting ice cream.

I have never been so happy to feel sad in my whole life. I miss her so much. Losing someone that meant the world to you is so hard whether you are a Christian or not. Knowing she is in Heaven is terrific, but she’s still not here. I miss her laugh. I miss her jokes. I miss squeezing her little tiny shoulders and kissing her cheek. These are all things I can feel sad about now. It’s a strange thing to be happy about, but when you have been numb for so long, it feels good to feel something.

I know that my emotions play a unique role in my life, and by putting myself on autopilot and turning them off, I am not taking an active part in my life. I am learning to deal with them, live in them, and work on being ok with shedding a tear or two if it helps me feel something. I know I will see my gram again, and that is a hope I can find some peace in.

I love and miss you so much Gram!
Our Nightly Routine

Our Nightly Routine

Wash, pray, meditate, sleep well.

In my last post I wrote about meditation and how we practice this at night as part of our nightly routine. My kids, like many, thrive on routine. I think it also helps them feel a sense of normalcy since we move quite often and at the drop of a dime. Since I shared how we use mediation as part of our routine, I thought I’d share how I get my wild, rambunctious crew to sleep every night!

First things first, my boys have to have a snack before bed. Their favorite is Cheese It’s and a glass of milk. I know it’s not super healthy, but don’t worry, they are getting plenty of fruits and veggies. They like to have a treat, and it helps them to sit still and wind down from all the jumping, climbing, and wrestling they have been doing all day long.

Next, depending on the day and whether or not I bathed them earlier, we have a bath. I love soaking them at night with a scoop of lavender salts and lots of bubbles, but sometimes I want to get it over with and give them a quick shower. I also will take this time to put a soothing sleep blend in the oil diffuser. My favorite lately has been Doterra Serenity and Balance. Then we brush our teeth, of course!

After that, the fun starts! The kids love to do bible storytime with the YouVersion kids bible app. We do a different story every night, and it has a fun activity to do after the story, usually a coloring page or a match the picture game. This addition to our nightly routine is relatively new, but it was the kid’s idea, and I am all for it! Once we finish this, we pray! I lead the kids in prayer, and their favorite part is when I say, “I am thankful for…”. They both take turns saying things they are thankful to God for. Jon is always grateful for donuts and broccoli, while Caleb is grateful for his plushies and legos.

This next part, my daughter joins in for usually. We listen to a bible study from the regular YouVersion app. Our favorite devotionals are Through the Word with Kris Langham. We started this in December so we could listen to the advent story in Luke, and the kids loved it so much we never stopped. We change them up sometimes, and I know my boys are little and can’t quite comprehend everything they are hearing, but the fact that they choose to listen to it is incredible! The boys call it, “Listening to Jesus.” They love to see the red words because they know that is when Jesus is talking!

Lastly, we have our nightly meditation time. The kids usually fall asleep during meditation. I know we have a long nightly routine, but I am so happy that my children want to incorporate Jesus into their lives, and they get to go to sleep every night after spending time in his word.

What are some of your family’s favorite nighttime activities?

World Meditation Day

World Meditation Day

Breath in, breath out, be at peace.

Today is World Meditation Day. So I want to share a little of how meditation fits into my family’s chaotic day. We are a large family in a tiny space- it can be loud and messy, and we travel often. One thing that we have been able to keep as a constant in our crazy lives is nightly meditation.

I have made meditation a part of the kid’s nightly routine, and they love it. I used to think mediation was just something that worldly spiritual people did, not that I have anything against that. I just never was that spiritual, and I felt silly sitting and saying mantras trying to zone out. I had no idea what meditation was. I only heard of mediation from shows or cartoons where they mocked it. When I found out that there were Christian meditations, I was very intrigued and excited to check them out.

At the time, I was having some trouble with my boys. I couldn’t get them to bed at a decent hour, and they would both get night terrors all the time. I struggled with night terrors as a child, my daughter had them when she was young, and now both my boys were going through them. I was one tired momma who was desperate to find help to resolve this issue. You might think that the night terrors are just nightmares, and the kids wake up and go back to bed, but that is not what this was. Caleb would scream, hit, kick, punch, and roll around like crazy. I couldn’t wake him up, but I could talk him down by entering into his terror. Now, Jon was another story. He would kick, punch, and scream, but he wouldn’t wake up, and he wouldn’t let me communicate with him. I would have just to let him work it out because anything I tried made it worse. So you can see that I was mentally, emotionally, and physically drained. I found the Abide meditation app on my phone, and since I was trying to get my boys on a nightly routine, I thought it would be a good idea to try it out.

I am so glad I gave this app a try. The boys loved it. The boys call it “listening to the man.” We have been listing to our nightly meditations every night for over two years. My boys go to sleep, listening to waves rolling up on to the beach and a soothing voice, reading God’s words, and praying over them. I can honestly tell you that the night terrors do not happen like they used to. Once in a great while, one of them will have an issue. Usually, if they are super tired from a long day out, but they are nothing like the terrors they used to have. My husband was skeptical at first, but even he has experienced how much meditation helps. We use it when we travel, no matter where we are. We all love it! We do our meditation lying in bed, taking in deep breaths, and listening to the soothing voice and sounds. I have tried to incorporate mediation into other parts of our day, but we all like to wind down at night.

There are many different meditation apps out there; we use the Abide app as I mentioned before. There are various subscription plans available with the app. I am not getting paid to, but the app has worked so well for us, I recommend it to anyone interested in Christian meditation. They have daily mediations and a journaling option as well as nightly meditations and prayers. Meditation has done wonders for us if you haven’t tried mediation yet, what better day to start than World Meditation Day!

Taking Every Thought Captive

Taking Every Thought Captive

Worry leads to nothing good.

Our life as travelers can be fun and exciting, we get to see new places, experience new things, meet new people; but we are also bound to my husband’s job and they sometimes send us to places that are not exactly that amazing and they have been known to do so on a drop of a dime. We knew this getting into the traveling lifestyle and it was ok for a while but it still can be a difficult transition from time to time especially if I do not like the place they want to send us or I really love the place we are in.

We have been in Phoenix for about a month and a half and I really do like it here, it is warm and it is close to home. I love the palm trees and cacti that adorn the landscapes and skylines. We knew this was a short job and we came from Pryor Oklahoma so no complaints there, LOL! We got word that we will be heading to Nebraska for a few months at the end of this month. Not really something I am excited about but there are some friends there and that will be nice to have familiar faces around. They gave us an end date so we planned it all out. We got plane tickets for my step-daughter to come out to Arizona for spring break and then we head to Nebraska dropping her off at home on the way. Then we got more news, we may have to leave earlier.

This life can be hectic at times and God has really been growing me in the sense of being able to roll with the punches or go with the flow. I am a planner, I think I have mentioned before, I have come a long way and have been able to be more fluid in my planning with the trust I have in my Lord and knowing that he is ultimately in control of my life and his plans are better than mine. That doesn’t mean I don’t have anxieties when things like this happen. This week I prayed that God would help me to recognize anxious thoughts and take them captive. I have really felt His presence in my thoughts and I have been able to do what I asked Him to help me with. Not just thoughts about my changing plans but all the thoughts I have that lead me down anxious rabbit holes.

I never got a chance to post this blog. When things change around here, they change fast. We got the call and were told to move out the next day so we packed up our little home and headed out for a pit stop in New Mexico. It was on the way to Nebraska anyways and we were able to spend a week there with our family on the way here. Unfortunately, Covid-19 hit hard that same week so we didn’t get to do anything super fun while we were there. We left there last Saturday and headed towards Nebraska. The whole trip was so eerie and surreal. Interstate 40 was unusually packed with RV’s but once we got off I40 it was a pretty clear road all the way. It was actually pretty nice having the road to ourselves, lol.

I just wanted to give a little update on what is going on here. Actually not much has changed for us. We are still homeschooling and since we are back in the cold the outdoors is hit or miss. I must say, I am missing the warm weather and I am wondering if the sun ever comes out in Nebraska!

Birthday Thoughts

Birthday Thoughts

So…this is 36.

I was chatting with my daughter the other night, as we often do when she can’t sleep. She likes to ask me off the wall questions to drag out her bed time and she knows mom will go off on a tangent if she can hit the right button. She asked me the life expectancy of our dog, William. He will be 4 this May so I told her we have at least another 10 years with him, God willing. I mentioned she will be in her early 20s around that time. She scoffed and said, in her most convincing tone, that she was going to stop aging at 16 and just be that age forever. She then explained the reason she choose 16 is so that she will be old enough to drive herself around. I laughed. If only it were that easy.

Today, I am turning 36. I can clearly remember at 16 thinking I would be that age forever, just like my daughter is now. Life was fun, exciting, and super scary. Time moves differently in your teen years, you think you will be young forever. At least I did, I mean, don’t we all? Years roll by faster and faster with every birthday and before you know it your sitting in a rocking chair on your front porch with a grand baby on your lap wondering where in the heck life went! OK, well I am not there yet, but someday, lol.

I have learned enough in my short time on this earth to know how important it is to cherish each moment, make time for my husband, soak in my kid’s love, and be present daily in my life. The days go by so quickly and my babies are growing so fast. I will never get these moments back so I will marinate in each one as long as possible. I look forward to this new year in my life knowing that the harvest I am sowing now will be bountiful in the years to come. I have joy in knowing what I have to look forward to in my life and who I will get to spend eternity with in the life to come.

Happy Birthday To Me!